Friday, 4 June 2010

Trivial point

The Chris Haney tribute written by the Toronto Star's Katie Daubs mentions several newsmen who did, and didn't, buy into Trivial Pursuit as investors in the early 1980s.

Chaney, who died Monday at 59, and fellow Montreal newsman Scott Abbott, offered people they knew $1,000 shares before the board game was released. Those who did, became wealthy. Those who didn't, well, they didn't become wealthy.

Not mentioned in the Daubs story is the late Bruce Blackadar, one of the "Windsor mafia" who worked at the Toronto Sun and the Star from the 1970s until his death from brain cancer on Aug. 15, 1996, at 51.

Bruce, a highly respected reporter/writer/author, rolled the dice and invested in 1982.

Bruce was also a poker player and one night he told fellow players at the Toronto Press Club his first Trivial Pursuit cheque was in his pocket. It was for $14,000.

"The first thing I am going to buy is a pair of silk pajamas," said Bruce, a recovering alcoholic and author of Last Call, a collection of anonymous columns he had written for AA.

Knowing his background made you feel good about his financial bonanza.

Bruce didn't flaunt his new-found source of income. As a gambler, he had gambled on a couple of heavy-drinking news guys who came up with a board game and it was a winner.

The cheques kept coming until his death and that was just fine with friends and colleagues at the Sun and the Star. They knew his first love was journalism and he worked the newsrooms to the end.

As for that night at the press club poker table, Bruce walked away with winnings from the usual suspects and the $14,000 cheque in his pocket.


  1. One of the nicest memories I have of newspapers is of simply talking to Bruce. He was charming, talented and erudite man without a mean bone in his body. Of course, I knew him after his drinking days were over. But I can't imagine his being anything other than a class act.

  2. I read Bruce Blackadar's book when I was about three months sober (now 11 years and counting). Frightening in its accuracy, it was also highly inspirational.