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CBC Television Series, 1952-1982

by Blaine Allan

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CBC Series Index



Sun 1:00-1:30 p.m., 6 Jun-19 Sep 1982

A half-hour, Sunday aftertoon, summer series, Earthbound examined questions of the country's resources and related industries and the environment. Producer Jane du Broy drew from material originating in different regions to explore problems such as the failure of Canada's forest industry to compete in foreign markets, the revitalization of the fisheries industries in the Atlantic provinces, the debate over grain transportation costs and their effects on the western provinces, and the comparative prices of oil in Canada and the U.S.A. The host of Earthbound was Fred Langer. The show's executive producer was Robert Petch.

Ed And Ross

Thu 5:00-5:30 p.m. 4 Jul-25 Sep 1957

Thu 5:00-5:30 p.m., 2 Jul-24 Sep 1959

In this half-hour, weekly broadcast for children ages eight to fourteen, Ed McCurdy and Ross Snetsinger lived in a magical house. Snetsinger's hand puppet pal, Foster, led them through the building's sliding panels into secret passages. They all enjoyed themselves by making up secret societies, by inventing and building gadgets, with music led by singer and guitarist McCurdy, and with games. They also invited friends, such as jugglers and acrobats, to come down to their place from upstairs and perform. John Kennedy produced Ed and Ross in Toronto. Ed McCurdy and Ross Snetsinger and Foster were all well known to the CBC's young television audiences.

The Ed Evanko Show

Sat 7:00-7:30 p.m., 24 Jun-22 Jul 1967

Singer and actor Ed Evanko starred in his own musical variety show from Winnipeg in the summer of 1967. The show's orchestra and chorus were led by Bob McMullin. Evanko welcomed such musical guests--most from the Winnipeg area--as Lorraine West, Miriam Breitman, Ray St. Germain, Peggy Neville, Hector Bremner, Bobbi Sherron, Yvette, and guitar virtuoso Lenny Breau.

Ed McCurdy/Ed's Place

Tue 5:00-5:30 p.m., 6 Jan-7 Apr 1953

Tue 5:30-6:00 p.m., 14 Apr-28 Apr 1953

Tue/Sun 5:00-5:30 p.m., 5 May-15 Sep 1953

Sat 5:00-5:30 p.m., 17 Oct-19 Dec 1953

Sat 6:00-6:30 p.m., 2 Jan-17 Apr 1954

For several months, singer Ed McCurdy had two series running on CBC television, one for adults and one for children. On the Sunday afternoon show, for grownups, McCurdy was billed simply as "Canada's popular balladeer." On the Tuesday and Saturday afternoon broadcasts, aimed at children, McCurdy acted out stories that he illustrated with folk songs and his own compositions. A contemporary reviewer noted concisely, "Ed McCurdy and his guitar and some innocent comedy with firemen, postmen, and a talk with a shadow man. Very good" (Maclean's [l5 January 1954]).

Education Today

Sun 3:30-4:00 p.m., 10 May-17 May 1959

Education Today comprised two, half-hour programs on higher education, and included talks with businessmen about young people who returned to school after having spent some time in the work force.

