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"YAN" 2002 Obituary


YANOVSKY 

YANOVSKY o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-11-26 published
Folk singer, ad man penned lyrics
Travellers founder, political backroomer, rewrote This Land with a Canadian twist
By Charles MANDEL Special to The Globe and Mail Tuesday, November 26, 2002 -- Page R11
Wordsmith and marketing executive Jerry GOODIS, as well-known for his advertising slogans as for rewriting This Land Is Our Land for the landmark folk group The Travellers, has died at age 73.
Mr. GOODIS's facility with words ranged from the nationalistic pride of the folksong's lyrics, to the crassly commercial but nonetheless equally memorable Harvey's Makes Your Hamburger a Beautiful Thing. "His forte was the spoken word," said Jerry GRAY/GREY, a life-long friend of Mr. GOODIS's. "He could sell anything to anybody, as happened later in the advertising business."
A jazz fan who loved the music of Stan KENTON and Woody HERMAN, Mr. GOODIS was the son of a union organizer/tailor in Toronto's garment district. He studied art at the city's Central Technical High School, but gained his real education through the Communist-leaning United Jewish People's Order to which both his and Mr. GRAY/GREY's parents belonged.
In the early 1950s, both Mr. GOODIS and Mr. GRAY/GREY sang in the United Jewish People's Order's youth choir, a group of some 18 kids that would travel around Ontario and sing folk music and labour songs on picket lines. The youngsters spent summers at the United Jewish People's Order's camp, Naivelt, northwest of Toronto, where they'd sing songs and swap stories at informal hootenannies. The mother of Zal YANOVSKY -- he would go on to fame as the Loving Spoonful's guitarist -- acted as camp director, and renowned American folksinger Pete SEEGER was a frequent visitor. "It was a cauldron of folk music," Mr. GRAY/GREY recalled.
In 1953, Mr. GOODIS and Mr. GRAY/GREY, along with Gray's sister Helen, Sid DOLGAY and Oscar ROSS formed The Travellers, drawing inspiration from Mr. SEEGER and his group, The Weavers. According to authors Ted and Alex BARRIS in their book, Making Music, when The Travellers made their debut at the United Jewish People's Order's national convention in 1953, "they sang their complete repertoire of three songs, and when the audience called for more, they sang all three songs again."
In 1954, Mr. SEEGER told The Travellers they might as well rewrite Woody GUTHRIE's classic anthem to America, This Land Is Our Land, because no one south of the border could hear it at the time. Mr. GUTHRIE, Mr. SEEGER and others were under investigation as Communists and radio stations had blacklisted their music. At a house party, Mr. GOODIS and the others began playing around with the lyrics, first writing "from Newfoundland to the Vancouver Island." The group changed the song to its better-known version ("from Bonavista to the Vancouver Island") in time for a talent-hunt show on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-Television called Pick the Stars.
The Travellers sang This Land Is Our Land on the show and the letters of acclaim from viewers poured in. In the following decade, the song became such a huge hit that when singers like Peter, Paul and Mary or the Kingston Trio came to Canada, they'd launch into the American version and then look puzzled when Canadian audiences began jeering them. "The song lives on," Mr. GRAY/GREY said. "It's The Travellers' signature song and has been since those early days."
Mr. GOODIS recorded Across Canada With The Travellers and The Travellers Sing Songs of North America with the band. Despite the group's growing fame, Mr. GOODIS remained modest about his role. His son David remembers that Mr. GOODIS would always joke he lacked talent.
"He couldn't sing, but he started the group so they couldn't kick him out," David said. "That was the line he always used to use."
As it turned out, nobody pushed Mr. GOODIS from the band. He quit in 1961 to form an ad agency that would become Goodis Goldberg Soren and go on to create some of the catchiest product slogans around. As Mr. GOODIS avidly pursued singing, he'd also fostered an equal interest in advertising. While working at his first job, cutting stencils for mimeograph machines, Mr. Goodis hit on the idea of starting a direct-mail company. With his friend and later-to-be fellow Traveller Oscar ROSS, they began Rosgood Advertising.
