Transcript: Whatever Happened to Ambrose Small | Dec 02, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped lilac tie.

A caption on screen reads "Whatever happened to Ambrose Small? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says MAYBE YOU'VE NEVER
HEARD OF AMBROSE SMALL, BUT ONCE
UPON A TIME HE WAS A BIG DEAL IN
THIS PROVINCE AND ITS CAPITAL
CITY.
A THEATRE MAGNATE WITH A NETWORK
OF VENUES ACROSS ONTARIO,
100 YEARS AGO, HE MADE THE DEAL
OF A LIFETIME AND THEN, POOF.
GONE WITHOUT A TRACE.
TORONTO STAR REPORTER
KATIE DAUBS BRINGS FRESH EYES TO
THIS COLD CASE IN HER NEW BOOK,
"THE MISSING MILLIONAIRE: THE
TRUE STORY OF AMBROSE SMALL AND
THE CITY OBSESSED WITH FINDING HIM."
AND SHE JOINS US NOW FOR MORE.

Katie is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a purple blazer and a white blouse.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features an old picture of a city corner with early 20-th century cars parked outside a theatre with a large sign that reads "Grand."

Steve continues NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

Katie says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Steve says LET'S JUST...
ACTUALLY, BEFORE I ACTUALLY ASK
YOU ABOUT A.M. ROSE SMALL, I
WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU GOT TO THIS STORY.

The caption changes to "Katie Daubs. Author, 'The missing millionaire.'"
Then, it changes again to "A 100 year-old mystery."

Katie says SURE.
I'M A REPORTER AT THE TORONTO
STAR, AND BACK IN 2012 WE WANTED
TO DO A PIECE EXPLORING THE FOOD
SHOPS BENEATH THE FINANCIAL
DISTRICT OF TORONTO.
THEY SENT ME THERE TO LIVE FOR
TWO WEEKS.
I WASN'T LIVING UNDERGROUND BUT
ONE OF THE HOTELS THAT WERE
CONNECTED.
I WAS LOOKING FOR HISTORY IN THE
FINANCIAL DISTRICT.
AND SOMEBODY SAYS SCOTIA PLAZA,
CLOSE TO YONGE, THAT'S WHERE
THIS GREAT THEATRE USED TO BE
CALLED THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE AND
THAT WAS THE SCENE OF THE
DISAPPEARANCE OF AMBROSE SMALL.
THE NAME WAS FAMILIAR WITH ME
BECAUSE I READ "IN THE SKIN OF A
LION" WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER,
WHICH IS A FICTIONALIZED VERSION
OF THIS STORY, BUT I WAS
IMMEDIATELY INTRIGUED AND
STARTED DIGGING AROUND.

Steve says IT'S ONE THING TO BE
INTRIGUED AND ANOTHER TO SAY I'M
GOING TO SPEND THE NEXT FIVE
YEARS OF MY LIFE VISITING
ARCHIVES AND TALKING TO PEOPLE.
WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

The caption changes to "Katie Daubs. Toronto Star."

Katie says IT WAS TOO COMPLICATED.
INITIALLY I THOUGHT THIS WOULD
BE A GREAT STORY FOR THE TORONTO
STAR.
I LOVE WRITING ABOUT HISTORY.
IT'S TOO COMPLICATED.
THE BOOK IS LONG.
TO PUT IT INTO A REGULAR STORY,
I THOUGHT A PODCAST WOULD BE
GOOD TOO.
I THOUGHT THE ONLY WAY TO DO
THIS IN THE WAY THAT I FELT THE
STORY DESERVED WAS TO NAIL DOWN
ALL THE FACTS AND TO EXPLORE AND
DO A DEEP DIVINE AND THE BOOK
JUST SEEMED TO BE THE BEST WAY
TO DO THAT.

Steve says GOTCHA.
AS WE BRING A PICTURE OF AMBROSE
SMALL UP, TELL US WHO HE WAS.

A grainy black and white picture shows a middle-aged man with short hair and a prominent mustache, with a severe look.
Another picture shows him sitting at a desk, writing.

Katie says HE WAS A TOWERING FIGURE OF
THE CANADIAN ENTERTAINMENT
LANDSCAPE.
IN TORONTO HE WAS WELL-KNOWN FOR
OWNING THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE BUT
ALSO BEING THE MAN TO
REVOLUTIONALIZED THEATRE IN
ONTARIO.
WHILE OTHER PEOPLE COMPETED FOR
PRESTIGE, AMBROSE WAS ALL ABOUT
QUANTITY.
YOU MENTIONED BEFORE ABOUT HIS
VAST NETWORK OF ONTARIO
THEATRES.
HE HAD THEATRES THAT HE
CONTROLLED IN SOME WAYS UP IN
SUDBURY, STRATFORD, THERE'S
ABOUT 40 OF THEM.
SO HE WAS A GUY WHO SAW THAT
THERE WAS DEFINITELY POWER IN
OWNING SO MANY PLACES AND HE
COULD CONTROL ONTARIO.

Steve says HERE'S AN EXCERPT
FROM THE BOOK...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The theatre impresario's dilemma." The quote reads "But this was his chance to escape a business that was becoming more difficult to control. The Great War had been hard on the box office, the Spanish flu had frightened people away from public places, and the actors were demanding better wages and working conditions. (Charlie Chaplin and the rest of the silent film stars, trapped inside a canister of film, were easier to deal with.) Railway travel was becoming more expensive, and the travelling show was looking a little tired. So were his theatres."
Quoted from Katie Daubs, "The missing millionaire." 2019.

Steve says OKAY.
YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT HOW
EXTENSIVE HIS THEATRE HOLDINGS WERE.
SO HE DECIDES TO SELL.

Katie says YES.

Steve says EVERYTHING?

The caption changes to "Katie Daubs, @kdaubs."

