BLOGGERNAUT: ’71 Argos Get The Doc Treatment From TSN

 Toronto Filmmaker To Chronicle Their Exploits As Part Of TSN Grey Cup Documentary Series

Joe Theismann and Leo Cahill

Those fabled and fabulous swashbucklers known as the 1971 Toronto Argonauts are getting together for more than just old times’ sake, this summer. An upcoming reunion of coach Leo Cahill’s stylish and swaggering crew will form the backbone of a movie that will be part of an extensive stroll down the CFL’s memory lane.

As part of its celebrations to commemorate the 100th Grey Cup, TSN has commissioned 8 documentaries, by 8 esteemed Canadian filmmakers, including Christie Callan-Jones, the Toronto director at the helm of a film whose working title is: “Mavericks: The Story Of The 1971 Argos.”

“I have a huge passion for football movies and stories,” Callan-Jones told me as we chatted after TSN’s announcement reception. “It’s a dream for me to do a football film. Especially the ’71 Argos. I mean, they lost (the Grey Cup Game) and people still remember them. That’s crazy. So, that’s a testament to the coach and to this crazy bunch and to Toronto. For me, it’s been so much fun.”

Still early in the process of shooting and putting the actual film together, Callan-Jones has already come to gain a certain affinity for the team, after doing an extensive amount of research and a number of interviews with the 1971 alumni. The energy she has for the project is clearly tangible, as she talks excitedly about moving forward.

“I’m actually bringing back a lot of the players for a reunion that we’re going to capture,” she said. “It’s sort of the ‘over-arc’ of the film. That’s going to be pretty amazing, to capture that energy. I can’t wait.”

July 7th is the date of the get together and Callan-Jones is counting on a big turn out with some of the mainstays and main characters of the team attending.

Joe Theismann’s coming back and Jim Stillwagon and Jim Corrigall, and Leo Cahill will be there. He was really the ‘Krazy Glue’ that held them together. It’s going to be awesome. And Tricky Dick’s coming from Manila,” she added, with enthusiasm, at the thought of Dick Thornton making the 13,000 kilometre trip.

Undoubtedly, Callan-Jones will get some colourful and contemplative comments during the reunion, to go along with interviews she’s already completed.

“I’ve done a ton of research. I’m still very early on in the interview stage. I’ve interviewed Bill Symons, Dave Raimey, Mike Eben, Gene Mack….”

Next on her movie to-do list was to head for Tampa Bay, to talk with friends and relatives of the late Leon McQuay, who was at the centre of the Argos’ story in so many ways. A rookie sensation in 1971, it was McQuay’s fumble late in the Grey Cup Game that helped the Calgary Stampeders salt away the victory.

The Documentarians: Callan-Jones is front row, right. -TSN Photo

Callan-Jones, who’s built a reputation as a socially conscious documentarian while tackling topics such as anorexia, stereotypes and homelessness, has always wanted to do a sports movie. With TSN executives deciding to have football-related stories told by filmmakers who don’t necessarily have any strong attachments to the sport, her chance came.

“Ever since I saw ‘The Natural’ as a kid, sports stories have spoken to me,” she said. “Triumph, redemption, I think, really, that even if you don’t understand sports, everyone gets that.”

“This is a story of stories,” she said about the ’71 Argos. “Football is the subtext. Football is sort of the canvas upon which you can tell these very human stories.”

While the on-field exploits of the 1971 Argos are well-documented, Callan-Jones’ film is likely to centre more on the men who wore the uniforms, as opposed to what they accomplished during the regular season and the playoffs. That’s because of the  mesmerizing hold the personalities of the players had on the city of Toronto and the role they played in the shifting attitudes of a changing city.

“Really, it’s a story about the times; the crazy 70’s, the city coming into its own,” Callan-Jones began. “But, also, it’s about a unique bunch of characters who were really, really close, beyond just being teammates. They spent their time together off the field. There’s something that bonded them that, even 40 years later, many of them are still really good friends.”

The ringleader of the Argos of the day was, of course, head coach Leo Cahill. Callan-Jones doesn’t underestimate the role he played in the formation and fostering of those special personalities and relationships.

“A lot of credit has to go to Leo. In many ways he built a team that reflected Toronto. Toronto was no longer ‘Toronto the good,’ it was becoming a world class city. It was really changing. Then you have this team that had been so terrible for so long. Starting in 1967 he, whether it was a conscious decision or not, built a team that reflected not only his personality but also that of a city. They both had swagger.”