Eight Stories Inside Quebec

Wed 10:30-11:00 p.m., 20 Jul-7 Sep 1966

Paul Wright was the executive producer for these half-hour, public affairs programs about issues and people relating to Quebec culture. Jean-Paul Desbiens was the subject of the first program, directed by Arnold Gelbart and written by Howard Ryshpan. Desbiens, a Marist known as Brother Pierre- Jerome, gained fame in Quebec as the author of a book called Les Insolences du Frere Untel, based on letters he had written to Le Devoir that attacked Quebec's school system, strict authority, fear of freedom, language, and the restrictions under which brothers and nuns had to live. The second program, This Blooming Business of Bilingualism, directed by Peter Pearson, dealt with the conflicts of English and French language groups in the daily life of Montreal. Between Two Worlds, the third program, charted the development and present state of Montreal's Jewish community, and was directed by Felix Lazarus and written by C.J. Newman. Confederation of Two, directed by Dennis Miller and prepared by story editor Marion Andre Czerniecki, offered profiles of three couples in which the wife was a Francophone and the husband and Anglophone. The sixth program, The Ballad of Louis Cyr, presented a film biography of the nineteenth century strongman from Montreal, directed by Arnold Gelbart, and featuring music by the Sidetracks. Unlike the other segments of the series, which were produced at CBC Montreal, the seventh program, directed by Ray DeBoer, was produced through the CBC's office in London and in cooperation with the French language program, Aujourd'hui. For comparison with Canada, the show, called What Went Wrong With Belgium?, traced the develoment of bilingualism in another country. The final program, What's the Matter With Old McGill?, outlined the differences between English and French language universities in Quebec, and examined the possibilities for the future of McGill University. It was directed by Dennis Miller, and written by Richard Gwyn and Sandra Gwyn.

Peter Desbarats appeared as the series host.

Elaine Grand

Sun 11:50-12:50 a.m., 11 Jan 1976

Mon 7:00-8:00 p.m., 2/9/16/23 Aug 1976

One of the hosts of CBC's public affairs show, Tabloid, in the 1950s, Elaine Grand reappeared in the 1970s for a series of programs on people in the arts, including television journalist and producer Patrick Watson, writers June Callwood, Mordecai Richler, and Ted Allen, drama critic Herbert Whittaker, and the television program Close-Up.


Sun 10:00-10:30 p.m., 19 Jun-11 Sep 1955

Sat 6:30-6:45 p.m., 1 Feb-28 Mar 1964

In her 1955 summer series, singer Eleanor Collins, pianist Chris Gage, dancers Lennie Gibson and Denise Quan, the Ray Norris Quintet, host Alan Millar, and their weekly guests performed music around a particular theme each week.

In the 1964 series, Collins was backed by a trio led by Chris Gage, and they and guests such as trumpet and trombone player Cars Sneddon, alto sax and flute player Fraser MacPherson, or trumpet played Clara Bryant did their renditions of show tunes and popular music from the U.S.A.

Both series, simply called Eleanor, were produced in Vancouver.

Elements of Survival

Sun 10:00-11:00 p.m., 15/22/29 Sep 1974

Sun 4:00-5:00 p.m., 6/13/20 Jul 1975 (R)

Doug Lower produced, directed, and wrote this series of three, one hour programs on the world food shortage and the population explosion. George Finstad narrated.

Empire, Inc.

Sun 9:00-10:00 p.m., 9 Jan-13 Feb 1983

En Route

Fri 7:30-8:00 p.m., 9 Aug-13 Sep 1974

In this series of six, half-hour shows, the CBC turned the spotlight on popular Quebec muscians for the English speaking audience. Catherine McKinnon hosted the concert performances, by Veronique Sanson, Claude Dubois, Tex Lecor, Ginette Reno, Diane Dufresne, and Willie Lamothe, in different locations--theatres, clubs, and even a barn and a church-- throughout Quebec. Pat Cook was the show's producer and director.


