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CBC Television Series, 1952-1982

by Blaine Allan

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The New Africans

Originally broadcast on Take Thirty, The New Africans was repeated as a nine part series on Sunday afternoons in spring 1968. With research and interviews by Jean Morrison and production by Leo Rampen, the series included film from Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Cameroun Republic. Generation Of Hope, the program that opened the series, concentrated on young people in the early years of national independence. Teachers Wanted, as the title implies, outlined the shortage of people to implement needed educational programs. The series examined economic progress and rural reform in the third program, A Little Step Is a Big Leap. Women At The Top provided profiles of three women in the field of education. The fourth program, a report on the uses of mass media, was called TV, Print And The Masses. The City Is A Magnet traced the migration of unskilled, male labourers from the country to the cities. The French- English Question examined the role of languages in the newly independent nations, and Identity examined Africans who have returned home after studies abroad. The concluding program, What's Africa To Us?, inquired further into African education and the roles of international agencies, such as UNESCO and UNICEF, as well as Canadian contributions.


New Film Makers

Wed 10:30-11:00 p.m., 23 Apr-23 Jun 1969

The CBC reflected the growth of the experimental cinema and independent film production in the late 1960s with a series of seven, half-hour broadcasts. The programs combined short films with discussions by the artists, and opened with Mort Ransen, discussing his work with Toronto teenagers, which resulted in the National Film Board production, Christopher's Movie Matinee (to be shown on the network a week and a half later). The second program was devoted to student productions, and presented Walk On, produced by Jim Bennett at the McMaster Film Board, and Caught In Rhythm, made by Gabriel Hoss and Serge Denko in Montreal. Gerald Robinson's Lords Of Creation and Takehiko Kamei's Flowers were featured on the next broadcast. Satan's Pipers, produced by Eric Young and Jon Slan in Toronto, appeared on the next show. The fifth program presented films by Toronto artists Joyce Wieland--Rat Life And Diet In North America--and Morley Markson--Electrocution Of The Word. The sixth show was given over to new film work by Francophones, and the final program in the series looked at animated film from Vancouver, including Thank Heaven, a student production from the Vancouver Art School, and Al Sens's Henry.

The idea for the series came from Jack Vance, the producer was Doug Gillingham and the executive producer Rosalind Farber, with research by Betty-Jean Beyer. The program employed chromakey techniques to present films and extracts on the same screen as host and interviewer Lyal Brown and his guests.


New Majority

Sun 4:00-5:00 p.m., 18 Jan-28 Jun 1970

Mon 10:30-11:00 p.m., 24 Aug-28 Sep 1970

Sun 4:00-5:00 p.m., 10 Jan-27 Jun 1971

Sun 4:30-5:00 p.m., 30 Jan-25 Jun 1972

A statistic that told us that Canadians were by 1969 under twenty-five years old gave this public affairs show its title. As misleading as the figures might actually have been, the program attempted to acknowledge the different perspective of the young adult at the turn of the decade. The New Majority succeeded Through The Eyes Of Tomorrow, and expanded the broadcast from a half-hour to sixty minutes. The program, overseen by executive producer Don Elder and producer John Ryan, also acted as a training ground for its editors and reporters, all of whom were in their early twenties. They included Marie Morgan and Richard Wells, both of whom had worked on Through The Eyes Of Tomorrow, Allen Kates, and Ed Fitzgerald.

The program presented film features and interviews and discussions, and concentrated on activities of young adults and supposed concerns of the inheritors of society, such as communal organizations and other alternative ways of life, popular music and other aspects of art and culture, social welfare and its relation to young people, suicide among youth.

In the second season, the series adopted a magazine format, and Ian McCutcheon replaced Richard Wells as a host and editor, and added Ruth Broughner as a producer. In addition, the program commissioned features from Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver, as well as from its Toronto production base. For the 1972 season, the show's host was Jan Tennant.


New Nation In The West Indies

Sun 3:00-3:30 p.m., 6 Apr-27 Apr 1958

The CBC presented a four part series of thirty minute films, produced by the National Film Board, on the West Indies as a new member of the British Commonwealth. The four films--titled Background To Federation; Weakness Into Strength; The Riches Of The Indies; and The Responsibilities Of Freedom--were produced by Nicholas Balla and directed by Ian MacNeill, with commentary written by MacNeill and read by Hugh Springer.


