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When I was growing up in Minto and then Chipman, New Brunswick my teachers told me to move to Ontario to find success.

My father moved us to Ontario in the middle of grade eleven where I was told that the standard of education in the Maritimes is lower than in Ontario and not to be ashamed when I failed.

The standards in the Maritimes, if anything, were higher. I had great teachers there. My friend Jane Jacobs stated, “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know.” I had teachers in my first and second grades in Minto who taught me everything I needed to know. Edith Mills, Chipman,  taught me the most important lesson I was ever to learn. I passed with honors.

When I was growing up in Minto and then Chipman, New Brunswick my teachers told me to move to Ontario to find success.

In Ontario I was also told that to be successful I should move to The United States. I was 17. It was 1963. I gave that thought.

A country or a part of a country that tells its young to leave it to find success is like a person serious about killing themselves. Such a person cuts not a vein but an artery. The young are the fresh blood, the arterial blood.

Canada as a nation has been cutting it arteries since its inception. I decided to succeed in Canada on my terms. Last week Global TV called saying they had read one of the many stories published about my work and want to do a piece. After we talked I did a web search. Did not find what they found. Did find I am ranked among the fifty best/most famous orators of all time. You may not have heard of me. The world has., .

It would be rewarding to bring my programs across Canada and, more importantly, to inspire young people to have the faith in themselves this country as a nation has always lacked.

Tomorrow belongs to the bold.

In Sault Ste. Marie in my last year, then Grade 13, I was called into the office of the principal where I was told I have the wrong attitude and would starve in two weeks if I left school that day.

Had I not left I would have starved.

For the last twenty years the City Of Toronto seems to have been doing everything in its power to curtail my work. This despite the fact that that work has won and is winning praise from around the world.

This is not personal. The City Of Toronto has a long history of stomping out the best it has to offer. I am not alone in stating this.

The official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun.”—Jane Jacobs.

There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs–hXw8    

Toronto had something unique that attracted praise from Jane Jacobs when she first arrived here. That unique thing was Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village. Today like so much that was unique in this city, it’s gone:   .

I’m beginning to understand that the best thing for people in Canada to do who want to achieve success is to leave not Canada but to get out of Toronto. This city has been a pain in the butt to far too many.

When I was a young man in New Brunswick I realized I was going to walk a path less traveled. I realized I marched to the beat of a different drummer. I also was made to understand that if I continued on my path I would be hated by God and would burn in Hell. I looked at all the folks who are supposed to be in Hell and thought, “Well, I will have great company.”

Over the years since I opened my door at 463 Bathurst in Toronto I have welcomed strangers into my life. Now and then some of those strangers asked, “Can I live with you?” I always said, “Yes.”

Jesus had his Judas. I have mine. Don’t most of us?

Nonetheless, the people who lived with me enriched me.

Now I am told the house I live in can not have more than three tenants myself included. Thoreau stated, “Any fool can make a law. Every fool will keep it.” Yes, and bigger fools will enforce it.

Today I find I have to say, “No” to the stranger who comes to my door otherwise the City Of Toronto will make life Hell for my landlord (who is an A-1 Human being).

I learned a few things over the years. One of the things is that God does not say to those who walk a path less traveled or march to the beat of a different drummer, “You are going to spend eternity in Hell.”

God says, “You saw me homeless, you saw me hungry, you saw me naked, you saw me sick and in prison. You passed me by. Now go to Hell and its everlasting fires.”

“When did we see you homeless, hungry, naked, sick or in prison and pass you by,” say the City Inspectors, the bureaucrats, and the rest.

God says, “When you did it to the least you did it to me. Now get the fuck out of here.”

And so he should.

I’m beginning to see it is time I got the fuck out of Toronto.

A friend told me at Christmas she was in a small village in Spain. An old man asked her to describe where she was from. She described Toronto as a city filled with tall buildings.

The old man looked at her sadly and said, “Money laundering.”

We know who is welcome here. It ain’t us.

In 1968 my father’s brother, Douglas Hartt, wanted me to apply for government funding. He said, “Your work warrants it.” He was serving as Director General of Public Works Canada.

I said, “I want to see what I can do without it.”

He said, “You’re crazy.” A lot of people say that.

Then he said, “There’s only one person on earth I want to meet.”

I asked, “Who’s that?”

He said, “Jane Jacobs.”

I replied, “She’s my friend. I will introduce you to her.”

He never took me up on that.

One day he said, “Our governments in the west are a mask worn by four families. They make the decisions. To find out who they are just trace the corporations back to who owns them.”

You may take our politicians seriously.

Seriously, I can not.

That old man in Spain had it right.

One day while posting flyers around the city for my programs I ran into a fellow I knew from my days at Rochdale College. He walked with me for a bit. I discovered he was homeless. I said, “I have an empty room.” He said, “I have no money.” I said, “I know that.”

I gave him a place to get his feet back on the ground. When I was homeless after the suicide of my brother Michael another Rochdale friend, Martin Heath (Cinecycle) had given me a place.

