My father and I went to the Bruins game at Boston Garden sitting in my season tickets on Row 73, seats 3 and 4. It was December 26 or 27th, 1966, just one month into my new job. During the game one of the Plexiglas panels got shattered after a puck hit it. The shooter was Murray Oliver of the Bruins and it delayed the game about 30 minutes for the repair.
We went home after the game and I got to bed around 11:30. I had just put my head on the pillow when Everett or Chelsea put on an alarm of fire for a collision between a Budliner Train and a tanker truck carrying gasoline at a railroad crossing on the line between those two cities.
I jumped out of bed ran down the hall to my parents bedroom and asked my father if he wanted to go with me. We were in the car in a couple of minutes.
When we got about a block from the scene of the crash there were puddles of flaming gasoline rolling down the tracks towards us. We got out and I began taking pictures. I was using a 2 1/4 format camera, either a Yashica or a Mamiya Camera (I had both at the time), and for light I was using flashbulbs.
We made our way up to the point of impact and the first image I got was of rescuers removing a burned victim from a blown out window of one of the train cars. The second shot was of a priest giving last rites to another victim as he was being taken from the burned wreckage over a rescuer’s shoulder. I made several other photos and in the end eight people died in the fiery accident.
When I got out of the car I only had a box of flashbulbs and one roll of film in my camera for 12 images. I tried to no avail to get another roll from a couple of photographers that were there. I saw Archie Newman, a photographer from my paper. I told him about the shots I had and he told me to get right the office in order to get the photos in the last edition.
My father and I made our way to 5 Winthrop Square, in downtown Boston where the Record American was at that time, and ran up the stairs to notify the editors of the pictures and we started to develop my film.
The picture editor, Bobby Holland, was standing over me waiting very excitedly. After he looked at my negatives he was even more excited. I remember not really knowing what I was doing as I was so nervous working under such pressure to print pictures.
Bobby took wet prints, squeegeed them off and ran to photo engraving. A little while later they asked me if I could go to the morgue and wait with a reporter for the people showing up to identify the deceased. My father took a taxi back home to Revere. He was happy to do whatever as he was a part of my first big story.
Thankfully no one showed up at the morgue while I was there. Dennis Brearley (of The Brearley Collection at Faneuil Hall in Boston) eventually relieved me and he got a very good photo of a grieving relative to go with the paper’s following stories.
Next morning when the dayside staff came into work I received handshakes and verbal congratulations from everyone. I was the rookie photographer and I scored big time. We owned the story due to my photographs.
Both AP and UPI picked up my negatives at daybreak and I won my first contest with the photo of the rescue through the window at the yearly AP competition. It was a great start even if I still had 11 months of probation till I was an official staff member.
The morning paper had another great photo of the scene by Leo Tierney. His image showed the tanker up against the train and even though I might have had a great action photo his really told the story. Leo was a little upset as he had his young son, Martin, riding with him that night and was sorry he had to see such a calamity.
This made me think through the years as to what I could take my girls to and when to leave them home. Sometimes things I went to were inappropriate for them so I would leave them in the car and if I let leave the car I was always watching over my shoulder to make sure they were safe.
My wife Debbie used to go with me to stories when we first met until the day we covered the shooting death of a Chelsea policeman and she saw his widow being brought to the police station to be told what had happened and I photographed her going in.
Leo and I talked about his scene photo afterward and he explained to me about an incident he covered in downtown Boston years before. A crane overturned and he got the photo of the crane operator on a stretcher. He said he was running back to the office all excited when he saw Morris Ostroff, another staff photographer, making his way to the scene. Morris asked him if he had a scene shot and Leo just shook his head no. Morris got the image of the overturned crane and got page one while Leo’s photo was a 2 column cut on the jump page. A lesson learned.
Every Christmas I think about this tragedy. I never looked at the train schedule to see if that 30 minutes lost to replacing the Plexiglas would have made a difference for many of the victims. Several of them had just left the Bruins game and took the train north. I never looked to see if there were earlier options. I guess I did not want to know.