Katie says EVERYTHING.
YEAH.
THAT WE KNOW OF.
YEAH, HE HAS A GROUP FROM
MONTREAL, A GROUP CALLED
TRANS-CANADA THEATRES WHO ARE
INTERESTED.
THEY WANT TO BUILD A
CROSS-CANADA NETWORK.
THEY HAVE THEATRES IN VANCOUVER,
IN THE PRAIRIES, AND ONTARIO IS
THE KEY TO HAVING A CROSS-CANADA
NETWORK.
SO ALL ALONG IN 1919, THEY'RE
TALKING TO AMBROSE, TRYING TO
GET THE TERMS OF THE DEAL SORTED
OUT AND HE DECIDES IT IS A GOOD
TIME TO GO.
HE SEES THE WRITING ON THE WALL.
SO, YEAH, HE GETS A REALLY GOOD
DEAL, I THINK.
BECAUSE AS IT TURNS OUT,
TRANS-CANADA WILL CLOSE DOWN A
FEW YEARS LATER.
YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA
TO DO A CROSS-CANADA THEATRE
NETWORK.
IT'S WHY MOST OF THE THEATRE
CIRCUITS AT THAT TIME WERE
ALIGNED WITH THE STATES.
IT WAS EASIER TO TRAVEL NORTH
THAN EAST-WEST IN THE COUNTRY.

Steve says HE CASHES OUT IN THE
NICK OF TIME AND MAKES HOW MUCH
MONEY?

Katie says 1.75 MILLION dollars.

Steve says WHICH IN TODAY'S
TERMS IS HOW MUCH?

Katie says I HAVE IT IN THE BOOK.
60 MILLION AT LEAST.

Steve says GOOD CHUNK OF CHANGE.

Katie says IT'S PROBABLY MORE THAN THAT TOO.
YEAH, HE JUST WANTS TO GET OUT
AND HE GETS OUT AT A GREAT TIME.

Steve says 100 YEARS AGO TODAY,
DECEMBER 2ND, 1919, WHAT HAPPENED?

Katie says SO HE HAS GOT THE FINAL
PAPERWORK SORTED OUT THE DAY
BEFORE, DECEMBER 1ST.
HE WAKES UP DECEMBER 2ND, GOES
BACK TO THE THEATRE TO JUST
FINISH UP A FEW THINGS, POPS OUT
FOR A SHAVE, MEETS HIS WIFE AND
LAWYER FOR LUNCH.
AT SOME POINT THAT DAY HE
DEPOSITS A CHEQUE FOR 1 MILLION dollars
IN THE BANK, AND THEN HIS LAWYER
COMES BY AT 5:30 P.M., PICKS UP
HIS PAYMENT FOR THE DEAL, AND
HE'S THE LAST PERP WE KNOW OF
THAT SEES AMBROSE SMALL ALIVE.
HIS WIFE WAS EXPECTING HIM HOME
FOR DINNER AT 6:30 P.M. IN THEIR
ROSEDALE MANSION.
WHEN HE DOESN'T SHOW UP, SHE
STARTS TO GET WORRIED.
THE INTERESTING THING WAS
AMBROSE WAS KNOWN TO NOT SHOW
UP.
HE'S A BIT OF A KNOWN CAROUSER.
HE HAS A MISTRESS AND HIS WIFE
KNOWS ABOUT IT.
SO LAYERED THROUGH ALL OF THIS
INTRIGUE IS A VERY COMPLICATED
PERSONAL LIFE TOO.

Steve says AND NOBODY SAW HIM
AFTER THAT.

Katie says THERE WERE CLAIMS.
LIKE, PEOPLE WOULD SAY, OH, I
SAW AMBROSE ON YONGE STREET.
HE WAS BEING HELD DOWN IN THE
BACK SEAT OF A CAR.
THERE WERE DOZENS OF PEOPLE WHO
CLAIMED TO HAVE SEEN AMBROSE BUT
NO REPUTABLE SIGHTINGS POLICE
COULD CONFIRM.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK HIS
DISAPPEARANCE TOOK ON SUCH EPIC
PROPORTIONS.

Katie says BECAUSE HE WAS ALREADY A MAN
OF MYTHOLOGY.
AS HE ROSE TO PROMINENCE, HE GOT
A REPUTATION FOR BEING A VERY
VINDICTIVE, MEAN-SPIRITED GUY,
ALWAYS OUT TO WIN, ALWAYS OUT TO
MAKE MONEY.
HE WAS A TOWERING FIGURE AND
KNOWN TO NOT TREAT PEOPLE VERY
WELL.
SO HE WAS ALSO A GUY THAT I
THINK IN TORONTO AT THAT TIME,
HE WAS OUR... HE WAS OUR SORT OF
MILLIONAIRE.
I THINK THE CITY WAS VERY PROUD
THAT THIS GUY AT THE CENTRE OF
ALL THIS, EVEN IF HE'S A BIT OF
A, YOU KNOW, NOT SUCH A NICE
GUY, HE WAS SOMEONE WHO WAS
MAKING IT HAPPEN.
HE WAS THIS ENTREPRENEURIAL GUY
AND HE LIVED IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
ALL THE TIME.
HE WAS ALWAYS BEING VERY
SECRETIVE ABOUT BUSINESS DEALS.
SO WHEN HE WENT MISSING, PEOPLE
KNEW THAT HE HAD A LOT OF
ENEMIES AND PEOPLE KNEW THAT
THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO,
YOU KNOW, MIGHT WANT TO GET THAT
MONEY FROM HIM.
SO, YOU KNOW, IT BECAME QUITE...
IT BECAME QUITE A HUNT AND
OBSESSION.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says THAT WAS THE MYSTERY
SURROUNDING HIS DISAPPEARANCE.
LET'S DO SOME OF THE BACKGROUND
ON HOW AMBROSE SMALL, HIS FAMILY
GOT TO CANADA.
TYPICAL IRISH FAMILY SO TO SPEAK?

The caption changes to "Rags to riches."