That was my wonderful friend Robert Naismith: .

When I can’t help the helpless it’s time to shake the dust of this city from my feet.

–Reg Hartt 1/17/2019.

There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs

Reg Hartt mixes stories from his youth with antidotes and truisms that cause people to pause and question what they know.” -Raymond Helkio

  1. “Reg Hartt has a feel for film unique in this country…genius level.”—Elwy Yost.
  2. “Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”–Rob Salem.
  3. “Reg Hartt teaches like Neal Cassady drove a bus.”—Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.
    Q: Did growing up in Toronto influence your obsession?
    A: My knowledge of silent films, German and French cinema, came an awful lot from Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. At first he showed films at Innis College, then he had a place on Mercer St. for a while. Reg showed some really incredible silent films, from Phantom of the Opera to D.W. Griffith’s films. His strength was putting incredibly good soundtracks on the films. He has a really good ear for movie music and back in the good old days when it was all analog, he would splice them together himself.

A city that sees value in rules, but no value in letting Reg Hartt bend them, has no right to claim Jane Jacobs’ legacy, writes Edward Keenan.

The city should drop its misguided fight against Reg Hartt…

“I am a friend of Reg Hartt. So is anyone who can appreciate a man who teaches the way Neal Cassady drove a bus. I mean that, where you have style wrapped around content and tied with a ribbon of beat improvisation, there you have angels. Harvey Pekar was an angel. And I’ve never met anyone with wings who did not have an ego. Nor is this an easy town for a man who is larger than life, and does not to suffer fools.You might like to know that the friends of Reg Hartt included the non-fool-suffering Jane Jacobs, who knew a thing or two about what, and who, makes life worth living in the city; that’s good enough for me.”

Michael Valpy in THE GLOBE AND MAIL wrote, “Reg Hart  is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph over the banal and soporific of the original and provoking.”

Some audience members were visibly distressed by the frequency and force of Hartt’s interjections into the program but it is clearly his chosen way of doing things, and the payoff in information is worth it. He has many good stories to tell: about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s transformation into Mickey Mouse, Disney’s most enduring character; about the furor that greeted the creation of Tweety Pie, which subsided only when the artists painted him yellow; and much valuable technical information for the animation students. He has some interesting tales about Mel Blanc, Warners’ resident genius of voice characterization, as he continues the series with a full scale look at the Warner work of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and others. It’s the best work of its kind you will see anywhere because, except in rare oases in the United States and Eastern-Europe, they don’t make them like that anymore.

JULIA SCUTARU, retired journalist, Bucharest, Romania, 2000 wrote, “In Toronto, I discovered by chance, Cineforum. Pure chance but a fortunate one. In that small room exhaling culture, passion and dedication, I watched the movie TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, an important historical, political and social document., and real artistic achievement….As a journalist (in Romania) I worked in the cultural field, including film reviews. Therefore I came to the Cineforum not just as a movie lover, but as a knowledgeable professional…We live in an era authoritatively dominated by brainwashing and political correctness…I admired Reg Hartt’s courage and passion put in searching out and defending the human truth, the artistic truth, the historical truth; the Truth and unveiling it…Discovering Reg Hartt and his Cineforum was one of the most important events of my visit in Toronto.”

DAVID BEARD, owner CINEBOOKS, quoted in THE TORONTO STAR, Nov. l, l979
“This man has devoted his whole life to bringing the film classics to the public. He treats animation-cartoons, if you will-as art. He is underfinanced, overworked and snubbed. I think we should pay tribute to him.

GREG WILLIAMS, MA (Ph, D. Candidate), President, University College Film Society, and Chairman of the Subcommittee for film, U. C. Symposium: I wish we had more time to chat together last night about our respective (and mutual) interests in film.
‘Cineforum’ has attained the status of an institution; it represents an achievement of which you should rightly feel proud.

“I can only hope the ‘University College Film Society’ will someday approximate its success and that I will, personally, match your inspired delivery as a master of ceremonies.

“As a newcomer to the business of arranging film programs, so far I am your equal perhaps only in enthusiasm. Thus I find your presentations to be not only exceptional in their content but also edifying in their execution. As an academic (in the field of English) I am also impressed by the high scholarly standard that pervades your informed and witty introductions,

“I frequently wonder if you have ever considered writing a history…some very good books have been written…but no text has dealt with it in a definitive way. A marshaling of your knowledge would, I am certain, produce a very fine volume indeed.”

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA, formerly Canada’s Cultural Attache to America, .
“(REG) Hartt is acknowledged as a phenomenon in the film community. He is someone who does not rely on government grants, subsidies or institutional protection to generate his film activities. He depends entirely on his intelligence, talent and resourcefulness. His events are produced with care and good sense, in a clean and friendly atmosphere and with an almost avuncular consideration for his fans, As a film officer for the National Film Board of Canada for 30 years, I have seldom seen anyone who added so much substance and passion to the cultural fabric of our society as he has done with his lectures and presentations.”

