Rinse the Cordial off my Toga
(and 'the Reunion' notes)
While studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Intermediate English, even better than watching Marlon Brando playing Mark Antony in the 1953 movie version, was the extended comedy sketch “Rinse The Blood Off My Toga,” which appeared in 1960 on an LP released by Canadian comedy duo, Wayne and Shuster. Played frequently over the radio, very soon some of us could just about reproduce, word for word, the entire 15-minute routine. This proved very useful a year or so later when, needing to come up with a contribution to that evening’s entertainment at Launching Place camp, Henry Burstyner and I wrote a camp oriented spoof, based entirely on the Wayne and Shuster piece.

From memory, at Launching Place the audience response to  “Rinse The Cordial Off My Khafia,” consisted more of bafflement and boredom rather than amusement and appreciation. Indeed, our play did precisely what, in the classic movie “The Producers,” Bialystock and Bloom (Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) were hoping to achieve – it opened and closed on the same evening.

But like most “creatives,” our two authors, having total faith in the quality of their work, snatched at the opportunity to mount a revival production more than a quarter of a century later, at a Betar reunion evening held at the home of Louis and Tami Devries. As the entire evening was being videotaped it was hoped that a recording of “Rinse The Cordial Off My Khafia,” featuring a number of the original cast – and with the actors appropriately dressed in “period” costumes – would now be preserved for posterity.

But alas, sadly fate stepped in and a technical malfunction in the equipment resulted in the total loss of sound. So presented here is the vision, recorded on 13 August 1988, on which has been superimposed the original Wayne and Shuster soundtrack, thereby creating a totally new work we have retitled “Rinse The Cordial Off My Toga.”


Henry Burstyner – Flavius Maximus, private Roman eye
John Goldlust – Brutus
Raymonde Appel – Calpurnia
Louis de Vries – Cassius
Imi Weinstein – Bartender

John Goldlust

Video recorded by Ruth Goldlust and produced/edited by John Goldlust

More about 'the Reunion':

By May 1988, planning had started for a Betar reunion, involving John Goldlust, Judy Weinstein, Evie Katz, Henry Burstyner and Louis de Vries. The party would be held at the home of Tami and Louis.

The Betar camp reunion – held on Saturday, 13 August 1988 – was a great success, to the surprise of many, including the sceptical (if enthusiastic) committee.

Henry Burstyner put up a tarpaulin and lantern. Louis dressed up a Hermann’s dummy with Judy Weinstein’s Betar uniform. He also prepared a newsletter. We had Shimshon Feder’s taped accordion music. Guests had been asked to provide their own supper and drinks.

There were about fifty guests. The program was not followed precisely yet it went over extremely well. People said they had a great time, acknowledged the idea was timely and appreciated, and often complimented me on my organisation (Evie, for instance, being honest enough to acknowledge surprise over this long-unnoticed ability in me!). The pity of the night is that Ruth Goldlust’s efforts to videotape the proceedings were marred because an equipment malfunction obliterated the soundtrack.

Harry Stuart rang from America and had long conversations with many of those present. People reminisced; many had not met for years. Although it was a successful night, people started leaving around midnight. Even a number of non-ex-Betarim reported thoroughly enjoying the night. The Goldlusts and Weinsteins did not leave until about 2.30 a.m.

Louis De Vries

John Goldlust kept the documentation of the Reunion plan, the invitations and the program. Click on the 'PLAN' icon below to download.

- Harry Stuart