“They were the team everyone loved to hate, the city everyone loved to hate and  it was this perfect marriage that, I think, could only have happened in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was a magical time. I don’t think you could ever have that again.”

It’s an essence that Callan-Jones will be trying to capture in the film.

And one that might just be relived a little, when the 1971 Argos ride back into town this July.

 

[button link=”http://www.argonauts.ca/writer/landry” window=”yes”]TO READ DON’S COLUMNS AT ARGONAUTS.CA, CLICK HERE[/button]

[button link=”http://www.cfl.ca/writer/landry” window=”yes”]TO READ DON’S COLUMNS AT CFL.CA, CLICK HERE[/button]

 [button link=”http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/tsn-producing-eight-documentaries-commemorate-100th-grey-cup-220403682.html” window=”yes”]TO READ DON’S COLUMN ON TSN’S DOCUMENTARIES AT YAHOO! SPORTS, CLICK HERE[/button]

 

 

 

THE NUTSHELL: “Cain And Shuster,” Mayor Ford Cracks The Nut And London’s Baseball Blunder

A collection of random thoughts on random things.

POLITICS

"So, how's your campaign going?"

Herman Cain and Rick Perry should draw salaries from the following TV shows: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live. And any other show that lampoons the increasingly martian-like characteristics of the Republican Primary landscape. instead of needing to work hard at clever turns of phrase or outrageous extensions of what’s really happening, producers can just say “roll tape,” and have done with it. When I imagine the Republican Party’s topography these days, I envision a young Mel Gibson surveying the arid Australian outback in a postapocalyptic world, with the lawless and the crazies bombing around in dune buggies in hockey masks and football shoulder pads. It’s Mad Max out there, and getting “Madder and Maxier.” When Perry challenged Democrat Nancy Pelosi to a debate this week, I thought: “Why don’t we just cut out a step or two and schedule their square-off at 11:30 on Saturday night, on NBC?”

[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/11/the-gist-of-it-november-16-2011/” window=”yes”]To hear more on Herman Cain and the Republicans, click here for this week’s podcast, with Don Landry and Bill Hayes.[/button]

Toronto mayor Rob Ford has confirmed he will make a cameo appearance in the National Ballet Of Canada’s annual presentation of “The Nutcracker.” It will, unfortunately, be a non-dancing part. After seeing his performance at the Caribbean Festival kick-off, I’d love to see His Worship tippy-toe across the stage in a uni-tard. But, come to think of it, the mayor isn’t particularly adept at tippy-toeing. Ever. So, we’ll have to be satisfied with his role as a cannon doll. Keep an eye on him during this performance. That cannon may somehow end up pointed at Mary Walsh.

While I was cleaning out a drawer that had been systematically filled up over time with long-forgotten items, I came across a Blockbuster Video membership card. Sure hope it hasn’t expired. Among the other things I turned up as I continued to rifle through: An 8-track tape of the album “Cornerstone,” by Styx, a gift certificate for Frank Vetere’s Pizzeria and, finally, in the back corner of the drawer, The Liberal Party Of Canada.

 SPORTS

Every time I see Ryan Fitzpatrick trot out onto the field, I think: “Hey, Zach Galifianakis is quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills!”

Hmm, intriguing. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released underused receiver Terrence Jeffers-Harris on Thursday. On Friday, their opponents in this weekend’s CFL East Final, the Hamilton TiCats, added him to their practice roster. He’s ineligible to play for Hamilton in the game, but is eligible to give his new bosses every bit of information he has on Winnipeg’s offensive scheming, if he so desires.  If the TiCats’ defence appears to know pretty much exactly what the Bombers do on any given play, it won’t be because they have some keen sense of ESP (or, as it’s known in sports circles, ESPN) but because “new guy” gave them the blueprints. Or bomberprints. Whatever they’re called. We’ll see how this plays out. The Bombers may have just made the biggest strategic blunder since somebody once said: “Hey, I’ve got an idea! A new Coke!”

 

"He's lined one into the alley. The dark, dark alley."

So, some geniuses in London, Ontario, decided to name their new baseball team the “London Rippers.” Now, no problem, if the logo is a big, burly strongman belting a Roy Hobb’s-like home run. That would make perfect sense. “Ripping” the ball  has, for years, been known as a term for crushing home runs. Instead, they decided on the logo you see to the left, which obviously plays on the Jack The Ripper theme. Fun for the kids!!  Tonight is cloak and dagger night at the ballpark! Now, I don’t much care how long ago this guy terrorized the women of London, England. It could be a thousand years ago, instead of 120. You don’t name teams after serial killers. Unless you’re devoid of conscience or… what’s the word? Oh, yeah. Taste. I look forward to you expanding your baseball empire with the Stratford Zodiacs, the St. Thomas Stranglers, the Guelph Gacys and the Beamsville Bundys.

