I have an amusing tale of name confusion that originated from the offices of the now defunct Montreal Star back in the early seventies. I can relate to this some, as there are two folks with the same name I have, associated with sports in the city. One is a photographer and the other is a marathon runner. We have all taken turns being confused for each other in the local media.
The tale involves Red Fisher, the longest standing "on the beat sports writer" in North America, and his good friend Red Storey, legendary NHL referee in the 1950's, both native Montrealers.
Prior to working for the Montreal Gazette, where he is still employed, Fisher wrote a daily for the Montreal Star. For a time in the early seventies, the Star published both a morning and evening edition. Both editions would carry the same Fisher feature unless news broke mid day and the writer could beat the 3 PM deadline.
One particular day, Fisher was working on one such piece and called to the news room to alert them to remove the morning story in lieu of the freshly written one. Fisher recalls telling a colleague "I've sent down a new story for the second edition. Throw out the one that's in the paper now. Put the new one in."
Apparently the colleague delivered the news orally, shouting past the composing room, "Red's story is dead. There's a new one for the evening edition.
Another writer doors away, overheard, dropped what he was doing and called his wife. "Did you hear about Red Storey? He's dead. We've got a story going in the next edition".
"Oh my, that's terrible, " she said. "The poor man."
Minutes later, she was on the telephone to a Montreal radio station. "My husband works for the Star," she said. "He just telephoned to tell me that Red Storey is dead."
Pat Curran, Fisher's assistant, almost ran him over, getting out of the Star's elevator. "Boy, am I glad I bumped into you", he said. "Did you hear about Red Storey?'
"What about him?"
"He's dead. I heard it on the car radio on the way over here."
"I just spoke to Red on the phone yesterday", Fisher told Curran. "He was fine."
"I heard it on the car radio, " he insisted.
Minutes later, Fisher is on the phone to Storey's wife, Helen.
"How are things?" Fisher asks. "Is everything okay?"
"Everythings fine," she said. "How are you?"
"Your husband there?"
"Here he is," she said.
Storey came on the line
"Red," says Fisher, Have I got a story for you!"