Katie says THE GRANDPARENTS OF AMBROSE
SMALL WERE THE ONES WHO MADE THE
LEAP IN A TOWNSHIP NORTH OF
TORONTO.
IF YOU'RE GOING UP HIGHWAY 400
TODAY, YOU WOULD GET OFF... I
DON'T KNOW WHAT EXIT IT IS.
IT'S PROBABLY ABOUT AN HOUR'S
DRIVE NORTH OF TORONTO.
IT WAS KNOWN AS THE CATHOLIC
ENCLAVE IN THE ONTARIO
COUNTRYSIDE WHERE YOU FIND MOST
PROTESTANTS.

Steve says IT WAS ORANGE
ONTARIO BACK THEN.

Katie says IT WAS VERY ORANGE.
SO LIKE A LOT OF CATHOLICS, THE
SMALLS SAW THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE
WAS WISDOM IN BEING SURROUNDED
BY CATHOLICS BECAUSE THERE WAS A
LOT OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST
CATHOLICS IN THOSE DAYS TOO IN
TERMS OF JOBS AND THINGS LIKE
THAT.
THE SMALLS SETTLED THERE.
AMBROSE'S FATHER IS ONE OF SIX
KIDS.
LIKE MANY PEOPLE IN THAT TIME
PERIOD, IN THE MID 19TH CENTURY,
THERE'S NOT A LOT OF LAND LEFT
TO FARM.
AMBROSE SMALL'S DAD GETS INTO
THE HOTEL BUSINESS AND
EVENTUALLY MOVES TO TORONTO IN
THE 1870s.

Steve says THEY CALLED TORONTO
THE BELFAST OF CANADA BACK THEN.
HOW COME?

Katie says IN ONTARIO, TORONTO IS THE
EPICENTRE OF THAT POWER.
THERE ARE ORANGE LODGES.
THE MAYOR IS ORANGE.
THE CHIEF OF POLICE IS ALWAYS
ORANGE.
EVERY JULY 12TH ALL CITY
EMPLOYEES GET THE DAY OFF TO
WATCH THE ORANGE PARADE.
IT'S JUST SOAKED INTO THE CITY
IN THOSE DAYS.
SO THE SMALLS ARE NOT... THEY'RE
CATHOLIC.
AMBROSE'S FATHER IS CATHOLIC.
BUT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY...
THEY'RE NOT FERVENT ABOUT IT.
LIKE, THEY'RE BUSINESSPEOPLE AND
THEY MOSTLY ARE CONCERNED WITH,
YOU KNOW, MAKING MONEY, GETTING
THEIR KIDS INTO SOME GOOD
SCHOOLS.
AMBROSE ATTENDED DE LA SALLE, A
CATHOLIC BOYS SCHOOL.

Steve says TEN MINUTES FROM HERE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Katie says IT WAS TEN MINUTES FROM THE
THEATRE, ON ADELAIDE STREET.
HE WAS GROWING UP INTO THIS
WORLD.
HIS FATHER EVENTUALLY GOT A
HOTEL NEXT TO THE GRAND OPERA
HOUSE.
THAT'S HOW THESE TWO WORLDS
COLLIDE.

Steve says WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS
FATHER'S MONEY WHEN THEY MOVED
TO TORONTO?

Katie says YEAH.
I MEAN, HIS FATHER DID... HE GOT
ALONG JUST FINE, BUT IT WAS
MORE, HE INVESTED A LOT OF HIS
MONEY IN THE BUSINESSES.
SO HE OPENED THIS HOTEL AND
SALOON.
HE LATER OPENED A LIQUOR STORE
IN THE WARD, ON ELIZABETH
STREET.
MOST OF HIS MONEY WENT INTO THE
BUSINESSES.
BUT THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT
HIM IS, HIS WIFE DIED.
SO AMBROSE SMALL'S MOTHER DIES
WHEN AMBROSE IS ABOUT 25.

Steve says AND THAT BRINGS THE
CORMAN FAMILY INTO THE PICTURE.

Katie says THAT'S RIGHT.
IN SOME WAYS IT'S LIKE
SOLIDIFYING THIS MONEY.
AMBROSE'S FATHER'S DAD MARRIES
JOSEPHINE CORMAN, SHE IS THE
OLDEST SISTER OF THERESA WHO
WOULD LATER BE AMBROSE SMALL'S
WIFE.

Steve says AMBROSE MARRIES THE
YOUNGER SISTER OF HIS
STEPMOTHER.

Katie says YES.

Steve says THAT'S KIND OF
KINKY.

Katie says IT'S A BIT WEIRD, YES.

Steve says I'M GOING TO READ
SOMETHING HERE.
YOU WROTE THIS ABOUT THERESA
CORMAN SMALL.
THIS IS THE WIFE.

Another quote appears from Katie's book appears on screen, under the title "The blind eye of the pious." The quote reads "Theresa Small's life was an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Her parents had made their fortune in beer, which allowed Theresa to attend a school where she learned how to be smart and pious. Sin paid for salvation. Her husband ignored the Bible with a great flourish. The spoils of entertainment and the racetrack had paid for the Rosedale mansion -and her train tickets to the religious conference. She treasured the virtues of domesticity, but she had a staff that cooked her meals and cleaned her house."

Steve says OKAY.
WE'VE GOT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT
THERESA SMALL.
WHO WAS SHE?

In a black and white picture, Theresa is a middle-aged woman, with a grim expression, wearing dark clothes, a cloche and a veil.
In another picture, she wears a white dress.

