Peter Gzowski

Wilde said people shouldn't be judged on whether they are bad or good but whether they are charming or tedious. The CBC nickname for Peter was Saint peter and Peter was no saint but he was charming.

I met Peter when he was doing his TV Show. I guess it put him under a lot of pressure. He would come to my bar a couple of times a week to unwind. We spent many a night just the 2 of us in my backroom playing pinball for 20 bucks a game. We talked about a lot of things. One morning for some reason we were both chasing the same lady and neither one of us would give in. We ended up back at his place, with the lady making breakfast or  At eight o clock in the morning we were sitting at his kitchen table on Yorkville Ave. with a bottle of wine on the go. We were very very drunk.
Out of the blue he stops and says. "Want to know what is the most important thing I ever did in my life?" Of course, I said "Sure." he proceeded to tell me about a hockey game he had played. Something about beating a really tough team from another town. I don't remember how old he was when he played this game or anything. I just thought of all the things he had accomplished and that is what he thought of. It was not long after this that Peter wrote "The Game Of Our Lives."

Peter sometimes brought some of the guests to my place. through his show, I met Jack Webster, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Waites to name a few.
a lot of Peter's staff were regulars at the bar. And many the day I had to send a taxi to CBC with the master script of the next night's show that somebody left behind. I did many favours for Peter like lending him a room for card games with Michael MacClear, Bobby Miller, etc.
Both Peter and I liked to play the horses and I met him at the track more than a few times. Once I met him after the first race and was surprised that he left. He left his pile of tickets behind and he had lost over 500 dollars on the first race.

After The TV show ended I didn't see him for some years.
Then I ran into him on the Esplanade one day.
"Peter," I said where the hell have you been."
"Sorry, man he said but you just remind me of a very bad time in my life."

Myrna Lorrie

Myrna Lorrie frequented my afterhours in the seventies, She was a lot of fun and I caught a few of her shows and liked her music. One night she showed up on the arm of Jerry Reed. (I'm a lover, not a fighter) Rosanne Cash was with them and she was with one of the Eagles. (I can never remember which one) apparently, Roseanne had a fling with him 
They were there almost every night for a week or so. Myrna was there many times and saw a few of her shows.

Myrna Lorrie (b. Lorraine Petrunka, August 6, 1940, Cloud Bay, Ontario) is a Canadian country singer.
Lorrie first sang publicly at age 12 on Fort William radio station CKPR. At age 14 she recorded the song "Are You Mine" with Buddy DuVall, which was released on Abbott Records. The song became a hit in both Canada and the United States; it reached #6 on the US Country Singles chart in 1955.[1] She then toured North America with Hank Snow.

Farley Mowatt

I met Farley in the 60's we had the same Hair Stylist (Chris Beacom) and we had a few drinks at the Pilot and talked of Newfoundland
My grandparents (Dads) were from Cupids newfoundland and I always wanted to go there. I flew into the American base at Argentia when i was in the navy.
 I remember one of his lines. "I would like to go back to Newfoundland, maybe when Joey dies."

Dianne Heatherington

Dianne spent many nights at my bar and we had a close personal relationship that in another time and place could have gotten very serious.

Dianne Mae Heatherington (May 14, 1948 – October 22, 1996) was a Canadian singer of several genres, particularly rock, whose musical career spanned nearly two decades. In the latter part of her career, she became a successful businessperson in the film security industry, while at the same time enjoying modest success as a Canadian film and television actress.

She was nominated for a Juno Award in 1981 in the category of Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year. She also hosted her own national CBC Television series, Dianne, in 1971.[1]

In May 1993, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer from which she died on October 22, 1996, aged 48, in Toronto.[2]

Burton Cummings

 Burton Cummings is no longer talking to me.
I have had a troubled history with Burton
Gary MacLean was a friend of Burton's and he brought him to my after-hours bar and introduced him. I bought him a drink
e chatted for a while and i drifted off to tend to some bar business. Suddenly there is an awful racket screaming and yelling. It is Burton and he is attacking Peter Gzowski.
I can't believe it. At his time Peter was doing his TVshow and he and his crew were my best customers They were there every night the show was on (not always peter) They were the major source of my Income and there was no question. I escorted Burton out the door.
15 Minutes later Burton shows up and apologizes profusely saying he won't do it again.  I buy him a drink. In 15 minutes he's yelling at Gzowski again. (I have no idea what the problem was. It was beside the point.I escort him out.
He came back and apologizes profusely says he won't do it again.  I buy him a drink. In 15 minutes he's yelling at Gzowski again. 
Once more and I gave up and wouldn't let him back in. Somehow I survived and Peter came as usual.
Now at that time Burton and I traveled in the same circles and often met up. Burton was dramatically contrite dropping to his knees he would hug my knees and beg forgiveness. He did this half a dozen times.
Soon we were friends and he often showed up for my private Sunday parties to jam with the Macleans and Murray McLauchlan and whoever else was in town. These were great times, great songs, great harmonies.
He was back in the Bar Gzowski was no longer on TV and was mostly a no-show so it didn't matter anymore.
Now Burton would often sing with Macleans 
Burton was amazing with the MacLeans, Gary and Blair had good voices too, and harmonized wonderfully. One night the Knob Hill was so impressed they tipped a whole case of Dom Perigon. We had a party that night. Burton wrote a couple of the Macleans' songs including Their theme song'Fuck Ya"(I sang the lobster song with the Macleans when Burton wasn't singing with them) 
Burton spent many nights in my kitchen singing with the Macleans and Murray Mclauchlan and whoever else was around. The funniest moment is Burton comes in one night trying to be cool and quiet. plugs a quarter in the Jukebox just as 'AMERICAN WOMAN" came on full blast. Everybody jeered and pointed as he cried I didn't play it! I didn't play it! It was a good laugh. Then Burton told me to get a date and he would take me backstage at the CNE for his show. He called and said he would pick me up. Then he called and said his manager would pick me up. The short story is, that he left me hanging and looked very foolish. When Burton and Randy got back together I got backstage passes to the show in Peterborough. they might have been from Donny MacDougall. anyway, after the show Burton hid on the bus so he did not have to meet me. 
I never saw him again and a dozen years later I put these stories on Facebook. When Burton played here lately. Sydney)
I message him if we were still friends and told me to give my head a shake after all the bad stuff i said about him. So we are no longer talking but so far still friends on Facebook.
So we had some good times and bad times, water under the bridge to me.  

