James’ Brand New Blog

Some more about Saul Holiff: #ldnont remembers & the Hyland sets attendance record

- June 25th, 2012

Johnny_Saul_June_1968 (2)

Saul Holiff with a pensive-looking Johnny Cash and June Carter in the 1960s. Courtesy of Jonathan Holiff

Johnny_Saul_1962 (2)

Johnny Cash, left (but you knew that) & Saul Holiff, c. 1962. Courtesy of Jonathan Holiff

Saturday night at the Hyland Cinema was jammed with fans for the London premiere of Jonathan Holiff’s My Father and the Man in Black. My enthusiastic response to the movie was in last week’s My London. It was based on a home DVD viewing. Watching the documentary on Saturday night was even more impressive. It is a powerful & emotional experience as Jonathan comes to a fuller understanding of his late father, Saul Holiff, the former Londoner who managed Johnny Cash for more than a turbulent decade as Cash rose from career chaos to the triumphs of Folsom and San Quentin prison albums.

Jonathan and his brother, Josh, answered questions in a fascinating Q&A. Many in the audience were Cash fans. Others had known Saul Holiff well. There were moments as serious as Jonathan urging us to reconcile with estranged parents and Josh reflecting he might have focused a film on the same subject more on their mother, Barbara Holiff, who was in attendance & a gracious presence at the Hyland. Her comments in  My Father and the Man in Black are moments of reflection and thoughtfulness amid the turmoil of Saul’s drinking & compulsive behaviour and its effect on the family.

There were moments as laugh-inducing around the Hyland as seeing Saul Holiff, a handsome and stylishly-dressed man, cast as Caiaphas & swimming in ridiculous robes in Cash’s film about the life of Jesus. Jonathan Holiff said his father never mentioned the role to his family, even though he talked freely of many other accomplishments.

There were also delightful exchanges about the difficulties of cutting the lawn at the Holiff home on Jarvis St. Josh & Jonathan shared their push-mower memories with a subsequent owner in the crowd.

Among the Cash lore moments were Jonathan correcting the impression left by Walk the Line that June Carter had been working with Johnny Cash in the 1950s. It was at Saul’s recommendation she first joined the touring show in December, 1961.

Saturday was a night all of us in the unofficial Hyland record crowd of about 350 fans will remember. Here is hoping another London screening can be arranged for the dozens of fans, many of them JBNBlog friends, who were turned away Saturday.

Let me close by saying how touched I was by Jonathan’s generous praise for the role fan-fuelled Cash, Carter & Holiff stories I wrote for The Free Press played in encouraging him to make the movie. JBNBlog will also treasure the production-related gift from Jonathan & Josh as we started the Q&A. Wow.

Now for some more London background about Saul Holiff, first in a note from Patricia Lewis & then in a list of addresses from Glen Curnoe:

 

I was most interested to read about Saul Holiff.

In 1958 I was managing Young’s Record dept In London East. Mr Holiff wouldoccasionally drop in for a chat, one day he came in , leaned on my counter and said to me, “Do you think if I brought Johnny Cash to London, would anybody come and see him?” I told him that most of London East would as they were great Country and Western fans. So, as we know he did bring Cash to London and it was a great success.

He also gave me tickets to see Bill Haley and the Comets play at the old
arena, (long gone) My husband and I went, and at intermission he came and
got me and took me back stage to meet with Bill Haley, we sat and had a
brief conversation.
For me, it brought back memories of a vibrant London East, selling records
of great Country and Western artists, and the “new” Rock and Roll music, and
also of a very kind and handsome Saul Holiff.

Patricia Lewis

Hi James:
Here are some references that I checked in London City Directories which I have.  Maybe you have done some of this already.
Glen

Holiff

From city directories

 

1921-no listing for Holiff

1923- HOLIFF, J. Clothing and House Furnishings, 366 Rectory h same

1925-HOLIFF, J, Ladies’Ready-to-Wear, Clothing, Men’sd and Boys” Clothing, Bedding and House Furnishings, 751 Dundas, h same

1927-HOLIFF, J  Ladies and Childrens’ Ready-to-Wear \, Millinery, etc. 644 Dundas, h 47 Riverview.

1931-Holiff, Ann saleslady Joel Holiff, 644 Dundas

1931-Holiff, Joel (Esther), prop (Esther), prop Holiff’s Ladies’and Mens’ Ready-to-Wear, h 644 Dundas, phone Fairmont 1895W

1931-HOLIFF’S LADIES’ AND MEN’S WEAR, J Holiff, prop, ready-to-wear and millinery, 644 Dundas, phone Fairmont 1895W

1935-Holiff, Joel(Esther) h 315 Wharncliffe rd n

1938-Hiliff, Joel (Esther) salesman, h 315 Wharncliffe rd n

1943- Holiff, Joel (Esther), salesman, h 315 Wharncliffe rd n

1948-Holiff, Joel (Esther), dry goods, j 315 Wharncliffe  rd n

1950-Holiff, Joel(Esther), traveler h 315 Wharncliffe rd n

1961-Holiff, Joel()Esther) h 98 Fairview Ave  apt 1

1961-Holiff, Saul(Sol Holiff Vital Attractions entertainments 68 King

        -Sol Custom Clothes (Saul  Hoiliff) 68 King

       - Sol Volatile Attractions entertainments 68 King

1969-Holiff, Saul (Barbara) artist mgmt. Volatile Attractions Ltd h 509 Jarvis

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4 comments

  1. Hi James,

    Thank you for organizing this thread around my father’s history in London. I admit to being surprised to learn so much new information about my family–some, I believe, unknown to Saul himself.

    Mr. Curnoe’s research reveals addresses I’ve never seen before: 366 Rectory, 751 Dundas and 98 Fairview Ave apt 1.

    And Ms. Lewis’ recollections are similar to those I’ve heard from Dave Roberts who worked the counter at Heintzman’s. But I had never heard of Young’s Records–and Mr. Roberts left “handsome” out of his description of Saul (LOL).

    I may have to update my movie!

    Thanks again,

    Jonathan Holiff

  2. Here is a link to a twitter pic I was able to get of the amazing record setting line outside the Hyland

    https://twitter.com/#!/AlvegoRoot/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2Fm7iexOHV

  3. Pat McGrath says:

    I want to congratulate Jonathan for an outstanding job of producing this movie.

    I was Saul’s accountant and financial advisor for many years and have very fond memories of Jonathan and Joshua as young boys. They would come into the office with their mother, Barbara, and we would have nice chats; they both asked a lot of questions and I knew that they would grow up to be successful men. Saul talked to me about both of his young sons and how proud he was of them.

    I am very greatful to Saul for the experience that I had dealing with him, Barbara, Johnny, June, Tommy Hunter and Debbie Laurie Kay. Saul’s questions were never simple! (for example, what are the tax implications of moving to Israel?)

    All the best to Barbara, Jonathan and Joshua.

    Pat McGrath

  4. gold price says:

    “I could hardly believe it — especially laying out all that money in cash,” (John) Dickins told the newspaper. Cash’s donation helped the Bunny Bundle campaign reach $3,300 at the time.

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