Katie says I LOVE THAT SHE IS SUCH A
CONTRADICTORY PERSON.
SO SHE GREW UP OUTSIDE OF
TORONTO, INITIALLY THE FAMILY
WAS RAISED IN A SMALL TOWN IN
THE OUTSKIRTS NEAR WATERLOO.
THEY COME TO TORONTO.
SHE IS ONE OF TEN KIDS.
AND, YOU KNOW, BIG CATHOLIC
FAMILY.
HER FATHER IS A... HE WORKED FOR
THE GOVERNMENT AT ONE POINT AND
HE'S A REALLY GOOD BUSINESSMAN.
HE STARTS A BREWERY IN TORONTO
WITH ANOTHER GUY, WHO TAKES IT
OVER.
AND THE FAMILY STARTS TO DO
REALLY WELL, WELL ENOUGH TO SEND
THERESA TO THAT SCHOOL THAT YOU
MENTIONED WHICH IS RUN BY THE
SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH.
AND, YEAH, THERESA JUST GROWS UP
IN A MORE PRIVILEGED ENVIRONMENT
THAN HER PARENTS WOULD HAVE HAD.
YOU KNOW, THEY KIND OF HAD...
THEY WERE VERY MUCH MIDDLE
CLASS, LOOKING TO GO INTO THE
UPPER CLASS, AND THEY BOUGHT A
HOUSE AT BLOOR AND YONGE IN THE
1880s, YOU KNOW, ALONGSIDE A
LOT OF THE TITANS OF THE DAY.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO HAD MADE
THEIR MONEY IN MANUFACTURING AND
ALL KINDS OF WEALTH.
SO SHE IS CLASSICALLY TRAINED.
SHE IS A SINGER.
VERY PIOUS.
AND, YOU KNOW, SHE IS 30 WHEN
SHE MEETS AMBROSE.

Steve says HOW WAS THEIR
MARRIAGE?

A colour picture shows a large, three-storey detached house.

Katie says IN THE BEGINNING, IT SEEMED
TO BE PRETTY GOOD.
THEY GO TRAVELLING ALL OVER THE
WORLD ON STEAM SHIPS EVERY
SUMMER WHEN THE THEATRE SHUTS
DOWN.
THEY HAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL MANSION
IN ROSEDALE.
THERESA HAS ALL THE JEWELS AND
FURS SHE COULD EVER WANT.
BUT AMBROSE IS... HE LIKES OTHER
WOMEN.
HE LIKES CHORUS GIRLS.
IT'S KNOWN HE HAS AFFAIRS.
THERE'S STORIES ABOUT HIM HAVING
SECRET ROOMS IN HIS THEATRES SO
HE CAN HAVE THESE PURSUITS AWAY
FROM THERESA'S WATCHFUL EYES.
SO THERESA EVENTUALLY FINDS OUT
ABOUT ONE MISTRESS DURING THE
FIRST WORLD WAR WHO HAS SOME
STAYING POWER.
THAT'S WHEN SHE FINALLY
CONFRONTS AMBROSE ABOUT IT.

Steve says HOW DID THAT GO?

Katie says IT DIDN'T GO GREAT.
IT'S 1917, AND BY THAT POINT,
THERESA IS VOLUNTEERING WITH A
BATTALION OF SOLDIERS HERE IN
TORONTO HELPING THEM RAISE MONEY
FOR THE WAR EFFORT.
AND WHEN SHE TELLS AMBROSE YOU
NEED TO GET YOUR MISTRESS OUT OF
TOWN, HE COMES BACK AT HER WITH
AN ACCUSATION THAT SHE IS HAVING
AN AFFAIR WITH A CHAPLAIN.

Steve says ANY TRUTH TO THAT?

Katie says IT'S INTERESTING.
THERESA AND THE CHAPLAIN ALWAYS
DENIED IT.
BUT IN THE INVESTIGATORY NOTES
AT THE END OF THE BOOK, IT SAYS SOMEONE IN THE BATTALION CAME TO
ME AND SAID THIS MAN BASICALLY
DID CONFIRM THIS.
BUT FOR ALL OF THEIR LIVES, THE
PEOPLE INVOLVED ALWAYS DENIED
IT.
WITH AMBROSE AND HIS MISTRESS,
IT WAS OUT IN THE OPEN.
BUT THERESA, SHE IS A PARAGON
AND WELL-PLACED IN CHARITABLE
TORONTO AND ROSEDALE.
THIS IS A HORRIFYING ACCUSATION.
AND ONE OF THE MANY THINGS THAT
WILL KIND OF COME TO HAUNT HER.

Steve says LET ME GO OFF THE
PATH FOR A SECOND.
I'M CURIOUS, YOUR SHOE LEATHER
DETECTIVE WORK.
YOU TALK ABOUT AN OPP REPORT
FROM 100 YEARS AGO.

Katie says RIGHT.

Steve says WHERE DO YOU
EVEN FIND THAT STUFF?

Katie says IN THE WONDERFUL ARCHIVES.
ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE OPP,
THAT'S ALL IN THE ONTARIO
ARCHIVES.
CITY ARCHIVES HAVE A LOT OF
GEMS, A LOT OF THE RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONS AFFILIATED WITH
THERESA SMALL ALSO HAD SOME
GREAT SIGNS.
I LOVE THAT STUFF.

Steve says HMM.
YOU'VE TOLD US THAT AMBROSE HAD
A RATHER COLOURFUL PRIVATE LIFE.
DID... DO WE PUT THIS PICTURE UP
OF... WHO IS THAT?

A black and white picture shows a young woman in a military uniform saluting.

Katie says THAT'S CLARA.
THAT'S THE WAR-TIME MISTRESS.

Steve says SHE IS THE ONE YOU
JUST REFERRED TO.

Katie says YEAH.

Steve says NOW, WERE... I MEAN,
HOW MANY... DID HE STEP OUT A LOT?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Katie says SO THIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT
COMES OUT IN TERMS OF THE
ARCHIVES.
BUT I KNOW FROM LETTERS THAT
CLARA WROTE TO AMBROSE, SHE IS
WRITING HIM, YOU KNOW, IN 1918,
1919, AND SHE'S TELLING HIM TO
STAY AWAY FROM OTHER WOMEN.
SO THE MISTRESS IS WORRIED ABOUT
AMBROSE GOING AWAY WITH OTHER
WOMEN.
SO I THINK IT'S WELL-KNOWN.
AND CERTAINLY IN MEMOIRS OF
OTHER THEATRE PEOPLE AT THE
TIME, IT'S REFERENCED.
BUT I DON'T HAVE ANY OTHER
NAMES.
WHEN HE'S CLOSING THE DEAL IN
MONTREAL, HE WRITES A LETTER
SAYING YOU NEED TO STAY AWAY
FROM THOSE RUBBISH WOMEN IN
MONTREAL.

