Part 30: Boats and Planes, McMahon and Jacques

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 30: Boats and Planes, McMahon and Jacques

Postby Brian Lord » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:03 am

Brian Lord’s Radio Story’s #30
Boats and Planes, McMahon and Jacques

Just before noon on a Friday, four men walked into the CJJC Music Library where I and a couple of others were talking with Dave Chesney. The first of these people was Joe Chesney, Dave's Dad and he pointed at me and said "...And that is Brian Lord". The fellow he was introducing me to said "..."And I want to talk to you." I had one of those low rumbles inside when one feels there's to be some-kind of event. The guy was pleasant enough but forceful and added a bit of attitude by using the old two fingers at my eyes and flipping them back and forth. I wasn't really concerned. Joe had booted me out of the station before but my latest difficulty, whatever it had been wasn't setting off any bells. I was about to say something to this guy when the music changed on the station monitor introduced the News.

Our News man was Roy Jacques. He and I had met several years before when I was just starting out in the business and we hadn't lost touch. A few years back, he and I and Jimmy McDonald had teamed up to cover the arrival in Vancouver of the deep seas vessel "Himalaya" which was to enter Vancouver harbour that afternoon, completing it's maiden voyage under the P&O colors, The company had just begun a trans-pacific voyage and this was the first P&O lavish spread of food and booze for the media, flown us to Victoria early in the morning and as the sun came up we began our slow cruise towards Burrard Inlet. The Bar's opened at 10 o'clock AM and in short order, the media types had cleaned off the serving trays. This was to go on all day so you can use your imagination as to what the condition many of us were in by the time the "Himalaya" reached the CPR dock at the foot of Burrard.. This include, Jacques, McDonald and I who had been having a splendid day and had no reason to shut it down. We simply took my old Nash and roared around town until I remember finding my self shaken by the waiter at the Arctic Club, about a half hour after closing time.

Jacques was just a hell of a guy. Everyone who reads this and knew him would agree. A great story teller, a humorist and very news-friendly. Referring back to getting into grief by talking loud outside the newsroom when the 'cast was in progress; he was a small man, only about 5'6" but he had learned the ability of moving his head back and looking at you eyes in such away you felt you were talking to somebody several inches taller than yourself. One didn't mess with him but to tell the truth, I never met anyone who seriously got on Roy's bad books... if anybody ever did. He had called me at CJJC when his gig in Montreal was over. He was on television acting the roll of a judge in some series and when it packed up he came home to B.C....and called me. I was the PD out at CJJC and Jacques was looking for a job. No I didn't but I sure made one fast enough. I offered him exactly what Joe was paying me and a car. Jacques said he'd call back in a day or so, the 'WX had made him an offer. I mentioned that evening on the phone to Joe (who was out of town) that Roy Jacques had been in to see me about a job and Joe, already over-budget as far as he was concerned said something like... "naww, he's a little rich for our blood". Oh Oh. When Roy called the next day, he announced he had decided to join our station, that he didn't relish to drive from Surrey, where he lived, to downtown Vancouver twice a day.

I was naturally elated but quickly worried sick what Joe would do. When Joe arrived later that day I told him I'd hired Jacques and thrown a car into the deal. Then it became a stare-down. I refused to look away and quite possibly for the first time in his life, Joe lost a stare-down. He said nothing, turned and walked away. In the long run, no harm was done. Joe was an out and out Socialist and Jacques was an out and out Conservative. (Substitute Communist and Nazi). One day Jacques said to his audience to his audience that all dogs not wearing leashes should be shipped off to the vivisectionist. Anther day he said that woman who were being raped might as well lie back and enjoy it. I shuttered but nothing ever happened.

Now, returning to that Friday, news-time; when the news ended I just directed this new guy to a small room, shook his hand and asked what I could do for him. He announced that Joe Chesney had just hired him (who's name was Mike McMahon) as the new number two man in CJJC, that Joe had made him Operations Manager and that he (Mike) was going to need a lot of help from me. I would be doing a two-hour air-shift each mid-day and all the production. Yes, I was surprised. Yes, I'd have rather heard it from Joe but hey...this was radio.

I don't think many of the people reading this will remember Mike McMahon. He was our morning board man, solo, no operators in those days. He had apparently had a successful career in a middle-sized market back in Ontario or somewhere, he was married, liked to play golf and was more interested in doing his radio program than being anybody's boss. But those were the shakes and how did I feel about this brutal slap on the face. "Come on Mike, you know my reputation. Every few months Joe fires me for getting drunk but he says I have talent and was generally pissed off that I was such a pain in his neck.... you know all that, man" "Well, Brian, yeah I do. and I'll put up with a lot but not the drinking." We shook hands again and proceeded to become pretty close friends as the months rolled by. Dave Chesney also recognized Mike's ability, so did Ched Miller....Mike Dodmann too, 'cause he was insane, bless his heart, he died much too early.. One of our evening DJ's, Rob Carlyle was a nascent golfer and before much time had gone by, we were all playing golf over at the little Langley Golf and Club, which it was: little. Miller and I sometimes played in the was a lot of fun.

McMahon was funny. He was very funny. Rob used to pull his car over to the side of the road he'd laugh so hard. As shticks he used some animals but generally speaking he just had a bunch of hilarious interruptions that shot at you fast, like a bullet from your radio. Chesney Jr, Mike, Rob & I used to play golf mid-afternoon. We'd get kind of bent and have a great old time. Doing all sorts of things. Dave got hold of this singer. I mean this guy could really sing. Rock 'n' Roll. His name has escaped my but I'm sure Dave will let me know pretty soon. Anyway one thing led to another and we got this guy some kind of audition through my old friends in Los Angeles. The three of us flew down there on a Friday, got our work done and then the rest turned into a kind of haze where everything happens but you have no idea in what order...or why. I can remember Chesney pushing me off the aircraft in a wheelchair.

It seems that everything was getting along pretty well, we were all having fun, WKRP y'know; the station sounded pretty good because our announcers were damn good. Everything was just buzzin' along until Peter Legge showed up. Then the station made a turn to port instead of starboard and things began to fall off.
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 30: Boats and Planes, McMahon and Jacques

Postby Jack Bennest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:08 am

Just good to see your smiling face Brian. Another great story and we should bundle it all up into a book.
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