I think about these victims frequently. It is 44 years later and all they missed in life as there were both young and older people who did not make it. We got photos of most of the deceased and interviews with families and some of the survivors. You felt closer to their lives by seeing and reading who they were.
I have always said I don’t wish for something bad to happen but as a news photographer I want to be there.
Every year around this time I remember a great story from my newspaper days. It was Christmas Eve Day a Saturday and we were all working for the Sunday Advertiser (name of the Sunday paper.) It was in the late 60s, before we moved from our 5 Winthrop Square, downtown Boston location to the Herald’s current location in Boston’s South End.
The Photo Department was on the third floor about 75 feet from the newsroom so whatever we did out there was not heard or seen by bosses. We had our own space.
It was a cold and snowy day and one of our premier photographers, Carroll Myett was assigned to get a page one Christmas photo and Carroll was up for the challenge. He began celebrating early so he was eager to go and go he did. He came back twice first with photos of Boston Common with the various Christmas ornaments blanketed with snow. Then he went out to get the big prize a Santa which he knew would be page one.
Where did he go? He went to the Boston Globe’s downtown office on the corner of Washington and School Streets, where Santa was doing his thing. He came back with a great photo of Santa his arms in the air, bells ringing in his hand and you could almost hear the HO, HO, Ho in his smile. It was a wonderful photo and only the few of us in the photo department knew it was the Globe’s Santa which made it more fun and Carroll was really enjoying himself.
Carroll turned the print in and then came back to the department. Still very happy, laughing, joking and then he looked at his beat up shoes and realized his soles were hanging off the bottoms of both of his shoes. He went down to the art department and came back with a jar of rubber cement with the big brush full of glue sticking in it and began spreading it on his shoes and soles to hopefully get the two pieces to stick together.
At that time in the photo office there were photographers Gene Dixon, John Landers Jr., Dick Thomson, Carroll and me. Then all of a sudden Carroll takes out a match and lights it intending to heat the rubber cement to bond the two pieces.
Gene Dixon screamed “don’t” but it was too late and heavy fire was erupting from Myett’s shoes. John Landers moved fast picked Carroll up by the ankles dropping him like a wrestler drops his opponent and pulled his shoes off. Then he ran the burning shoes over to the print washer about 10 feet away and dropped them in the water extinguishing the blaze and saving Carroll and probably the building.
Carroll’s celebrating was over and he left humbled, alive, with soaking wet shoes and made his way down to South Station for his bus. It was certainly an eye-opener for us all and as you can tell I haven’t forgotten it yet.
Carroll Myett was a very competitive man. He hated to get beat and would do anything to get the best photo no matter if the competition was on his own team.
On another Saturday there was a jail break at the Charles Street Jail on lower Beacon Hill near the Mass General Hospital. I raced down to the scene. I did not know that Carroll who was in the company cruiser was already there.
I was trying to figure out what was happening and when I looked down Fruit Street there was Carroll at the other end. I started running down the street and Carroll was flaying his arms in the air trying to warn me to watch out. I knew the guards were running around with their guns out and he made me think they were going to start firing from the gun towers on the wall. Trust me I thought my safety was in danger and I tried to get out of the way and off that street. The scene seemed to be under control and a few minutes later I left as I knew Carroll had it covered.
When I got back to the office later in the day Carroll was getting his print ready for the editors I realized why he was shooing me away, he did not want me to take a shot of a jail guard with his rifle ready and his foot on the prisoner after his capture which he had made.
Myett was like that and he was great at what he did but let no one get in his way. After a knee injury took him out of the cruiser he worked on the assignment desk and always took good care of me.
He died tragically in a boating accident near Minot Light off the coast of Scituate in the mid 70s. The small boat he was in capsized and from what a survivor said he hung onto the overturned boat for hours but the rescue did not happen for him.