Sun 9:00-9:50 p.m., 26 Jun-25 Sep 1960

In 1960, the CBC filled one of its summer replacement slots with thirteen repeats of shows originally seen on Folio, General Motors Presents, or Showtime. The series opened with a production of Christopher Fry's A Phoenix Too Frequent, produced in 1958 by Paul Almond and starring Rosemary Harris and Don Harron. Subsequent titles included: The Last of the Hot Pilots, by Andy Lewis, with Alan Young; The Desperate Search, by Len Peterson, produced by Harvey Hart, with Janine Sutto; The Oddball, by Bernard Slade, produced by Melwyn Breen, with Tom Harvey and Corinne Conley; Love Story, 19l0, by Leslie MacFarlane, produced by Basil Coleman, with Eric House, Frances Hyland, Barry Morse, and Tony Van Bridge; How to Make More Money Than Men, by Bernard Slade, produced by Norman Campbell, again with Corinne Conley and Tom Harvey; The New Men, by C.P. Snow, adapted by Jacqueline Rosenfeld, produced by Ronald Weyman, and starring John Colicos, Don Harron, and Barry Morse; Murder Story, by Ludovic Kennedy, adapted by Leslie Duncan, produced by Leo Orenstein, with Jeremy Wilkin, Barry Morse, and Eric Christmas; Conrad Aiken's Mr. Arcularis, adapted by Robert Herridge, produced by Harvey Hart, with John Drainie and Lois Nettleton; Here Today, written by Andy Lewis, produced by Melwyn Breen, and starring Kate Reid and Robert Goulet; Sun In My Eyes, by Jack Kuper, produced by Harvey Hart, and starring Al Waxman and Toby Robins; Aldous Huxley's The Giaconda Smile, adapted by Rita Greer Allen, produced by Eric Till, with Pamela Brown, Barry Morse, Tony Van Bridge, and Dawn Greenhalgh; Race For Heaven, by David Swift, produced by Melwyn Breen, and with Hugh Webster and Chris Wiggins; and Paul Almond's production of The Beckoning Hill, written by Arthur Murphy, and featuring Michael Craig.

Except for the opening show, which ran a full hour, most of the productions ran about fifty minutes. A program called Presenting Barry Morse filled the remaining ten minutes. Here Morse gave dramatic readings or brief talks on theatre history or dramatic literature. He discoursed on such subjects as "How Theatre Came to Canada," "The Stormy Partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan," "The Man Who Killed Lincoln," and "Charles Dickens: Would-Be Actor."


Sun 10:30-11:00 p.m. 9 Oct-18 Dec 1960

A half-hour interview show, Encounter replaced the panel show, Fighting Words, for two months and featured its moderator, Nathan Cohen. Cohen talked with a wide range of guests in business, the humanities, arts, and sciences: Justice Samuel Freedman of the Manitoba Court of Appeals, chancellor of the University of Manitoba; film producer and director Stanley Kramer; economist John Kenneth Galbraith; poet and profesoor Karl Shapiro; media theorist Marshall McLuhan; E.W.R. Steacie, the president of the National Research Council; Louis Kronenberger, drama critic for Time magazine; author James Baldwin; and John Coleman Bennett, dean of the faculty of theology at New York's Union Theological Seminary. The producer of Encounter was Gordon Babineau.


Sat 6:06-6:30 p.m., 3 Jan-1 Oct 1970

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 1 Oct 1970-30 Sep 1971

Sun 4:00-4:30 p.m., 23 Jan-29 Jun 1972

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 29 Jun 1972-20 Sep 1973

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 11 Jul-5 Sep 1974

Encounter succeeded Press Conference as the CBC's forum for questioning Canada's major polical figures. In the 1970-l97l season, three members of the press--CBC Parliamentary reporter Ron Collister, Southam News Services chief Charles Lynch, and a guest--put questions to leaders such as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Real Caouette, leader of the Social Credit Party, Finance Minister Edgar Benson, Labour Minister Bryce Mackasey, Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, NDP leader David Lewis, former NDP leader Tommy Douglas, External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp, and Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield. Reporters Doug Collins and Elizabeth Gray took Collister's and Lynch's place for the 1974 series. The producers of Encounter were Cameron Graham (l970-73) and Gordon Cunningham (l974).


Thu 4:00-4:30 p.m., 29 Jun-20 Jul 1978


Mon/Wed/Thu 10:00-10:30 a.m., 26 May-29 May 1960

Equestrian Grand Prix

Sun 2:30-4:00 p.m., 3 Jun 1973

Coverage produced by Bill Sheehan, with Tom McKee, Gordon Atkinson, and John Wilson.