"We used to say, let's do it even though we're not going to make money. But we'll get samples. But we never got very far with those samples," Mr. ROSS said.
Mr. GOODIS managed advertising for a Toronto jewellery-store chain and did a catalogue for a children's-wear distributor, but it was while singing for The Travellers that he met his future ad-agency partner. Sam GOLDBERG worked as the group's music director and manager, but like Goodis he saw a future in advertising. Carl DAIR, a graphic designer, joined them, but ultimately their third partner was Al SOREN.
Their first break came when they landed the account for Hush Puppies, a then-unknown brand of shoe. They had $7,000 to launch the campaign, so for $900 the agency created a 20-second television commercial featuring a basset hound. The unlikely ad sparked sales and the accounts rolled in. The Canadian Encyclopedia reports that the firm's billings quickly reached $30-million.
Mr. GOODIS is widely credited for creating such slogans as, "We care about the shape you're in" for Wonderbra, and, "At Speedy, you're a somebody" for Speedy Muffler King. However, his colleagues said copywriters and art directors actually penned the lines. Doug LINTON, who worked as a creative director at Goodis Goldberg Soren, said Mr. GOODIS critiqued advertising brilliantly and encouraged creative thought. "He convinced the captains of industry, the people who purchased advertising, that they could make money by doing advertising that had some wit and artistry about it."
Politics also attracted Mr. GOODIS. In 1968, he attended the Liberal Party convention and came back excited over the prospects of a rising star who might one day become prime minister, Pierre TRUDEAU. " From then on, whenever election time was getting close, my dad would immerse himself in that," David GOODIS remembered. Along with Senator Keith DAVEY, Mr. GOODIS became one of Prime Minister Trudeau's most trusted re-election team members.
After leaving advertising, Mr. GOODIS founded The Jerry Goodis Business Education Group and helped set up programs for young entrepreneurs at several universities and colleges. As late as 1998, Hamilton's McMaster University hired him to help rebrand the educational institution.
After a lifetime in Toronto, Mr. GOODIS moved to Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, where he entered semi-retirement. In the last couple of years of his life, according to Mr. GRAY/GREY, Mr. GOODIS reunited with The Travellers, helping with publicity around a National Film Board production on the band. "I think in his later years," Mr. GRAY/GREY said, "he began to appreciate the value the Travellers had on the Canadian psyche. In many ways, he may have forgotten his roots and in later years when he wasn't doing as much in the business world, he loved what The Travellers were doing and loved the part he played. After all, he's the founder."
Mr. GOODIS died of cancer on Nov. 8. He leaves his third wife, Joyce SEIDEL- GOODIS of Harrison Hot Springs, and children Leslie, David and Noah.

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YANOVSKY o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-11-26 published
Folk singer, ad man penned lyrics
Travellers founder, political backroomer, rewrote This Land with a Canadian twist
By Charles MANDEL Special to The Globe and Mail Tuesday, November 26, 2002 -- Page R11
Wordsmith and marketing executive Jerry GOODIS, as well-known for his advertising slogans as for rewriting This Land Is Our Land for the landmark folk group The Travellers, has died at age 73.
Mr. GOODIS's facility with words ranged from the nationalistic pride of the folksong's lyrics, to the crassly commercial but nonetheless equally memorable Harvey's Makes Your Hamburger a Beautiful Thing. "His forte was the spoken word," said Jerry GRAY/GREY, a life-long friend of Mr. GOODIS's. "He could sell anything to anybody, as happened later in the advertising business."
A jazz fan who loved the music of Stan KENTON and Woody HERMAN, Mr. GOODIS was the son of a union organizer/tailor in Toronto's garment district. He studied art at the city's Central Technical High School, but gained his real education through the Communist-leaning United Jewish People's Order to which both his and Mr. GRAY/GREY's parents belonged.