Monday October 11, 2010
My first shift of the week started off early. I got a call from Joe Roche on the assignment desk at my station WCVB-TV about a hit run fatal in Revere by the Wonderland Dog Track rotary. Second call on this story got me to Lynn where the suspect was found at a methadone clinic and where his car was located. It was towed before I got there. I carefully took video of the building making sure I did not show any of the people who were getting treatment there.
On my way from Lynn to the Revere scene I heard a call on one of the news group channels I monitor about a parachutist who was stuck in the trees in Dunstable adjacent to the Pepperell Airport where skydiving is a hobby.
I called in and started heading to the scene. All the way there I could hear various rescue units heading to the scene and one of the frequencies said it was too far in the woods for the ladder truck to reach the man in the trees so a rope operation would be used.
In the meantime one of the places the office was calling insisted the parachutist was rescued causing confusion. I knew better as the outside rescue units were still responding.
I had my GPS on but still I was not sure exactly where I was going. I did know some of the responding rescuers which I hoped would help.
When I got near Dunstable a Rehab Five vehicle driven by Roger Baker (it is a volunteer group who help at firefighter involved scenes with hydration and other needs) and an out of town fire chief passed me.
I fell in behind them but they were moving too quickly for me to keep up with and although I was communicating with Baker via our Nextel’s he went one way and I went another. I ended up about 8 miles out of the way at Pepperell Airport looking up and seeing lots of parachutes floating down but nowhere near where I needed to be.
The good news was I knew the rescue was not completed and the man in the trees was talking to rescuers which meant he was conscious and alert. I still had time to get there.
Then I went to the scene but the way the day was going with my geography continued and I went to the wrong side of the rescue operation. Police were there and I was told where the press was located and how to get there. Of course that was another ten minutes away. In the meantime from radio chatter I knew the rescue was not imminent.
I was one of the last TV stations there but I had a plan. The first thing I said to the group was I think I can get us into the rescue operation and if I did I would be the pool photographer. They all agreed. I knew a couple of the Chiefs operating at the scene from the many fire related incidents I have gone to over the years and most fire chiefs realize the use of good public relations and when this rescue was completed it had all the markings of great work and a good training exercise for their review. I wanted to be involved.
In the meantime Kelly Tuthill had arrived with one of our satellite trucks. For over an hour we were all shooting what we thought was the parachute and rescuers through the trees. Most of our video camera displays are viewed through a black and white viewfinder so trying to figure out what was a branch and what was the parachute was very difficult. I would pick a branch or two with my bare eyes and then try and find it through the viewfinder. Thankfully I did not have to rely on this footage for our final product.
One of the Fire Chiefs came out and said they were ready for the pool photographer and it would be me. I grabbed my video camera, tripod, IPhone, digital camera for stills, extra batteries and tape. I then asked Brian Foley the Chief Photographer at WBZ if he would like to join me.
When we got into the scene the dreaded yellow tape was up but it was only up to show us where we could be. We had a great location, able to move around and see everything you could see but the tree branches were an issue from certain angles.
The rescuers were finishing putting their ropes and pulleys in place, talking to the parachutist, Andrew Stack. Brian and I were running around trying to cover all the angles. I was shooting with three cameras to begin with and Brian asked if he could help and I handed him the tripod and video camera. It was great and more fun for me to shoot stills and I knew Brian would do a great job.
We were in the woods probably about 15 minutes and I likened what they were doing to what I saw when I was in the woods in Manchester By The Sea after the Hood Blimp landed in their woods. Back then I did not have a great still camera but the video was terrific. This time both still and video images were very good and of course the best part in both incidents the men were rescued without serious injury. No injuries for the Hood Blimp Pilot and only leg injuries for the parachutist.
After the rescue one of the Chiefs talked with us and adding that a new high angle rescue unit has recently been training and what they have learned was used in this rescue. There were a couple of professional parachutists that came over from the airport who had gone in the woods to help find the victim and talked with him. They described what they believed happened. They both thought it was user error.
