It seems that Medicine Hat was hit with movie gold not once, but twice since the 1940s. There is, of course, the well documented case of the Monty Python skit ( https://www.todayville.com/monty-python-and-medicine-hat/ ) but also another well known and higher profile mention of this Alberta city….
Bing Crosby was an American entertainer who was well known world-wide for his crooning and his entertaining films and his USO tours with his friends and co-workers over during WWII and subsequent conflicts.
Among his many memorable films, “Holiday Inn,” was released in 1942 with great success for not only one of the first releases of ‘White Christmas,’ which won an Oscar for best music but also the pairing of Fred Astaire and Crosby in a delightful love triangle film set in a ski resort. The film was reprised in the classic ‘White Christmas,’ that included Rosemary Cluny and song and dance legend Danny Kaye in 1954.
‘Holiday Inn,’ starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds centred around Fred Hardy, a laid back composer who buys an Inn to put on Broadway style shows on special days so his life is not so hectic. Sadly, Fred Astaire, Ted Hanover, has a history of stealing dance partners and falls in love with them. Hardy discovers Linda Mason (Reynolds) and much to the chagrin of Hardy, Hanover winds up at one of his holiday specials and finds her, falls in love with her and the rest of the film follows Hardy’s efforts to keep Mason away from Hanover.
During the film, a couple of great moments occur, one with Astaire, apparently very drunk, dancing with Mason for the delight of the gathered crowd. The dance choreography is amazing, just as Astaire was an amazing performer and teacher.
However, Medicine Hat comes full front and centre when Hanover is expected to come hunting for Mason and Hardy askes his driver to take the long way home so she cannot be stolen by Hanover.
Hardy hands his driver $10, and utters the now famous dialogue…
“For that kinda of money you oughta be able to go by way o’ Medicine Hat!
Of course, the ploy is successful, and she is angry with Hardy that she could not refuse Hanover, but in the end, love wins and show biz rules the Inn.
This may seem like a random entry into the film but it may have been planned or more likely an improv by Crosby who had a predilection for pheasant hunting in the area just as Humphrey Bogart liked moose hunting in Cabri, Saskatchewan!
The story behind the story is that Brooks at one time was the BEST pheasant hunting area in North America and along with Bob Hope, the pair hunted in the area in the 1940s. An old timer recalled seeing Crosby and Clark Gable in the Cecil Hotel during hunting season!
Is there evidence that Crosby was in the Hat?
Only old hotel records could ever say, and the Cecil Hotel has been stilled forever…
In the meanwhile, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas…”
Honored Cree Chief Joachim Fromhold Passes Away
Joachim Fromhold 1947-2020
Chief Joachim Fromhold of the Asini Wachi Nehiyawak has joined the Great Circle in the sky.
Joachim, aka Joe, was born January 15, 1947 to Mina and Willi Fromhold in Germany.
His lineage can be traced to 1650 (Cree Chief Sisip Pimotew), and Chief Louis Joseph Piche in addition to the Carolingian Dynasty (Europe). He also counts Chief Bob Tail and his descendants as part of his ancestry.
Moving to Canada, his family spent time in Calgary before moving to a farm near Buffalo Lake and Sounding Creek in 1960. He graduated from Mirror High School in 1967 and had been accepted into Harvard but chose to work with the CIBC and aboriginal groups in northern Alberta. Through Joe, the first loans to aboriginal groups were granted in High Level prior to his resignation from the bank.
Always a businessman and hard worker, Joe built coffins (age 13), started a dairy herd while in grade 12 and bought into a trucking company, all by the time he graduated High School. Around the same time, he established the first newspaper north of Peace River which was, and still is, the only newspaper to have been privately aboriginally owned and operated. Fromhold also founded the first Alberta Youth Safe House dealing principally with aboriginal youth without government funding.
While in Peace River country, he began to actively gather data on aboriginal culture and history, a pursuit which he continued throughout his life. He also helped establish the Metis Association of Alberta in northwestern Alberta.
His formal education in archaeology started in 1970 with classes at the University of Calgary and continued until 1973 with further education from Universities, Museums, Cultural and Business organizations continuing throughout his life.