Explorations succeeded Exploring Minds and Scope as the network's site for films, interviews, and demonstrations of aspects of the social and physical world. It was perceived as a relative to the U.S. series, Omnibus. In its first seasons, host Mavor Moore might present a selection of short features on a particular subject. A 1956 program on different views of labour included a vignette by Moore, a short play by Bill Brown, and the National Film Board's short portrait, Paul Tomkowicz, Street Railway Switchman (23 October 1956). Other programs in the first season included examinations of the crisis in Canadian universities, a program on Utopias, and a play about women in business, Adam's Rib, by Charles E. Israel. In the first season, Explorations was broadcast every second week. Subsequently, it aired weekly.

In subsequent seasons, the series was usually organized with subseries of two to six weekly parts. A six part series, produced by John A. Livingston and broadcast in the summer of 1958, for example, examined The Balance of Nature, followed, that autumn, by a four part series titled The Sense of Science, with Moore's successor as the show's host, Lister Sinclair. (Eric Kierans also served as the host of Explorations.)

Helmut Blume, of the faculty of music at McGill University, prepared several series, sustitled Music To See. These sets of programs concerned such subjects as music of the Romantic period, the development of church music, and the psychology of music as it relates to the composer, the performer, and the listener. (The network used the same title for a series in the 1970s.)

In 1959, Explorations presented three programs in 1959 that described elements of the Renaissance as the origins of aspects of modern times. In the program, producer Vincent Tovell, writer Ronald Hambleton, and writer and narrator Alan Jarvis attempted to use the possibilities for television through a complex weave of words, picturel, and music. Tovell wrote evocatively about the series for Waterloo Review, 2 (Winter 1960), 23-29.

Subsequent series included Big Business, a six part examination of corporate management, produced in 1960 by Eric Koch, followed by a four part survey of changes in Canada's farming and fishing industries, and The Disordered Mind (q.v.), Robert Anderson's programs on mental health.

Explorations started the 1960-6l season with a three part parodic look at the idea of heroes in mass media. In each show, actor Don Francks played the hero: a gunfighter in one, a private eye in the next, and the father in a segment called The Hero At Home. In December 1960, Daryl Duke produced a three part historical series, called Durham's Canada.

In addition to programs produced by the CBC, Explorations drew extensively on films produced by the National Film Board. In 1960, the show presented the NFB's six part series on food supply and world population, The Earth and Mankind, produced by Nicholas Balla, directed by Donald Fraser, and narrated by Stanley Burke. In the spring of 196l, the show broadcast six parts of the Board's History Makers series, which dramatized episodes from the lives of Lord Elgin, Lord Durham, Joseph Howe, William Lyon Mackenzie, Louis-Joseph Papineau, and Robert Baldwin. That summer, the CBC also aired six parts of Crossroads of the World, films on the Middle East and Africa produced by Balla and James Beveridge, and directed by Beveridge.

Some of Canada's most distinguished people of letters prepared programs for Explorations. In summer 196l, for example, host George P. Grant presented a four part series in which CBC announcer Harry Mannis interviewed actors who played Plato, Aristotle, and St. Augustine. In November of the same year, George Woodcock presented two programs on the novelist and poet Malcolm Lowry.

A January 1962 series, with John Saywell, examined the 1930s in Canada through portraits of three provincial premiers: Mitchell Hepburn of Ontario, William Aberhart of Alberta, and Quebec's Maurice Duplessis. Subsequent series that year explored such subjects as education, the Acadian people, the Doukhobors, and family budget planning.

David Bairstow's National Film Board series, Arctic Circle, on the voyages of Vilhajalmur Stefansson and Henry Larsen, aired in January and February 1963, and the Board's series, Lewis Mumford On The City, based on Mumford's book, The City in History, appeared in May and June. Five films from the Comarisons series, which compared different aspects of life in Canada, Nigeria, and Brazil went to air later that year, in September, and a further selection of five, comparing life in Canada, Thailand, and Greece, appeared just short of a year later.