Back at the office I talked with Karen Lippert a photographer I work with who has done over 1100 jumps and this is her description from watching and reading the stories that went with the incident;
“The victim was a newly licensed skydiver who lost altitude awareness and deployed his canopy late. Because he was late in deploying his canopy he did not have the altitude or time to navigate his way back to the drop zone and ended up in the trees.”
Kelly and I went to Lowell General Hospital from there waiting to see if we could talk with the victim or his wife but nothing happened the first day. We went back up another day and still nothing then on the third day Andrew Stack agreed to talk to us (so we would leave him alone).
He was great explaining exactly what he thought happened and he felt his hand altimeter had not functioned correctly thus he did not deploy his chute on time. Luckily his automatic chute did. He knew he was a lucky man and we joked about his next jump which he hoped would be in the spring if his wife lets him.
I have been in contact with Andrew via email and I hope to be invited when he does his next jump, it should be fun!
It all began for me in May of 1966. I was finishing up a one year course in photography at the “Franklin Institute of Boston” in Boston’s South End. I had been chasing fires and accidents for many years and a couple of years before this my father said to me “you are there why not take photos” and he got me a camera.
I had a great experience at the school and my instructor would be Morris Miller a wonderful knowledgeable photographer from Revere who just happened to be a contemporary of my parent’s, one of my Cub Scout leaders and I went to school with his children. This was an unexpected plus when I reported to class the first day as we had no idea he had signed on to teach.
He nurtured a class full of great people through the fundamentals of photography and I finally learned what depth of field was and how to stop action. Before this course I hate to think about how much I did not know.
In May of 1966 a representative (I only remember his first name, Bob) of the advertising agency working with Attorney General Edward Brooke’s campaign to win the US Senate seat being vacated by retiring long time US Senator Leverett Saltonstall. He came to the school looking for a photographer to travel with then Attorney General Edward Brooke taking pictures of him wherever he went and whatever he was doing.
After several interviews with many of my classmates I got the job. It helped I had a darkroom at home and I told Bob I was used to getting up in the middle of the night and keeping weird hours. I am sure there were a lot of other influences like knowing the right people and having great potential.
My first day on the job in May of “66” I went to a meeting of Republican Women at a hotel in Boston. I took many rolls of film and my main assignment was to be there when Mr. Brooke shook hands with anyone and whoever was traveling with me would take their name and I would give them the roll of film number and negative number.
I went home after a long day of several events, stayed up most of the night into the early morning hours and had 100 or so pictures ready to be signed at the Brooke Campaign Headquarters the next morning. They were very impressed.
I knew nothing about politics but knew how to take pictures, keep my mouth shut and do whatever was requested. It was a great 8 months. I traveled the state from east to west, north and south and met people who really believed in Brooke and his campaign. I had my first legal drink at age 21 with staffers at a Holiday Inn somewhere in the State and I ordered a Tom Collins. I also had my first Martini with the group.
It was a great time for a naïve 21 year old. I saw how the real news photographers worked and met many national network correspondents. In the Fall of 66 my immediate boss Joe McMahon and another Assistant Attorney General Bill Hayden drove down to Washington. We met at midnight at the Beacon Hill Headquarters and I drove Joe’s Mustang for the next 8 hours to the Capitol of the United States. I think we had the top down all the way.
During that visit which as an endorsement and fund raising event the future Senator met with Richard Nixon, who was in-between an elected office, eventually becoming the President of the United States, Everett Dirksen, US Senator from Illinois, Howard Baker a US Senator from Tennessee and eventual Chief Of Staff for President Ronald Reagan. Baker it turned out was a real camera buff although I did not know it at the time and I met several other elected officials whose names I forget. These were the news makers and I got to take photos of them and shake their hands.
It was a great beginning, exciting, adventurous and the chance to meet folks I would have never met without this opportunity.
Mr. Brooke was a warm, charismatic man whose personality and smile were all winners. He was the man of the hour and defeated his opponent Endicott “Chubb” Peabody a former Governor of Massachusetts by hundreds of thousands of votes. In an unofficial pool amongst the staff it was Mr. Brooke’s wife Remigia who won the pool.