In the early 1950s, both Mr. GOODIS and Mr. GRAY/GREY sang in the United Jewish People's Order's youth choir, a group of some 18 kids that would travel around Ontario and sing folk music and labour songs on picket lines. The youngsters spent summers at the United Jewish People's Order's camp, Naivelt, northwest of Toronto, where they'd sing songs and swap stories at informal hootenannies. The mother of Zal YANOVSKY -- he would go on to fame as the Loving Spoonful's guitarist -- acted as camp director, and renowned American folksinger Pete SEEGER was a frequent visitor. "It was a cauldron of folk music," Mr. GRAY/GREY recalled.
In 1953, Mr. GOODIS and Mr. GRAY/GREY, along with Gray's sister Helen, Sid DOLGAY and Oscar ROSS formed The Travellers, drawing inspiration from Mr. SEEGER and his group, The Weavers. According to authors Ted and Alex BARRIS in their book, Making Music, when The Travellers made their debut at the United Jewish People's Order's national convention in 1953, "they sang their complete repertoire of three songs, and when the audience called for more, they sang all three songs again."
In 1954, Mr. SEEGER told The Travellers they might as well rewrite Woody GUTHRIE's classic anthem to America, This Land Is Our Land, because no one south of the border could hear it at the time. Mr. GUTHRIE, Mr. SEEGER and others were under investigation as Communists and radio stations had blacklisted their music. At a house party, Mr. GOODIS and the others began playing around with the lyrics, first writing "from Newfoundland to the Vancouver Island." The group changed the song to its better-known version ("from Bonavista to the Vancouver Island") in time for a talent-hunt show on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-Television called Pick the Stars.
The Travellers sang This Land Is Our Land on the show and the letters of acclaim from viewers poured in. In the following decade, the song became such a huge hit that when singers like Peter, Paul and Mary or the Kingston Trio came to Canada, they'd launch into the American version and then look puzzled when Canadian audiences began jeering them. "The song lives on," Mr. GRAY/GREY said. "It's The Travellers' signature song and has been since those early days."
Mr. GOODIS recorded Across Canada With The Travellers and The Travellers Sing Songs of North America with the band. Despite the group's growing fame, Mr. GOODIS remained modest about his role. His son David remembers that Mr. GOODIS would always joke he lacked talent.
"He couldn't sing, but he started the group so they couldn't kick him out," David said. "That was the line he always used to use."
As it turned out, nobody pushed Mr. GOODIS from the band. He quit in 1961 to form an ad agency that would become Goodis Goldberg Soren and go on to create some of the catchiest product slogans around. As Mr. GOODIS avidly pursued singing, he'd also fostered an equal interest in advertising. While working at his first job, cutting stencils for mimeograph machines, Mr. Goodis hit on the idea of starting a direct-mail company. With his friend and later-to-be fellow Traveller Oscar ROSS, they began Rosgood Advertising.
"We used to say, let's do it even though we're not going to make money. But we'll get samples. But we never got very far with those samples," Mr. ROSS said.
Mr. GOODIS managed advertising for a Toronto jewellery-store chain and did a catalogue for a children's-wear distributor, but it was while singing for The Travellers that he met his future ad-agency partner. Sam GOLDBERG worked as the group's music director and manager, but like Goodis he saw a future in advertising. Carl DAIR, a graphic designer, joined them, but ultimately their third partner was Al SOREN.
Their first break came when they landed the account for Hush Puppies, a then-unknown brand of shoe. They had $7,000 to launch the campaign, so for $900 the agency created a 20-second television commercial featuring a basset hound. The unlikely ad sparked sales and the accounts rolled in. The Canadian Encyclopedia reports that the firm's billings quickly reached $30-million.
