Unfortunately, I never knew or had the opportunity to meet Harold Barkley. A photographer by trade, he was one talented individual.
Now, to youngsters nowadays, the name may mean nothing at all.
However, if you were a hockey fans in the 1960s, you likely were at least aware of Harold Barkley.
Barkley was, to me, a brilliant live-action sports photographer (perhaps beyond hockey and sports, but I knew of him only in this context). He had a remarkable knack for catching game-action.
His work has been the backbone of many books over the years on hockey history, including books on the Maple leafs, simply because of his outstanding photographic talents.
I remember him fondly in a couple of different ways (beyond still, on occasion, seeing examples of his old work in the books I mentioned above). One is from the old Star Weekly magazine hockey stories, written by the late Jim Hunt, and others. I still have a few of those old magazines around, with the great old pictures Barkley captured and that were carried with the feature stories on stars like Jean Beliveau, Stan Mikita and Gordie Howe. (I’ve featured a couple of Barkley’s classic photos on this site previously. Today, we’ve included a picture of long-time Montreal great Dickie Moore in action at Maple Leaf Gardens against Bob Nevin of the Leafs. Montreal’s Jean-Guy Talbot is in the shot as well.)
In addition, I remember sending in a request to the Toronto Star (even though I didn’t live in Toronto, it may have been available through my local daily newspaper, the Windsor Star) for a series of color action photos called “Hockey Stars in Action”.
I don’t recall if I had to send in 50 cents or a dollar, or nothing at all. But during the 1962-’63 season and the 1963-’64 season, you could indeed “send away” for a series of about 40 or so pictures. I still have some of the set from 62-’63. These are absolutely stunning photos of some of the game’s greats of that era- Howe, Beliveau, Mikita along with Jacques Plante, Dave Keon, Bobby Hull, Andy Bathgate and many others.
If you’ve never seen Barkley’s work, it is worth visiting a local bookstore and leafing through some hockey books that include his work. It’s fabulous stuff.