Several cultural and historical organizations were born out of Fromhold’s desire to preserve history. Archon Consulting Ltd, The Cultural Awareness Program, A.V.C., Buffalo Head Cultural Survival Camp, the Old Fort Museum, The Indian Legends Museum, The Vermillion Lodge Museum, the Mirror Business Center and Museum and the Mountain Cree Asini Wachi Nehiyawak Band in 1996.
Numerous other business ventures established by Fromhold included The Inner I Coffee House, Subway Coffee House, Paintball Warrior, Fromhold Security, Sports Rent, Old Fort Hotel, The Antiques Advertiser, The Red Deer Antique Mall & Collectibles and Rocky Mountain Outfitters.
Fromhold was instrumental in establishing the written aboriginal history in western Canada and beyond. Through his genealogical research, published in various books and magazines, he formalized the presence and lineage of the Cree people, thereby paving the way for many legal challenges, many of which are still ongoing.
Active in the archaeology community, Fromhold has catalogued and identified important aboriginal sites in Alberta. Among his discoveries is the presence of the Moundbuilders in Central Alberta on the Battle River, The Donalda Buffalo Pound, Medicine Hills Survey of significant sites and the discovery of the the existence of the Ice-Free Corridor, the existence of the North Trail and the Colville Trail, the proving of pre-Columbian cross-mountain trade, proving aboriginal occupancy and land use in the mountains, and demonstrating that various lithic sources were to be found in Alberta. In the theoretical field he established the methodology for reconstruction of prehistoric populations and developed the first Census data for prehistoric Alberta.
His influence and involvement in Northern Alberta was substantial, both in education and cultural preservation.
On graduating from the M.A. program in Anthropology he took a position at the Alberta Vocational Center in Lac La Biche (now Portage College) to develop a Native Arts and Crafts/Native Studies program there and at A.V.C. Grouard. These were the Grandfather Programs for all subsequent cultural programs in Alberta. In my position I was also an advisor to the development of the University of Lethbridge Native Studies program and liaison with the Saskatchewan Indian Colleges, and as a resource person to various aboriginal communities in eastern Alberta. Family ties existed with Beaver Lake Cree Nation, and he married Irene Mountain, daughter of Chief Lawrence Mountain and descendant of Chiefs PESEW and
Bobtail (Piche) and Big Bear.
While at Lac La Biche he collaborated with Christine Daniels to found the White Braid Dancers, served as Pow-Wow Director for 5 years and for 4 years as the first aboriginal President of the Lac La Biche Lions Club. During that time he also re-introduced the Pow-wow to Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Cultural Days to Heart Lake First Nation and were involved in the development of the Saddle Lake Multi-Cultural Days.
At this time he founded the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society to sponsor cultural events and two dance groups. With his wife we also established the first Wilderness Cultural Camp in Alberta.
In 1985 he took a position with Alberta Advanced Education as Program Head of the Opportunity Corps Program, a second-chance training program, in northwestern Alberta. At the time the program consisted of one pre-trades training campus, it being part of his duties to develop a second campus to the point where it could be turned into a community college. The campuses were to serve 16 aboriginal and 4 non-aboriginal communities. Through internal training programs they developed highly skilled office personnel who began to take over and effectively and efficiently manage the office administration of a $15,000,000 (2010 dollars) operation and through another similar program operated several cafeterias in several communities.
Over the next few years the position became responsible for delivery and supervision of all programs delivered by Advanced Education, including Apprenticeship and Transitional Housing. In 1988 the campuses were re-classified as a college and a satellite campus.
In this time he was also involved in the development of the High Level and District Friendship Center, the High Level and District Museum and the Fort Vermilion Museum. We also initiated annual pow-wows at High Level and Fort Vermilion and developed a touring dance troupe that traveled to regional schools and sponsored annual Native Fashion Shows based on the family collection.
Fromhold began the work to convert his research into digital format for his world class native history website, http://inewhistory.com/ , an effort which continued to his passing.
With the death of his wife Irene in 1994 he relocated to central Alberta to concentrate on raising his children and developing the databank. Over the years they had taken in nephews and nieces to give them a stable home environment, and he now adopted two others who were in danger of becoming street kids in Edmonton; they returned to school and eventually continued on to college and university.
In 1996 the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society converted to becoming a Traditional Band, and Joe was delegated by the family to represent the interests of descendants of Lawrence and Leo Mountain. Descendants of two other brothers also consolidated, the four bands forming a common council.
