The phone rang. A woman said Monty Hall would like to talk to you about your recent blog about a Revue held in Gimli in 1944. Monty Hall! Monty Hall? Holy smokes! Wait until I get a pen, I said. Sure enough, it was Monty Hall calling from Hollywood. He’s now 93 but you’d never know it from talking to him. He’s as pleasant, affable, personable as he was when he was hosting Let’s Make A Deal.
In the 1944 Revue program he is Monte Halparin, the boy from Winnipeg, the part time employee of CKRC. He still lived in Winnipeg’s north end. He told me that after he graduated from university, he worked full time for CKRC but that ended when his boss called him in one day and said, “You need to quit and go to Toronto. If you stay here, you’ll end up going nowhere. You’re better than this.” He went home and told his parents, Rose and Maurice Halparin, that he was going to Toronto. It was 1946. They wanted to know if he had a job. He said no but his boss had said he should go and so he was going. He said at first it was a struggle but he succeeded, then went on to New York and started the struggle all over.
He found a niche in hosting game shows. He guest-hosted game shows like Strike It Rich on CBS. He hosted numerous shows but the one I remember best is Let’s Make A Deal. How successful was this Winnipeg boy who remembers Winnipeg Beach and Gimli with great fondness? In 1973, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Government of Canada gave him the Order of Canada. His awards are many.
He said a number of times that to be successful you must be able to face rejection and you must believe in yourself. When he was performing in Vegas, a comedian came to him, devastated because an agent had told him to quit trying to make it. He didn’t have what it takes. Monty said to him you are only out when you believe you are out. Not until then.
He has fond memories of the beautiful Icelandic girls of West End Winnipeg. He had a real crush on at least one of them. He had high praise for the people he worked with on the Revue. It was not just a Gimli revue. Mrs. Zimmerman organized and ran this revue that was performed every weekend with the performers traveling by bus to military bases one to two hundred miles away. They did three performances in a day. One for the officers and two for the enlisted men. Monty acted, sang, performed in skits, MC’d. Great experience for his coming career.
Mom! Mom! I hope you are listening. Monty Hall called. He’s a really nice guy. I got to talk to one of the people we listened to on radio, watched on TV, a Winnipeg boy from the North End. He made my day.