Today, a rare treat from the archives: an audio tape that has never been played for the public, featuring the voice of the late Joseph R. Smallwood (right).
In the tape, Smallwood accuses a young journalist of "shoveling shit" and compares him to Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's minister of propaganda.
Believe it or not, the young journalists's name is Randy Simms (below), now the host of VOCM Open Line and mayor of the City of Mount Pearl.
The tape is just over three minutes long, and features a CBC employee in Gander possibly a reporter calling Smallwood to dutifully report what Simms has been saying on the local talk radio show. As near as I can tell, the incident happened in 1974, during the Liberal Reform era, when Smallwood was attempting a political revival in a splinter party of his own. Simms was musing in his call-in show on CJCR (part of the CJON chain) whether Smallwood was too old for such a comeback.
On hearing about this, Smallwood's reaction was venomous. It's a rare glimpse into how Smallwood talked when angry, and apparently off the record. Equally interesting to me is the reporter's subservient tone, and his offer to "publicize" anything that Smallwood desires in the days ahead. One moment Smallwood attacks Simms for spreading propaganda; the next the reporter is offering to do the same for Smallwood.
Click here to listen to the file.
And where did I get this tape? From my Dad, Ken Meeker, a former journalist who just recently found it among his collection of mementoes (he is a pack rat like myself). I would expect the tape was preserved and probably passed around because it was not common to capture Smallwood using such profanity. However, my father does not know the announcer on the tape (and, yes, I will follow up to see what else he might have tucked away in his files).
I have played the tape for Randy Simms and will have his reaction tomorrow, along with a great photo of Simms and Smallwood that was taken at that time. I will also include a transcript of the recording, for those who couldn't open the link for whatever reason.