Nick St. Nicholas,

Nick St. Nicholas,
My dear friend Lesley McDonell married Nick. One night at my club she mentioned that Nick was starting a new band and he needed a space to rehearse and could he rent my space during the day.
Anything for Lesley I agreed. I gave her a key and didn't give it another thought until Monday morning.
I wake up to loud solo Bass. I forgot I slept upstairs during the day. One week of Bass. Next week Bass and Drums next week would have been Bass, Drums, Rythem Guitar. ETC. By then I had moved out to a Hotel for the next 2 months.


Michael Ironside

Mike and my Mother
 MICHAEL IRONSIDE(my crazy friendship with him.)
I used to be in the movie business but when I met Michael I was
Toronto's leading 'bootlegger' I owned an after-hours club that was basically for musicians but I expanded it to the famous. And I had been notorious in the 60s for my lavish parties and I slowly built up an illegal business it was a lot of fun and very profitable and I met everybody and their dog. Mike was at the Art College of Ontario and had made this acclaimed 8mm film that won an award and thought he was somebody.

Meanwhile, I was the King of Toronto in those days (lol) and we clashed often, it took a couple of years for us to become friends he kept after me. Finally, when we did become friends, we were good friends.
People have often asked me how mike got his scar.
Mike got his scar before I met him.
He told me he was sitting in his girlfriend's house having a beer and waiting while she changed as they were going out, suddenly there was a hammering at the door and when he opened it up this drunk guy attacked him screaming that he was stealing his girlfriend. in the course of the brawl the guy broke the bottle and gashed Mike's face Mike thought he had lost his eye and he freaked out he actually tore one of the guy's eye
out. After the police and the ambulance and everything was sorted out it seems the guy had the wrong house his girlfriend lived next door and Mike didn't even know her..

I got in the movie business after the after-hours business. I got into
the movie business by phoning a producer twice a week for 2 years.
I was an assistant producer on 'Double Negative. I got Mike a small role in it.
These stories about Michael seem rather wild and there is
lots to tell but there are even some I can't tell. Mike's ex-wife is a
policewoman named 'Ironside' 20

I went to Peterborough with Mike just after the release of 'Visiting
Hours". His father had a heart attack and I went with Mike to visit
him. It was quite an experience a lot of people in that hospital had
seen visiting hours and you should have seen the looks on their faces
when Mike walked by. In the movie, Mike had a Canon Sureshot 35 mill camera prototype.
He stole it from the movie and gave it to me for my birthday. it was a great camera.
One afternoon Mike and I tried to seduce two young ladies by smoking a lot of dope and building a huge bowl of sangria. It backfired Mike and I both passed out and some weeks later when I developed the film I discovered the girls had stripped us and taken photos. of us naked. I thought that was hilarious. I shoved the photo of mike into a book and forgot which book. I expect somebody got a surprise one day.
I was approached by a fan and I wrote some stories for them.
I really don't think about 'spilling the beans' I find it amusing that
Mike has such a big fan club. For me, it was just fun to remember what a wildman he used to be and write some of these things down. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these tales they are written just as I remember them.I had a stalker fan of his pump me for the information she had a good story and I passed it on to mike.
Then I get a phone call from Mike, his lawyer, and his agent accusing me of giving her information about mike. like phone number and address. Not only did I not give her any information I did not have his latest info.
Mike sort of brushed me off and wouldn't believe me.
Which was a little disappointing as we were such close friends and our list of adventures together read some like sort of weird underground action-adventure. I understand why. I was a part of his past that he doesn't particularly remember. He is and has been clean and sober for about 12 years and this is probably good as he would most likely be dead or in jail if he had kept on. I wouldn't say that I liked him better as a drunk but he certainly was interesting and we had a lot more in common than we do now.
By the way, it was Mike's sister who gave her the information.
A mike story: We used to drink at the Club 22 at the
Windsor Arms in Toronto. One night my friends Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio who draw the cartoon BC were in town and I joined them for a few drinks with Mike in tow. Michael got fairly hammered. I got up to meet another old friend Catherine O'Hara from SCTV she had her parents with me and introduced them to me as I shook hands with her mother, I gave a bit of a bow, and as I did Michael came up behind me and bit me on the ass and wouldn't let go. It was unbelievable I jumped and hollered and leaped around the room but he wouldn't let go. It took Jack and Johnny and a couple of waiters to get him off of me and I don't know why, he just thought it was funny, and when it stopped hurting I laughed too. Mike was barred for that but I managed to get him reinstated and the next afternoon we drank $400 of margaritas between us.
I remember the next morning after that we went for brunch at Joe Allens with lady friends Mike ordered a triple Bloody Caesar with a shot of Vodka on the side. This is Mike's favorite story at AA
Back in the mid-seventies, I used to own an after-hours club and Mike spent a couple of bad years drinking himself into the ground. As often as not he would pass out in the club and I would just put a blanket over him and leave him there. I lived over the bar and one night I woke up with this horrible thumping through the floor. I go downstairs to find Mike with his face stuck to the bar. He had managed to get a hold of a pool cue and thumped it on the ceiling. I had just put in a new bar and got this guy to put a plastic top on it. He made a mistake and the bar top didn't set properly. Michael in his stupor crawled up on the bar and fell asleep on it. His face was firmly stuck to the bar It was quite a job to pry him loose without any more damage to his face.
I had somehow become a movie producer and Michael and Winston Reckert were going to be in it.
We hung around together and Mike and Winston got really crazy sometimes they got banned from several restaurants and bars and I saved them from arrest a couple of times.
One day Winston had just finished a movie and was flush. So Winston and Michel Ironside and Alberta Watson and Winston's accountant Jerry and I are sitting around at Jerry's drinking beer smoking dope and snorting coke. We were getting pretty crazy and we thought we should order some food. the subject of ribs came up and Jerry said the best ribs in the world were from Fat Willy’s Rib Shack in Chicago. So Winston says can we get some?. Jerry got on the phone with plane tickets and taxis etc we had ribs from Fat willy's in 4 hours for about a thousand dollars or so.
Mike and I had several pretty good fights. One night Michael and Winston Rekert (Neon rider) went to see Willie Dixon at the El Mocambo. This is after both of them had made a couple of good movies and things were beginning to happen for them. We had met some interesting young ladies and wanted to party later. Well, I have this very fussy friend who had gone to Poland for a month or two and had left me the key to his apartment. So I invited everyone back to his place which was just down the street and Mike used the phone to phone his girlfriend. when he couldn't get her he threw
the phone out the window right through the screen I bopped for that one. it was a real hassle to get it all repa

