Lain's Log

My boy Bill - (with thanks to Rogers & Hammerstein)

October 6/11.

Today I'm writing about a special friend of mine. Bill Brioux. I met him when he was 17-years-old and working as a busboy at the Blockhouse Restaurant at Ontario Place in the summer of 1974. I was a waitress there.

Was he a doll, or what?? - Answer is yes.

Me, at 18, slinging beer at The Blockhouse. (Charming striped uniform).

My sister, Carrie, believes friends come in and out of our lives at different times for a reason or purpose. Sure seems that way with Bill. Can't count the ways he's stepped up to help me with a slew of bizarre problems throughout the years.

That Ontario Place experience made for a magic summer. Bill has told me bussing there was his favourite job ever and swears it's the truth (despite the fact he's had a fantastic career as a writer!) He actually worked at The Blockhouse for three summers in a row. His last one was when we met. He was very shy, but always quick with quips and I still remember him tossing a few zingers my way when he cleared my tables!

Soon after we met, Bill introduced me to his best pal, Pat Bullock.

They were working together as the comedy team Bullock & Brioux, playing Yuk Yuks and any other gigs they could scrounge up. I thought they were hilarious. And SOOOOOOO cute! I instantly fell in love with Pat (even though I was an "older woman")! Pat was 17 and attending Michael Power Catholic high school. I was heading for Seneca College. We dated for quite a while and I tried my best to lead him astray, but his Mother wouldn't let me. (As for Bill, HIS Mum never met me, so we were able to remain friends for life).

(surrounding Santa, left to right), Bill's pal Dave Kerwin, best buddy, Pat Bullock & Bill

Bill always jokes that their fame as Bullock & Brioux spread borough-wide, over several streets in Etobicoke and claims they sometimes got pelted with flying ashtrays during their comedy club days. Once, a reviewer stated, "Bullock & Brioux are to comedy, what a grapefruit is to parallel parking"! Yet they were good enough to win a comedy competition. The prize was a trip to Acapulco. They even had their own community cable TV show called Etobichannel at MacLean-Hunter! I was a huge fan of standup comedy (still am), and was thrilled to have two new hysterically funny friends I could watch in action.

Bill and I share a lifelong love of The Three Stooges. (Nyuk nyuk nyuk)!

Whenever I've turned to Bill for help, his response is always, "Why, soitenly"! LOVE it!!

Who knew, years after that Blockhouse summer,
Bill would become a TV writer/critic/pop culture specialist for TV Guide, The Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, Starweek, TV Times, Hello! Canada, CP and too many other publications to name, and also writes his colourful, news-packed daily blog,

Click here to visit Bill's blog, TV Feeds My Family.

and I would join Global TV as an entertainment reporter - (working here on Entertainment Desk with the late, great Bob McAdorey)!

That's where we crossed paths again, when Bill was invited to be part of the Entertainment Desk team, dropping by most Fridays to talk TV with Bob. I always loved yakking with Bill in the makeup room. KNEW he'd be cracking people up in there, and then I'd watch his interview, LIVE in the studio to catch the witty repartee between him and Bob. I remember Bill was always warned NOT to discuss shows that weren't aired on Global - NO CROSS-OVER PROMOTION FOR OTHER STATIONS! And then, the second the red light flicked on, Bob would start asking Bill about shows on ALL the other networks! Ever the pro, Bill would just go with the flow, leaving irreverant Bob chuckling. (Bob was always a rule-breaker).

I can honestly say I've never had a conversation with Bill, be it by phone, via email or in person, when he hasn't had me in stitches at some point. There aren't many people you can say that about.

I even think he's funny when he┬ĘPRETENDS to be serious!!

Two months ago, while on Facebook, I noticed Bill was online and sent him a pop-up message shouting, BILL!! He answered immediately, but little did I know, he was writing from Dawson City, Yukon, the farthest set visit he's ever been to in Canada, (4,326 kms), to interview Yannick Bisson & other cast members of Murdoch Mysteries, and also to play a bit part as a miner! Once again, he had me laughing, as I sat in the dark, in the middle of the night at my computer,

and he typed messages to me about having his teeth painted yellow for the role! (he has the picture to prove it!)

After bothering Bill for years, asking his advice on how to write a blog, how to go freelance, how to shop my writing around town, how to be an editor when I got hired at Tribute, (the movie magazine), and on and on, I FINALLY got the chance to do ONE small thing for him, It was a blast, and to top it off, I also got to work with my sister!

Bill with my sister, Carrie

In 2007, Bill contacted Carrie & me to invite us to be part of a crazy video he was making called Girls Gone Wise!

