Hougen Group

Leslie Nielsen

My first encounter of the close kind with Hollywood’s funniest man occurred in 1984. His brother Erik Nielsen had just been sworn in as Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister. Yukon Erik was, against all odds, the number two man on the Canadian political scene, a heartbeat away from the Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. On a September day outside the Governor General’s residence in 1984, I waited eagerly to hear who would be in the newly elected Conservative Government cabinet. We knew Yukon Erik, who had baited Liberals all his political life, was in for something. At the formal swearing in Erik, to the surprise of most reporters, was given the job of Deputy Prime Minister. I couldn’t wait to interview him. After all, I was reporting for Yukon radio, and had interviewed the hawk of the house many times. When the new cabinet ministers emerged from Rideau Hall, most headed straight for the microphones, for lesser lights, or the reporters they knew. Not Erik, he headed straight for his waiting limo. I yelled his name (Mr. Nielsen to be polite) as loud as I could at the black oversized car. Low and behold, out from the limo leaped Leslie Nielsen, the Naked Gun himself. This son of an RCMP constable who was born in Regina, and had grown up in Fort Norman in the NWT and in Edmonton had an obvious gift for public relations. He walked over to me, and I sheepishly told him I wanted an interview with his brother Erik. “Meet us at the National Arts Centre tonight” said the Naked Gun, “you’ll do it there”. No he wouldn’t.

At the tory celebration party that night, I rubbed shoulders with Erik, his wife Shelley, and the Naked Gun Leslie Nielsen. But no amount of sweet-talk could entice Yukon Erik into giving me an interview. His excuse: he wanted to take some time to learn his new job. I wasn’t happy, and I expressed my displeasure to Leslie. He looked at me, and with a twinkle I will not forget he said “well, you need a Nielsen interview, don’t you? How about me?” As my tape recorder rolled outside the front door of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Leslie Nielsen gave an interview worthy of the humble Hollywood star that he is. He reminisced about growing up in the North, about how he became an actor while his brother took the long and winding road through the political landscape. He expressed a genuine brotherly fondness for the many accomplishments of his famous Yukon brother Erik. He never once talked about himself, or his many acting successes. He could have, since we all know and love him as the bumbling Lieutenant Frank Drebin, the silver haired patsy of the magnificent string of Naked Gun movies.

But there is much more to Leslie Nielsen, and his life history reflects a remarkably diverse career spanning six decades, nearly 100 movies, and more than 1500 television appearances. The first time I ever saw him, it was in the Capitol Theatre in Whitehorse in 1954. He was the young star of a movie called Forbidden Planet. Years later, that movie and the central character, then played by Leslie Nielsen, would morph into Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner as commander of the spaceship Enterprise, boldly going where no man had gone before in a TV series called Star Trek. As a kid in 1954 I thought Leslie Nielsen was great in Forbidden Planet, and as a reporter in 1984 I thought he was a great gentleman for giving me a Nielsen interview I badly needed.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin


See also: Erik Nielsen



Yukon News

From the Yukon News Nov. 14, 1984

YUKON JOINS ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION With the swearing in of Whitehorse businessman, Rolf Hougen, as a director, the Yukon government officially joined the Asia-Pacific Foundation yesterday. "Yukon is a Pacific rim trading partner and the government agreed to become a charter member in order to promote and develop Yukon's links with the Asia-Pacific community." Government Leader Chris Pearson said. The foundation is being incorporated under a special act of Parliament and will be headquartered in Vancouver. Its objectives are to heighten Canadian awareness of Canada as a Pacific country as well as an Atlantic one: to raise the country's profile in the Asia-Pacific region: to increase Canadian participation in the region's economic prosperity: to focus on policy choices and generate public support for new policy initiatives: to assist business to be better prepared to interchange with and be informed about Asia-Pacific affairs and to educate and train young people so they can participate in the Asia-Pacific area. Hougen was recommended as Yukon's delegate because of his long and outstanding involvement in Yukon's business community, said Pearson.

"The Founding Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Foundation is John Bruk, former president of Cyprus Anvil Mining Corp."

In Kotzebue a reception and Eskimo blanket toss was hosted by Nana, 1984.

Kotzebue, Alaska

Kotzebue, Alaska is north of Nome and is located inside the Arctic Circle. 90 miles north is located the Red Dog Zinc Mine. It is a co-operative of Cominco Canada and Nana, an Eskimo owned corporation. The Cominco board along with Nana officials visited the site in August 1984.

Gillian Campbell sings while the Northwestel Board ‘kits it up’ - 1984.

NorthwesTel Board of Directors

The NorthwesTel Board of Directors, a subsidiary of Canadian National Telecommunications kick it up at the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous event.