Fromhold and the Band proposed to the City of Edmonton and investment of $20 million in a transition to employment and housing program for the homeless and disadvantaged in Edmonton in 2006.
Through the efforts of Fromhold in 2008, the Mountain Cree Band (Asini Wachi Nehiyawak) became a member of the Jasper National Park Aboriginal Forum advisory group, as a successor group representing the interests of the now-dispersed Bobtail Band. Independent of the Advisory group, he offered to participate financially in the development of a Nations of Jasper Cultural Interpretive Center. Participation in Jasper continues to this day with the Pow wow and placement of aboriginals in park positions.
Fromhold’s books on aboriginal history in Alberta started in 2010 through Lulu.com. To date there are more than 40 books available, ranging from the Moundbuilders, to a history of the Red Deer/Central Alberta area dating back 13,000 years to genealogies for specific bands. Prior to his passing, Fromhold had planned as many as 20 more.
In 2011, he was awarded the Canada Heritage Minister’s Award for Leadership Excellence.
He was honored in 2012 with an Honoring Ceremony by members of the incipient re-structuring Edmonton Stragglers Band in appreciation of the guidance given to the members in pursuit of their history and interests.
He was a founding member of the Alberta Association of Consulting Archaeologists and in 2017 was the founder for the Association of First Nations Archaeologists and Historians.
The Asini Wachi Nehiyawak purchased and renovated a former bunk house in Mirror, creating a museum, antique store and rooms for short term stays in the community. Along with the commercial aspects, all records of the Mountain Cree were available for research. Presently, a constitutional challenge is outstanding on the property.
Fromhold was involved with Enoch Cree Nation in legal action to settle outstanding land claims and to protect historic burials in the Rossdale Burial Area of Edmonton, a dispute dating back nearly a decade. The efforts to protect native heritage and cultural sites continues to this day.
Other ongoing efforts include working with Lacombe to develop a cultural centre, preservation of Mound Builder sites, site preservation in Red Deer (multiple), and relationships with Transalta, TC Energy and various energy companies. Many other discoveries and historic sites are waiting to be protected by future generations due to his passion and knowledge.
Fromhold, throughout his career, attracted many gifted associates and was once tasked with guiding Richard Leakey on a tour of Alberta. While the two archaeologists shared many observations, Leakey pointed out to Joachim numerous sites that exhibited evidence of human occupation, some dating back 100,000 years in Central Alberta!
In conversation with Joe, his skills as an archaeologist were continually developing. He noted that ‘over the last few years, I have now learned to recognize flint knap sites,’ adding that like camp sites, every few miles on old trail, he could locate them. He lamented not knowing that that as a young researcher, realizing that he had passed over thousands in his career. During a Red Deer connector survey, he discovered a knap site that was possibly (likely) evidence of a campsite for David Thompson during his exploration of Central Alberta.
He started the Mountain Cree News in the late 1990s, and the monthly newsletter continues to this day.
The legacy he leaves behind is one of people: people he inspired to take an interest in their history, people he inspired to better themselves, and people he impowered to make our society into one that recognizes the value of the history of our country and early inhabitants.
Joe leaves behind children Dustin, Odin, Jennifer, mother Mina and many others he mentored into a better life.
Rest well warrior.
This article was originally published on August 5th, 2020.
Read more from Tim Lasiuta.
The Lone Ranger and the Riders of Justice, Finale!
Miles away Tom Gillis boarded the stage bound for Kievers Creek. Dust followed the loaded coach as Tom opened his portfolio. He glanced over the papers and closed the case, satisfied with the contents. Occupying himself with the passing scenery, he gazed out the window, visualizing railroad tracks running east to west. A small herd of buffalo in the distance rumbled along.
A smallish man sat in the corner of the coach. Holding a pad of paper he wrote as he looked up with a blank look in his eyes.
Tom looked over at the man.
“What brings you out this way?” he asked.
He looked up, and put his pen down.
“Adventure. Stories. Real people. Not the city type of struggles, real struggles. Man against nature, man against outlaw. Stories.” he replied.
Tom looked around, the scenery flew past the stagecoach window
“I know what you mean. The railroad brings me here. My name is Tom Gillis, and yours is?”