Rolling Stones

I get a phone call one night. It's Tom Hedley "Hey Mick Jagger wants to talk to you. "Allo Gary Mick Jagger here. "Tony Silverthorn says "we might get a drink at your club?' A little stunned I said 'sure.' "Can you guarantee my safety?' "No Problem!' I assure him. "We are in a limo outside your door Will you let us in." I went down and escorted them in. they stood at the end bar, not obvious but in plain site and a few whispers went through the bar but basically my very hip clientele ignored them.

Lee Majors

 I met Lee Majors at the 22 in Toronto in 1980.

He came in with Chris Makepeace who was still a teenager.

they sat at the producer's table with a bunch of us. (I was actually trying to produce a movie at that time)

Lee and Chris had just finished shooting 'The Last Chase" and Lee was hanging around Toronto for a bit and dating Karen Kane.

Daytime Don the waiter came over to take their orders. Lee ordered a drink and Don looked at the obviously underage Chris and not wanting to be a spoilsport said"You are an actor I guess you can act 21" and brought him a glass of milk.

Lee was much cooler than I had thought. he was friendly, funny, and self-effacing and I immediately liked him. He hung around over the next couple of days shooting the breeze sometimes a bunch of us sometimes just the two of us. He showed up one night for dinner at the Courtyard and drinks in the 22 with Karen. Which was all the gossip of course. One afternoon he acted as an extra in one of the movies shooting close by. One afternoon when there were just the two of us. and after a few drinks, he glanced at a photo of him and Karen in a newspaper.  He turned to me and said with a sigh "I am still in love with Farrah you know." I bought the round. Nice man.

Howard Duff

I met Howard Duff making Double Negative. I was the assistant producer and it was my job to look after Howard. I met him at the airport. "Hi I'm Howard Duff and if you don't think I'm tough, Remember I was married to Ida Lupino for twenty years". Howard and I became great friends and his girlfriend Judy. We spent many pleasant hours together over about 6 weeks. I showed them around Toronto and we had many lunches and dinners together. And far too many drinks. I took them to some clubs. One night he was a bit long in the washroom and I went to check. he was being hassled a bit by some punks (not too seriously) I come in and say Ready to go Mr.Duff and flashing my genuine RCMP key chain. The punks evaporated and Howard thought that very cool and subtle.

If anything like Richard I found Howard a bit fragile. I was on Howard and Judys Xmas card list until they died and I feel really privileged


Elizabeth Ashely


I used to hang out with Elizabeth Ashely when she came to town, sometimes she came to my club and sometimes I was free to just hang out. We were great friends. Eating at the underground railroad and drinking at the 22. She usually stayed at the Windsor Arms. We would ride around in her limousine supplied by the movie company smoking weed and snorting you know what. She was married to a buddy of mine so we were mainly friends came close a couple of times. She was passionate about everything.

(I have to leave some blank spots)

She got in trouble over a couple of late nights with me made her either late or no show at the movie set. I wasn't exactly heartbroken when she broke up with my buddy but I was when she got busted at the border and couldn't come to Canada anymore. Anyway, this is a good article she is a brainy broad and has a lot of good lines. we laughed a lot.