After the campaign was over his public relations person Gerry Sadow got me interviews at the three Boston papers, The Boston Herald-Traveler, Boston Globe and the Record American. I met with the chief photographers at the three newspapers and only Myer Ostroff the Record American’s Chief saw my potential and hired me.
I had a year’s probationary period and my first day on the job 44 years ago as of this writing, November 22, 1966 I wore a suit and tie. I walked into the Record American at their original office at 5 Winthrop Square in Downtown Boston and waited outside the photo lab on the third floor for someone to let me into the labs.
Morris Ostroff, the Chief Photographer’s older brother let me in. He was a short man who always was smoking a long cigar. He introduced himself to me and said follow me. We went down the corridor to the printing labs there were 5 of them, handed me a sponge and an apron and told me to please clean up the lab, the start of my illustrious career.
In September of 1981 reporter Bob Keeley and I were sent to the Brimfield, Massachusetts to find the Rolling Stones. We had gotten word that the group was practicing out there for an upcoming tour. It took a day or two to find where the farm studio they were working at was located.
We spent the week hanging around the outskirts of the farm just waiting for a glimpse of the members. We did see some of the female companions horseback riding on a couple of those days but no sighting of the musicians.
On Friday of that week word was out they would be flying out of Worcester Airport. We all waited with many more of the Boston Media showing up. I only knew Mick Jagger but was lucky enough to get images of everyone in the group. Of course I had to rely on my good friend, fellow photographer and rock and roll expert Ted Gartland to ID the other members in my photos.
Please visit my SmugMug site to view and purchase photos: http://stanleyformanphotos.smugmug.com/
I have been covering the soldiers returning home from battle since the Vietnam War; some happy returning men and women and way too many sad stories.
One that particularly stands out to me is a very happy East Boston soldier returning to Logan happy and healthy from ‘Nam. We were allowed out on the tarmac to be there for the greeting.
Then there are the many sad stories of soldiers who did not return home. I was in Woburn, MA when the family of one of the last soldiers killed in Vietnam was notified of his death. I can still remember his father talking with us and his younger brother being incredibly emotional and hating everything that was happening. He later joined the Marines like his brother but ended up in a wheelchair after a car accident on the West Coast. Every time I drive into Woburn via Montvale Ave, I think of the family as I drive by their home.
There was a Green Beret from the Worcester area that was killed in the Granada Conflict. I covered the funeral where the brother of the deceased delivered a eulogy and after he got through his very painful speech he put his hands up to signal victory and said, “I did it!” He was so sad yet so proud of his brother’s ultimate sacrifice for the United States.
In the last few years between Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts there have sadly been many more funerals to cover. I’ll never forget the funeral of a female lieutenant from Swampscott and the sound of the “clop clop clop” of the horse’s hooves hitting the pavement as the white horse drawn hearse carried her to her final resting place as her boyfriend rode upfront on a bitterly cold morning.
In Leominster, the family of a soldier let us come into their home after their son’s body was brought to the local funeral home for burial and talked to us so bravely about their hero son.
There are many more memories of both happy and sad homecomings but yesterday’s meeting with the family of Lt. Scott Milley, a 23 year old soldier from Sudbury, will rank as one of the sadder homecomings I have witnessed.
Joe Roche, the assignment editor, had called the family earlier in the day. After speaking with the brother and sister of the soldier, Joe spoke with the boy’s father. Tears were soon flowing on both ends of the phone and Channel Five was invited to the family home to talk with Mr. Milley about his son.
As we were driving down their street in Sudbury, MA, I asked Jack Harper the reporter I was with what the house number of the family home was and his reply was, “Where all the cars will be.”
Sure enough, there were 15 plus cars and double that in people in the yard of the family’s home. As we walked up, I began shooting video of Stephen Milley, the soldier’s father, hugging everyone as they arrived. It was very painful to watch and listen to him greet his family and friends.
