Parrywinkle, February 15, 2018


Let's start off this week's column with a trip down memory lane. Do you remember what you were doing during the summer of 1967? I certainly do. I was settling in to my newly-adopted country of Canada - albeit in Toronto - having emigrated from England that April. But for millions of others from throughout our region and indeed the world, the place to be was Man and His World, now forever known as Expo 67 being staged on the newly-built Île Notre-Dame just off Montreal in the St. Lawrence River.

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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ACCOMPLISHED - Why am I mentioning this? Well, because on Wednesday, February 28, Expo 67 will be returning to our little hamlet by the lake in the form of a fantastic film being shown at the Hudson Village Theatre as the opening celebration of the 10-film, four-day Hudson Festival of Canadian Film being screened once again by the Hudson Film Society (HFS).

Titled Expo 67: Mission Impossible and having caught a special pre-screening recently, I have to tell you folks, this is one film you won't want to miss. Thanks to unprecedented access to over 80,000 archival documents, along with uncensored accounts by the movers and shakers behind this success story, filmmakers Guylaine Maroist, Michel Barbeau and Eric Ruel relive the white-knuckle countdown to the grand opening on April 28, 1967.

Fun, informative, constructed like a grand epic starring the characters who were then dubbed The Mad Men of Montreal who had only 1,628 days to build an island, 128 pavilions, three bridges, and trains capable of transporting tens of millions of visitors, and absolutely brilliant!

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LOCAL STARS - What's more, HFS president Clint Ward and his team have come up with a brilliant idea of their own to make it even more relevant to our specific area. Namely, tracking down no less than 11 local residents who actually worked during the festivities and all of whom hope to be in attendance at the screening.

My beautiful Sunshine, Mireille Lemelin, for example, who for three months prior to opening day travelled to 15 states in the U.S. with a small group of French Canadian fellow artists and media personalities officially promoting the event on behalf of the City of Montreal and the Government of Quebec. She would also broadcast live reports daily from the various pavilions for the number one French radio station in North America at the time, CKAC.

Also Peter Mundie, then with the National Film Board of Canada. Cam Gentile, who worked as an engineer on the German Pavilion. Host Gary Whitaker and hostesses Audrey Wall and Victoria Weil. David Langlois, who worked on maintenance and with the Garbage Collection Corps. And Judy Hebert who, for two years, worked in the office of Colonel Edward Churchill, Director of Installations for the Canadian Corporation for Expo 67.

Also Clint himself, working in the Press Pass Department and who would go on to organize a water ski training and competition site at Man and His World the following year, as well as Marc Cloutier who organized the ski show at La Ronde during Expo 67, and Rob Bocock who actually skied in the show.

Quite an impressive line-up eh? And if there is anyone else out there who worked at, or played a role in any capacity, at Expo 67, Clint would love to hear from you and he can be reached at (416) 884-4762.

Screenings are at 2 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. - tickets $15 and $25 respectively - and it will be introduced by Director Eric Ruel who will conduct a Q & A after the film. There will also be a reception on the stage following the evening screening and all proceeds will go to the Hudson Village Theatre, 28 Wharf Road.

Cost of a Festival Pass for all 10 films is $75 not including Mission Impossible, and can be booked by going to www.villagetheatre.ca or www.hudsonfilmsociety.ca, calling (450) 458-5361, or at Pure Art Boutique, 422 Main Road.

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HAPLESS HARRY – Meanwhile, concerning movie theatres, this just in from my favourite wag, Jane Kirkwood. An elderly gentleman lay sprawled across three entire seats. The usher whispered, “Sorry sir, but you're only allowed one seat.” He didn't budge. “Sir, if you don't get up from there, I'm going to have to call the manager.”

The man just muttered and did nothing. The usher returned with the manager who tried to move him without success. The SQ was called and asked, “What's your name?”

“Harry,” he moaned.

“Where are you from?" asked the officer.

With a terrible strain in his voice, and without moving, Harry replied… “The balcony!”

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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