EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jose Feliciano stuns Tiger Stadium crowd with his version of 'Star Spangled Banner' at 1968 World Series

I heard Jose Feliciano sing his own interpretation of the 'Star Spangled Banner' , the American National Anthem before Game 5 of the World Series between Detroit and St. Louis at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

Jose Feliciano's breakthrough interpretation of the US National Anthem, was on Oct. 7, 1968.

What was a kid from Chapleau, Ontario, doing there? I was in the Press Box with my friend and colleague, the late Reyn Davis, who at the time was sports editor of the Chatham Daily News, who later became the hockey writer for the Winnipeg Free Press, covering the Winnipeg Jets. Reyn was named the best hockey writer in North America by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Reyn's great passion though was baseball, and while we were in Tiger Stadium before one game, he was able to throw a ball out to a player in the field and have a turn at bat during warmup.
At the time I was news editor at the Daily News.

Jose Feliciano stunned the crowd at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and the rest of America, when he strummed a slow,
bluesy rendition of the national anthem, according to his web site. "The 23-year-old's performance was the first nontraditional version seen by mainstream America... The fiery response from Vietnam-weary America was not surprising, considering the tumultuous year for American patriotism."

He was banned from some radio and TV stations.

However, in 2010, Feliciano returned to Tiger Stadium and gave the same rendition in memory of Ernie Harwell, the legendary voice of the Detroit Tigers. It was Harwell who had invited him in 1968.

It was the Sixties, and indeed, the times were a changing. I kept my Press Pass to the World Series for many years, finally losing it in one of my moves.

God bless America on this July 4th, and to my many American friends, thanks for the memories I have of time spent in your country.

Here is Jose Feliciano back in Tiger Stadium in 2010

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bobby Gimby's Canada Song 'C-A-N-A-D-A' --- Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! If you were around in 1967 for the Centennial of Canada, you will remember Bobby Gimby and Canada's song  "C-A-N-A-D-A". If you were not, here it is and some scenes from those days when Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary. Bobby Gimby also was a member of the 'Happy Gang' so popular on CBC RADIO!

New era in railroading arrives as first diesel locomotive purred into CPR station at Chapleau pulling transcontinental passenger train Number 3 in 1949

A new era in railroading was witnessed by a large crowd as the first diesel powered passenger train pulled into the Canadian Pacific Railway station in Chapleau pulling westbound transcontinental train Number 3, the Chapleau Post reported.
The first diesel passenger train came through Chapleau on December 5th 1949, not January 9,1950 as I had reported earlier. Thanks to Ian Macdonald for the correction.
The Post described the diesel as a large three-unit blue and cream locomotive on loan from General Motors for test purposes in this "rugged terrain" that "purred in to the station and came to a smooth stop".
It was a 14-car passenger train with Wilfred Muske as the engineer and Raoul Comte as fireman from Cartier to Chapleau. Lawrence "Ton" Comte, has told me that his father had travelled to California for courses on the operation of diesel locomotives.
As permanent refuelling facilities had not been completed, the diesel was refuelled from a tank car on a siding.
The newspaper also reported that "veteran railwaymen were not entirely at home in the new locomotive. They felt it odd to be located in the nose of the locomotive with a clear view of the tracks ahead and at both sides.
"It was so quiet in the cab that the engineer, fireman and brakeman can talk normally without raising their voices".
While researching this article, it struck me that growing up in Chapleau in the !940s and 50s, it never dawned on me me that I lived in a part of Canada that William C. Van Horne,described as '200 miles of engineering impossibilities" because of rugged terrain between Cartier and Fort William, now Thunder Bay. My grandfather, Harry Morris, was a CPR conductor, and occasionally he would take me on a trip to Fort William or Toronto, depending which end he was working. What great experiences they were.
Mr. Van Horne was appointed general manager of the CPR and in 1884 became its vice-president. Rising to president in 1888, he is most famous for overseeing the major construction of the railway, according to Wikipedia.
The November 2010 issue of CPR Tracks explains that the rugged 517 mile long Schreiber division was selected as a testing ground by the CPR for diesel locomotives.
It was part of this stretch to which Mr. Van Horne was referring.
The article notes that if the diesel locomotive could make it there, it could make it anywhere on the CPR line.
Initially, the article explains, the CPR was very cautious about the use of diesels preferring the dependability of steam locomotives. They let railroads in the United States work out the many engineering difficulties and complexities of the electrical system.
The CPR then assigned 58 diesels to the Schreiber division where there were also 77 steam locomoties working at the time.
Yard engine diesels were assigned to Schreiber, White river and Cartier, and in Chapleau it was Alco S-2 7044, and went there in 1949.
Ian Macdonald advised that CPR President Norris Crump was a fanatic advocate of diesel power and he really moved the process along much more quickly than was originally intended.
As an aside, it was a really historic moment in 1964 when J.M. "Bud" Park was the engineer on CPR Locomotive 5433 as it was pushed by the yard engine by engineer Earle Freeborn across the tracks on a specially built rail line from about the roundhouse area to its new home in Chapleau Centennial Park.
Mr. Crump attended a ceremony in Chapleau to mark its arrival in the park. Sam Chappise presented Mr. Crump with a rifle.
"I wonder if anyone could have imagined that the old fifty car freight trains would eventually transition to the container unit trains that are now more than two miles in length," Ian added. So do Ian!
Louise Cooper, the daughter of Winnie (Nixon) Rosseter, sent me the attached Nixon family photo from Dominion Day in Chapleau, circa 1918. Her grandfather Robert Nixon arrived in Chapleau from England in 1912, and worked for the CPR. All the best for the Canada (Dominion) Day weekend.
I extend special thanks to Doug Greig, Ian Macdonald, Reginald Fitzpatrick (the last Mayor of Franz), Brian Westhouse (an expert on the CPR and railways generally), and Louise Cooper for their assistance. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE