Selke Pays The Program Writers

From my collection, this original accounts payable sheet is from Frank J. Selke, signed at the bottom, to various writers who had contributed stories to the Maple Leafs Gardens program in 1938.

Frank Selke, before he became the iconic GM of the Montreal Canadiens from 1946 to 1964, was an assistant and right-hand man to Conn Smythe in Toronto, from 1929 until ’46, when he moved to Montreal.

The names on this sheet are extraordinary, and when you see a payment of $40 for example, according to the Consumer Price Index, $40 in 1938 is equivalent to $642.23 today. And $25 equals $457.42.

Here they are:

Bobby Hewitson, an NHL referee from 1920 to 1934, was the very first curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and was sports editor of the now-defunct Toronto Telegram, a newspaper I delivered when I was 11 or 12. I had the final edition copy for years until my ex-wife threw it out.

Bill Grimes, legendary Boston sportswriter.

Elmer Ferguson, legendary sportswriter for the Montreal Herald and Montreal Star, which spanned 39 years. Elmer was also a radio commentator for the Montreal Maroons (1933-38) and the Canadiens (1938-67). He remains one of the greatest hockey writers of all time.

Tommy Munns, assistant sports editor of the Globe and Mail.

Victor O. Jones, sportswriter for the Boston Globe.

Ted Reeves, a true legend. Played on two Grey Cup Argos teams, and became a beloved sports writer with the Toronto Telegram and Toronto Sun. There’s even an arena named after him in Toronto. He used to write these rambling sports poems, one of which I have in an old program, and his nickname was “The Moaner.”

Fred Jackson, succeed Lou Marsh as sports editor of the Toronto Star.

Hal Straight, sports editor of the Toronto Sun, a man who taught Pierre Berton the ins-and-outs of the newpaper business.

Marc McNeil, sportswriter for the Montreal Gazette.

Bill Roche, sportswriter in Sarnia and Toronto, and hockey author.

Jim Hurley, sportswriter for the New York Daily Mirror.

Harry Scott, sports editor of the Calgary Albertan, who played two seasons for the Montreal Canadiens (1913-14, 1914-15), with Georges Vezina and Newsy Lalonde as teammates.

Please note: I couldn’t find any information about Boaxil O’Meara and John Buss. If anyone can fill me in I would appreciate it very much.

10 thoughts on “Selke Pays The Program Writers”

  1. I have to say that even adjusted for today’s prices, that wasn’t much pay.

    I wonder what all of them would think of the game today. I think a lot of them would be flabbergasted at the stuff we have today (not to mention salaries and the like).

    We now have net-cams and I bet Foster Hewitt would have given anything to have that when he called games.

    Dennis, I swear you need to open up a museum.

  2. Hi Martin, I have an ad from 1940 for tickets to the Leafs at Maple Lea Gardens and prices started at 75 cents and went up to 4 bucks. I also have a program from 1925 (Ottawa Senators) and it’s ten cents.

  3. Darth, I think if it was just one article, that 600 bucks isn’t too bad. If you were a busy freelancer, you could make a good living

  4. Dennis you’ve been writing this blog for over 4 years with at least one post per day, that’s probably around 2000 stories. At a mere $500 each I figure George Gillett, Geoff Molson and Pierre Gauthier combined owe you at least $1M for all these excellent stories.

  5. Thanks Chris. It’s exactly 2416 posts since Nov. 2007. And Mr. Molson, I take personal cheques, money orders, and cash. But I need to see two pieces of I.D.

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