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No, no. Let me interrupt you for just a second. How did it come to
be that all of these activities were going on? Was it just Ossie that
provided the contacts?
No. Ossie, Sammy Levenson, everybody. I knew a lot of
people, but Ossie was important. We knew lots of people.
You knew them from your experiences at 65 and before then?
65 and before that. Herschel Bernardi--gee, I don't know how
far he goes back. I've known him since the year one, and he came into
New York to do a show, so he ended up with us. Sam Levenson I've
known from the year one, too. So he would come. Johnny Randolph I
knew before Ossie. Johnny narrated for us on programs in the drug
union. Johnny and Sarah knew Ossie but through different kind of
connections and that worked. Norman Thomas I knew through Harry
Fleischman and those people.
So we got them to perform. In other words, things were happening at
the union all the time and that was part of the idea, to get these new
hospital workers into this kind of programming. You notice there's a
concert with Ella Fitzgerald. If we would have concentrated on more
pop things that were more in the black culture, we probably would
have gotten -- we had big dances every year. We had one or two big
dances that very often turned into brawls.
Yes. Oh, yeah. But the dances got bigger and we learned how
to control them. We at one time had a dance at the Coliseum with
Count Basie's band. We had dances at the Hotel St. George. We were
looking for bigger places -- Manhattan Center was too small for us --
to get bigger places, and these were fund-raising things for political
action. They were big events. Boat rides. We had boat rides, moonlight
sails that packed them in, a big money-maker.
But all of these things happened, and we were all also getting media
coverage on them, too, so that the AFL-CIO Federationist asked me to
write an article about culture in a local union, which I do, and it
appears in August '65. It's a four-page feature with photographs that
we provide. So the word gets out. There's Robert Burr, a very fine
We had done a film, as I indicated to you earlier, and we were now
fooling around because Don Hunstein, who was an excellent
photographer, was photographing for us and had come to me because
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