Among the most regular producers for Explorations, within the CBC, were Vincent Tovell, Cliff Solway, Katherine MacIver, Eric Koch, and David Walker.

The Explorers

Sat 7:00-7:30 p.m., 8 Sep-29 SSep 1973

Mon-Fri 2:00-2:30 p.m., 10 Sep-26 Sep 1974

Mon/Fri 2:00-2:30 p.m., 26 Sep-18 Oct 1974

Sat 12:30-1:00 p.m., 4 Jan-22 Feb 1975

Thu 6:00-6:30 p.m., 24 Apr-19 Jun 1975

Fri 7:00-7:30 p.m., 18 Jun-25 Jun 1976

The Explorers, narrated by Leslie Nielsen, collected documentary footage of human challenges to the perils of nature. They included a man sailing solo around the world, expeditions into the New Britain jungle or across a glacier in Greenland, and a descent into the pit of the volcano Mt. Mihara.

Exploring Minds

Mon 7:30-8:00 p.m., 5 Oct 1953-19 Apr 1954

Sun 6:00-6:30 p.m., 3 Oct 1954-1 May 1955

Sun 6:00-6:30 p.m., 30 Oct 1955-15 Apr 1956

A series of college lectures, Exploring Minds was produced in several production centres across the country. The CBC developed the program in association with several insitutions of higher learning: Carleton and McGill Universities and the Universities of Toronto, British Columiba, Ottawa, and Manitoba.

After a full week of television viewing--his first prolonged exposure to the medium--Robert Thomas Allen wrote, concerning a lecture by E.S. Carpenter of the University of Toeonto, ". . . he debunks what he calls the 'little furry parable' outlook on animal psychology. The camera does everything it can to liven things up pictorially, by giving occasional shots of student's [sic] legs, without getting very far. In spite of the pictorial limitations of a lecture, this was one of the finest things I saw during the week" (Maclean's [l5 January 1954]).

In a series on art, Peter Brieger and Charles Comfort lectured on the fresco, art and approach to reality, and the Nativity in art. Historian Donald Creighton presented two programs on Sir John A. Macdonald, with actor Robert christie acting the role of the subject. Other shows dealt with such subjects as aesthetics, the meaning of perception, the anatomy of humour, the free press in Canada, satire, the environment as perceived by the city dweller, changes in the classroom, and popular media.

Programs produced in Vancouver in November and December 1955 included lectures on the concept of the mob, manipulations of semantics, and the concept of the devil.

Among the series' numerous producers were David Walker in Toronto and Daryl Duke (who produced the show on the mob) in Vancouver. The supervising producer was E.S. Hallman.

Expo '67 Report

Tue 6:30-7:00 p.m., 5 Jul-6 Sep 1966

To stir up interest and keep viewers informed about the progress of the construction of the Montreal World's Fair, the CBC scheduled a weekly, half-hour broadcast from Montreal the summer before the fair opened. Bob MacGregory and Norman Kiehl brought viewers up to date about news of the predecing week from the Expo site, interviewed the architects and other persons responsible for the shape of the fair and foreign dignitaries or representatives of the countries that would participate, and introduced previews of what Expo would offer fairgoers. (MacGregor also reported from the Expo site to CBC radio on a regular Saturday afternoon broadcast.) Frank Williams and David Bloomberg produced Expo '67 Report for television.

Expo This Week

Tue 9:00-9:30 p.m., 2 May-17 Oct 1967

For twenty-five weeks, Shell Canada sponsored a regular, half-hour, prime time report from the site of the 1967 Montreal World's Fair. (Chrysler Canada was an alternate sponsor for the first six weeks.) The colour broadcast, from the International Broadcasting Centre, designed and guilt to CBC specifications, was a digest of events from the past week. The program's producers used the state of the art portable video equipment to cover performances, activities at the fair and at the amusement park, La Ronde, and athletic competitions. The report also included interviews with visiting tourists and celebrities. The program's host for the first few months was Peter Reilly. He was joined in July by co-host Chantal Beauregard. In September, Lloyd Robertson replaced Reilly. Expo This Week had several producers: Jim Guthro, assisted by David Pears (May-June), Peter Elkington, assisted by Wilfred Haydon (July-August), and Bill Bolt (September-October). The executive producer was Thom Benson.

