Your Basic Rocket Contract

Below, the Rocket’s contract for the 1956-57 season, drawn up on a 1954 Northern Electric calendar page, for the sum of $12,000, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.

$12,000 is basically the equivalent of $108,000 in 2017 dollars.

Thanks to Bernie Beland in Sudbury for sending me a photo of this great piece.

Interestingly enough, Rocket’s brother Henri’s rookie contract was drawn up on the very same type of calendar page, but from the year before, 1953, even though Henri’s rookie year was 1955-56.

GM Frank Selke must have held on to his old, out-of-date Northern Electric calendar pages because he was a cheap bastard.

Those Great Old Habs Jacket Crests

From my collection, three examples of Habs team jacket crests from days gone by, and all made with that cool chenille fabric. Although chenille is notorious for the colour running if washed or in heavy rain.

From the 1950s:

The early 1960s:

And unsure exactly about the era, but it’s a 1940s design with the top right coming up so high:

From Wikipedia:

The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the “pile”, between two “core yarns” and then twisting the yarn together. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles to the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibers catch the light differently. Chenille can appear iridescent without actually using iridescent fibers. The yarn is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin.

 

Bob’s Rocket Record. Just Got One!

A couple of years ago I wrote about a 1955 recording (on 78 RPM) by Bob Hill and his Canadian Country Boys called ‘Saga of Rocket Richard’, which was about the infamous Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Day of that year.

My story is here if you want – Bob Hill’s Rocket Riot Tune

It’s hard to find, this old disc, but I got one just the other day! First an old pedal car, and then the record, all within a week. I’m on a roll.

Here’s my new/old record!

 

 

My New Old Ride!

The Ford Motor Company began in 1903, but before that, in 1896, Henry Ford was bombing around in his newly-built Quadricycle, named for the bicycle-like tires.

Which brings me to my new ride, which is loosely based on Henry’s.

Probably built in 1953 to commemorate the Ford Company’s 50 years, my new/old pedal car was used as a Ford dealership promotion, later to be won in a raffle by an elderly lady in Indiana, and finally ending up with a lovely couple in their ’80s in Revelstoke who had owned an antique store for years.

It’s very rare,  has been kept under a blanket in the antique store basement, and is the only one the previous owner had ever seen, although he’s had dozens of other types over the years, including 28 different ones at one time.

But not like this one, and he held onto it after slowly selling the others.

I’ve searched the internet and found a couple of others, but mine is in much better shape than those. One fellow online thought only three had ever been made, but I question that.

Anyway, here’s my new ride. It has a few scratches and dents and a couple of other minor issues, but so do I, although mine are much more.

If I keep losing weight, maybe I can take it for a spin.

Finally, another example of a real Quadricycle.

 

 

Nothing Like A Good Bar

What most Americans call ‘candy bars’, Canadians call ‘chocolate bars’. I’ve never understood the candy bar handle, but whatever. I’m addicted to all chocolate bars except the vile coconut ones.

Below is my mini chocolate bar collection, which I’ve kept either in freezers or boxes over the years, and which I won’t be eating anytime soon.

The iconic Reggie (Jackson) Bar from 1978, which seems to be worth about $40 nowadays.
Ken Griffey Jr. bar from 1989, worth about $20 now. Apparently, Griffey was allergic to these.
Knebworth ’90 bar, from the English concert that featured the likes of Clapton, Pink Floyd, McCartney, Elton John, Dire Straits, and a whack of others. I think one of my brothers gave me this.
And the Mario (Lemieux) bar from about 1993. I have a box of these, 50 in all.

Powell River Is Where?

It takes about five hours to travel 120 kms from my home in Powell River to Vancouver. Each ferry takes a bit under an hour, add the waiting at the ferry terminals, plus the small curvy road all the way down, and it becomes a major trek.

But lots of folk don’t quite understand where Powell River is. Some think it’s on Vancouver Island but it’s not, and many don’t quite understand why it’s a bit isolated. So I took a coaster to explain.

Please note – I was a little off on my ‘end of road’ marker, so add another half inch or so. This is where the road, highway 101, ends (or begins) on the west coast. You can’t go any further north.