He wanted to pay tribute to his lifelong friends, Pat and Dave,
(left to right), Pat Bullock, Bill & Dave Kerwin

on the occasion of their big milestone birthdays, (which shall remain numberless!) Carrie had briefly dated Dave. Bill's idea was to return to the scene of the crime - Ontario Place, where he would shoot video of us,

reminiscing and story-telling about our memories of these two guys when they were teens. We immediately agreed to take part and did nothing but laugh together that day,

recalling aloud the zany antics of our energetic young pals, Pat, Dave and Bill.

Carrie (longtime Polka Dot Door TV host), and I even brought along our old Sunshine Girl newspaper pictures to remind the guys how hot we were when we first teamed up with them back then! LOL.

Girls Gone Wise?

I was so jazzed to work with Bill and take a stroll down memory lane at Ontario Place! After Carrie and I thanked him for the opportunity, and told him we're his biggest fans, Bill sent this sweet email message:

"Had to stop and tell you what a delight it was romping around Ontario Place today, most fun I've had there in 33 years. The two of you are the happiest, most well adjusted, coolest chicks. You have so much spirit and take such pleasure in each other, it is really a joy to see. This will blow those dudes away. The fact that you also arrived with love letters, Sunshine Girl photos, great stories plus are both such expressive and entertaining story tellers, well, what a bonus.
Know that I'm a pretty big fan of both of you, too.
Thanks again for a really fun day at Ontario Place and for the good vibe that got this whole deal off to a great start. You two are the best.
I think there is a very sweet story here. Again, thank you for both being so generous with your time, spirit and inspiration".

Bill at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

So many times, Bill would send along funny, frank, heartfelt, kind messages, always upbeat, positive and encouraging.

Bill on the set of Raising Hope.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, Bill was among the first friends I called. I knew his wife had survived breast cancer a few years earlier. After hearing my tale of woe, he helped me in a series of email exchanges. One said:

"Keep your chin up Elaine, get all the facts about YOU and your best course. Always a phone call away if you want/need to talk, happy to be here to support you in any way. Be strong, kick ass, feel the support. If you can survive THE BLOCKHOUSE you can survive anything"!!

He put me in touch with his wife, Cathy, who spent an hour on the phone with me, giving me straight answers to all my cancer questions. To this day, some of the things she said have been among the most helpful I've heard from anyone.

Upon launching my blog to talk about the cancer experience, Bill wrote:

"Congrats on your blog. Love the pic of you with your dukes up--fun and feisty, spirited and combative.

Keep writing from the top of your head and the bottom of your heart, it is a great gift for your readers".

"And hey--THANK YOU for the hubba hubba string bikini shots--ay carumba"!

"Your hotness shines through the years. I'm ordering a calendar. Pat Bullock was a fool to listen to his mother"!!

Even in the face of cancer, Bill made me laugh.

April 27/11 - Hours after my lumpectomy, makeup done!

Once I began to recover from surgery and found myself living with what I called "Intensity Entity" (a revving energy that suddenly inhabited my body, wreaking havoc with everything), I told Bill, his wife was right. Cancer DOES fuck with the mind.

I was over-the top, losin' it and my brain seemed outta conTROL! (thankyou Regis). I felt completely OUT there,
ready to explode - like when the Roadrunner uses TNT on Wile E Coyote! Unfazed, Bill shot back;

"Your awakening is natural and while it might bewilder you and your family at times, being out there is better than not being out there Elaine, be as out there as you can stand. You're on a mission. Fasten your seatbelts. Your family has to give you the space to explore and express. You will come back down to earth, but enjoy the view from inner/outer space, most of us never get to experience it. Any time you want to talk: Operators are standing by. Let your freak flag fly Elaine--losin' it is good, you have everything to gain".

The flag is still flying Bill. Thanks for everything!

Looks like Bill & I may cross over yet AGAIN with a new project involving our late friend, Bob McAdorey. Will keep you posted!

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At October 7, 2011 at 12:21 a.m. , Blogger Bill Brioux said...

Well--for once I am speechless. I didn't know there were that many picture of me out there in cyber land! Thank you for this flattering portrait Elaine, and especially for those glorious Blockhouse memories. That reunion video was really called "Girls Gone Wise," but in your case, "Wild" does seem more appropriate. Be proud of your alive response to cancer, it is inspirational. Looking forward to our homage to Bob at the end of the month. Keep flying that freak flag, and, once again, thanks for posting that bikini shot. It brings me straight back to the '70s! Bx

At October 7, 2011 at 2:51 a.m. , Anonymous Elaine Loring said...

Glad you liked the stroll down memory lane. (so did I!) As for the Girls Gone Wise mistake, I seriously thought it got changed to WILD somewhere along the line. Sorry about that, Chief! (but, as you say, wild might be more up my alley). Will go back in and fix that now!! As for the freak flag, no worries. It's flying high. See ya soon!


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