Eye Of The Beholder

Mon/Wed/Fri 4:30-5:00 p.m., 9 Sep-20 Sep 1974

Mon-Fri 4:30-5:00 p.m., 15 Sep-30 Sep 1977 (R)

Eye Of The Beholder was a series of half-hour travel documentaries on Brazil, Spain, Hong Kong, Siam, and the countries of the Andes, produced by Rick Campbell.

Eye Opener

Tue 10:30-11:00 p.m., 5 Jan-23 Mar 1965

Eye Opener presented experimental drama and other forms of performance to examine and highlight contemporary social issues in North America. Executive producer Mario Prizek assembled a selection of original works by Canadians and adaptations of non-Canadian stories and productions. For adventurous programming, the twelve half-hour programs constituted a successor to Quest.

The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear (5 January 1965) opened the new year. John Vernon, Jane Mallett, Aileen Seaton, Cosette Lee, Maureen Fitzgerald, and Bill Brydon were the cast in Melwyn Breen's production. Leslie MacFarlane based his story of responsibility and conscience on the brutal New York murder of Kitty Genovese, in which none of the witnesses intervened. The Black Madonna (l2 January 1965), produced by George McCowan, starred Hilary Vernon, Bill Glover, and Mel Scott in Barrie Hale's adaptation of Muriel Spark's story.

A Borderline Case (l9 January 1965) presented the troupe of the Second City company, from Chicago in a revue about Canada, as seen by Americans, commissioned for Eye Opener. The show was prepared by Ian Davidson and Bernard Sahlins for Second City, and produced by Mario Prizek. Hear Me Talkin' To Ya (2 February 1965) was a "jazz oratorio," with a score by Ron Collier, and book drawn by singer and actor Don Francks from the words of jazz players. The producer of the program was Paddy Sampson. Uhu. . . Huh? (9 February 1965), a revue, included sketches by Harold Pinter and N.F. Simpson. Helen Burns, Len Birman, and Jennifer Phipps starred in the production by George Bloomfield.

The Tulip Garden (l6 February 1965) was a new play, written by George Ryga, and produced by Mario Prizek. Blossoms, Butterflies, and Bombs (23 February 1965) presented three animated films about war and peace: Playthings (Poland), Boomerang (Yugoslavia), and The Red Trace (Czechoslovakia). The Trial of Joseph Brodsky (2 March 1965), adapted and produced by Stan Jacobson, dramatized the transcript of the Russian poet's ordeal, and featured Martin Lavut, Frances Hyland, and Cosette Lee. Sarah And The Sax (9 March 1965), a comedy written by U.S. writer Lewis John Carlino, starred Sophia Reinglas and Mel Scott. It, too, was produced by Mario Prizek.

Budd Knapp and Paul Massie starred in The Golden Bull of Boredom (l6 March l965), a play about a couple who make a deal to have their ennui relieved, written by U.S> writer Lorees Yerby and produced by Mario Prizek. The series closed with Rich Little in The Lonely Machine (23 March 1965), which producer Paddy Sampson and Norm Symonds adapted from Jules Feiffer's cartoon.

The CBC had also announced that Prizek would produce an adaptation of LeRoi Jones's groundbreaking play about racial friction, set in a New York subway car, Dutchman.

Eyes West

Fri 4:45-5:00 p.m., 7 Apr-30 Jun 1961

A series of fifteen-minute documentaries about British Columbia, Eyes West formed part of Junior Magazine (q.v.).

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