Friday, September 12, 2014

Cooper and Ackery

I promised to tell you about Ivan Ackery and Gary Cooper. And I am going to.

Ivan was fond of Cooper and the tall, lanky American liked the theatre manager. On at least five occasions, Cooper came to Vancouver and would call Ackery to get together for talk and drinks. Cooper wasn't as reserved as he appeared.

“The first afternoon Coop called on me,” Ivan recalled, “we went out and spent several hours in one of our local bootleggers exchanging philosophies of life and all those profound things one discusses in an afternoon at the bootleggers. We were joined by Mayor Hume and some fellows from the CBC. Gary was expected at the home of a socially prominent family, but he didn’t want to go."

“By the time we left the bootleggers to return to the theatre, it was time to start the feature. I decided, as was my habit, to first share with the audience the pleasure of a few moments with our visiting celebrity.
“Out onto the stage we waltzed—the stocky Bristolian and the lanky American, full of warmth and good humor. I apologized to our audience for the fact that we were both rather well toasted, and then Gary and I joked with each other and the audience for a few minutes. When we returned backstage, he put his finger beside his nose and in that inimitably mischievous way of his, with his eyes a-twinkle, he said, ‘Ivan—guess what? Your zipper’s undone.’ And, ye gods, he was right!”

That's not the end of the story though. One of the senior staff at the Orpheum was leaving that night and, as was custom, a farewell party was held for him or her. “and danced with every girl in the place, including the cleaning ladies whom he sought out for a turn around the lobby.

“Finally,” Ivan continues, “at 4:30 a.m. we meandered out onto Seymour Street, exhausted.” A city street-washing wagon was just then passing, and the driver recognized the actor. “Hello there, Mr. Cooper,” and Coop called out, “Which way are y’ goin’?”

“Down Granville Street,” he replied.

 “Could you give us a lift to the Hotel Vancouver?” Coop asked.

“You bet! Climb aboard!” And off they went aboard the water wagon.

I want to thank The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. That was a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing with us dull American's how one of our own was all that snobbish. Today you don't hear a lot about actors and private moments with ordinary people. It is good to know Cooper and Ackery could be themselves.

    1. People seem to be more jaded now. Everyone wants something from those who are successful or at least that's the way it seems to them.

  2. If your rich and famous people expect that the rich should rub off on them through pictures or whatever but it is more a thing of being in the right place at the right time and having some really excellent talent. People want to be rich but without the work. Liberace practiced the piano 16 to 18 hours a day. Who'd want to do that today. I can say that at one time I was at one of his concerts and my dad had back door tickets, it was my 17th birthday, and when we meet him he invited out out to dinner. I was so excited to think that he would ask us and then my dad put a damper on our invite and said "no" But he was a wonderful person and a great pianist. That is one moment in my life I will never forget.

    1. That's a great story. Thank you for sharing it with us.