He soon spotted Jack and walked over to greet him with his arms outstretched. He was crying in a way that only a heart broken father can. He hugged Jack and then did the same to me. Through the tears the three of us shared, both Jack and I were able to express how sorry we were for his loss and express how much we wished we did not meet under these circumstances.
Although he was clearly distraught over the death of his son, Mr. Milley was proud and articulate when discussing his son. He told us Scott wanted to be a soldier from the time he was three years old. From everything he said about his son it is evident that he was a wonderful man, a great athlete, a loving brother and every parent’s dream son. Mr. Milley summed it up with one statement: “Scott was living his dream. It has now become our nightmare.”
Please see Jack Harper’s moving story via the link below.
Mr. Milley’s Uncut Speech:
For 44 years this past week I have been covering the news of the day around New England, mostly in Boston. I have tried to capture the moment of many news events and most of them were not happy stories.
Personally, when I photograph a story I always try not to portray a victim as “a victim”. I don’t perform brain surgery or save lives directly, but I hope that some of my images might have changed a life for the positive, or made someone feel better about what is happening or has happened without hurting those directly involved in the story along the way.
This past July, Tammi Brownlee (full story on website) contacted me about an image I took in January, 1977. It was a long time ago but fortunately I had the negatives and was able to help Tammi and do a couple of great news stories along the way.
I received an email this morning which I want to share. For me, it sort of makes the photos I have taken that have caused people pain when looking at them worthwhile. Tammi has given me permission to share but first I will tell you about my great day, Thursday.
Steve Lacy, a WCVB-TV reporter, and I traveled to Tammi’s home to interview her and her brother David Gladu whom she has spent more than half her life searching for to do a Thanksgiving story for the 6 o’clock news. We were both very excited about the story but of course who knew how good it would look on air?
We arrived to a happy home where Tammi and her two children Chris and Ashley along with her boyfriend Chad were getting ready for Thanksgiving and her brother David along with his wife Tina would be joining in the dinner.
The day was both fun and sad but more importantly it was a remembrance of how bad life can be and then how good it can become. We learned a lot from the conversations. I knew Tammi had been searching for a half brother and sister since her teenage years but I did not know that her brother David had no idea that Tammi existed.
He told us he had been given up for adoption when he was two along with his sister Eleanor who was one at the time. He spent a few years in foster care and was adopted when he was six. He had no idea that Eleanor existed until he was around fifteen years old and then his search began. He got nowhere and finally stopped the active search.
Tammi found out in her teens that her brother and sister existed and she continued the search for more than half her life. David only learned about Tammi in the last couple of months. Tammi found him on October 7th this year after she had found Eleanor a few months before.
It was a really feel good story. I don’t cover that many of those types of stories and Steve did a wonderful job of putting it out for viewers. Here I have been thinking what a wonderful thing this has been for me and today I got this email which makes it all worthwhile.
I am so glad to be able to meet my brother and sister this year! I am pleased with the videos that were done for both my sister and me and my brother and me as well! I have been thinking a lot about the book I have written and even though I have not come up with a proper name for it yet (it will come to me) I have thought about how I want the cover of the book to look. The picture that you took of the firefighter carrying me I think would be a perfect one to use, one of the titles I have thought of is “Out of the Fire and Ashes”, this one stays with me. What do you think?
Thank you so much for helping me, your excitement kept me going, where years past I would give up and wait till I had the strength to search again, but you gave me the perseverance to stick with it longer and that is how I was able to find them. I will always be grateful to you for that! It has been hard to write my story, as I have buried almost all of my memories to protect myself, most of them are not good. But my ending is perfect! David, Eleanor and I are planning a time already of when we can all get together; I still need a picture of all three of us!
I hope you have a great day!
Please visit my website for the links to the stories about the Southie Fire 1977.
I was covering the Bruins practice in 1968–1969 during their playoff run the year before they won the Stanley Cup. D. Leo Monahan, the great hockey writer for the Record American, came out of the Bruins locker room to get me while I was shooting stuff on the ice and said, “Bobby wants a team photo.”