“Paul Newman, writer. Pleased to meet you.”
At the Kievers Creek Full Gospel Church (doubling as the Town hall) pastor Pat Buttram walked around the hall. Gaily decorated banners filled the walls, and the front stage was filled with bright flowers and musical instruments the Sons of the Pioneers had left there earlier in the day. The ladies auxiliary was busy preparing a pot luck, and the Sons of the Pioneers munched a light snack between practicing.
Pat looked at the wide array of good before him. He reached out to sample one of the cakes.
“Pat, put that back.” Doc Mix warned. “Caught you Pastor Pat. Remember your diet. No sweets, and lots of exercise.”
“Ahh Doc, just one. I’ve been doing my exercise like you told me” Pat implored.
Doc Mix walked over to the pudgy pastor.
“Now Pat, I told you it’ll be hard in the beginning, and easier later.”
Pat looked down longingly at the smorgasbord of sweets.
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one being stared down by these home made goodies. Could I have one now, and a couple later?” he asked,.
Doc eyed the pastor up.
“Do what you want today, for tomorrow, back on the diet!”
Pastor Buttram smiled and quickly gobbled an apple square.
“Thanks Doc. Thanks, this is my last day of treats. I promise.”
Doc Mix grinned and turned back to putting up the last banner.
“For this week” he said under his breath. “Pastor, keeping you on a diet is more work than keeping the whole town healthy.”
Pat smiled and laughed.
“I take that as a compliment Doc. Now, let me help you finish putting up the banner. Now I need the exercise. Besides, people will start coming in about half an hour.”
The sun carried on its trek, lighting up the sky with florescent glory. Blue turned to orange, and orange to red. Soon, before long, the stars would light the heavens, and the moon would again rise to cast its eerie light upon the earth beneath.
As the sun began its final arc to the horizon, the people filtered in. The hall filled up quickly as word spread like wildfire that the outlaw gang was captured! Freedom was again present in Kievers Creek and area, it was time to celebrate. From as far away as Laramie, people came, to say thanks.
Beaming faces filled the crowd, smiling families overflowed the dance floor, children zoomed in and out, and squirted between legs. Young adults talked amongst themselves, and the adults, those who had their dreams stilled, now felt their passion for the future renewed.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto mingled uneasily with the crowd. Grateful ranchers offered their thanks and in one case, a daughter in marriage. The Ranger politely refused. Soon they found Gene Autry in conversation with with Reverend Buttram, apple pie in hand.
Pat finished the last bite of pie.
“Thanks Gene, and thanks Lone Ranger and Tonto. If it weren’t for your help, shucks, you know what I’m saying. Thanks Tonto” he said shaking Tonto’s hand enthusiastically. “ Thanks Ranger.”
“You’re welcome Reverend Buttram. We did what anyone else would have done in the same circumstance” the Ranger replied.
At the end of the hall, the Sons of the Pioneers stepped on stage. Nearby sheriff Roy and Dale stood beside them. Bob Nolan put his hands up in the air.
“Ladies and gentlemen” he started to say. “The town council has asked me to welcome Roy Rogers officially, even though it’s a little late. “
Cheering came from the crowd.
“We’d also like to officially nominate him as Sheriff, if he’d accept it” he continued.
Roy stepped up to the front. He spoke.
“I accept your nomination for the job of sheriff of Kievers Creek!” he exclaimed.
The people of Kievers Creek cheered again. They laughed, yelled, and hollered their appreciation.
“All those in favor of Roy being sheriff, say aye!” he said.
Every hand in the hall went up.
Bob Nolan turned to Roy. He offered his hand to him. They shook.
“Welcome, Sheriff Roy Rogers, to Kievers Creek! Yee Ha!”
“Speech” Gabby yelled.
The crowd chanted.
“Speech! Speech! Speech!”
Dale pushed Roy closer to the edge. She whispered to him.
“Well, thanks for your support. It’s been a busy couple of days. Haven’t really settled in yet. I’ve been shot at more times than I’ve eaten here” he stated.
The crowd laughed.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto waited in the back of the hall. Tom Gillis, and Paul Newman walked into the back door.
“Where can I find the Sheriff Bill Stockton?” he asked briefcase in hand.
Tonto pointed to the front of the hall.
“Him there, beside woman.”