Bornin Ocala, Florida, USA
Birth NameElizabeth Ann Cole
Height5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Award-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley can always be counted on to give her all. Grand in style, exotic in looks, divinely outgoing in personality and an engaging interpreter of Tennessee Williams' florid Southern-belles on stage, she was born Elizabeth Ann Cole on August 30, 1939, in Ocala, Florida. The daughter of Arthur Kingman and Lucille (Ayer) Cole, the family moved to Louisiana where Elizabeth graduated from Louisiana State University Laboratory School (University High) in Baton Rouge in 1957.

The liberal-minded Elizabeth immediately embarked upon an acting career following her education and relocated to New York. Briefly using her real name, her big, breakthrough year occurred in 1959 when she made her off-Broadway debut with "Dirty Hands", played "Esmeralda" in the Neighborhood Playhouse production of "Camino Real" and took on Broadway with Dore Schary's "The Highest Tree". Now using the marquee name of Elizabeth Ashley, the 1960s proved to be even better, taking her to trophy-winning heights. After understudying the lead roles in Broadway's "Roman Candle" and "Mary, Mary", she won the role of "Mollie" in the delightful comedy "Take Her, She's Mine" and won both the "supporting actress" Tony and Theatre World Awards for it. Neil Simon was quite taken by the new star and created especially for her the role of "Corie Bratter" in 1963's "Barefoot in the Park" opposite 'Robert Redford'. She received another Tony nomination, this time for "Best Actress". In addition to these theatrical pinnacles, Elizabeth also found happiness in her private life when she met and married (in 1962) actor James Farentino, who was also on his way up. This happiness, however, was short-lived...the marriage lasted only three years. The attention she earned from Broadway led directly to film offers and she made a highly emotive debut in Harold Robbins glossy soaper The Carpetbaggers (1964), headlining handsome George Peppard. The critics trashed the movie but Elizabeth sailed ahead...temporarily.

Following intense roles in the superb all-star film epic Ship of Fools (1965) and the psychological crime drama The Third Day (1965), which again starred Peppard, the still-married Elizabeth divorced her husband and wed Peppard in 1966, taking a hiatus to focus on domestic life. The couple went on to have son Christian Peppard (born 1968), who would later become a writer.

The Peppard-Ashley marriage was a volatile one, however, and the twosome ultimately divorced in 1972. Wasting no time, Elizabeth returned to the stage and also went out for TV roles. Abandoning a film career that had just gotten out of the starting gate proved detrimental and she never did recapture the momentum she once had. Broadway, however, was a different story. The dusky-toned actress pulled out all the stops as "Maggie the Cat" in Tennessee Williamss "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1974) co-starring Keir Dullea and as "Sabina" in Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth" the following year, and she was back on top. Other heralded work on the live stage would include "Caesar and Cleopatra" opposite Rex Harrison, "Vanities" and, notably, "Agnes of God", for which she received the Albert Einstein Award for "excellence in the performing arts".

Following "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" for which she won a third Tony nomination, Elizabeth struck up a close friendship with author Williams. Over time, she would play and come to define three of his (and the theater's) finest female roles: "Mrs. Venable" in "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1995), "Alexandra Del Lago" in "Sweet Bird of Youth (1998) and "Amanda Wingfield" in "The Glass Menagerie (2001). In addition, she also appeared in Williams' "Eight by Tenn" (a series of his one-act plays), "Out Cry", "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" and "The Red Devil Battery Sign". In 2005, 31 years after playing "Maggie", she was again a success in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", this time as "Big Mama".

Elizabeth went on to sink her teeth into a number of other famous plays as well, all peppered with her inimitable trademark flourish: "Martha" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", "Isadora Duncan" in "When She Danced", Maria Callas in "Master Class" and the scheming "Regina" in "The Little Foxes", to name a few. On 90s TV, she found daytime soaps to her liking with eye-catching parts on Another World (1964) and All My Children (1970). She also appeared in the ensemble cast of Burt Reynolds' series Evening Shade (1990). Occasional serious film supports in Rancho Deluxe (1975) and Coma (1978) were often intertwined with campier, over-the-top ones such as her psychotic lesbian in Windows (1980).

Overcoming a series of tragic, personal setbacks -- a third divorce, a boating accident, a NY apartment fire and a rape incident -- the still-lovely Elizabeth continues to demonstrate her mettle and maintain a busy acting schedule on stage ("Enchanted April", "Ann & Debbie"); film (Happiness (1998), Labor Pains (2000), The Cake Eaters (2007), Ocean's Eight (2018)); and TV ("Caroline in the City," "Law & Order," "Treme," "Russian Doll").

Elsewhere, her memoir "Actress: Postcards from the Road" (1978) became a best seller. She was also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute while serving on the first National Council of the Arts during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and has also served on the President's Committee for the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Awards.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh /


Catherine O'Hara

 Catherine was a good friend she loved the after-hours scene. Her brother Marcus ran the 505 an after-ours owned by Dan Ackroyd on Eastern queen Street. We spent many nights there long into the morning with her and Mary Margret. After this  she often came to my place and always brought interesting people. One night she brought the whole cast of the Second city. One of her first movies was double negative and I was Assistant Producer.