Steve says THOSE RUBBISH WOMEN
IN MONTREAL.
THE THEATRE SCENE IN TORONTO
TODAY, THE ROYAL ALEX, THE
PRINCE OF WALES... WHAT DO THEY
CALL IT, THE SONY CENTRE NOW?

Katie says THE MERIDIAN.

Steve says YOU'RE RIGHT.
I WAS GOING TO CALL IT THE
HUMMINGBIRD.
THAT'S THREE NAMES AGO AS WELL.
THE GRAND OPERA THEATRE THAT HE
RAN, WHERE DID IT STAND IN THE
PANOPLY OF THEATRES AT THE TIME?

A black and white picture shows the
Grand Opera theatre, featured on the cover of Katie's book, from a different angle.

Katie says WHEN IT WAS FIRST BUILT, IT
WAS THE FIRST THEATRE THAT
ANNOUNCED TORONTO HAD ARRIVED.
WE COULD HOST TROOPS FROM NEW
YORK AND LONDON.
THAT WAS 1874.
BY THE TIME AMBROSE TAKES
CONTROL AND OWNERSHIP OF IT AT
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, ITS
GLORY DAYS ARE OVER.
BY THE TIME THAT AMBROSE TAKES
CONTROL, THERE'S ABOUT A DOZEN
THEATRES DOWNTOWN.
THE ROYAL ALEX THAT YOU
MENTIONED COMES AROUND IN 1907,
AND THAT CHANGES TORONTO THEATRE
FOREVER.
IT'S MORE PRESTIGIOUS THAN THE
GRAND.
THE GRAND HAD A GOOD REPUTATION,
BUT IT WAS MORE OF A CHEAP PLACE
TO SEE SOMETHING GOOD.
A GOOD VALUE SHOW.
AND PEOPLE SEE THEATRE IN THOSE
DAYS LIKE WE WOULD WATCH
TELEVISION OR SEE A MOVIE
TONIGHT.
IT'S PRETTY CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT
AND THERE'S SOMETHING EVERY
NIGHT OF THE WEEK.
THERE'S ALSO LOTS OF VAUDEVILLE,
LOTS OF BURLESQUE, SO AMBROSE IS
IN A VERY COMPETITIVE
ENTERTAINMENT LANDSCAPE IN
TORONTO.

Steve says AS I LOOK AT THE
COVER OF YOUR BOOK, I MEAN, IT
DOES EVOKE KIND OF A MASSEY HALL
QUALITY TO IT, YOU KNOW?
IT'S GOT OLD BONES AND, YOU
KNOW, JUST GRAND AT THE SAME TIME.
WELL, OBVIOUSLY, AS THE NAME INDICATES.
OKAY.
AMBROSE DISAPPEARS.
DID THERESA GO TO THE POLICE THAT NIGHT?

The caption changes to "Without a trace."

Katie says NO.
SHE WILL COME UNDER CRITICISM
FOR THIS LATER.
SHE TAKES TWO WEEKS UNTIL SHE
TALKS TO POLICE, AND EVEN THEN,
IT'S NOT OF HER OWN VOLITION.
SOME OF AMBROSE'S FRIENDS SAY,
YOU KNOW, THIS IS WEIRD.
NORMALLY WHEN HE GOES OFF ON A
TEAR, WE'LL HEAR FROM HIM.
BUT THERE'S NO MOVEMENT IN THE
BANK ACCOUNTS.
WE'RE GOING TO GO TALK TO
POLICE.
THEY GO TO OLD CITY HALL WHERE
THE POLICE ARE LOCATED AND
MENTION THIS AND SAY TO THE
INVESTIGATOR THERE, LIKE, HIS
WIFE DOESN'T KNOW THAT WE'RE
HERE.
SO KIND OF TREAD LIGHTLY.
AND THEY GO RIGHT AWAY TO
ROSEDALE AND TALK TO HER AND,
YOU KNOW, SHE GIVES THE
EXPLANATION THAT I TOLD YOU
BEFORE THAT, YOU KNOW, SHE WAS
WAITING FOR HIM TO COME HOME FOR
DINNER, HE NEVER CAME BACK.
SHE TELLS POLICE EVENTUALLY
ABOUT THE MISTRESS.
HE'S IN THE HANDS OF A DESIGNING
WOMAN.

Steve says DESIGNING WOMAN.

Katie says DESIGNING WOMAN.
HE'LL BE BACK ANY DAY NOW AND I
DON'T WANT TO ANGER HIM.
IF I PUT SOMETHING IN THE
NEWSPAPER, HE'S GOING TO BE
FURIOUS, AND I DON'T WANT TO
EMBARRASS... SHE ALSO KIND OF
PLAYED OFF OF I THINK THEIR OWN
EXPECTATIONS OF... YOU KNOW, IT
WOULD EMBARRASS HER.
LIKE, THE POLICE ARE VERY
COGNIZANT OF THERESA'S PLACE IN SOCIETY.

Steve says HOW WOULD THE POLICE
NORMALLY HAVE INVESTIGATED A
MISSING PERSON BACK IN THE DAY?

Katie says SO IT'S INTERESTING, AT THE
ONTARIO ARCHIVES, A LOT OF TIMES
IT HAPPENS AFTER THE FACT WHERE
PEOPLE WAIT FOR SOMEBODY TO COME
HOME AND THEN THEY'LL WRITE TO
THE POLICE IN MANY CASES AND
GIVE A DESCRIPTION OF WHAT THE
PERP LOOKED LIKE AND POLICE
WOULD SEND THESE OUT TO OTHER...
OTHER DETACHMENTS AND PLACES
ACROSS ONTARIO.
BUT IN TORONTO AT THE TIME,
YOU'RE AT A HUGE DISADVANTAGE IF
IT'S REPORTED TWO WEEKS LATE.
YOU DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S A
CRIME SCENE.
THEY GO TO THE GRAND AND THEY
SEE AMBROSE SMALL'S OFFICE AND
THERE'S CHAIRS THAT ARE BROKEN,
A PHONE HANGING OFF THE WALL.
GENERALLY SPEAKING THEY ARE
TRYING TO GET A CHAIN OF
EVIDENCE TOGETHER AND TRY TO
CANVASS AS MANY PEOPLE AS THEY
COULD.
WHICH THEY DID IN SOME WAYS
HERE.
BUT THE TORONTO POLICE
INVESTIGATION IS VERY FLAWED IN
THIS CASE, TO PUT IT LIGHTLY.

