Ray Munro - He truly believed that life is too important to be taken seriously. Bush pilot, radio man, photo journalist, museum founder, war vet, muckraker, balloonist and hypnotist.
March/55 Reporter Ray Munro, frustrated at the Province’s refusal to print his allegations about Vancouver’s police chief Walter Mulligan, quit that paper and became the “Vancouver editor” of Toronto-based scandal sheet Flash Weekly. See the June 15 and December entries below. June 15 Flash Weekly hit the streets in Vancouver with sensational charges by Vancouver editor Ray Munro about illegal doings by the city’s police chief, Walter Mulligan. Anticipating heavy demand, Flash printed 10,000 extra copies. They were gone within hours. June 24 Detective Sergeant Len Cuthbert, implicated in the Mulligan scandal, shot himself. He survived, and would later testify against Mulligan. Not much later, Police Superintendent Harry Whelan shot himself. Whelan, who didn’t survive, was to have testified at the Mulligan inquiry. Len Cuthbert, still recovering from his self-inflicted gunshot wound, would shock the inquiry with a nervous recitation of bootleggers’ payoffs made and split with Mulligan. Equally devastating was the testimony of Detective Sergeant Bob Leatherdale, an honest cop who not only refused to go along with the payoff scheme, but reported it to the city prosecutor, a judge and McGeer's successor as mayor, Charles Thompson—all of whom, according to Flash editor Ray Munro, sat on the report. *** Raymond A. Munro took on the bulk of the work, and served as the initial Managing Director. Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame was incorporated August 2, 1973. *** Vancouver Public Library digital collection describes and reproduces around 1,000 photographs taken by the Vancouver firm of Artray Limited, which was started in 1948 by Art Jones and Ray Munro, former Vancouver Sun photojournalists.
*** 1954--Ray Munro Vancouver Province - Journalism award
NAME: Artray Limited.
WHERE/WHEN ACTIVE: Vancouver/1948-195-?.
BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: Founded by Art Jones and Ray Munro, former Vancouver Sun photojournalists, the work of this company is preserved by the Vancouver Public Library who also digitized about 10% of the 11,000 photographs donated in 1994.
Raymond Alan Munro
Nickname: "Ray" Munro
Birthdate: July 14, 1921
Birth Place: Montreal, QuebecYear
Death Date: May 29, 1994
Awards: CM "He has consistently displayed a dogged persistence in overcoming every aeronautical challenge facing him, and despite adversity has made outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation in several areas of flight."
Raymond Munro was educated in Canada and the United States and commenced flying at Toronto, Ontario in 1937 and joined the RCAF in 1940. During his career in aviation, Munro was posted as a Spitfire pilot for day intruder work in France and bomber escort duty, then served as a night fighter pilot on the North Sea patrol. Following this he became a flying newsman for 17 years. He was later selected as Expo ' 67 Polar Ambassador and flew a single-engine aircraft through the high Arctic to honour Canada's pioneer bush pilots. He is one of Canada's most distinguished parachutists and holds the highest international license. He made 528 descents by day and night as chief instructor and design tester for North American Parachute Company.
The Cambridge Reporter. All rights reserved.