So there I was at Club 22 at the Windsor Arms. With my then buddy Michael Ironside. Michael and I were trying to break our record of drinking about 80 margaritas. When Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio the cartoonists showed up and we were really throwing the drinks back and having a great time. When I saw Catherine waving at me. She had just come from the Courtyard Cafe where she had treated her parents to dinner. She waved me over and I gave her a peck and she says Gary I want you to meet my mother and father. 'Really How nice"I said trying to be polite and bent over with a little bow and extended my hand when: from out of nowhere Ironside bit my ass. I don't know how he did it, but I screamed and jumped and kicked. He hung on like a pit bull. I writhed around to hit him while the stunned O'Haras wondered what was going on. I finally shook him off and everything settles down but I am sure Catherine's parents wondered what kind of friends she had. Everyone else was laughing but I was limping. Ironside could be a real crazy asshole sometimes.

Cannonball and Nat Adderly

I met Cannonball and Nat Adderley at the Colonial Tavern in 1969. Mickey Handy introduced me. Cannon and Nat became good friends and I was their Toronto buddy whenever they came to Toronto, we spent many days hanging out at the underground railroad, etc

I once cooked a seafood chowder dinner for them at Grossman's Tavern. Al let me use the kitchen and was the special of the day. It sold out quickly.

One night I took them to Gordon Rayner's Studio to watch an Artist's Jazzband rehearsal. they liked it but would not jam.

This was very much a "Black power time and they got invited to all the Black after-hours clubs. But they would not go without me. I knew most of the black clubs and we had a lot of fun.

I was on their permanent guest list at the Colonial and I got to listen to great jazz and meet their fabulous sidemen like  Louis Hayes, Ray Brown, Walter Booker, Bobby Timmons, Victor Feldman, Joe Zawinul.

One night I was late getting to the Colonial, they were halfway through the set and the bar was packed full. The only place for me to sit was at the staff table. They would not serve me unless I moved and there was nowhere else so i sat there drinkless till the set was over. They joined me at the end of the set and ordered us drinks. They still refused to serve me. So Nat called the manager over and told them they were not going to play until I was drinking. needless to say that never happened again.

After Cannonball's tragic death in 1975, Nat played Toronto regularly and he was always glad to see me. He embarrassed me on my birthday at the Montreal Bistro by dedicating almost every song to me all night long. Vincent Herring was with him.  I met his wife too and spent a few nights sitting with her.

Cannonball had never heard Paul Desmond's tribute to him until I told him.

Paul Desmond won the Evergreen Review's  Higgledy piggled contest with

Shubada Shubadee

Cannonball Adderley

Came on the scene with a belt of the blues.

His popularity


Gives me more time

For women and booze.

Paul Desmond 

My short Friendship with Leonard Cohen


This was in 1979 I had just quit the booze can biz and was transgressing into the Movie biz.

Club 22 at the Windsor Arms was my principal milieu. I was at home there comfortable and confident.

I came in one evening and not seeing any friends I got a drink at the bar. in a glance around the room There was Leonard sitting by himself and nursing a drink at a nearby table. my milieu what the hell, I walked over "hey Leonard I'm Gary leDrew, I am a friend of Lesley McDonells she talks a lot about you. Leonard's eyes lit up. "The beautiful Lesley. have you seen here lately" "Not much since she married that St. Nicholas guy,"I say. I sat down and after a mutual admiration of Lesley's conversation our talk drifted to other things. I was born in Montreal and gave my brief history there. He told me he was in town for an opening at an Art Gallery on Dundas St., and that the Artist had painted pictures of some of his released songs and he had to go. We drank pretty much till closing time covering a lot of subjects from gossip to philosophy. he said he had some meetings the next day but we would meet later. 

The next day I got a surprise phone call from my ex-wife. She had not let me see my daughter in 5 years and I had lost contact completely. She had broken up with a guy she said was responsible for the ban and if I wanted I could pick her up the next evening if I took her sister as well. Sarah was now seven and Shaleen was four. I was ecstatic.

Leonard was emerging as a star about this time with  3 records and a tour. He still seemed a bit shy, he wasn't that comfortable in Toronto and had no friends around at that time. We had a very comfortable few hours of drinking and talking and he invited me to the opening the next night. I explained I couldn't go and why. Leonard was insistent "look man I really need you to go. I really don't know anybody there and frankly, the whole thing is a bit embarrassing. I need the support and you at least know the art scene. I protested that I hadn't seen my daughter in 5 years. So bring them I'll take care of it.

So I showed up the next night with Sarah and Sharleen. We drank a lot of wine the kids tore around the Gallery with Leonard's blessing. I don't remember the art I don't think I was not too impressed and Leonard was polite in a couple of interviews but soon drank more wine and was terrific with the kids. Somewhere there is a videotape of Leonard with Sarah in one arm and Shaleen in the other one with a glass of wine too.

I got the kids home happy and made arrangements to take them out on Sunday.

I got to see Leonard for a bit the next day and a few drinks before he caught the train to Montreal. As was usual for me then I never thought to get phone numbers etc. (i always just expected to see people) As it happened I had to move back to Uxbridge for a bit when I got back to the 22 I was told Leonard had asked about me a few times but I never did see him again. I managed to get a message to him when he went through here on tour but he didn't reply after all it was 40 years before.

Dinner at Fridays

  A friend of mine Beau Chorney had this lawyer ( I am embarrassed i cant remember his name.)who I met on a deal we were working on.  

So I ran into him in the 22 in Toronto, and after a drink, he invited me to join him for dinner at Fridays. he only said was meeting with his some of his clients. so I had no idea until we sat down with Yvan Cournoyer, Guy LaPointe, Henri Richard, and Frank Mahovlich. Peter Mavolich was late he had just bought a Rolls Royce and as he pulled up and we all went out to the street to see it. When he got out an empty Heineken bottle fell out which made us all laugh. 