Steve says SHELDON, FLIP A
SWITCH, IF YOU WOULD, AND LET'S
BRING UP THE NEXT PHOTO.
WHO IS THAT?

A grainy black and white picture shows a clean-shaven man with a mischievous expression, wearing a hat.

Katie says THAT'S JACK DOUGHTY, LONG-
LONG-TIME RIGHT-HAND MAN OF
AMBROSE SMALL.

Steve says HE LOOKS SHIFTY.
THAT FACE IS A FACE OF SOMEONE
INVOLVED IN NO GOOD.

Katie says AS IT HAPPENED, AFTER AMBROSE
GOES MISSING... SO HE'S AMBROSE
SMALL'S LONG-TIME EMPLOYEE FOR
YEARS, HE RUNS THE SHOW WITH
AMBROSE.
WHEN AMBROSE MAKES A MILLION
DOLLARS, HE GETS NOTHING.
HE'S DOING THE EQUIVALENT OF A
MODERN DAY GOOGLE SEARCH AND
ASKING IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET
MONEY OUT OF THE BOSS.
HE LEAVES THIS TRAIL BEHIND,
JACK CAME TO ME TALKING ABOUT
KIDNAPPING, TALKING ABOUT
VARIOUS SCHEMES.
SO THE SUSPICION SHIFTS ONTO
JACK.
THAT HAPPENS IN LATE
DECEMBER 1919.
AND THEN EVENTUALLY POLICE
NOTICE THAT THERE IS SOME MONEY
MISSING IN AMBROSE SMALL'S
VAULT, WHICH JACK HAS ACCESS TO.

Steve says HAS ACCESS TO.

Katie says EVEN MORE SO.
THERESA DIDN'T EVEN HAVE POWER
OF ATTORNEY.
FOR MANY REASONS, AMBROSE DIDN'T
TRUST HER, BUT HE DID TRUST
JACK.
AND SO THAT'S WHERE THE POLICE
GO LOOKING NEXT, AND THEY CAN'T
FIND JACK.
HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IN
MONTREAL, STARTING A JOB HELPING
THE NEW COMPANY THAT WAS TAKING
OVER THE NETWORK, AND THEY SAID,
OH, WE HAVEN'T SEEN HIM.
HE WENT TO TORONTO ON BUSINESS
IN LATE DECEMBER AND HE NEVER
REPORTED BACK FOR DUTY.

Steve says HMM.
THE PLOT THICKENS.
LET'S DO ONE MORE EXCERPT FROM
THE BOOK.

Another quote appears, under the title "The story that kept on giving." The quote reads "In the 1920s, the newspapers were filled with serious stories about post-war reconstruction and Canada's quest for independence from Britain, but the public thirsted for scandal. 'It was the age of F. Scott Fitzgerald hedonism, of the outlandish feats of glamourized celebrities, of the sports heroics of idolized athletes, of the deeds and misdeeds of the famous, the notorious and the obscure,' one historian observed, and there was Ambrose Small, who was not so much a victim as a villain, the perfect low-stakes foil for the times. The story grew wilder every year with sightings, legal fights, and accusations. It never ended."

Steve says SO WRITES KATIE
DAUBS.
NO ONE WAS EVER CHARGED WITH
THIS, RIGHT?

Katie says NO.
THE CLOSEST THAT CAME TO
ANYTHING WAS JACK DOUGHTY WAS
CHARGED WITH THEFT.
POLICE EVENTUALLY FOUND HIM
LIVING UNDER A NEW IDENTITY IN
NEW YORK CITY.
THEY BROUGHT HIM BACK
SPECTACULARLY ON THIS TRAIN
JOURNEY THAT MY NEWSPAPER AND
OTHERS COVERED WITH GREAT ZEAL.
THAT IS SOME OF MY FAVOURITE
RESEARCH IN THE BOOK IS READING
THIS AMAZING LANGUAGE OF THOSE
NEWSPAPERS IN THAT ERA THAT YOU
MENTIONED.
IT'S SO SPLASHY.
SO HE DOES COME BACK.
HE STANDS TRIAL FOR THEFT.
HE'S FOUND GUILTY.
HE'S ALSO CHARGED WITH
CONSPIRACY TO KIDNAP.
THAT CHARGE IS NEVER... IT'S
NEVER TAKEN UP.
ONE OF THE THINGS I MENTION IN
THE BOOK IS THAT DOUGHTY HAD
APPEALED THE THEFT CHARGE.
AND IN I GUESS WHETHER A COULD
BE SEEN AS A QUID PRO QUO, THEY
SAID THE TRIAL WASN'T ENTIRELY
SATISFACTORY.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO PUSH THIS
KIDNAPPING CHARGE.
THEY DIDN'T HAVE A BODY.
THEY PROBABLY KNEW THEY WEREN'T
GOING TO GET A CONVICTION ON IT.
BUT THERE DEFINITELY WAS
SUSPICION THAT CONTINUED TO HANG
OVER JACK DOUGHTY FOR THE REST
OF HIS LIFE.

Steve says THERESA ENDED UP
SPENDING A LOT OF TIME IN COURT
TOO, RIGHT?

Katie says YEAH.

Steve says OVER WHAT?