Mr. GOODIS is widely credited for creating such slogans as, "We care about the shape you're in" for Wonderbra, and, "At Speedy, you're a somebody" for Speedy Muffler King. However, his colleagues said copywriters and art directors actually penned the lines. Doug LINTON, who worked as a creative director at Goodis Goldberg Soren, said Mr. GOODIS critiqued advertising brilliantly and encouraged creative thought. "He convinced the captains of industry, the people who purchased advertising, that they could make money by doing advertising that had some wit and artistry about it."
Politics also attracted Mr. GOODIS. In 1968, he attended the Liberal Party convention and came back excited over the prospects of a rising star who might one day become prime minister, Pierre TRUDEAU. " From then on, whenever election time was getting close, my dad would immerse himself in that," David GOODIS remembered. Along with Senator Keith DAVEY, Mr. GOODIS became one of Prime Minister Trudeau's most trusted re-election team members.
After leaving advertising, Mr. GOODIS founded The Jerry Goodis Business Education Group and helped set up programs for young entrepreneurs at several universities and colleges. As late as 1998, Hamilton's McMaster University hired him to help rebrand the educational institution.
After a lifetime in Toronto, Mr. GOODIS moved to Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, where he entered semi-retirement. In the last couple of years of his life, according to Mr. GRAY/GREY, Mr. GOODIS reunited with The Travellers, helping with publicity around a National Film Board production on the band. "I think in his later years," Mr. GRAY/GREY said, "he began to appreciate the value the Travellers had on the Canadian psyche. In many ways, he may have forgotten his roots and in later years when he wasn't doing as much in the business world, he loved what The Travellers were doing and loved the part he played. After all, he's the founder."
Mr. GOODIS died of cancer on Nov. 8. He leaves his third wife, Joyce SEIDEL- GOODIS of Harrison Hot Springs, and children Leslie, David and Noah.

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YANOVSKY o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2002-12-15 published
Rocker worked lifetime of magic
Lovin' Spoonful guitarist dies at 58
Zal YANOVSKY ran noted restaurant
Nicolaas VAN RIJN Staff Reporter
Zal YANOVSKY believed in magic.
As a member of the Lovin' Spoonful it got him his first big hit, the 1960s "Do You Believe in Magic," which helped put the group second only to the Beatles in record sales for a while.
And, after the music died, it got him to Kingston, where the man known as the Jewish version of Ringo Starr -- for his resemblance to the Beatles drummer -- started a restaurant, Chez Piggy, that is known across the land for its fare and welcoming atmosphere as a meeting place.
"He had an unorthodox style of playing, to say the least," said Denny DOHERTY of the Mamas and Papas, who was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame with YANOVSKY in 1996. "There was not any book anywhere that he followed.
"And he is gone too soon."
YANOVSKY, 58, died suddenly at his farm home just outside Kingston Friday of a heart attack.
Survivors include his wife Rose RICHARDSON, his daughter Zoe, 2-year-old grand_son Max, a sister Buba and his first wife, the actor Jackie BURROUGHS. A private family service will be held Monday in Kingston.
Kingston Mayor Isabel TURNER, who said she was "shocked" to hear of the death of the man she'd casually greet on the city's streets, hailed him as "a part of the very fabric of our community.''
"He took a very old building, went in and not only cleaned it all up, but brought it back to its former glory," she said of the work YANOVSKY and his wife Rose put into restoring an 1880s livery stable for their Chez Piggy.
"He was one of the first to do that, and because of it, others looked at what he had done and followed suit, with the result being that quite a renovation has taken place in downtown Kingston."
To recognize their work, TURNER said, the couple was last year recognized with a heritage restoration award.
"He had a really wonderful life in Kingston," said Toronto writer Marni JACKSON, who used to work at YANOVSKY's first Kingston restaurant, the lakeshore Dr. Bull's, making cappuccinos.
"He's a heart guy, the guy at the heart of Kingston. He and his wife Rose were really crucial in restoring Kingston's downtown and keeping the tourist economy kicking along because Chez Piggy's was really the city's first gathering place."
