It’s been an extraordinary trip
that’s flown by too fast
So I’m hoping these rhymes
will help make it last
The writing of my memoirs has made me realize that so far, my life has been pretty magical, but it sure didn’t start out that way.
I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but growing up in Transcona and being told that the best you could ever hope for was a decent job, becoming special didn’t appear possible.
Not knowing what I wanted to do, at some point, I became a sheet metal apprentice and attended some very dull classes at the Manitoba Institute Of Technology. So hoping to bring a little excitement into my life, I bought a guitar and started a band.
As I indicated, I didn’t enjoy being a student back then, but I must admit that having MIT on my resume today looks pretty impressive.
Boredom may have been responsible for my buying a guitar, but more importantly, that’s when the magic in my life began to happen.
Can you imagine what it was like to hear Hal Ross of London Records saying, “Hell, I’ll release that,” after hearing a demo of, “Until You Do?” Or, how about hearing Jimmy Darin say on the radio, “Here’s a CKY exclusive, The Jury, with, “Until You Do. How magical was that?
How about the moment I walked into the on-air studio to hear George Dawes (pictured below) say, “Thanks but no thanks,” to someone on the phone who was offering him the program director’s job. When I told him that I was interested, he called them back, and the next thing I knew, I was the new PD of CKOM in Saskatoon. What kind of magic did Jim Hilliard (pictured below) hear when he visited Dallas that made him pull over and call me from a phone booth to say, “Johns, we’ve got a shot.”
The next thing I knew, billboards went up all over Dallas promoting KVIL, and the rest, as they say, is history. I think it would be easier to win the lottery than experience the magical moment my best friend from my home town, Jim Quail, had that involved me. (pictured below with his wife, Di)
“Georgie boy,” he said, “I had no idea that you were such a big deal.” He then went on to say that he was up late doing a little paperwork and was listening to a US talk radio station when he heard a caller say, “I’m calling from Winnipeg, which is a city you’ve probably never heard of.”
The host, Jim said, replied with, “Of course I’ve heard of Winnipeg, it’s not only where Neil Young, The Guess Who, and Bachman Turner Overdrive are from, but also where one of America’s biggest radio consultants, George Johns is from.” Jim said that he then fell off his chair and awakened his wife.
Back when my daughter Candis was going to NYU, and we dined with Rick Moranis (pictured below) in the Village, he graciously said, “Candis, your Dad was responsible for launching my career.
When I was going to medical school in Toronto,” he continued, “I also did a little part-time board op work at CFTR. However, when your Dad put me on the radio one weekend, I knew I was born to be in showbiz, so I quit medical school.” Don’t you just love it when your guys provide a magical moment for your kids? Thank you, Rick.
One evening, while dining with my accountant, Cindy Adair, she asked if I knew who Delilah was? When I told her that I did, she said that she loved her show, so I asked if she would like to meet her? How is that possible, she said, doesn’t she broadcast her show from Seattle? Knowing that Delilah was in town making a personal appearance at the Woman’s Fair, I responded with, “I can make it happen.”
Upon our arrival at the Woman’s Fair, we spotted Delilah signing autographs in the corridor. As we made our way up the side of a very long line, I could tell that Cindy still had her doubts about me knowing her. However, after I loudly said, “Hey There, Delilah,” and with a massive grin on her face, she made her way over to us, I think Cindy’s doubts may have disappeared.
When I introduced them, I said to Delilah, Cindy is my tax accountant, she keeps me out of jail.” Delilah responded with, “If George goes to jail, Cindy, I don’t think it will be for financial reasons.” At that point, the crowd began chanting, “Back of the line, back of the line,” which caused Delilah to say, “Hush, if it weren’t for this man, I would never be in syndication.”