Close On David As The Screen Fades To Black

David Haslam, the founder of Marquee magazine who died Oct. 8 at the age of 67, always said he didn’t want any kind of memorial.

But David played too big a part in too many lives on the Toronto movie scene for three decades to let him go away so easily.

So on Saturday, November 12, his friends and family will gather at the Markland Wood Country Club to remember David’s fondness for, among other things, movies that needed twenty minutes cut out of them (many of those); Nicholas and Alexandra (the splendor of aristocrats giving peasants a hard time); motion picture sound tracks (cue Lawrence of Arabia); Martin Rackin stories (endlessly retold); his farm in Mansfield (where he watched movies on the world’s smallest TV screen); enough ads from the studios for the next issure of Marquee; lobster; his dog, Blaze; and his longtime partner, Lexie.

The celebration of David’s life will begin at 2 o’clock. The Markland Wood Country Club is located at 245 Markland Drive, Etobicoke, Ontario.

More than anything, David enjoyed telling a good story. This time we’re going to do that for him. He probably wouldn’t like it, but for one afternoon, he’s going to have to put up with someone else doing the talking.

Everyone who can tell a story or who knew David or enjoyed Marquee magazine through the years is invited.

Ready for you closeup, Mr. Haslam?


Author of "The Sanibel Sunset Detective" and "The Strange." Ron spends part of the year on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he writes detective novels featuring private eye Tree Callister. When he is not in Florida, he resides outside Toronto, Ontario with his wife, Kathy.

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13 comments on “Close On David As The Screen Fades To Black
  1. Neil Russell says:

    Dear Mr. Base-

    I was pleased to run across your observations. You are a talented writer. Being third generation in the entertainment industry and having had John Wayne to dinner at our home when I was a kid then being able to host him years later when I was a young exec at Paramount, your piece touched a nerve, and I thank you for it.

    I did not know David Haslam, but perhaps you can assist me. Years ago, I owned a book that was a compendium of stories about Hollywood. In it was a piece on Marty Rackin. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only long piece ever written about Marty. At some point, I lost the book and do not remember the title or its compiler. If by any chance you know the book I am speaking of–or someone who was close to David does–I would be most grateful if you would pass along the title.

    Thank you.

    Neil Russell
    Beverly Hills

    • ronbase says:

      Hi, Neil

      Thanks for your kind note. Curiously enough, David did mention that he had only seen one book that contained anything about Marty Rackin. I’m sure it was the same book that you’re referring to. However, he didn’t have a copy, but often wished he had. I don’t think David ever knew the title, either. I met Rackin as a young reporter, several years before I met David. He was loud, profane, breath-takingly opinionated (he didn’t think Clint Eastwood should be directing movies), a Hollywood powerhouse at one time, all but forgotten today. If I ever come across the book, I will let you know. If you find any more information, please contact me.

  2. ronbase says:

    Depending on how far you want to push this, Neil, you might try the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library on La Cienega. I’ve researched a couple of books there, and they supposedly have every book ever published on Hollywood and the movie industry. The staff there is (or at least was) very helpful with this sort of thing. If you get to the bottom of it, please let me know–and also fill me in on your association with Rackin.

    • Neil Russell says:

      The Academy library is a good thought. I’ll see. My father knew Marty, though he thought he was a tough piece of work. When I joined Paramount in 1972, I tried to look him up, but he was out of the loop by then, then he died. Ironically, I met Zukor, and he was forty years older than Rackin. Marty plays a small part in my next novel, and though I don’t need the book for that section, I want to track it down if possible. I’ll let you know. Thanks again. NR

      • ronbase says:

        I hadn’t realized that you, too, are a novelist. Well, Rackin would certainly make a formidible adversary for Rail Black, even in a minor role. I met Rackin the same year you were trying to look him up, when he was out beating the drum for a terrible western called “The Revengers”. It was the last thing he ever did. I subsequently interviewed hundreds of celebrities, but the Rackin interview, all these years later, still sticks in my mind. Good luck with it, and please let me know if you find anything.

      • Neil Russell says:

        Accidental novelist is more accurate. I’m only writing the books to make the movies which we start next year. Not the usual path for either a movie money exec or a novelist, but what the heck. By the way, I’m very interested in reading your first detective novel. More interested in “Strange.” I’ve asked for the first for Christmas, and hopefully Santa (my sons) heard me. The second, well, Santa will have to vamp. NR

      • ronbase says:

        Well, however you got there, you are there…the books sound intriguing.

  3. ronbase says:

    Hi, Neil… Sorry, I just saw the last part of your note. Thanks for ordering “The Strange”. It’s a novel dear to my heart, although the detective stuff sells much, much better. If Santa is good to you, and drops it down the chimney for Christmas, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about it. Meantime, I’m not waiting for Christmas, I’m ordering one of your books!

    • Neil Russell says:

      Dear Ron-

      You came through. The Academy library knew the book, and I’ve now got my own copy. For the record, it’s “You Must Remember This” written by Walter Wagner and publsihed in 1975. My compliments on your thought process, and my thanks for sharing it.



      • ronbase says:

        Hi, Neil…

        Glad to be of help. The staff over there has come through for me many times…Now you’ve piqued my interest in Rackin all over again…I’d be interested in anything you might glean from the book…have a great holiday, and all the best for the new year…

      • Neil Russell says:

        I probably won’t be reading it for a while, since I’ve already done what I needed to do for my novel. I also used to have a copy of the book, so this is replacing the missing tome. But more importantly, I’ve got to leave room in my schedule for this Sanibel detective novel I have coming.


      • ronbase says:

        Now you’re making me nervous, Neil. I look forward to any comments you might have if you have a chance to read it. Meantime, I’m enjoying a new novel called “Hardcase” that I’ve just come across…

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