Tom Gillis took a step ahead, then turned back.
“Do you own land around here?” he asked. “I’m with the railroad.”
“No sir, we don’t. But the good people of Kievers Creek do. And they’re ready for you.” the Ranger said.
Tom Gillis looked at the pair of men.
“Do you ride a silver stallion?” he asked.
“Yes, I do.” the Ranger replied.
Tom held out his hand, and smiled.
“Then I guess you’re the Lone Ranger and Tonto, aren’t you?” he said.
The Lone Ranger nodded.
“Yes, we are.” he admitted.
“I’m mighty proud to meet you. I’ve heard stories about you I found hard to believe. Someday, you’ll be a legend. Excuse me Lone Ranger, I’ve got some papers to deliver to the Sheriff.”
Paul Newman stopped beside the Lone ranger and Tonto. He held out his hand.
“I’m Paul Newman, pleased to meet you two. I’ve also heard many stories about you. Would you mind if I wrote them. “
The Ranger and Tonto shook the writers hand.
“Mr Newman. It’s a free country. If the stories inspire men to do what’s right, please do so.” he replied.
“Remember Mr Newman, we are a people with dignity” Tonto added.
“Yes, I will Tonto. Thanks thanks a lot” he said excitedly.
Tom Gillis walked to the front, the people parted before him.
“Sheriff Bill Stockton?” Tom asked.
“No, Sheriff Roy Rogers” he replied smiling.
Tom Gillis looked confused.
“I’ll explain it to you later. Now, how can we help you?” he asked.
“My name is Tom Gillis, and I represent the railroad” he said matter of factly. “I have been charged to buy land for the coming railway. By this time next year, the sound of train whistles will be a common sound in Kievers Creek.”
The crowd milled around Mr Gillis and yelled excitedly. In a few minutes, they calmed down.
“Tomorrow, we’ll talk. It seems that you’re celebrating. And I think I’ll join you.”
Pat Buttram spoke up.
“You’re welcome to, as folks will be real happy to talk to you. By the way, do you like home baking?” Pat said.
Roy started to speak again.
“As a final thanks. We’d like to ask the Lone Ranger and Tonto up to the front and thank them properly. Can you come to the front men?” Roy asked.
“They’re gone. Left a couple of ….”
“Hi Yo Silver Away!” the Ranger shouted.
“God bless’em both.” Pat Buttram said.
In the distance, the Lone Ranger and Tonto paused for a moment. They both turned back and listened to the townspeople joining together in song. A thoughtful moment passed between them. Reining Silver and Scout around, they galloped off into the annals of the early western United States.
The Lone Ranger rides again!
Postlude: Peace, then What?
“Wow, that was some adventure Tom” Eddie said breathless.
“I guess Gene, Roy, the Lone Ranger and Tonto could work together” Bill added.
And it was a grand adventure. We, in our alter egos, had triumphed over villainy and made the streets safe for women and children. Life could go on again in Kievers Creek. The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode off into the Western United States to take on the League of the Black Arrow, Roy Rogers got Dale, again. Gene Autry stayed on as head of the Cattlemen’s Association. The railroad successfully transformed another town.
My mother yelled out the back door.
I jumped up with excitement.
“All right, guys. I got to choose supper tonight. Bye guys. Don’t forget to close the door when you leave” I said as I left the fort and ran in for supper.
Ed, Bill and Tom waited for a few minutes. Their suppers were later. Bill looked at Tom.
“Scissors, Stones, Paper” Bill said.
The three boys played. Bill lost.
“See you later Tonto, Gene” he said as he left the fort.
Ed picked a number between zero and ten.
“Five” Tom guessed.
“No, eight! I win. Your turn to leave.”
Tom left the fort.
“See you Gene.”
“Adios amigo” Eddie replied.
He crawled out the door, and closed it.
The fort was empty now. The pictures of their heroes yelled out.
“Thanks. Adios. Hi Yo Silver Away. Until we meet again.”
Eddie closed the door of the fort, his spurs jangled. He turned towards home, and ran.
Inside the fort, the pages of the comic books began to turn. They stopped, and…
DEFINITELY NOT THE END!
Thanks for reading folks….if you want this whole story in print form, let me know at [email protected]!
Click here to read more of Tim’s stories, along with the rest of this book.
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