Red Around Town June 15

The only constant in life is change. Here are some updates:

Former CHUM/Toronto newsman Mike Cleaver is in the process of getting interviews with as many Vancouver radio folks as he can. He has started with the older men and women and will continue documenting the radio history in our town through the eyes of various on-air talents. Good on you Mike.

She was a brick as wife to Jack Cullen during his period of illness but Alma Cullen is gone at 80.  Alma was one in a million and a very nice person.

Singer, songwriter, TV host and sausage entrepreneur Jimmy Dean has died. Famous for his monster hits Big Bad John, PT109, Dear Ivan, and of course Steel Men, the song about the collapse of Vancouver’s Second Narrows Bridge (now referred to as the Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge).  Jimmy Dean was 81.

Also passing on the music front: Marvin Isley, a bassist who provided  the foundation for his family’s hitmaking R&B band The Isley Brothers. He was just 56. Remember the 1966 hit Pied Piper by singer Crispian St. Peters? He died at his home in Kent, England at the age of 71.

I bumped into Jim Robson and wife Bea at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Aquabus which plies the waters of False Creek. Hell, in the old days you could walk on the filthy water in the  creek! Jeff Pratt started his water business in 1985, the year before Expo and many of his “pilots” have gone on to great careers in aviation, medicine, and other academic pursuits. It was a warm evening of celebration with Shelagh Rogers from CBC present (her sister Margo is married to Jeff), along with other members of the Pratt family, their employees and friends.  It is one of the truly unique facets of  Vancouver. Congratulations.

This past Sunday Carole and I joined  Kay Ackles to see the new Empire Field where the B.C. Lions will be hosting their football games this year as B.C. Place Stadium is being renovated with a removable roof. It was old memory time as the new temporary stadium looks like the original Empire. I have my seasons tickets because I believe this game and soccer are meant to be played outdoors in all kinds of weather. Bobby and  Kay’s son Scott Ackles greeted us and showed us around the facility. It is amazing how quickly they were able to construct this. The company that did  the work is out of Switzerland.

Hurry, time is running out  for Buddy, the best musical to hit town in years. The run ends on July 11. Get your tickets now.

If you saw the Tony Awards show you had to notice the number of rock and roll or pop music shows walking away with the lion’s share of the awards. Musicals such as Memphis and The Million Dollar Quartet (a reference to the time Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis met in the Sun Studios for an historic jam session).  Also the Sinatra-inspired Come Fly Away featuring singing by Frank and choreography that will blow you away. This follows on the heels of the very successful Jersey Boys, the story of the Four Seasons, that has set the pace for more  hits of this nature on Broadway.

The latest BBM radio ratings show that 104.9 funFM has grown to become a competitive radio station now in the top 4 radio outlets in our town. Congratulations!