ART GUINEY 1916-1992 R.I.P.--Part III

Part III of my R.I.P for Art based on an essay I wrote a few months after his passing in July 1992.
January 2010 edition of this page
I never went to the Squaw Valley Hockey Camp but in about it's third year I helped Art with its organizing and promotion. High adventure, as usual. Negotiations to make arrangements with the players were rather tenuous and chaotic , each made 'off the cuff' as usual. I remember having meetings with a public relations/advertising man who drafted a slick promotional brochure. Art's staff negotiations dragged on eclipsing the proper lead time for the brochure so we had to publish it without colors and slick paper. It is described on my Hockey Schools page.


Squaw Valley in 1960, scene of US Olympics triumph.
 

My son Joe went to Art's Burbank hockey school one summer when it featured Jack Riley from West Point, Red Kelly and Dale Rolfe of the Kings, Charley Hodge, California Seals and Art's long time close friend, the late Tommy Williams of Boston. We had the most fun trading stories with Jack who was a Boston area native like us and a ferociously proud supporter of U.S. hockey players. Charley misunderstood about the 'free' Watts lines after regular hours at Dart Industries when you go through a Canadian operator and my division at Dart 'swallowed' another hockey expense.

When I first went to work at Dart, Bill Van Siclen told me the infamous incident on Operation East in Christmas '69 when Art extended the tour to have the kid's play 'one more game' that he had promised to some prep school north of Boston. The prime vehicle, a VW van was on our Dart Chemical Group charge card and the bills were still coming in May 1970. Art had to confer with some school principles in L.A. to explain the educational benefits ensuing to students who returned late from their Christmas break.

He took a little too much time off that year, straining his relationship with the studios and parted with them into the equipment business. He was 54 and I think received a small studio pension. I know in the 70's he paid a fortune into social security and drew on that after his retirement in around '83 when he was 67.

There's another 'Art-tale' related to the overextended Operation East trip. When Art filed his modest income tax with a large charitable deduction for 'boys ice hockey trip'. The IRS requested clarification and Art wrote or called to add a description of the 3 three week trip around New England during which he spent probably $500 of his own money and thousands of donated dollars. He had petitioned the L.A. boys schools so they could released early and return late at Christmas break.

The IRS failed to understand and scheduled Art for an audit. Armed with a shoebox of scribbled notes and receipts which made little sense to me when I reviewed it a few years later. And mind you I grew up in New England playing ice hockey and knew the rinks, roads, coaches, restaurants, etc where the expenses had been incurred.

The IRS lady, oriental, listened to gabby, energetic, little Art who was personally known by hundreds of Hollywood and national sports celebrities. Finally she had a chance to speak and said, "But Mr. Guiney you cannot deduct expense for helping boys play hookey from school." I would like to have seen the expression on Art's face before he recovered and requested a supervisor to verify that there was a sport called 'hockey'. The expenses were allowed but he never bothered to deduct them again.

When Art was 70 he climbed into his 280 Z and drove to Boston and visited his uncle Jack Guiney, other relatives and friends. He was amazed and stupefied at 'how stay-at-home' were many New Englanders. In trying to get them to visit their favorite restaurants they would say they hadn't been to this place or that, within 10 miles in 20 years. It left Art speechless. A guy you would see drinking coffee at the Santa Monica rink at 6:30 a.m., a coke in a San Diego rink in late afternoon and at the King's in Inglewood that evening. Most of us were there because we had sons playing and a wife and friends helping with driving. He was there because that's where 'his people' were. I suspect people who knew him in the 70's thought his sole motivation was selling equipment. They didn't realize the business had followed the love of the sport and after a very tenuous, scratchy beginning was not hurting for orders.

My youngest son Andy knew Art in his fully active years and also accompanied me on visits when Art was chiefly confined to his Venice apartment. Home from the east coast on leave from the Navy Andy listened to our stories. Art took phone calls in bed of course with a gold 'old Hollywood prop' style phone. After we left Andy commented on Art's colloquialisms as those of movies such as 'The Godfather'.

Art's Boston 'twang' had particular significance to me. To anyone well tuned to 'bawstin' accents Art's was actually very Cambridge and Arlington (spoken as 'ahhrlington'). It reflected the idioms, emphasis and philosophy of life of my family and early years in the suburbs west of Boston. A memorable factor of that life in the 30's and 40's was a pecular geographic parochialism. Each mile square or 'town' had distinct neighborhoods with local 'nuances' which we enjoyed recalling.