Less than two weeks to go before the first edition of the totally revitalized biweekly Cambridge Reporter and I think it can use all the advice it can stomach. Too bad that Ray Munro is not around to offer up his wisdom. He revolutionized The Chatham News in a single day in 1956. Munro's life experience equipped him to be a model reporter and editorial genius. He was an RCAF fighter pilot in the Second World War. Next he was a bush pilot and later became the private pilot of film stars Robert Mitchum, Errol Flynn and Marilyn Monroe. Bored with that he became a balloonist and stunt parachute jumper. He is in the Guinness Book of Records for crossing the Irish Sea in a balloon during a raging storm and for making the world's most northernly parachute jump at Thule, Greenland, on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. He almost died in the parachute jump. Shortly after that he was honoured for rescuing some Japanese fishermen during a storm at sea. His daring matched that of Clyde Warrington and Walter Gowing. He had a stage career too. An accomplished hypnotist, he toured North America as The Great Raymond and performed at the Capitol Theatre in Galt in the 1960s. One snap of his fingers and 20 subjects on stage would flap their arms and honk like geese. He could have made Oral Roberts bark like a dog. One of his sidelines was lecturing executives on how to overcome fear. Ironically, executives attending his lectures said he scared them. He usually carried a revolver in a shoulder holster. So, as you can see, he was a natural newspaperman. The trouble was the newspaper world was not ready for him and he went through it like a dose of Flo-Max. I first heard of him when I was a cub reporter on the Vancouver Sun in 1955. Munro had just been fired for his sensational story about being shot at while flying his plane over the Doukhober rebellion at Krestova, B.C. A reporter from a rival paper noticed that the bullet holes in Munro's plane had powder marks around them and appeared to have been shot from above. He was immediately snapped up by Flash Weekly, a crusading tabloid published by Lou Ruby, father of Clayton Ruby, the now famous defence lawyer and civil activist. As Vancouver editor of Flash, Munro soon revealed that the Vancouver police force was deeply involved in prostitution, drug dealing and the protection racket. Chief of Police Walter Mulligan was forced to resign and chief of detectives Jack Whelan shot himself. Even this was too tame for Munro, so in 1956 he became managing editor of the Chatham News. He had already won 30 national and international awards for his news writing and photography. Where else could he go? The Chatham News, Munro soon realized, needed a complete change of direction. Tired of the usual crime, war and squalid sex stories, he decided to print nothing but good news. I was wire editor at the Galt Reporter at the time and studied copies of other Thomson papers that were sent to us each day. I'll never forget the first edition of The Chatham Good News. Page one featured an impassioned editorial by Munro proclaiming the end of bad news. It was surrounded by uplifting stories about local children winning scholarships, litters of homeless puppies adopted from the Humane Society, and prostitutes who had got religion and were donating half their income to charity. The weather report in a box at the left top of page one said: "scattered showers outside, but sunshine in our hearts." In a box in the opposite corner it said: "I'm a happy fellow, aren't you?" The editorial page was loaded with telegrams endorsing the paper's happiness movement. Telegrams from Winston Churchill, President Dwight Eisenhower, The Vatican, and Buckingham Palace. Munro rounded off his front page editorial by predicting that this happiness edition would be the pebble that touched off an avalanche of good news and goodwill around the world. All of us at the Reporter eagerly awaited the next edition from Chatham. It was disappointing, full of the usual crime, war, and squalid sex stories. Not a mention of the good news crusade. We later learned that Jack (The Enforcer) Slaight, editorial chief of Thomson Newspapers, had descended on Chatham and introduced Munro, for the first time in his life, to fear. He was fired. Munro died of natural causes, believe it or not, in 1994. If he were alive today and asked to advise the revitalized Cambridge Reporter, I suspect he would say: "Publish both the Tuesday and Friday editions on Monday to scoop the Cambridge Times and cut circulation costs in half." He truly believed that life is too important to be taken seriously.
***Copyright (The Vancouver Sun)
OBITUARY OF RAY MUNRO Ray Munro, a former Vancouver flying photographer and reporter whose published charges led to a probe of the Vancouver police department in 1956, has died of cancer in Toronto at the age of 72. Munro, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1975 for helping to establish the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, worked for both The Vancouver Sun and The Province during a colorful career as a journalist, balloonist and hypnotist. As head of the West Coast bureau of the tabloid Flash, Munro was responsible for launching a royal commission investigation into Vancouver police. During the probe two police officers shot themselves and Chief Walter Mulligan quit. Munro was born in Montreal and educated in Toronto. He flew Spitfires overseas during the Second World War before being wounded and returned to Canada. He joined the Toronto Star as a news photographer, covering major stories such as the race riots in Detroit. In Vancouver, he broke a number of major stories. One of them involved him and a reporter dressing up as women to capture a molester in Stanley Park. Papers across North America reported the case. Munro, who died on Sunday, is survived by five children. May 29/94
BC Radio History