From a letter to an out of Toronto cinema:
“Last week I finally got a chance to see a film I have been trying to see for literally years. That film is METROPOLIS, and I don’t mean Giorgio Moroder’s head-banger version. No, I’m talking about the most complete version of the film as it was meant to be seen in a l6mm print so clear, so clean you’d think the film was made a year ago. Wow. I mean I have been hearing stories about METROPOLIS for a long time, but I never thought my expectations would be met let alone far
surpassed. And this without the “help” of Mr. Moroder. Does this mean there wasn’t a soundtrack?

“Far from it. Accompanying the film was a brilliant (and I mean brilliant) soundtrack combining both modern music and classical pieces. This soundtrack suited the film when we all know Moroder’s didn’t. So who has this print of the film? Reg Hartt….If you know anything about Reg Hartt you know his lectures are anything but boring. He’s thrown chairs at people, kicked non-believers out, slandered near everyone under the sun (who usually deserves it) and started near riots. In other words, a real entertaining guy. Honestly. Reg is a lot of fun, he knows more about film (and the politics of film) than all of my teachers combined. And his soundtracks!”

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer National Film Board of Canada; Canadian Cultural Attache to America: “I have left so many cinemas looking like I’ve been smelling onions for two hours that it is a pleasure and a catharsis to alert you to a redeeming film experience I enjoyed recently. It was not exactly an epiphany, but when something brilliant comes along, it deserves comment beyond self congratulations on managing to stay awake.

“What I’m referring to is a recent screening of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS I attended at Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I’ve seen the film with every sort of accompaniment except organ grinder and a monkey. When organ and even the now rare orchestral accompaniments have been attached to one of the “silent” classics, it is still hard to avoid the giggle factor what with all the usual silent movie grand overwrought gestural school of acting methods. However, Reg Hartt has completely transcended the predictable approach and has presented a classic film with a brilliant multi-layered sound track that forgives the histrionic giggle factor. Hartt allows us to see a great film with a fresh perspective.

“I am not Mr. Hartt’s P. R. council but as someone who has been in the film industry for decades and who celebrates cinematic excellence,I hope you will take the opportunity to experience this superb revitalization of METROPOLIS with its innovative music track.”

“Reg Hartt has presented a classic film with a brilliant multi-layered sound track that allows us to see a great film with a fresh perspective. As who celebrates cinematic excellence,I hope you will experience this superb revitalization of METROPOLIS with its innovative music track.”–Douglas Eliuk.

PETER MOORE, British Artist.

“I am a Brit artist. I love Toronto. I have sometimes heard it said that Toronto is boring. It is a comparatively well ordered city. Maybe that is why some imperceptive people think it boring. The thing is I keep having amazing successes in Toronto. My friend Bob Welton who decided he was much happier in Warsaw than in London used to say in London everything is possible and nothing is probable. I just find in Toronto not everything is possible but lots of things, important things, are quite probable. Does this make sense?

“ANYWAY, a wonderful surprise in Toronto is Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I was walking down Bloor Street with my friend Alan, a composer, a Torontonian who, searching for fulfillment in London, has realized that everything he wanted existed in his original home, Toronto. It was my birthday. He said, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” I said, “I want to go and see that!”

“I was pointing at a mysterious poster for TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, (the film of Hitler’s l934 Nuremberg rally). I’d always wanted to see that.

“So we went and I found myself in the most perfect place on earth to watch a film. With the film was an unexpected treat….a brilliant, unbiased, sensible and stimulating introduction by the amazing Reg Hartt.

“So once again, in German mode, we went to see Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS. Reg had somehow spliced on to the film his own soundtrack. Now this was interesting because a while later we went to the Art Gallery of Ontatio where the same film was shown-much bigger screen-and with piano accompaniment. It was interesting to compare the two showings. Reg’s came out winning.”

So, yes, there are a few folk who don’t like me.

David Mamet, in his books TRUE AND FALSE and BAMBI VS. GODZILLA, states, “Invent nothing. Deny nothing. Stand up. Speak up. Stay out of school.”

“There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”― Jane JacobsThe Death and Life of Great American Cities

David Mamet: “The American educational process prepares those with second-rate intellects to thrive in a bureaucratic environment. Obedience, rote memorization, and neatness are enshrined as intellectual achievements.”

The people you meet in supposed positions of authority will, in the main, be your inferiors. They will lack your imagination, which is why they became bureaucrats…and they will lack your fortitude, having selected institutional support over a life of self-reliance. They spend their lives learning lessons very different from the ones you learn, and many or most of them will envy you and this envy will express itself as contempt. It’s a cheap trick of unhappy people, and if you understand it for what it is, you need not adopt or be overly saddened by their view of you. It is the view of the folk on the verandah talking about the lazy slaves.” —David Mamet, TRUE AND FALSE pg. 110.


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