Sometime in the mid '80's Art related a story about how in the late 30's he fell in with door to door salesmen who worked 'out of Central Squahr' along Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge'. The informal group gathered in the late afternoon in a club above the Wursthaus on old Boylston street, now Kennedy Street, to trade tales and 'hoist a few'. A daily contest was waged for who had 'laid on' the best con of the day. Art pointed out that in those days there was no unemployment 'insurance', social security, welfare or any stipends to 'lean on' so the unemployed 'hustled' door to door with legitimate wares. Art sold sold religious pictures along Massachusetts Avenue and likely was successful since he had been brought up in a devout Catholic family and attended Mass regularly. He said the leader of that pack was a guy (with an Irish name I wrote down somewhere) who out did them all day in and day out with 'you can't top this' stories. Art said, "Charlie xxx, I'll never forget that guy" as he often did about numerous acquaintances.

I was 6 to 8 years old in those same days and my mother, who took me into Boston frequently, probably knew Art by sight. The Wursthaus restaurant in Harvard Squahr was their mutual favorite as it was with me. You need to realize that we didn't use autos from the western suburbs of Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Belmont and Watertown. All were on the direct trolley/bus line so people from those towns converged at 'Hahvud' Square to shop and/take the "El", later the MTA/MBTA train further into Cambridge and downtown Boston.

Right smack dab on the corner of Boylston and Massachusetts Ave in the 'squahr' was a street level 'hole in the wall', Nemo's or some such name, a hotdog stand on the 'cahner' , a favorite for girl watching. When we reminisced about 'Nemo's Art recalled another cafe further along Bolyston, which I can vaguely remember where he said they grabbed the window seats for pulchritude analysis. I can imagine the exclamations, "Jeezus Tahm, did ya get a load of that quiff?" Women were not only 'girls', they were 'gals, quiff, tail, quail, hunks, made out of bricks, etc. The expressions were onomatopoeic. They sounded right. Not to be translated and analzed for 'sensitivity training' since they didn't make a bit of sense. What was desirable about a woman who 'was built like a brick shit house'?

My father stopped by Gusty's restaurant near Porter Square, Cambridge on a snowy day in our new 1937 Plymouth. The memory was vivid for years and when I mentioned it to Art he related his familiarity with the establishment which later became Igo's.

After I became single again in the early '80's I introduced my more adventuresome lady friends to Art. Several said it was a major highlight in our friendship. One Orange County friend, a Bakersfield shopkeeper's daughter, considered Art without parallel as the funniest person she ever met. We met Art that night at a jazz club on Ventura Boulevard.

About a year later she asked a mutual friend whom I was 'dating', "Have you met Art yet.?" The friend resented that as an implying, 'have you qualified yet?'. However after she met Art she understood and expressed her affection for him. It was always my contention that anyone who can easily establish rapport with as many people as Art did has a deep love of people.

Art was a master of concealing his feelings from someone you knew he didn't like. I would not have a clue until the person left the store and he grumbled his true opinion of them. One of his tactics when someone called and whined about what was wrong with something they bought from him or a hockey program was to let them rant for awhile and ask, "Are you through yet?".

Art was very blunt about society's ills and political affairs. One oft repeated line to me was 'take off your rose colored glasses'. I have realized many times that his memorable tales of experiences helped me shape a wiser path in life.

It was very sad to see the man confined to watching CNN all day and I finally had to settle the issue. Obviously he needed the action of something, anything to pass the day, but the 'agitprop' of CNN brought him to raving. I insisted that he turn it off so we could reminisce and philosophize for hours. Latchmi's reaction to the 'CNN' problem was to 'go for a walk'. They had a fully communicative relationship. There was no mincing around, sidestepping real issues between them.

Art was free with his opinions about all politicians, local councilman to president. He was coming down mighty hard on 'the liberals' in the mid 80's. I can recall his vitriolic blasts at Senator Alan Cranston whom he seemed to associate with 'you Harvard people'.

