It was April 8, 1969, Shea Stadium, New York. The sun streamed into the park, trying futilely to out-beam Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau; CBC TV and radio crews scrambled for unhockey-like vantage points; and American baseball fans were introduced to multiples of “stand on guard for thee.”
It is remembered now as one of those forbiddingly grey late winter Ottawa days when mud and the clinging wet snow blackened the broad streets fanning out from Parliament Hill. In the library of Laurier House, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was in a funk.
A big blue DC-8 jet, its markings mysteriously painted out, lands at Managua International Airport at about 10:30 every morning. Government workers scurry out to load it with frozen beef which it flies to San Salvador in the afternoon. The meat comes from a ranch house owned by Nicaragua’s President Anastasio Somoza.
There are men who go down to the sea in ships, and there are men who come up from the sea with treasure. Author Peter Benchley belongs solidly in the latter group. The treasures he has brought up are not from the sunken wrecks he explores off the coast of Bermuda, but rather from three tales of the briny deep that have turned him into a millionaire.
In last year’s psychological thriller Magic, green-eyed Ann-Margret lit up the screen wearing tailored sweaters and nicely fitted blue jeans. In her latest picture, The Villain, the actress has less comfortable-looking attire to deal with.
The streets are clean again, purged of the broken glass that crunched and grated underfoot last week in Bathurst. New plate glass glistens in Main Street windows, although a few plywood panels serve as grim reminders of a six-night rampage which tore the New Brunswick city of 16,000 apart.
The business of writing a great or even a good play may well be the most demanding of all the art forms. A play that will both sustain attention yet suspend disbelief requires far more than the ability to create a visually coherent stage spectacle.
In mid-July, after a soaking rain, the thrusting grain waves green and strong across the flatlands 50 miles south of Regina. In the hall at Rouleau, the three-piece band wears white shoes, red satin shirts and black vests. The occasion is a meeting of the glue that keeps this country together, the glue being the concentric circles of family strengths that bind and stick.
Top U.S. military brass claim it is “vital to national security.” California Governor Jerry Brown calls it “a $70-billion boondoggle.” Nevada’s politicos grumble that it will make their gambling, tourist-reliant state “a nuclear bull’s-eye.”
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