Bearded Owner Charged!

Entertaining Mr. Sloane!

Bearded Owner Charged - Ottawa CitizenWhile on Bank Street, I was charged by the City of Ottawa for operating a public hall without a licence. Some neighbour, obviously not a fan of good music, complained about the noise. So I was charged, perhaps because, as the newspaper reporting seemed to think important, I was a “bearded man”. Usefully, my partner Harvey Glatt had a friend Arnie Goldberg who was a lawyer. He took on the case. The plaintiff was at court on the appointed day. Arnie very cleverly remanded the case, and then he remanded, and remanded, and remanded until one day the plaintiff was not there, so the judge promptly threw the case out. Le Hibou won the case, but we lost on fees.

In November, 1966, Le Hibou presented "Entertaining Mr Sloane," a riotous farce which had been a hit the previous year on the London, England stage. Besides the usual advertisement, Penny and I wondered how we could publicise it in a different way. We came up with the idea of using a prop from the play, a coffin that several people carried very solemnly up and down the Sparks Street Mall hoping to catch attention and also get a picture in the paper. Penny’s task was to call the newspaper from a phone booth and asked them what was happening—a clever idea in theory, but in practice it backfired since the answer from the reporter was, “Well, it's coming up to Remembrance Day, so it likely has something to do with that.”

On another occasion we decided to use a walking sandwich board, but who would do it? We approached my brother-in-law, Alan, who was about sixteen years of age and over six feet tall, and he reluctantly agreed. But he did it his way, in his inimitable fashion. He walked slowly up and down the Sparks Street Mall with the sandwich board on his back and front, reading a book, smoking a corn cob pipe, and donning a flat straw hat, oblivious to startled passers-by. His odd demeanour and sandwich board caught the eye of an Ottawa Citizen photographer (the Citizen was located on Sparks Street then) and next day, to our great delight, his photo, sandwich board and all, appeared in the newspaper. So, for the play, "The Duchess of Malfi,” a modern version of a gay Jacobean drama, we were able to attract attention and perhaps a few more spectators.