Vince Desmond and I have discussed our dear departed friend at great length and we marvel at Art revealing so much of his rich life to friends. There are thousands and thousands of friends who could be divided into categories: kids hockey, ice sports sales, hockey camps, Kings supply, jazz clubs, informal and formal jazz parties, the studios, West L.A. AA, the Rams, the Raiders, parents of kids involved in ice rink activities (probably even broomballers), Boston area people with whom he kept in contact all his life; Bill Cleary at Harvard and Eddie Barry of Northeastern to recall just two.

A photo of me with Bill Cleary was taken by Jay Murley who rode with me in my Sunbeam Alpine to San Diego to catch Harvard playing American University, pre season, 1980.  Don and Paul Matthews also watched the game with us from a balcony at one end of the rink.

Art was a live link for all of us to a much greater circle of friends, associates, stories and knowledge of real life than we could manage on our own. Knowing him gave you at least an associate degree in reality.

When I would whine and complain to Art on the phone about the general malaise that seemed to take over our society in the 80's, he would say, 'there aren't many of us left, let's get together with a couple of dolls and go out.' And I'm very glad that I made the effort to take those invitations, despite the 45 miles across L.A. between our homes and even further to the places we went.

Art always seemed to be making an effort to pass something on to people. He would introduce me to Victor Feldman, Shorty Rogers and Bob Brookmeyer in a minute at a jazz concert in Irvine and we would end up laughing about his getting Victor into a smelly set of someone's borrowed hockey gear. Vic was a particularly good friend of Art's and took the passing of his wife terribly hard. Art figured hockey cured anything so he convinced Vic to give the beginner hockey at Santa Monica a try. Vic thought it was fantastic and loved to tell the details of his experience. I remember Brookmeyer saying he had played some as a kid.

Nat Pierce and Frankie Kapp, the Juggernaut Band, leaders were his closest jazz friends in the 80's. Frankie used to go to a lot of Raider's games with him. He introduced me to Nat, citing that we shared the same hometown, Belmont, Massachusetts.

We went to that club not far from Encino several times where his favorites beside the Juggernaut were Bill Holman and Bob Florence. It was always a pleasure to see how much a lot of those jazz men liked Art. Many welcomed him into their conversations about gigs, players, arrangements and songs. Art knew a staggering amount about it and could talk, flats, keys and chords. He gave me his remaining LP collection a few years ago and I listened to every record. Taping some. Many were autographed and many were  "Musician" label. In July 2009 I sold my entire LP collection at public auction before leaving Missouri.

Football was another of Art's loves with its own circle of friends. I went to a few games with him and as usual his grasp of the whole scene, tactics, attitudes, coaching, abilities, everything was right at his fingertips. Have you ever considered what a hilarious play by play announcer or color man Art would have been instead of the likes of Curt Gowdy? He got on a King's broadcast from Boston one year and touted the program 'we've got going out there.' I know he could hold his own with Dick Enberg and Stu Nahan, the announcer on late night L.A. TV, who played goal for awhile in the old Western league. Jiggs MacDonald was a great friend and has called Art as recently as '88 or '89. You didn't need to read a program with Art at a game. He knew all the players and more than could fit in a printed program.

The L.A. fans drove him nuts. He described them as groupies who discover a team called the Raiders and a game called football, buy season seats and at the first game are standing and screaming at 'how dumb the quarterback is' or at the King's games, they always blamed the goalie because it was the only position they could understand.

Art used a standard list of expressions to praise people's efforts and encourage them. They were great slang expressions that rang in your ears for weeks. He would say, "You'll go places, you' re a winnah, you're the best go-fer that ,you deserve a break, you've been held back too long, big things ahead for you" are some that I recall.

END NOTE: This random biography came to my mind in the weeks after Art's passing and has been edited again in April 2000. I hope to add more memories of Art from letters I wrote to friends and which I have saved on my computer. I told Art many times that I wanted to preserve his tales as well as write some history on L.A. amateur hockey. I have listed some of my hockey MEMORABILIA  which can serve as a 'memory jogger'.  Art told me in about 1987 that he had given all his memorabilia on L.A. hockey to a lady who lived somewhere near San Bernadino and that she intended to compile something.

I have been working my family genealogy since August 1999 and given that the Guiney genealogy regions and sources are common to mine, Arlington, Mass and southwestern Ireland I have started a page for Guiney Genealogy


Copyright, Joseph P. Nix, 1999-2013

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