I was out of my league in the conversation, I was like the fifth wheel with this lot so I didn't say much just a few bon mots during dinner and mostly listened. I wish I remembered more but I guess I was a bit awed as it was such a surprise. meeting so many Hockey heroes at once is a bit much. I have always been a habs fan and peter was a favouite.

Me and the Police

After Hours Bar Questions.
You must of went to a lot of different Liquor Stores?
No, I went pretty much to the same store all the time, I was treated as a
valued customer and at Xmas, I was usually given a few bottles of wine as
a present. I remember picking up an order near Xmas one year. A wino watched
in amazement as they filled case after case of liquor. After a couple of
minutes, he gasped. Well if you got the money I got the time.
It should be noted that I was often offered stolen booze and I never ever
bought any. I was a bootlegger, not a fence. I also only bought premium
booze and charged premium prices.

The only exception was with beer. Again I used the same beer store all
the time. I was often offered cases of overage beer at slashed prices.
of course, there was nothing wrong with it it just reached 3 months old
and I went through it very quickly.

The police.
I had a funny relationship here because The Horseshoe was my local bar
and it was a police hangout. Half of them liked me and half of them hated
me. but I did get a speeding ticket fixed anonymously. There was even a
handful of police that drank at my bar and none of them ever grassed me.
But there were others.
My first bust was by a rookie cop in plain clothes who snuck in with the cast
of Second City. he just tagged on to the group and came in.
the next night he came back and I let him in He bought a drink with
marked money and went out and came back with the squad.
Later another cop told me he almost blew it. The night before he was so
happy to get in unnoticed that when he came out he leaped into the air
and clicked his heels and drove his head into the low hanging branch of a
a tree outside and knocked himself unconscious and spent the rest of the
night in Hospital,

More of Georgie.
One of the things about running an illegal bar was security. All the doors were double latched. but fear of fire was a concern so I had my backdoor rigged in such a way that a good push would open it just in case. So of course it was easy to pick. I came out on the roof one weekday night and there is Georgie and his partner.
Georgie, I say you are breaking and entering. "No, he says it was open.' No way I am talking his partner runs for the bar I stop him and push him back to the door. Georgie runs for the bar I stop him his partner runs etc. Finally, his partner says I see them selling drinks. Georgie says" We're busting you, Gary." Ok" say I
In we go I had about 20 customers. Frankie is working the other end of the bar. He comes down to throw the money in a box we had under the bar. Georgie says "Stop the bar is close.' "With you in a minute," says Frankie
"You are busted." says Georgie " "I said wait a minute," says Frankie picking up the money box for some change.
Then Frankie sees me and realizes what is happening. He panics and throws the box under the bar which knocks off a loose panel and it comes off and the money scatters all over the floor. Georgie and his partner start picking it up. I give Frankie the hi sign and he runs out the back door and in the general direction of 'away'.
Georgie and his partner ask "Where is the bartender?"  They ask everybody. Nobody knows. I am laughing. "Well you fucked this up Georgie, "I say. Give me back my money. He knows he is finished. He gives me back my money. "I am officially warning you . ." says Georgie. Ya ya say I get out!

Darts With Ned

Back in the mid-eighties I’d had a few pints with Graydon Gould at The Artful Dodger.
He is an icon of Canadian Television he used to be the Forest Ranger in the ’50s.
I had been involved in the movie business and we had a few mutual friends. One afternoon he invited me to go with him to the 22 to meet Ned Beatty who was shooting ‘Switching Channels’, and to go to supper with them. We met in the 22 and Ned was very subdued. He was very quiet and had an orange juice in front of him and said he just didn’t feel like drinking or eating. We talked a bit but Ned excused himself.” I have just had a terrible day.” So I am going to turn in early”. He apologized to Graydon and started packing up his stuff. He reached into his shirt pocket and moved a set of darts to his kit.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my darts. “Would you like a game?” I asked.
Off we went to the Artful Dodger I was a pretty good dart player at that time and we took on all comers and won every beer. We drank long dark pints and ate meat pies long into the night. You know he said you guys will be making movies no matter what the dollar is. You guys got the best crews I ever worked with. Trading movie stories and playing over our heads it was just a wonderful evening He was really a brilliant, erudite, interesting and knowledgeable guy, he seemed to enjoy himself immensely and I was told he came back a couple of times over the next year looking for me. What a fun night.

Cayle Cherin and ;Going down the Road

Going Down the Road.
When I was living at Hazelton Ave. in Toronto (we had a commune)  there was a premier or preview of 'Going Down the Road' at the New Yorker.
I went with Melinda, Carla and Helen, and Pauline. Pauline and i were going together at the time.
We were knocked out by the movie and afterward, we went to the Pilot and we all raved about it. we felt it was a big step for Canadian Movies. Pauline really liked it. anyway, they wanted to go back to Hazelton and i stayed on for a few more drinks.
so I am sitting there and who walks in but Paul Bradley. We hit it off we were friends from almost the first moment we met. We had a couple of hours of drinking and storytelling and somewhere in
this haze, i got a great idea. it was Pauline's birthday on Friday and we were having a party. So I talked Paul into coming and playing his character of Joey from the movie (this was not difficult). This was my idea of a crazy birthday present for Pauline.

