A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Juliette, Dal Richards, Jack Munro & Double Chins
Monday, April 02, 2007

In February 1981 the singer Juliette was taping a variety show at the CBC in Vancouver. She interrupted the proceedings with a mighty, "Stop. Everything." There was quiet in the cavernous Studio 40. From the stage platform she shouted, "You, the photographer, down there. You are never to shoot me from the floor. I don't want my double chin to show!" I tried to sink further into the floor, but I did not succeed.

Sometime on a Sunday in 2000 I got off the Granville bus in front of the Commodore Ball Room. Even though it was early in the afternoon there was a lineup. At the end of the long line on my right, the guest list-line, there was a tall man in a red V-necked sweater. It was Jack Munro, former president of the International Woodworkers of America. In the shorter line on the left, for those with tickets, I spotted the immaculately dressed woman with a blond '60-era bouffant hairdo. It was Juliette.

I went up to her and asked her how it was that she was lined up for Dal Richards' afternoon tea dance series and nobody had whisked her in on a red carpet. If you consider that Juliette started her career at age 14., back in the 40s, as Dal Richard's "canary" with his big band on the Panorama Roof of the Hotel Vancouver, you should think she would be treated like royalty. "That's Vancouver for you. I just didn't want to miss today's show celebrating Mart Kennedy's 90th birthday," she explained. Mart Kennedy preceded Dal Richards with his Western Gentleman at the Hotel Vancouver in the 30s.

In a phone call to Dal Richards (right), he informed me that 100 Walk of Fame members were let into the Commodore simply by identifying themselves. Juliette chose to stand in line.

I asked Juliette if she had seen Munro in line. She peeked in his direction and said, "That communist."

In April 1984 I photographed Jack Munro in the offices of the now-defunct Vancouver business magazine, Equity, where I had set up a portable studio. Munro had been interviewed by Doug Collins for an article that stressed Munro's busy schedule and "many hats."

I was to photograph him with a hard hat, a ball cap, a top hat, a Chinese coolie hat and for the cover in a First World War helmet. With the helmet's chin strap firmly attached to the second part of his double chin, Munro looked rediculous. "Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked him. "I don't give a flying f---, just get it over with," he answered.

Before leaving Juliette, I reminded her of her direct involvement in that most embarrasing moment of my photographic career. With a smile she said, "I hope you have learned your lesson." She then added, "Vancouver's best photographer is that tall man from the Vancouver Sun. He stands up on a chair to photograph us women."As I left I told her, "I'll be sure to let Malcolm Parry know."


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