Mitch Miller

by Frank Cassidy from Truro, NS
Apr 14, 12

It was, if memory serves correctly, the summer of 1972. Air Canada was reeling from a series of rotating strikes by various unions that were causing chaos in the industry. I ought to know because my father was a company manager in Halifax.

Meanwhile, over at Via Rail it was much the same, as reservations staff scrambled to meet an overwhelming demand from the traveling public. One of those people was my sainted aunt Eleanor Cooke, known affectionately by family, friends and fans as “Murph.” Needless to say, Murph was in a Danny Gallivan spinerama trying to find passengers seats for the train to Montreal. She received a panic telephone call from a man stranded at the Halifax International Airport, who said he had to get a seat on the train to Montreal. He told her that his name was Mitch Miller and that he had to get a reservation because he was directing the Montreal Symphony Orchestra the next night.

Never at a loss for words, a harried Murph replied: “If you are Mitch Miller, then I am Lana Turner.”

While the caller insisted that he really was who he said he was, a co-worker who had overheard the conversation, whispered to my aunt that it really could be the noted icon. He had conducted the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra the night before.


Murph found him a seat.

Two days later, a florist delivered a dozen red roses to Murph.

The card read: “To Lana Turner. Thanks for everything. Affectionately, Mitch Miller.”