Friday night Paul showed up with a friend (who kinda looked like McGrath) Introduced as Joey and acted like his movie character and just blew Pauline and the girls away.
Paul is a traveling roadshow by himself and after a couple of hours went into entertainment mode. we had lots of drugs and booze and food and he ended up staying for a couple of days and we were good friends forevermore. Over the years we would get together every once in a while and have a  good get together.

Cayle Cherin was Salina. She went off to Hollywood and Dennis Hopper etc. Anyway just after I opened my after-hours club about 5 years later. Cayle showed up on the scene I didn't recognize her to me she was this mysterious beautiful girl who started hanging around the 22 and Grossman's etc.
Then one night she shows up at my bar with some guy. Didn't like him much but ended up playing poker dice with him. I won about $300 off him. it was late and we all had a bunch of drinks into us. When he said he didn't have any money left. I said half-joking I will play you one more game. you win you get your $300 dollars back I win I get your girlfriend. He said ok and we rolled the dice as  Cayle looked askance. When I won Cayle went into a bit of a tirade about the whole sexist thing and told the guy to get lost who did he think he was etc. I guess she thought I was a better deal because we dated for a while but even better became really good close friends. For the rest of her life, we were really good buddies and enjoyed our friendship. I skyped her just a few days before she died. I really miss her. She was an extremely brilliant writer, actor, and producer.

Billy Joel

Billy Joel Cost me my Job!
I loved singing the Lobsterman with Maclean & Maclean. The lobster song is the 2nd oldest dirty song written down in English in the tenth century.
My last performance was at the El Mocambo. We were doing the last set and as I was getting ready to go up to the stage I saw the manager whisk Billy Joel and his band to a nearby reserved table. The Macleans of course couldn't see for the lights' there is a place in the song where you can throw in a name so I stuck Billy Joel's name into it. The Maclean's looked askance. So I told them after the song.

After the show, we all got together in the dressing room and found that Billy Joel was a big fan of dirty Humour . The management provided cases of Heineken's and we drank and partied late into the night.  He raved about the show. But all that he could really remember was me. He would point at me and say how blown away he was when I picked him off.
The verse goes
that is the end.
there isn't anymore,
there is an apple up my arsehole,
and Billy Joel can have the core.

As a guest performer, you should never upstage the act. The Macleans never asked me back to sing again.

Charles Bronson

I met him, I worked briefly on Death wish 5, My sister Gaille was the production secretary, I set up their computer with the accounting program. it wasn't easy first I had to download it on a 90 baud modem over the phone from L.A. it took hours.
My sister met Charles when she had to go to the Airport in the middle of the night and rescue
 Charles (who she called mister B) Charles had told the Pakistani Immigration agent to fuck off and he was about to be deported. Gaille had lots of experience with this and managed to get him in the country with some inside contacts. Charles took a liking to my sister and phoned our parents home a few times looking for her. Much to the delight of my mother.
Charles ruled that nobody could talk to him on set he didn't like small talk. My sister got a small part she got beat up in the movie.
 I got an old friend a job in accounting. He had been working for the government and wasn't ready for the movie biz. He phoned me one day said He couldn't believe this,that  he had a million dollar petty cash to deal with.

Berkeley Breathed

In 1993 I was a software buyer for Wiseguy computers (5 stores) I was in Los Vegas for the computer Show and I was invited to meet Berkeley Breathed at the opening party for his screensaver in Las Vegas in 1993. it was at a hotel cottage type thing. About 50 people all ad men, promoters and other 'suits' and a dozen or so gorgeous models. Berkeley had not much interest in any of them and either did I . I was there for the week at the computer show and was glitzed out. Anyhow Berkeley and I ended up ducking out of the main room and we chatted for an hour or so and quaffed a few nice cold beers. I remember him as sort of nicely outre type guy that would come across as standoffish but we had a pleasant was not long after this he went into a self-imposed exile for a few years.

Beau Chorney

I had a friend Beau Chorney who I met through Ratch Wallace. We were social friends for a few years and he came to my club a few times. He had 3 gold seats at Maple leaf Gardens which he let me have 4 or 5 times a year.
Just after I closed my first after-hours club Beau Chorney phoned and asked if I was interested in managing  a bar for him. He invited me to meet him and his lawyer for lunch. We were to meet at a Greek restaurant just off the esplanade on Market St in Toronto. The big feature of the place was that they had a belly dancer. And Beau raved about the octopus. Beau had reserved  a special table almost in the middle of the dance floor. It was a hot summer day and no air conditioning just fans, I ordered a moussaka and salad. Our meal was no sooner on the table when the music started and  the belly dancer appeared. It was not a great place for a business lunch with the music blaring and the Belly Dancer swirling around our table. Through the din Beau was insisting that I try his octopus and put a piece on my bread plate. He had some idea that I was reluctant to eat octopus which isn't true I love anything out of th sea and had many octopi. As i was about to pick it up with my fork. I kid you not the Belly Dancer's arm swung across the table and a big ball of sweat rolled down her arm and plopped right onto the octopus. They hadn't seen this of course and Beau  kept pointing to the octopus and I waved him off trying to explain. When the dance finally ended I explained but I dont think he believed me and always thought I was afraid to eat octopus.
 Any how the meeting was about that he had just bought the Colonial and wanted me to manage it. He also bought the four seasons hotel and part of the deal was a small suite there as well. it all seemed very legit.
Anyway shortly after Beau called said the deal was through and I was to go down to the Colonial and meet a man and tell him I was the new manager and he would be down later. so I go down and go in the office where there is a group of very serious looking men that are going through the files. I asked for my contact and told them I was the new manager per mr Chorney. I was told briskly Well that didn't happen and I had better check with him. I never saw Beau again. His phone was disconnected. His lawyer promised to get back to me didn't happen. I have no idea what happened if it was a hoax I don't know why. I asked Ratch and he never saw him again either.

