By Mike Cohen
Montrealers will be getting a new print publication. Jewish businessman Andy Nulman has decided to revive The Sunday Express Newspaper and I have agreed to be a contributor. Publishing will begin by the fall.
For those of you old enough to remember, The Sunday Express was published first by Joe Azaria from 1969 to 1975 and by Quebecor from 1974 to 1985 and had a true Le Journal de Montréal look to it. As a CEGEP and university student, I served as assistant sports editor for three years until it folded. Other noted journalists who cut their teeth there included Nulman, Bill Brownstein, Antonia Zerbisias, Joyce Napier, Marianne Ackerman, Karen Seidman and the late Brodie Snyder and Myron Galloway.
Nulman was the entertainment editor, starting that job as a teenager. He would go on to run The Just For Laughs Festival and get into the technology business. In 2005, he and partner Garner Bornstein sold their company to Japan’s Cybird Holdings for close to $100 million, so financing of this new endeavor is not a problem.
Dave Stubbs, formerly of The Gazette and now with NHL.com, will be the sports editor. For old times sake, Nulman will oversee entertainment. I will be the restaurant critic. An array of other noted personalities should attract readers as columnists: cinema mogul and Dragons’ Den star Vincenzo Guzzo, Tommy Schnurmacher on politics, Brian Wilde and Rick Moffat on sports and Carmi Levy on technology.
Perhaps the most controversial choice of columnists will be former Montreal councillor and Mayor Michael Applebaum, focusing on municipal affairs. “Michael paid his debt to society and it is time for everyone to move on,” Nulman said. “He knows city hall better than anybody. Who better to cover the next election?”
As for the paper itself, the new publisher is excited. “There is no Sunday English newspaper in this city and just as there was 45 years ago I believe there is a place for The Sunday Express,” Nulman said. “I have a wide array of contacts in the business community and we will have good support when the paper launches.”
I spoke to Nulman before writing this column to warn him. Happy April Fool’s Day to everyone! There will be no Sunday Express revival (or will there???), but now that we are on the subject let me share with you the truth about a very exciting time in my journalistic career. I was 18 years old and attending Dawson College. My late dad Larry knew the sports editor Bob Amesse, who told him he needed an assistant. “Why don’t you hire my son,” he suggested. Well Amesse took a shot on me and let’s just say I stepped off a plane and found myself on Fantasy Island. Here I was, a teen who barely shaved covering the Canadiens, Expos, Alouettes, Manic (former pro soccer team) and having the likes of Gary Carter, Peter Dalla Riva and even Guy Lafleur calling me by my first name. It was an experience I will never forget.