Tag Archives: Bob Hope

Bob Hope In Orillia, Jiggs In Hollywood

In September of 1957, Orillia hockey star Rick Ley, who would go on to NHL and WHA stardom, was 9 years old, Orillia folksinger Gordon Lightfoot was 19, Bobby Orr, 60 miles up the road, was 9, and I was a month shy of being 7.

And in September of 1957, Hollywood funnyman Bob Hope, fresh from hanging out with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, close friends with a bunch of Presidents, and star of stage and screen, came with his family for a nice visit to Orillia. (The above photo is Hope in Orillia and comes from one of my dad’s photo albums).

I was there, although I don’t remember it. But my dad told me we were all there. He told me about Hope and his wife and kids riding in a parade down the main street. And he told me the Hope clan were guests of my dad’s boss, who happened to own a local factory.

It seems Hope had been invited to Orillia to help celebrate the expansion of Orillia’s radio station, CFOR. I’m thinking he must have been in the area anyway.

It’s also a beautiful thing when I can tie in CFOR to NHL hockey.

CFOR’s sports guy was Ken McDonald, and Ken was a great guy. My sister worked with him when she was a radio copywriter, and he would not only do radio sports, but on the side he would broadcast minor hockey games from the Orillia Community Centre. I can remember my grandma and I huddled by the radio one night in the early sixties when Ken described Archie Rankin scoring the big goal with just seconds left as the Orillia juveniles captured the Ontario championship in dramatic fashion.

In 1966, the Los Angeles Kings were granted a team in the league’s first expansion, and Ken McDonald was offered and accepted the big job of being the Kings’ very first play-by-play guy. I suppose it was owner Jack Kent Cooke who decided the name Ken McDonald just wasn’t fancy enough for the Hollywood market, and from that day forward, Ken McDonald became Jiggs McDonald. Over the years, Jiggs became one of the NHL’s best and longest-lasting broadcasters, with gigs with the Atlanta Flames, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers. He also had a brief stint doing New York Mets games.

When I ended up in jail for a week in Los Angeles during the summer of 1967 (breaking curfew after Sunset Strip riots), my sister phoned Ken/Jiggs in LA and asked him if he could help. I never learned if he did or not, but after a week behind bars, a plane ticket showed up from my parents, who had absolutely no money, to get me back to Canada, and I was set free.

Maybe Jiggs pulled some strings. If so it’s taken a lot of years, but thanks a lot, Mr. McDonald.

New Old Sports Illustrated

My brother gave me some old Sports Illustrated that he says are mine and who am I to argue?

Here’s a sampling of them, a little thing I like to call Maurice Richard Bob Hope JFK Volvo Casey Stengel Ralph Backstrom Dodge Dart Black Hawks Plaid Suit Marlboro Man.

(Only 28 more days. Habs-Leafs)

cover

Rocket in SI

bob hope

012

casey

backstrom

013

hawks

plaid

marlboro

Bob Hope In Orillia, Jiggs In Hollywood

In September of 1957, Orillia hockey star Rick Ley, who would go on to NHL and WHA stardom, was 9 years old. Orillia folksinger Gordon Lightfoot was 19. Bobby Orr, 60 miles up the road, was 9. I was a month shy of being 7.

And in September of 1957, Hollywood funnyman Bob Hope, fresh from hanging out with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, close friends with a bunch of Presidents, and star of stage and screen, came with his family for a nice visit to Orillia. (The above photo is Hope in Orillia and comes from one of my dad’s photo albums).

I was there, although I don’t remember it. But my dad told me we were all there. He told me about Hope and his wife and kids riding in a parade down the main street. And he told me the Hope clan were guests of my dad’s boss, who happened to own a local factory.

It seems Hope had been invited to Orillia to help celebrate the expansion of Orillia’s radio station, CFOR. I’m thinking he must have been in the area anyway.

It’s also a beautiful thing when I can tie in CFOR to NHL hockey.

CFOR’s sports guy was Ken McDonald, and Ken was a great guy. My sister worked with him when she was a radio copywriter, and he would not only do radio sports, but on the side he would broadcast minor hockey games from the Orillia Community Centre. I can remember my grandma and I huddled by the radio one night in the early sixties when Ken described Archie Rankin scoring the big goal with just seconds left as the Orillia juveniles captured the Ontario championship in dramatic fashion.

In 1966, the Los Angeles Kings were granted a team in the league’s first expansion, and Ken McDonald was offered and accepted the big job of being the Kings’ very first play-by-play guy. I suppose it was owner Jack Kent Cooke who decided the name Ken McDonald just wasn’t fancy enough for the Hollywood market, and from that day forward, Ken McDonald became Jiggs McDonald. Over the years, Jiggs became one of the NHL’s best and longest-lasting broadcasters, with gigs with the Atlanta Flames, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers. He also had a brief stint doing New York Mets games.

When I ended up in jail for a week in Los Angeles during the summer of 1967 (breaking curfew after Sunset Strip riots), my sister phoned Ken/Jiggs in LA and asked him if he could help. I never learned if he did or not, but after a week behind bars, a plane ticket showed up from my parents, who had absolutely no money, to get me back to Canada, and I was set free. 

Maybe Jiggs pulled some strings. If so, it’s taken 44 years but thanks a lot, Mr. McDonald.

Hoping To Make You Smile

I know you’re feeling down about a few losses and several guys in slumps and all that, so I thought I’d try and cheer you up. Like Bob Hope doing shows for the troops overseas.

So I give you Jim Ralph, ex-Ottawa 67 and minor pro goalie Jim Ralph’s mediocre stats who found his niche on the banquet circuit. As a hockey player, Jim makes a darn funny comedian.

Take it away, Jim.

Things Just Don’t Get Any Funnier. Another Loss Anybody?

Could it be that this thing has now turned funny? The Canadiens fourth loss in a row, a loosey-goosey 5-4 clown show to the lowly Ottawa Senators, a team so far down in the standings you can see the earth’s core. It’s gone way beyond sad or bad. It great fun. A riot. Like Bob Hope, Robin Williams and Milton Berle all wrapped up in a big stinkin barrel of yuk yuks.

Teetering on the brink of not making the playoffs?… Hilarious!

Carey Price playing like the back-up goalie for the Washago Whatdoyoucallits?… Please stop, my sides are aching!!

Two guys are sitting around and one says to the other,”Hey, did you hear about the Montreal Canadiens?” And the other guy says, “What, they lose again?” Bada bin, bada boom.

It’d be great if they lose some more. It’s soooo funny! Har dee har har.

Toronto’s in town Saturday to play the Habs. How funny is that one gonna be?

Random Notes:

Bob Gainey chose Carey Price fifth in the first round of the NHL 2005 draft. Geez, he could’ve had Gilbert Brule, Jack Skille, or Devin Setoguchi, who went sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.

Charlie Hodge is living near Vancouver. Anybody think about giving him a call about putting the pads back on?

Wouldn’t it be great if Bob Gainey fired himself and hired Mario Tremblay and Patrick Roy to work together behind the bench?

I was asked recently who should coach the Habs. I said I should. I’ve got a fedora.

I’ve got an excellent idea. Why doesn’t Gainey take the guys bowling?

Guillaume Latendresse, who scored two goals against those mighty Ottawa Senators, went 45th overall in the 2005 entry draft, the same year as Price. I don’t have a joke for this. I guess I used up all my A material.