1984 -1986’sWarner Bros to EDTI & EXPO 86
In 1984 with EXPO 86 underway, I received a call from my friend and Ex
Trizec boss Richard Weiser with instructions to proceed to New Jersey
for a meeting with Warner Brothers and Disney executives and creative
staff. I arrived at the conference room to find 100 or more people
seated, listening to a speaker at a podium, under the lights. His name
was Bob Petralia. He was describing Warner Bros intention of
presenting the next level of entertainment to the world at EXPO 86 in
Vancouver Canada. The audience consisted of the best creative minds
of Warner and Disney. Petralia, whom I’d never met, looked up from his
lectern and asked if Richard Alm was in the room.
I replied with a wave at which point he announced that “Richard is the
new Vice President Warner Leisure Canada and is responsible for
coordinating your talents to achieve our entertainment objectives.
Fortunately, my friend, Mark McGuffee was Assistant General Manger
of the New York UN Plaza Hotel, a Hyatt Property, and he booked me
into the President’s Suite. It came with 2 bedrooms, a formal dinning
room, living room with a white grand piano and a view overlooking The
Chrysler Building and New York City. When I hosted a contingent of
executives the following evening, they must have wondered who was
this character from the wilds of Western Canada.
The following 6 months was a blur. I hosted several private and
government Pavilion groups in and out of New York. We used Warner
Limousines and the Warner Helicopter on the East River to ferry groups
to various Warner Leisure factories in upstate New York.
One day, out of the blue, as I am preparing to leave for Australia, we
were called to an important meeting at the Warner headquarters in NY
where I was informed that Robert Petralia was charged with mail fraud
and Warner Leisure was no more.
While flying to Australia I was determined to carry on. We had
meetings arranged with the Australian, Singapore, Thailand and
Malaysian governments. My partner in this venture Tony Simon
corralled our creative contacts and joined forces with a local Vancouver
contractor. I created EDTI Exhibit Management Inc., had stationary and
business cards printed in Sydney which I went on to present to the
various government officials in my journey. EDTI Projects Inc as the
consortium was called, went on to be either general or exhibit
contractor for 11 of the 54 EXPO 86 pavilions.