[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/11/the-london-rippers-and-political-correctness/” window=”yes”]To read: “The London Rippers And Political Correctness,” click here.[/button]

 

POP CULTURE

"Don't be afraid. I just want to shake Regis Philbin's hand."

Next week, the U.S. will celebrate its Thanksgiving. One of the highlights for many people is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, beware, New York City. With all those giant balloons of Snoopy and Shrek and Mr. Potato Head and dozens of others, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to blend in for a sneak attack? Not saying he’s ready to strike. Just saying ‘be prepared.’ And know who you gonna call.

FINAL THOUGHT

Saskatchewan Roughrider offensive lineman Gene Makowsky was elected to the provincial legislature. Caucus meetings will now be held in a tight circle and end with a single, group clap.

 

[box border=”full”]To read a previous “The Nutshell,” click here.[/box]

The Gist Of It – October 19, 2011

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This week, Bill Hayes and Don Landry sink their teeth into a wide range of topics. Bryant Gumbel’s comments about racism in NBA collective bargaining, the lack of focus in the Occupy Toronto protests, even Shia LaBeouf’s reported troubles in Vancouver. As well, they discuss the accomplishments of the late columnist, Earl McRae, and  argue over whether an elderly barber in Nova Scotia should get more money from a guy who bought his antique hockey stick from him.

2 Mill for this hockey stick? Wonder how much the snowshoes are worth….

Segment 1 – Bryant Gumbel. Racial overtones in NBA collective bargaining? Nonsense.

Segment 2 – “Occupy Toronto.” What the hell are you trying to say?!

Segment 3 – Don Cherry’s apology. Arron Asham’s apology. And complaints that the NHL is turning into a touch hockey league.

Segment 4 – The plight of injured Leaf Centre Tim Connolly and the hot start for Phil Kessel.

Segment 5 – A Nova Scotia barber sold an antique hockey stick to someone for a thousand dollars. Now, it’s been appraised at 2 million. Should the buyer share the profits? Bill says: “Tough luck.” Don says: “Pony up the dough.”

Segment 6 – The great Earl McRae. Don and Bill share warm memories of the columnist/broadcaster who passed away last weekend. And some funny Earl stories, too.

Segment 7 – Trending on Twitter. Is that ever good? Not for Shia LaBeouf.

The Gist Of It – October 13, 2011

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This week, Don Landry and Bill Hayes wrap their noggins around such conversational topics as Don Cherry, the Blackberry crisis, the best movie tough guys and the dysfunction of the Boston Red Sox. In honour of the remake of Footloose, it’s an all singing, all dancing edition of The Gist Of It.

Who doesn’t love a guy in a jacket like that?

Segment 1 – A quick hello and update on Bill’s basement.

Segment 2 – “Bombs Away:” Don sets his sights on Blackberry whiners and Bill can’t find a book he really, really wants.

Segment 3 – Don can’t believe Bill thinks Jason Statham should be mentioned in the same breath as Clint Eastwood.

Segment 4 – Grapes. Bill thinks Don Cherry’s dangerous. Don tells him to relax about it.

Segment 5 – More Cherry. Should he be allowed to continue? Is Ron MacLean the real culprit?

Segment 6 – The collapse and housecleaning of the Boston Red Sox: Don declares that the dysfunction of the team should have been remedied long before the exits of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.

Segment 7 – The boys want people to stop tweeting every little thing and focus on quality.

[button link=”http://www.donlandry.com/2011/10/don-cherry-you-should-be-thankful-for-him/” bg_color=”#666666″ window=”yes”]To read: “Don Cherry: You Should Be Thankful For Him,” click here.[/button]

THE NUTSHELL: Timmy’s in Dubai, NHL Disciplinary Videos And Einstein’s Brain Cramp

A collection of random thoughts on random things.

POP CULTURE

There’s some autobiography news this week; Arnold Schwarzenegger has been furiously scribbling his thoughts and hopes to release a book called – I’m not making this up – “Total Recall.” It’s probably true that if he wanted to name his memoirs after one of his films, “True Lies” would work well. So would “Predator,” come to think of it.

Neil Young: A Man Needs A Copy Editor.