About this road: If you were to hop in your car at the little fishing village of Lund, about 30 minutes north of Powell River, and you kept going south, you’d end up in Chile.

And one last little piece of trivia. I used to work at the ferry at Saltery Bay. If all this isn’t enough, I’ve included a bonus picture of me on one of my better days.

The Boys Are Back In Town

Rocktown Magazine (Let your eyes feed your ears)

By Leonard Bingo

Sunset Boulevard was still reasonably quiet when I sat down with master keyboardist Homer Gibson and the notoriously difficult yet ultra-talented Denny (Killer) Kane. After all, it was still mid-morning, but the news hit my ears like a thousand cars inching along the Strip with horns blaring on a Saturday night.

Gibson, wearing his trademark vest, Bermuda shorts, and Powell River Kings t-shirt, is almost unrecognizable now after decades of hard rock star living, but Kane, in his dapper business suit and shirt that reads ‘Welcome to Orillia, home of Lightfoot and Kane’, looks young and healthy, possibly because of having his blood drained and replaced in Switzerland a decade ago.

“We’re putting the band back together again,” blurted Gibson as I sipped green tea while the pair chugged beer and ate homemade brownies they said came from one of the many female fans who regularly sent the legendary Carnaby Knights  gifts from MILK (mothers interested in licking Knights). MILK members have dedicated their lives to the band since the rockers burst onto the scene in 1964 with their massive hit ‘You Don’t Know Me But I know You (Cause I look Through Your Bathroom Window), and never gave up hope of sleeping with at least one of them, preferably Kane.


Early Carnaby Knights, before they shook the world. “We had no idea” said Homer. “The girls, the money, the fame. We weren’t ready yet.”

The two of them waited while I digested the news. The Carnaby Knights hadn’t been together in many, many years, and it seemed unreal that the band  would consider such a thing now. All four continued to live lavish lifestyles, compliments of record sales and previous world tours, and they had their successful solo careers. But now this. They’re getting back together. My tea grew cold as my head swirled.

“Why now?” I asked. “You’ve nothing left to prove. The Knights were the best, but can you do it again?”

Kane ordered another four pints for him and Homer, and looked me square in the eyes. “You bet we can, because we rock. The Carnaby Knights folded up shop way too soon. We were neck and neck with Zeppelin, we had outsold the Beatles, and women voted us the hottest rockers on the planet, but we quit because, well, we didn’t see eye to eye on a bunch of things.”

The beer arrived, and I noticed Kane and Homer looking at each other. Getting the news out was big for them too. And they seemed like old friends once again, after all those public and insane quarrels we all knew about.

I finished my tea and ordered a double tequila. It was too early for beer, but I needed a something to fully take in what I was hearing.

The Carnaby Knights were my favourite band, there was no question. Gibson on keyboards, Izzy Brash on bass, Bobby Folsom on lead, and Dougie Jumpstarter on drums were groundbreakers. They had changed the world through their music, and had become known as gurus to the guys in Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yes, even the Fab Four had asked for tips more than once.

And then there was Kane, whose vocals sent crowds wild and women into a frenzy. He was what Robert Plant aimed to be, with vocals that ranged from soft to ear shattering, melodic to punkish, sensual to violent. No one sang like Kane, and we always understood that this was a guy born to rock.

Together, the boys’ music was magical, the true inspiration for Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers, and of course the genius of Pink Floyd. Waters and Gilmour will certainly flip when they hear the news. Jann Wenner is gonna be pissed when he gets wind that I landed the scoop. But Rolling Stone was certainly no Rocktown, and the two legends wanted to tell the world through the biggest and best rock rag. So they had called me and I was there to meet them within the  hour.

“We were bored hanging out at our pads with all the dope and champagne and beer and entourages and swimming pool orgies” explained Kane. “So I rang Homer. I said, hey Homer, let’s put the band back together again, and after Homer slept on it and woke up in late afternoon a couple of days later, he called and said he was all in.”

I saw a problem though, and wasn’t sure if now was the time to bring it up. The world knew about the band’s fights over the years, the slandering of each other in the papers, the drunken episodes at the Roxy and Whisky, and the night at the Troubadour when they yelled out lewd remarks to Linda Ronstadt and were promptly thrown out into the street. Even worse, the club and Dan Tana’s restaurant next door pressed charges after Homer took a dump in front of the ticket window and drove his Harley through the high-end eatery.

