Ain’t it grand when a photo of the Punch Line – Richard, Lach, and Blake…..
…..becomes a cool piece of art for an old Export cigarette ad.
I think it’s terrific.
That’s Tony Demers on the left, circa 1942, with a couple of youngsters named Elmer Lach and rookie Maurice Richard.
Kind of a pre-Punch Line.
But it wouldn’t become the Punch Line because (a) Toe Blake filled that role nicely, and (b), Tony Demers ended up in the penitentiary.
You can see Tony’s situation right here – Eight Years in the Big House
Tony was born and raised in Chambly, not far from where I’m living right now. He died in 1997, and if he was still alive, he’d be 96.
Frank J. Selke, Montreal’s Managing Director from 1946 until 1963, had a secretary named Lee Dillon, and I have three things that belonged to Ms. Dillon, two of which I’m showing today, and a third in a little over a month from now.
This first piece is Ms. Dillon’s pass to get into games at the Forum, and how sweet would that have been to have a pass into the Forum?
And below is a greeting card to Ms. Dillon from none other than one of my heroes, Toe Blake.
I’m very proud to own this. Toe Blake was not only the legendary coach wearing the fedora who was at the helm for eight Stanley Cups throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, but who also played on the same team as Howie Morenz in 1936, and was part of the legendary Punch Line with the Rocket and Elmer Lach.
Toe Blake was my kind of coach. Old school, demanded respect, and a winner. Do you think Toe would put up with pampered trillionaire brats? Hah!
Jean Beliveau goes on record as saying Toe was a wonderful guy. Terry Harper told me on the phone that Toe was a real gentleman. And yet he was kicked out of the Forum pool hall for using too much profanity.
Scotty Bowman learned from him. The Rocket considered him a big brother. Players won for him.
And here he writes to Lee Dillon. (And maybe added a few pesos).