YEARS AND years ago we toured Western Canada with a theatrical company. Whether the place (and the audience) was large or small, the manager of the troupe never failed to spring his nightly joke. He would poke his head round the dressing room door and whisper: “Psst-the Schuberts
are in front tonight.” This was a quip employed by all show managers. Probably it still is. The idea was that you’d better be extra good because Broadway talent scouts were watching you.
Similar jokes were told to baseball and hockey players. Nowadays, of course, there is a possibility that such a line may turn out to be not a joke at all. Because during the past twenty-five years, talent-scouting has become quite an industry. There are hockey, baseball, football, basketball scouts; radio, stage and movie scouts: even magazine and literary scouts. They comb the continent in search of fresh talent, new personalities. And, metaphorically speaking, they frequently cut each other’s throats.
For instance, shall we take the case of Skates Kelsey and Blackjack Snaith? By all means. Skates was scout for that famous hockey team, the Chiefs. Blackjack was scout for the equally famous Panthers. Practically simultaneously, they arrived in the small town of Prairie Dog, each with the idea of getting hold of an up-and-coming young hockey player. You can sense the tenseness of the situation already. But until you have heard all the details from Leslie McFarlane, you really can have no conception of what was to follow. Mr. McFarlane’s tale, “Kelsey Skates Again,” begins on page five of this issue. It takes two amusing installments to tell it.
•On page fifteen, Douglas Reed tells why he thinks the turning point of the war has come, and many encouraging things have happened since he wrote his article.
Another tonic effect on all of us was that made by President Roosevelt’s recent speech in which he went all out for defense against the dictator countries and for aid to Britain. On page eight, John MacCormac writes about the effects of that speech in Washington, upon the people and producers of the United States. Mr. MacCormac is now Washington correspondent of the New York Times. He was for a number of years the Times correspondent in Ottawa, and is the author of a book which aroused considerable interest on both sides of the line—“Canada America’s Problem.”
•Arriving in Ottawa, Sir Hugh Dowding, Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Air Force, told newsmen that a method has been found to deal with the night-bombing menace and that equipment is being rapidly completed. On page nine, Beverley Baxter tells as much as he can tell of the flying laboratories in which British scientists conducted the research which preceded Sir Hugh’s announcement.
•Even in peacetime, Kingston is an army town. And the pages of its history are filled with fighting. On its site, rival Indian tribes fought before the white men came. There the French fought the Indians and the British fought the French. There were felt repercussions from the American Revolution and the War of .1812. All of which arose from the town’s geographical position. Now, while education and industry play large parts in Kingston’s story, the city has a martial air. It’s an intensely interesting story, that of Kingston, and Frederick Edwards tells it on page eighteen.
•Only once in our life have we been on skis, and we can produce witnesses in the persons of Charles L. Vining and Murray Chipman, of Montreal, to prove that only by the intervention of Providence were we prevented from going over the edge of a Laurentian precipice. Those two gents patiently taught us how to go, but blandly omitted any instruction on the art of stopping. We haven’t the slightest desire to mount skis again, ever. But we aren’t narrow-minded. We can gaze with a pleasant sort of awe at the pictures on page twelve, and read with interest what Hermann Gadner told Wallace Reyburn about the right way and the wrong way to ski. The whole crux of the matter seems to be contained in the title, “Bend Zee Knees.”
• Annie Morney was a housemaid, and a very presentable housemaid. In the eyes of her employers, the Misses Condit, Annie was also A Brand That was Snatched from the Burning and Weighed in the Balance and found Wanting. Not that Annie could be blamed if an unknown admirer hurled messages at her through the glass of the drawing-room windows. However, everything ended well for Miss Morney, and we can confidently refer you to Richard Connell’s short story, “Stay Where You Belong,” which appears on page sixteen.
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