Previously His lawyer called me to join him for dinner at Fridays. I am embarrassed i cant remember his name. It was quite a surprise as the dinner was with his some of his clients. Yvan Cournoyer, Guy LaPointe, Henri Richard and Frank and Peter Mahovlich. Peter was late he had just bought a Rolls Royce and he pulled up and we all went out to the street to see it. When he got out an empty Heineken bottle fell out which made us all laugh. I was out of my league in the conversation  with this lot so I didn't say much just a few bon mots during dinner and mostly listened. I wish I remembered more but I guess i was a bit awed as it was it was a surprise.

MacLean and Maclean

 MacLean and MacLean

The MacLean’s came to my club one night and we immediately became fast friends. I joined them in performing sing the second oldest recorded song in the English language. It is an old Scottish Ballad called the ‘Lobster’ and I was known as the Lobsterman. I couldn’t sing that well but mostly got through it. To begin with I took it very much in stride. But eventually I begin to care about how I did. That is when I ran into trouble and got stage fright and I actually used to sweat before I did my bit. Then one night I did it, I forgot the words. They waited through a chorus and then Gary Looked at me. “Did you forget the words?” I nodded my mind racing trying to find the words. “You Arsehole!” says the ever-helpful Gary. Somehow I found the words and finished the song and never really had much trouble again.

One of my favorite memories of the boys is with Murray McLaughlin. Murray was a good friend and I used to drag him along when I sang. He didn’t like to go, not so much that he didn’t like the MacLeans I think but just didn’t’ t like to be seen at their performances. We were playing ‘The Chimney’ on Yonge Street and there was an hour between shows and we were all sitting in the dressing room with a couple of girlfriends drinking Heinekens when somehow we all started singing Show Tunes. It was hilarious. They are all good singers and we went through an incredible repertoire. I can only think of dressing room door opening and the startled audience looking in At Murray McLaughlin and MacLean and MacLean singing Oklahoma at the tops of their voices.

That night we ended up back at the boy’s Hotel room. Gary and I were trying to impress a couple of tag a long sweet young things and Gary asked Murray if he would sing the Farmers Song for us. Murray grabbed a guitar and obliged us. Murray did a beautiful job and Gary thanked him.. “Thanks Murray that was very nice I know it is just like me being at a party and someone asks me to do ‘The Shit Routine.”

On Sundays, I used to entertain whoever was in town with free drinks a huge dinner (mostly seafood) and a Jam Session. MacLean and MacLean loved to run the bar and they were excellent bartenders. I especially remember Burton Cummings sitting on the counter in my kitchen singing ‘I got a letter from the postman’ with MacLean and MacLean and Murray McLaughlin doing the harmony. It was magic. I swear half the audience was capebreton grandmothers.

On Sundays my bar was invitation only and everything was free. I would cook my famous seafood chowder and we would invite who ever was in town for a massive jam session like Burton Cummings and Murray McLaughlin for example. the McLean's would always bar tend and it was great fun. When I closed my bar McLean's Invited me to Winnipeg for a couple of weeks. they said you have been so good to us we are going to treat you the way you have treated us.

"You mean you're going to charge me $3.50 a drink I asked."

My career with the MacLean's ended because Of Billy Joel. The MacLean's were playing the El Macombo and as I was coming up to do my song late in the last set. I saw Billy Joel and his band storm into a reserved table. (He had been playing maple leaf gardens)

I sang it thus

I met a jolly fisherman down by the sea

Have you a lobster you can sell to me?

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

So I took the lobster home and couldn't find a dish.

so I put it in the pot where the missus has a piss.

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

In the middle of the night I heard a grunt

and there was the lobster hanging from her "front'

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

So I grabs a brush and the missus grabs a broom

And we chased that bloody lobster round and round the room

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

We hit it on the head and hit it on the side.

We hit that bloody lobster until the bastard died.

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

the moral to the story is very plain to see

always have a look-see before you have a pee.

'Singing row tiddly over fart or bust

never let your bollocks dangle in the dust'

that is the end there is no more.

there is an apple up me asshole and Billy Joel can have the core.

The MacLean's looked askance they had no idea Billy Joel was in the audience.

After the show, Billy Joel and band came to the dressing room and the El Mo supplied cases of Heineken's and we partied on into the night.

Billy Joel raved about the act but all he could remember was me. He thought I was really part of the act rather than just a guest.

I was never again asked back to sing with the MacLean's.

Even years later I would go to see them and they would say do the lobsterman and it just wouldn't happen. I never sang with them again They denied this but it is my story and I am sticking to it.

One Winter night in 78 we got hit by a monster winter storm and I opened my after-hours club to a dismal night. Somehow by 2 in the morning, there were four people Gary MacLean and Blair MacLean and a beautiful waitress from the El Mocambo and me. So after a few drinks and puffs, we somehow started playing strip poker. The girl was lucky somehow she had bared Blair and I one time and Gary twice. I could stand no more and cheated until we got her naked. She ran off to the washroom to dress and Gary said to me"You Cheated!" I said Gary if I saw your hairy dick one more time I was going to scream.