Neil Young is writing his autobiography as well. No working title has been announced, but, let me offer one: “I’m An Old Man. Look At My Life.”

Curious that Charlie Sheen was so polite and magnanimous about his former bosses from “Two And A Half Men” when he presented an award at the Emmys. Oh, wait. Then we find out he’s nearing a 25 million dollar settlement with those ex-bosses over his firing. Sheen’s not sorry so much as he’s satisfied, I guess.

Tim Hortons has opened an outlet in Dubai. But, like everything in Dubai, I imagine it’s been done to the hilt. You know, with the world’s biggest timbits, the size of basketballs, and solid gold coffee cups. Which makes it real tough to do a roll up the rim contest but, hey, the cups are solid gold, so quit complaining. I think their grassroots hockey programs will go over very well there.

SPORTS

The CBC had to do some hard thinking about October 6th. That night, they’re scheduled to present the Leafs and Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada. But, that’s also election night in Ontario. Ultimately, they decided that hockey rules and the electoral fate of the province was better left for their cable news channel. Personally, I think they could have combined the two seamlessly. You telling me that P.J Stock wouldn’t do a great job with out of town electoral results and highlights? Or that Terry Milewski couldn’t completely piss off Brian Burke in a scrum? I’ve taken the liberty of piecing together a transcript of what a hybrid HNIC/election night coverage broadcast would sound like. You can read it by clicking here.

"Nice ruling, Shanny. Jody Shelley's been suspended more times than my disbelief at the M. Night Shyamalan Film Festival."

Love, love, LOVE that NHL disciplinary Czar Brendan Shanahan has taken it upon himself to explain suspensions through video presentation on the league’s website. Shanahan looks pretty cool. Kind of like he’s auditioning for “etalk.” I’d be looking over my shoulder if I were Ben Mulroney. But, the NHL could glitz and glam it up. How about having a few babes with briefcases, a la “Deal Or No Deal?” In each briefcase, a different number, corresponding to the length of the suspension to be doled out. Or, at least, Gary Bettman playing Andy Richter to Shanahan’s Conan O’Brien, leaning on a podium and tossing in the odd saucy remark. At the very least.

POLITICS

The Liberal candidate in Beaches-East York is a woman by the name of Helen Burstyn. Who’s she running against, Cheryl Streep? Diana Keaton?

The Feds have hired a $90k a day consulting firm to help find ways to save money. But as I understand it, their report will never be completed considering their first recommendation was to fire themselves.

Ya got any other brilliant ideas, "Einstein?!"

 

FINAL THOUGHT

Scientists in Europe believe they have discovered a particle that actually travels faster than the speed of light. Which would debunk Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity or, as it will now be known: “E = MC Hammered.” Einstein. What a dumbass.

The Gist Of It – September 14

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This week, Landry and Hayes discuss the relative merits of NHL prospect camp hockey. What’s the lure? As well, they kick around some of their favourite story lines and performances from Week 1 of the NFL season, and Week 11 of the CFL season.

Serena Williams’ bad mood at the U.S. Open is discussed, with one of the boys being particularly disgusted.

Bill’s not big on all the fawning going on at the Toronto International Film Festival, while Don kinda digs the hoopla.

What’s to become of the TTC? And, is it really so terrible to be known as “Premier Dad”?

The Gist Of It – August 17, 2011

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This week on “The Gist Of It,” Bill and Don wonder if Blue Jays’ rookie phenom Brett Lawrie will be able to continue to live up to the hype. As well, they discuss baseball veteran Jim Thome’s no-brainer inclusion at Cooperstown. Can you stomach the CNE? The boys talk over some of the gastronomic… um… delights available at this year’s Ex. They also explore the synergy that a possible provincial Conservative government could create with the Feds and debate the name changes coming for Canada’s military branches. What about the kid who won $50k in a hockey game intermission contest? Should he be penalized just because it wasn’t actually he who took the shot, but rather, his twin brother?

The Gist Of It – August 3, 2011

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On “The Gist Of It” this week, Bill and Don discuss Nycole Turmel’s dual – party status, Margaret Atwood’s war with the Fords and The Sheepdogs’ landing on the cover of Rolling Stone. As well, they kick around the Argos’ season so far and the Jays’ adding of Colby Rasmus (and his dad). Don bombs the Leafs over the Ryerson arena deal while Bill takes on the 24-hour news cycle. Oh, and there’s the case of the Dunkin Donuts prostitute.

THE NUTSHELL: Food Fighting, Rickrolling And Doppleganging

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.

