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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Turn Up The Heat


By Fred Wallace

Ballard & The Beatles



Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire "

The great Paul Hill & I were talking about The Beatles concerts at Maple Leaf Gardens in the 60's yesterday on 560 CFOS.

The story goes that Harold Ballard booked The Beatles on each of their three North American tours from 1964-1966.

In 1965, Ballard sold tickets for TWO shows, even though the agreement had been for only one.

On the hot summer day of one of the concerts, Ballard ordered the heat to be turned up at Maple Leaf Gardens, he shut off the water fountains, and delayed both of the concerts for over an hour.

The only available refreshments were large soft drinks from the concession triple the normal price.

The story, exaggerated or not, was typical of Ballard's ingenuity or greed- take your pick.

Of course, 7 years after The Beatles, Ballard became the majority owner of the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and was a central figure in bizarre occurrences on and certainly off the ice.

It was a popular belief, and still is, that the Leafs would never win under Ballard's circus like ownership.

Yet 27 years after Ballard's death, there's still no Stanley Cup for Toronto.

Is that drought a lingering result of the Ballard Years  ?

Have a great weekend.

I'm Fred Wallace

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