Katie says INITIALLY SHE WANTS TO GET
THE MONEY.
RIGHT AWAY, THAT MILLION DOLLARS
IN THE BANK, SHE SAYS THAT
ACTUALLY AMBROSE SMALL... SHE
DOESN'T CALL HIM BY HIS FULL
NAME... AMBROSE AND I MADE A
DEAL WE WERE GOING TO SPLIT THE
MILLION DOLLAR CHEQUE.
HERE'S A WRITTEN AGREEMENT,
CONVENIENTLY, SAYING THAT EXACT
THING.
SHE GETS HER WAY AT FIRST.
A JUDGE SAYS, FINE, HERE'S THE
MONEY.
AND AMBROSE SMALL'S SISTER WHO
HE WAS SUPPORTING CHALLENGE
THAT.
AND THERE'S A BIG FIGHT.
IT GOES ON FOR MANY YEARS.
FIRST A FIGHT TO DECLARE HIM
DEAD AND THEN A FIGHT OVER THE
WILL.
AND THERESA DOES WIN, IN A
SENSE.
IT'S A SETTLEMENT.
THE SISTERS BRING UP A LOT OF
THAT... A LOT OF THAT GOSSIP
ABOUT THAT CHAPLAIN COMES INTO
THE WILL CASE AND THERESA IS
JUST EMBARRASSED.
SOME OF THE HEADLINES, YOU KNOW,
SAY THERESA SMALL'S HOME LIFE
AIRED IN COURT.
AND SHE IS THIS VERY TRAGIC
FIGURE ON THE STAND IN HER
MOURNING BLACK WITH A VEIL STILL
OVER HER FACE AND THE WOODLAND
CREATURES ON HER ARMS AND IT'S
REALLY INTERESTING TO ME TO READ
THAT COURTROOM TESTIMONY BECAUSE
SHE IS VERY, VERY SHREWD, I
THINK, IN HOW SHE ANSWERS THOSE
QUESTIONS.
A LOT OF THE LAWYERS ARE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT JUST WHAT THE DEAL
WAS BETWEEN AMBROSE AND HIS WIFE
WITH THIS MONEY, AND THEY NEVER
COME OUT AND SAY IT, BUT THERE'S
THIS UNDERCURRENT THAT MAYBE
THERE'S SOMETHING THERESA ISN'T
SAYING.
MAYBE THERE'S SOMETHING WE DON'T
KNOW.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says WELL, LET'S JUST
REVIEW MAYBE SOME OF THE TOP FEW
THEORIES AS TO WHY HE
DISAPPEARED.
WANT TO GO THROUGH THEM?

The caption changes to "Whodunit?"

Katie says YEAH.
SO RIGHT AWAY, THE ONE THERESA
BRINGS UP IS THE MISTRESS.
AND TORONTO POLICE HOPE THAT
THAT IS THE CASE.
SO THEY BRING CLARA SMITH IN
FROM MINNEAPOLIS IN EARLY
JANUARY 1920.
SHE COMES IN AND IS KIND OF
DISTRAUGHT THAT AMBROSE IS
MISSING AND RIGHT AWAY THEY KIND
OF TOSS THAT OUT.
SHE SAID SHE'S WILLING TO HELP
THEM WITH WHATEVER THEY NEED.
SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHERE HE IS.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THEORIES.
THE OTHER THEORY IS, OF COURSE,
THAT HE'S BEEN MURDERED BY
SOMEONE CLOSE TO HIM.

Steve says FOR THE MONEY.

Katie says FOR THE MONEY.
OR PERHAPS BY MAYBE LIKE A GANG
OF SOCIALISTS.
THIS IS 1919.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S A WAVE OF
ANTICAPITAL... THAT SORT OF

Steve says THE GENERAL STRIKE.

Katie says EXACTLY, THE GENERAL STRIKE.
AMBROSE SMALL IS LIKE THE
STEREOTYPICAL EVIL CAPITALIST.

Steve says PLUTOCRAT OF THE
DAY.

Katie says HE'S NOT WELL-LIKED.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THEORIES.
THE OTHER THEORY IS MAYBE HE HAS
GONE OFF TO BE QUIET SOMEWHERE
ELSE WITH HIS MISTRESS OR JUST
HAVING A QUIET LIFE.

Steve says HAVING LOOKED AT
THIS WHOLE STORY OVER THE PAST
CENTURY, DO YOU... DO YOU LAND
ON ONE OF THOSE EXPLANATIONS?

Katie says I THINK HE WAS DEFINITELY
MURDERED.
I JUST KNOW THAT ALL THAT I'VE
READ ABOUT AMBROSE IN THE
ARCHIVES, HE WAS SOMEONE WHO
WENT AFTER EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR
HE WAS OWED.
SO TO HAVE SOMEONE LIKE THAT DO
SO MUCH WORK TO GET THIS MILLION
DOLLAR CHEQUE AND THEN WALK AWAY
FROM EVERYTHING MAKES NO SENSE
TO ME.
I THINK IT'S A VERY ROMANTIC
THEORY AND I CAN SEE WHY IT'S SO
POPULAR.
BUT IT'S NOT... IT'S NOT... IT
DOESN'T MAKE SENSE FOR THE MAN
THAT I FOUND.

Steve says YOU INTERVIEWED
MEMBERS OF THE SMALL FAMILY,
MEMBERS OF THE CORMAN FAMILY,
THE DOUGHTY FAMILY, THESE ARE
ALL DESCENDENTS OF THE ORIGINAL
PLAYERS.
DID THEY GIVE YOU ANY INSIGHTS?