POP CULTURE

Saw a billboard, the other day, advertising cottage cheese. The slogan: “Anything Goes.” Well, that’s certainly a bold statement. There’s a picture of a burger, slathered with cottage cheese. I can’t help but think Nordica cottage cheese’s new-found cockiness might run them afoul of Miracle Whip’s “we rough up burgers” and “we will not tone it down” mentality.

Condiment warfare: Are these guys "Cheesies" or "Whippies?"

Could this lead to a street fight, a la West Side Story? Should we fear a coming crossfire of cottage cheese and mayonaise-like substance on our streets anytime soon? Will rival factions turn our city into a giant food fight? Will our streets run white with the ooze of alternative burger toppings? Or worse? Is it possible that Nordica cottage cheese and Miracle Whip will fall in love with each other’s outlaw style and go on a Bonnie and Clyde crime spree? Is Nordica Woody Harrelson to Miracle Whip’s Juliette Lewis? Are they “Natural Born Fillers?” Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Start crafting your buzzwords for the looming crisis. Burg-ocalypse. Burger-geddon.

So, Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek foiled a burglary, did he? A woman snuck into his hotel room and tried to make off with cash and a few other items. Trebek awoke, and gave chase, but not before ensuring his, uh, microphone was not swinging in the breeze. “I realized immediately someone had been in the room. I put on my underwear and ran down the hall to see if I could find her.” Correct. Alex Trebek sleeps in the nude. Wonder if his wife makes it a true daily double. I also wonder if  Trebek interrupted when police starting reading the suspect her rights and asked “What is Miranda?”

POLITICS

The U.S. debt ceiling crisis may have some people nervous, others, poised. Apparently, 33 Mexican soldiers being carried in 4 Humvees were spotted on the American side of the border, in Texas. Might I suggest waiting for the U.S. to default before invading, guys?

Nycole Turmel? Or "Peter Pan"?

The White House has been accused of “Rickrolling” a concerned citizen. When a Twitterer messaged them to say the deficit ceiling news had become boring, the White House tweeted back:  “Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun: tinyurl.com/y8ufsnp.” That link led the Twitterer to THIS. Unleashing that on an unsuspecting victim with a link is called “Rickrolling.” Have fun. Better than planking.

Toronto Councillor Doug Ford claimed he wouldn’t know Margaret Atwood if she walked by him on the street. That led Newstalk 1010 Host Jim Richards to invite listeners come up with titles likely to be found in a Doug Ford book club. Great premise, but, I take it more literally. If Doug had a book club, I do believe it would be a club with just one book. Of the comic variety. Or, an actual club that he’d use to beat up on books.

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Or...is it?

Sure, it may just be me. But, does anyone else think the NDP’s Interim Leader, Nycole Turmel, is a doppelgänger for Sandy Duncan? I think she’ll do a fine job, but, know who’d be a really great interim NDP Leader? Bob Rae. What’s he doing these days? While on the subject of look-a-likes, the “1 year to  the London Olympics” celebration seemed to be hosted by Gary Busey. What were Londoners thinking when they voted Mr. Joshua in as mayor?

 

SPORTS

Generally speaking, I abhor excessive and silly celebrations after goals or touchdowns. Because a goal or touchdown is a fairly usual thing in any game. Over-the-top celebrations of such events feel goofy. Imagine if we all went around doing that. Score a good parking space, right in front of the mall, get out and do a choreographed dance number. Barbecue a perfect steak, pull out a sharpie and sign a guest’s forehead. However, having said that, click here, for an exception, in my mind. An Icelandic soccer team with some creativity. The guy playing the flopping fish is particularly good.

The St John’s AHL team has a name. Former Newfoundland And Labrador Premier (and Club President) Danny Williams made the announcement, today. They’ll be called the St. John’s Ice Caps. I’m sure Tim Hortons is pleased.

Found out this week that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary is $7.5 million. Actually, that only makes him slightly overpaid. After all, he played the same number of NHL games as Wade Redden last season.

FINAL THOUGHT

A company selling reproductions of Kate Middleton’s ring says each comes with a certificate of authenticity. They’re knock-offs. Shouldn’t that be a certificate of “not-thenticity”?

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The Gist Of It – July 27, 2011

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Don wonders how it is that Bill isn’t excited about the new movie “Cowboys and Aliens.” As well, the boys talk over the NFL’s new deal, the passing of Amy Winehouse, Canada’s tarnished image as a peacekeeper, the Winnipeg Jets’ new logo and the debt ceiling fiasco in the United States.