Born in Toronto, YANOVSKY dropped out of Downsview Collegiate at age 16 to begin the peripatetic lifestyle that marked his early days.
"I was late the second day of school," YANOVSKY recalled in an interview. "They wouldn't let me in school 'cause I didn't have all my books. I never really went back to get 'em. I guess I really didn't want to get back to school."
Since he'd just learned to play the guitar a year before, YANOVSKY turned to the stage, working "the Toronto coffee houses with a cat named Roy GURAL," he recalled. "Then I worked in a coffee house in Kitchener and then I packed it in and went to Israel," where he worked on a kibbutz.
But, DOHERTY recalled, YANOVSKY didn't last long.
"He was fired because he'd driven a Caterpillar tractor through a building. He was trying to help his people rebuild the country, not tear it down, but... So they said 'You'll do better in Tel Aviv,' and he tried busking in Tel Aviv, but it didn't go, so he came back to Toronto."
For the next year he survived by sleeping in an all-night coin laundry at the corner of Dupont and St. George Sts., busking, playing coffee houses and swiping milk bottles off front porches in his neighbourhood.
"I used to steal milk bottles, sell them to the candy store and get deposit money," YANOVSKY once confessed. "Listen, I needed the dough, so I mooched around a lot. I still got a lot of debts to pay when I get back, but I wasn't very original with the milk bottles -- and my technique was not very lucrative."
Longtime friend Larry ZOLF, in a 1966 interview, laughed "I remember Zal from the days he was so poor he was claimed as a tax exemption by 27 people. I remember Zal in the days when he was so dirty he was condemned as unfit for human habitation by the Toronto Board of Control."
YANOVSKY finally caught a break when DOHERTY, then with a group named The Halifax Three, asked him to come aboard, and for a while it was The Halifax Three Plus One.
"He played lead blues, kind of a single string picking, when I met him in 1961," DOHERTY recalled.
"Zal had been into rhythm and blues, and folk music. Our gig paid him a couple of hundred bucks a week, and we toured a lot, so through that he met other musicians and started hanging around New York.
After a stretch playing with Doherty in Washington's Georgetown district, YANOVSKY returned to New York where he teamed up with John SEBASTIAN who wanted to put together a group.
The result was the Lovin' Spoonful, with SEBASTIAN on guitar, harmonica and autoharp, Steve BOONE on bass and piano, Joe BUTLER on drums and YANOVSKY on guitar.
The group was so impressive so quickly that it and DOHERTY's Mammas and Pappas were hailed by Time magazine in the mid-1960s as the two top groups in America.
The band's reputation soared as "Do You Believe in Magic" took over the charts, and for several years the Spoonful had a loyal and fanatic following. But by 1967 YANOVSKY was ready for other challenges.
A clash with San Francisco police over marijuana contributed to his decision, Friends say.
"I left because I don't want to compromise any more," he said. "I want to be completely responsible for myself. I want to make decisions for myself."
With the cash settlement he received from the Spoonful, one that he candidly confessed made him "crazy rich," YANOVSKY spent several years casting about for a new life.
He attempted a musical comeback of his own in 1968 with the album Alive and Well and Living in Argentina, but it was, to put it kindly, a flop.
Still, he would occasionally pull out his own review of the album, published in the Star in 1968 under his own byline, and cringe.
Then came a shot at television producing -- Magistrate's Court, a mercifully short-lived and unlamented soap YANOVSKY himself admitted was "awful" -- and a brief period playing with Kris KRISTOFFERSON in 1970.
Finally came the challenge of running a restaurant in Kingston.
"Zal's father Avram was a cook," DOHERTY recalled yesterday.
"He was a bohemian himself, an artist and a writer, so Zal was raised rather 21st-century. There was cooking in the family."
YANOVSKY "loved his later life," DOHERTY said.

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