The Whitehorse Star Reports in 1984

January 1, 1984 Life-time Yukoners Charlie and Betty Taylor are awarded Commissioner's Awards.
January 3, 1984 Don Branigan becomes mayor of Whitehorse.
January 6, 1984 The Yukon government purchases $1 million worth of riverfront land from the White Pass amd Yukon railway, with the goal of park development.
January 17, 1984 Whitehorse city council decides to build a new arena in Takhini; throwing out plans for renovation of the Jim Light arena.
January 20, 1984 Len and Lillyan Usher are selected Mr. and Mrs. Yukon 1984.
January 27, 1984
 → April 18, 1984
 → August 3, 1984
 → December 21, 1984
Federal government and the Council for Yukon Indians sign the long-delayed land claims agreement-in-principle which will give Indians $620 million over 20 years and 20,000 square kilometres of land (January 27, 1984). April 18, 1984 the federal cabinet approves the Yukon land claims agreement-in-principle, and agrees to several conditions set by the Council for Yukon Indians. August 3, 1980 the land claims talks are stopped: delegates from the 12 Yukon Indian bands voted to re-negotiate. By the end of the year, Indian and Northern Affairs minister David Crombie considers the land claims agreement-in-principle rejected by Yukon Indians (December 21, 1984).
February 27, 1984
 → March 9, 1984
 → December 5, 1984
The first Yukon Quest ever starts February 25, 1984 in Fairbanks. The Quest is won by Sonny Lindner of Johnson River, Alaska (March 9, 1984). Participating in the Yukon Quest 1985, Dawson City's musher Jon Mitchell is the first Canadian who participates in the Quest (December 5, 1984).
March 19, 1984 The federal government announces its plans to impose English - French bilingualism in the Yukon Territories and the Northwest Territories.
March 25, 1985 United Keno Hill Mines Ltd. at Elsa announces it lost $6.8 million in 1984 despite an increase in silver-production by 94% compared to 1983.
March 26, 1984
 → March 28, 1984
 → June 8, 1984
The Yukon government reaches a deal on the COPE claim. The government agrees to support the Committee for Original People's Entitlement (COPE) land claims (March 26, 1984). Two days later the federal government gives its approval (March 28, 1984). The Yukon government signs COPE's land claim June 8, 1984.
March 30, 1984
 → September 7, 1984
Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon reaches an agreement with the federal government to fund a Yukon native radio service (March 30, 1984). September 7, 1984 the Canadian Radio Television Telecommunications Commission grants Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon a licence to broadcast programming by satellite to Yukon communities.
April 6, 1984
 → September 5, 1984
 → September 17, 1984
Erik Nielsen resigns from his job as Progressive Conservative House Leader in the House of Commons (April 6, 1984). September 5, 1984, Nielsen is re-elected Yukon's MP by one of his largest margins ever. September 17, 1984, Erik Nielsen is named deputy Prime Minister in the new federal government.
April 9, 1984 The use of toll-free 1-800 numbers is now possible in the Yukon.
April 11, 1984 Flo Whyard is the 8th recipient in the Yukon of the Order of Canada.
April 13, 1984 The Canadian Radio Television Telecommunications Commisson grants WHTV permission to telecast First Choice pay television service.
May 24, 1984 First level Commissioner's Award are granted to Lyall and Marilyn Murdoch for the work for the Frantic Follies.
June 6, 1984 Works for upgrading of the North Canol Road, a two year $7.2 million project, have started.
June 8, 1984
 → November 5, 1984
Canadian Communications Inc. (CanCom) delivers the first native Indian television series by satellite to Canada's remote Northern communities (June 8, 1984). November 5, federal permission is given to Cancom to deliver ABC to remote northern areas.
June 18, 1984 A section of the Dempster Highway is named in honour of Al Wright.
June 25, 1984 The $81 million Liard Highway, the first all-year road link between northeastern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories is officially opened.
June 27, 1984 Indian and Northern Affairs minister John Munro resigns his Commons seat after having being passed over by Prime Minister John Turner.
June 27, 1984 The Yukon government decides to provide regular education in French in the coming school year.
June 29, 1984 The Alpine Bakery opens its doors.
August 1, 1984 Prime Minister John Turner visits the Yukon.
August 27, 1984 WHTV announces it will add three more TV channels to cablevision.
September 17, 1984 David Crombie is named the minister of Indian affairs and northern development.
September 19, 1984
 → October 29, 1984
Anvil announces it will close its lead-zinc mine indefinitely if no buyer or partner is found by December 31, 1984 (September 19, 1984). A month later (October 29, 1984), the Cyprus Anvil Mining Corporation locks out ist 200 unionized workers and shuts down the waste-rock stripping operation.
September 26, 1984 Gulf Canada Resources announces a big oil in the Beaufort Sea, the first find that could be commercially feasible.
October 12, 1984 Haines Junctions becomes the Yukon's seventh municipality.
October 17, 1984 Government Leader Chris Pearson announces he will resign from his jobs as government leader and Conservative party leader in the spring of 1985.
October 31, 1984 The community of Carmacks obtains village status.
November 5, 1984 The fourth wheel at the Whitehorse Rapids hydroelectrical plant is put into commercial service.
November 19, 1984 CKRW marks its 15th birthday.
November 21, 1984 Rolf Hougen is sworn in as the Yukon's board member on the new Asia-Pacific Foundation.