“What about the other guys?” I finally asked, and the pair guzzled their beer and paused for a minute. Finally, Kane let it out after ordering four more.

“We don’t want them back,” he said angrily. “Brash was boring, he never drank or popped acid or anything that he should’ve been doing. Hell, he even stayed in his room and read books when we had our swimming pool orgies. Folsom could play, man could he play, but he was beginning to think he was bigger than the band. Don’t forget, he almost ruined us when he told the press the Knights were bigger than Sinatra. And Jumpstarter just wasn’t what we wanted in a drummer. We thought there were better guys out there, and it was a drag that he seemed to be liked by the groupies a bit too much. So after our last gig, the one when we headlined the Isle of Texada, I told Brian (Saperstein), to take care of it.”

“So now we’re looking for new members, but Clapton’s basically retired, Jack Bruce and Hendrix are dead, and Ginger Baker’s an asshole. But it’s okay, we’re starting to put the word out. Maybe we’ll be three-piece band now. Just me, Homer, and maybe Neil Peart. We’ll see. I might give (Jeff) Beck a call.”

I scribbled in my pad at a furious rate and ordered another double tequila. Eleven in the morning wasn’t too early now. “What’s gonna happen when you’re ready?” I asked.

Homer put his beer down and looked at me. “We’re gonna be huge again, that’s what’s gonna happen. We’ll start by cutting an album, maybe call it ‘The Carnaby Knights Are Back in Your Face’, and we’ll tour. Probably kick it off here in L.A., and then New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Powell River, Drumheller, Moose Jaw. Really man, I can’t wait.”

Then, while I was still slightly dazed, they simply rose and left, leaving me with my thoughts and the bill. How I’d always wanted the Carnaby Knights to play again, and now it seemed it could happen. The Knights’ music was timeless of course, always innovative, and yes, definitely unequaled.

I paid the bill, closed my notebook, and walked out onto Sunset. I could picture them again, rocking the nearby Hollywood Bowl and hopefully the Carlson Club in Powell River, where it all started, all those years ago. The news made my day, my week, my year, and I hustled to the office to file my story.

Where they were now I wasn’t sure, they had quickly disappeared down the street, but I know where I’ll be when the time comes. At their first show of course. And I’ll be in seventh heaven.

It had been a long and winding road, but the Carnaby Knights will record one more time at least, stand on stage, rock the world like they used to, and drive women insane once again. It’s unbelievable. And it’s beautiful.

Below, the Carnaby Knights at the peak of their career. But the infighting was just beginning.

 

Canadiens Say Goodbye

That’s it for the Habs after falling to the Rangers 3-1 in game six, and I’d say I’ll now start getting excited about the Blue Jays’ season, except they’re 4 and 12 and about to lose another as I write.

I wish the Expos would come back.

*************************************

Still no Stanley Cup since 1993. Will it happen again soon? Will it happen in my lifetime or yours?

I don’t have favourite players on my team. That time is long gone. When I was a kid, the Rocket was my hero. And Beliveau and Harvey and I guess, every player on the team. As a guy in my twenties, I was happy about Lafleur and Dryden and Robinson.

But it’s only about the crest now. I liked Subban for example, but it didn’t bother me one bit when he was traded because  I thought Shea Weber was an upgrade in many ways. I still do.

It’s about the team only. Players can come and go and I won’t bat an eyelash.

A few days ago I saw a film clip of Andrei Markov coming out of a NY hotel (or maybe Madison Square Garden) and a kid, the only person in site, approached him for an autograph. Markov shook his head and casually walked across the street.

Players can say no all they want to adults, I understand and accept that. But there’s no excuse to say no to a kid.

No excuse. It would’ve taken all of about four seconds to sign the kid’s piece of paper.

And so, I finish off a season of game reports complaining about Andrei Markov.

***************************************

Thanks to everyone who read my posts this season. I hope you liked some of them.  And I also truly appreciate anyone who took the time to sometimes comment.

We thought the team had a decent chance this year to make a serious dent.

But without naming names, they let us down.

 

 

 

 

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