Bobby Orr had received a poster from a group of soldiers in Vietnam and Orr wanted a team photo with the poster to send back to the soldiers. I took this photo of the group.
I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Garden including games when the Oshawa Generals, his minor league team, played at the Garden. I had two season tickets for section 73 Row C, seats 3 & 4. I even had a Bruins stocking hat that I would wear at work and around the office and of course everyone got their laughs from that.
The first time I saw Orr in person was when I went to the Garden with UPI photographers Don Robinson and George Riley for his first official practice as a Boston Bruin. He was there with Giles Marotte and as a hockey fan and future news photographer this was big.
We covered Orr all the time and when he got hurt at an away game I was sent to Logan Airport for his return along with Globe Photographer Charlie Carey. In those days you could get down to the airline terminal but Bobby was none too friendly with us, as he was hurting. It was not his usual demeanor. On the other hand, Phil Esposito, who walking with Orr tried to pacify us, being friendly but also trying to get us away from Orr.
I remember many times I was asked to cover events with Bruins players. One time, the two Esposito brothers were doing some kind of promotion for either an airline or a travel agency and we were out on the runaway while Tony and Phil waved to the cameras. It was fun and funny. I did a visit with Garnett “Ace” Bailey and his wife just before they got married. They were such a nice couple and it is truly sad that Ace lost his life in the 9/11 terrorism. A home visit with Ken Hodge was great, as I took a photo of Ken standing in front of his figure 8 swimming pool. I was welcome to his home as if I was one of his family.
I only covered a few Bruins hockey games; but, the few I covered were memorable. As a season ticket holder, I knew that Jacques Plante always skated off the ice with the stick in the air if he won a game. They were playing on a Saturday afternoon and I got to cover the game. I planned this photo all game and when the Bruins won I got a great photo of him skating off as he always did with the goalie stick up and a huge smile on his face.
The year before they won the Stanley Cup I covered a game that you could almost consider a riot. Lots of fights with Forbes Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs going wild during an 11–0 Bruins win. The ice was wild and so was the crowd. What a night!
Bobby and a group of rookie hockey players became friends with a group of girls from Revere and I got to meet him at one of the girl’s homes. It was exciting to meet the future Mr. Hockey.
When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1972 beating the New York Rangers at New York, I was at Logan Airport and on the runaway when they got off the plane, another exciting happening. The only problem was Bobby got off the plane next to a woman who I thought was his girlfriend (future wife) and went with that for the newspaper’s story. Only problem was she actually worked in the Bruins office and I identified her wrong. I found out by taking the photo to Bob Crane the State Treasurer.
When Ray Lussier made the great photo of Orr scoring the winning goal in their 1970 Stanley Cup win, I was at the game in my seats and after the game I went to the office. There was Mike Andersen’s great photo of young Bobby Orr drinking champagne from the top of the Cup.
Ray Lussier saw me and told me to follow him. He took me to the photo engraving department where back then engravings were made to put pictures in the paper. There it was one of the best hockey pictures ever and he was so proud, Orr in the air after shooting the overtime goal to beat St. Louis Blues.
I just looked up at the TV while typing this and on NESN there is a special on the Bruins and Bobby Orr flying through the air and they are talking about the Lussier photo.
I have lots of Bruins photos to post in the future and have most of the negatives from the above stories.
Now the rest of the story about the Bruins group photo from 1969.
In September of 2010 I was contacted by a friend of the artist who drew the poster for this photo. We exchanged several emails and then I exchanged emails with the artist who actually drew the poster from Viet Nam. The following is his story.
My Boston Bruins Vietnam Poster Story By Donald Souliere
I first learned my reserve unit was being activated for Vietnam duty from the local newspapers’ front page headlines. They contained a list of all the reserve units activated. My 513th Maintenance Battalion was on that list.