Katie says ONE INTERESTING INSIGHT THAT
I FOUND FROM THEM ALL WAS HOW
THE STORY TRICKLED DOWN THROUGH
THE YEARS.
NO ONE KNOWS ANY MORE, I
THINK... EVERYONE CAN HAVE THEIR
OWN THEORIES BUT NO ONE HAD ANY
SMOKING GUN EVIDENCE OR HERE IS
A CONFESSION, ANYTHING LIKE
THAT.
THE REALLY INTERESTING THING
WAS, FOR ALL OF THEM, I THINK,
THE STORY WAS KEPT SILENT FOR
MANY YEARS AND MANY GENERATIONS.
AND IT'S ONLY BEEN IN THE LAST
MAYBE 20, 30 YEARS FOR SOME OF
THESE FAMILIES THAT IT'S OPEN
AGAIN.
AS SOME OF THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS
OF THE FAMILY WHO I THINK WERE
IN THE MIDDLE OF WHAT WAS A VERY
HOSTILE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT.
THEY JUST DIDN'T WANT TO TALK
ABOUT IT.
AND I CAN SEE WHY THAT MIGHT BE.
AND THERE WAS A REAL FEAR IN
TALKING ABOUT IT.
THE ONE I FOUND AMBROSE SMALL'S
NIECE, THE DAUGHTER OF HIS
HALF-SISTER MADELINE, AND SHE
MOVED TO CAPE COD EVENTUALLY AND
SHE CHANGES HER NAME, AND WHEN I
CALLED THERE, HER GRANDSON
PICKED UP THE PHONE AND SAID,
YOU KNOW, MY GRANDMOTHER HAD
HEARD YOUR VOICE MAIL MESSAGE
THAT I LEFT EARLIER, SHE WOULD
HAVE RUN AND HID IN THE CLOSET.
SHE WANTED NOTHING TO DO WITH
THIS.
SHE WAS ALWAYS WORRIED THAT SOME
GANG OF KIDNAPPERS WERE COME FOR
HER.
THERE WAS A LOT OF FEAR.

Steve says UNDERSTANDABLE.

Katie says YEAH.

Steve says WOODWARD AND
BERNSTEIN ALWAYS SAID FOLLOW THE
MONEY.
SO WHERE'S THE MONEY?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY?

Katie says SO THERESA DID GET THE BULK
OF IT.
I THINK I MENTIONED THE
SETTLEMENT BEFORE.
SHE PUT A 100,000 dollars INTO THE
COURTS FOR BOTH SMALL SISTERS SO
THEY LIVED OFF THE INTEREST OF
THAT.
SO THERESA DID GET THE MONEY.
WHAT HAPPENED WAS AFTER SHE DIED
THERE WAS ANOTHER BIG FIGHT OVER
WHO WOULD GET THE ESTATE AND SHE
DIED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GREAT
DEPRESSION.
SO A LOT OF THE ESTATE WAS
WRAPPED UP IN REAL ESTATE AND
STOCKS.
AND SO THEY HAD A HUGE PROBLEM
ON THEIR HANDS.
A LOT OF IT WASN'T RESOLVED
UNTIL THE 1950s AND IT MOSTLY
EVAPORATED.
THAT'S THE GREAT I THINK TRAGEDY
OF THIS AND THE IRONY OF IT IS
THAT THIS IS ALL OVER MONEY,
WHICH I DO THINK IT WAS,
THERE'S... IT'S GONE.

Steve says GONE.

Katie says IT'S GONE.
IT JUST EVAPORATED.

Steve says WHERE IS SHE BURIED,
THERESA.

Katie says ST. MICHAEL'S... I JUST
FORGOT THE NAME... ST. CLAIR,
NOT FAR FROM HERE.

Steve says AND YOU WENT THERE.

Katie says I DID.
I DID.

Steve says YOU DID NOT FIND
AMBROSE SMALL BURIED NEXT TO HER.

Katie says I DID NOT.
IT'S AN INTERESTING CEMETERY
BECAUSE YOU CAN ONLY GO ON
CERTAIN DAYS, ST. CLAIR AND
YONGE, VERY BUSY INTERSECTION.
IT'S ONLY OPEN ON HOLIDAYS.
I FOUND AMBROSE'S FATHER, HE'S
AT THE BACK.
THERESA SMALL IS NEXT TO HER
PARENTS BUT SHE HAS NO STONE.
AND HER SISTER IS... AMBROSE
SMALL'S STEPMOTHER IS BURIED IN
THAT SAME PLOT.
AND I FOUND THAT FASCINATING,
LIKE THE ALLIANCES IN HIS
FAMILY, EVEN IN DEATH, THERE ARE
THESE REAL FAULT LINES, EVEN IN
THAT CEMETERY, AS TO WHERE
PEOPLE ARE AND WHO'S NOT THERE
AND WHO'S BURIED WITH WHOM.

Steve says KATIE, WE HAVE LESS
THAN A MINUTE HERE AND I WANT
YOU TO READ THE DEDICATION OF
YOUR BOOK BECAUSE IT'S DIFFERENT.

Katie says SURE.

She reads
TO THE REPORTERS WHO TOLD THIS
STORY THE FIRST TIME AROUND AND
THE ARCHIVISTS AND LIBRARIANS
WHO KEPT IT SAFE.

Steve says MOST PEOPLE DEDICATE
A BOOK TO A FAMILY, A SPOUSE,
PARENTS, WHATEVER.
THAT'S UNUSUAL.
WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Katie says I LOVE ALL THOSE PEOPLE.
THEY SUPPORTED ME WRITING THIS
BOOK.
I REALLY FELT INDEBTED TO ALL OF
THESE PEOPLE.
ESPECIALLY IN THE MEDIA
LANDSCAPE WE ARE NOW, WITH ALL
THE CUTS, I WORRY 100 YEARS FROM
NOW WHEN HISTORIANS ARE TRYING
TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED.
I RELIED SO HEAVILY ON REPORTS
FROM BACK IN THE DAY AND THE
FACT THAT THESE DOCUMENTS STILL
EXISTED AND WERE KEPT SAFE FOR
100 YEARS SO I COULD HOLD THEM
IN MY HANDS AND WRITE THIS BOOK,
IT JUST BOGGLED MY MIND AND I
WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR IT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Steve says WELL SAID.
"THE MISSING MILLIONAIRE" IS A
GREAT READ AND GOOD FOR YOU
FOR KEEPING THIS STORY ALIVE
AND GETTING IT TO A WHOLE NEW
GENERATION OF PEOPLE WHO NEVER
WOULD HAVE HEARD OF THIS GUY.

Katie says THANKS A LOT STEVE.

Steve says THANKS, KATIE.

Watch: Whatever Happened to Ambrose Small