We left the Boston Army base and left my new commercial art career behind one cold morning in October. An Army convoy was taking us to Fort Dix New Jersey to be retrained for our overseas duty. I thought I would not have the opportunity to exercise my graphic design skills for at least a year; how wrong I was.
We flew out of Fort Dix in a troop transport plane. I slept most of the time to make the trip seem shorter. We arrived in Alaska to refuel. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like Alaska’s Blue Mountains. I had never traveled before. Now I was going to Japan and finally to Da Nang, Vietnam.
I stepped out of the plane and saw for the first time the Vietnam that I had seen so many times in the news. It was a humbling moment. A convoy was waiting to take us to Phubai. On the road to our new home the convoy had to stop for a short time because the Marines were having a fire fight to clear a bridge of danger so we could safely cross. Welcome to Vietnam.
A few weeks prior I was sketching families enjoying the swan boats in the Boston Public Garden. A few months later I was in a bunker with a 30 caliber machine gun on guard duty on the “perimeter” outside the compound for the 513th. The army shot up flares during the night to illuminate the rice paddy fields in front of us so we could see up to the tree lines. We hoped we wouldn’t see anything moving. I was a regular GI Joe just like the movies. Except this was not a movie.
I really believed the opportunity to exercise my graphic skills in a combat zone would be nil. To my surprise I was used immediately by the Army as a graphic artist as soon as they checked my civilian occupation. I did illustration of trucks for their maintenance manuals. I did posters to warn our soldiers of the possible dangers they might encounter such as sabotage, booby traps etc. I did marquee signs for the compounds for the Marines and our own battalion insignia for our compound.
While in Phubai I was approached by 3 soldiers to do a poster to cheer the Boston Bruins hockey team quest for the Stanley Cup. They mailed the poster all the way to the Boston Bruins. I used a Newsweek sport section photo for reference on the slap shot posture for the bear. I used Sports Illustrated photo for the Bruins uniform and I had a book on animals to use for reference to draw the bear. I used a Speed ball pen for the lettering and a brush and ink technique to do the bear. I never realized at the time that my poster would be in one of the most famous Boston Bruins hockey team photos ever.
After 3 months in Phubai I was recruited by the Army as a Combat Artist and was transferred to Da Nang Command Headquarters. I never saw the soldiers again and completely forgot about the Bruins poster. I did not see the poster again until five years ago in the office of a Bruins fan. As I looked at the photo I said, “I did that.” After that the “I did that” got around very quickly. Later I discovered the photo was in a book “A Century of Boston Sports,” it was hanging in the T.D. Gardens, and sold in stores sports photo section.
My last duty in Phubai before being transferred to Da Nang was to escort a Vietnamese truck to deliver used wood to a dump for the Army. On the way I spoke to the Vietnamese in French and we made friends. As we drove by their village they had me over for lunch. They gave me “Tiger” beer and chicken wings.
In Da Nang the famous Navy SEABEAS built me a drafting table in the Command Headquarters where I did full color illustrations depicting our soldiers in everyday life in Vietnam. The illustration where intended to be used as pictorial documentation for prosperity. As a combat artist I got to fly in a Huey helicopter taking pictures of the surrounding compound area that I would later use to make a large drawing. It was presented to a general for his outstanding efforts during his years of service in Vietnam.
During my Vietnam tour in Da Nang, I was on duty 14 hours a day starting at 5:00 am. After spending my day doing illustrations, I was off duty at 7:00pm. We did not always get the rest we wanted. The Vietcong would hit us with rockets. These attacks would happen mostly late at night. One time they hit an ammunition dump a quarter of a mile away. It exploded all night with the smoke floating over us with flashes of lights from the explosions. We were told an attack was possible and to stay on guard duty with our M16. After 36 hours they gave the all clear signal. There would be no attack. The only casualties were some of my posters/signs that had shrapnel holes in them.
I finished my tour and went back home where the memory of the poster and Vietnam experiences faded over time.
Donald Souliere, Specialist E5, US Army, Vietnam