The New Wave

Mon 10:00-10:30 p.m., 8 Sep-6 Oct 1975

Wed 8:00-8:30 p.m., 6 Oct-15 Dec 1976

Joe MacInnis had gained considerable fame for his diving expeditions in the Canadian Arctic, particularly as the first scientist to dive beneath the North Pole. In addition, like David Suzuki, he had impressed radio listeners and television viewers in Canada with his enthusiasm for science and his ability to communicate clearly. Producer John Lackie assembled these series on the oceans for the CBC's agriculture and resources department. The programs in the first series extended over a number of themes, as their titles indicate: Sunken Treasure; Wind And Tide; Submersibles; Fish For The Future; and Man In Sea. However, they all revolved around responsible planning of aquatic resources for the future.

The programs in the second series included Dive, Dive, Dive, on the subject of scuba diving off Newfoundland, the Maritime provinces, and the B.C. coast; Sea Workers, and the training of divers at Seneca College; War On Ice, on the effects of the Canadian climate and ice on the nation's economy; The Great Inland Seas, an inquiry into industrial pollution; and The Last Resource, an examination of the seas as a resource that was once thought infinite, and is now known to be limited and in need of management. Other titles in the series included Cities On The Sea, Plugging In The Oceans, Humans Of The Sea, and Arctic Oil And Ice.

The Last Wave was widely praised for its integrity and courage in dealing with current issues in natural resources.


The Newcomers

Sun 8:30-9:00 p.m., 20 Nov 1977

Sun 8:30-9:00 p.m., 8 Jan/19 Mar 1978

Sun 7:00-8:00 p.m., 10 Dec 1978

Sun 7:00-8:00 p.m., 18 Feb/11 Mar/19 Nov 1979

Wed/Sun 8:00-9:00 p.m., 12 Mar-2 Apr 1980 (R)

Imperial Oil commissioned Neilsen-Ferns, Inc. to produce this series of seven, one hour films on Canada as a country of immigrant origins in commemoration of the company's one hundredth anniversary, in 1980. Produced over the space of three years, the films were conceived as documentary-dramas, underpinned with authenticity guaranteed by a board of eleven historical advisors, and were produced in both French and English language versions. Production started in l976, and the films aired over the network periodically from November 1977 to March 1979, then were repeated as a series in spring 1980.

The series employed the talents of some of the country's most notable writing, acting and directing talents to tell a series of instructive narratives set from the time when the land was inhabited by native people to the present day. The first program was set among the west coast tribe, the Tsimshiam, and told the story of Ksaweal's rite of passage and test before becoming the chief. (Although the series acknowledged the beginnings of Canadian history before the Europeans' arrival, the first segment was called a "prologue," typically separating that period from the events that came after.) The story of Ksaweal was written by Charles Israel and directed by Eric Till, and starred David Milton, Chester McLean, and Tina Hamill, with commentary by George Clutesi and Jean-Paul Nolet.

Set in l847, the second program was a flashback on the life of Mary Thompson Norris, now seventy-five years old, a Catholic woman who had followed her husband from Ireland to find that he had died before her arrival. Alice Munro wrote the story that traced her path as she settled in southwestern Ontario with her second husband. Also directed by Eric Till, the film starred Linda Goranson, David McIlwraith, and Ken James. The third film extended back to l740, and the story of Nicholas de Lugny, a soldier bearing the hardships of a new land and learning how to live as a pioneer in New France. Claude Fournier directed the film from a script by Guy Fournier, and Michel Cote, Donald Pilon, Jean Gascon, Jacques Godin, and Louise Lambert starred.

The fourth segment dealt with John Symons, a Scottish radical who works against the adversity of settling Canada, and takes advantage of what opportunities are available to him to become a wealthy landowner. Kenneth Welsh played Symons, Susan Hogan was his wife Margaret, and Donald Davis also starred in this film, written by Timothy Findlay and directed by John McGreevy. Findlay also wrote and McGreevy directed the 19ll story of Hans and Camila Nielsen, who emigrate from Denmark to a company town in New Brunswick. The film starred R.H. Thomson, Hollis McLaren, Fiona Reid, James Hurdle, Richard Donat, Barbara Gordon, and Mary Pirie.

Rene Bonniere directed the final two programs in the series. One, set in 1927, concerned the eastern European emigrants who arrived on the Prairies in the early years of the twentieth century. John Lepa, a Ukrainian homesteader in Saskatchewan, suffers through the Depression. While he has to look for work as a labourer, his young wife takes care of the farm. After she dies, their son is placed with relatives in the city, and Lepa is left embittered and alone. George Ryga wrote the script, and the production starred Duncan Regehr, Susan Roman, Diane D'Aquila, and Ken Pogue. The series concluded with the present day story of an Italian family in Toronto, and the clash of old world, rural values with those of a modern, city-centred society. Bruno Gerussi and Martha Henry starred in a story written by Douglas Bowie.

The series was produced by Richard Nielsen and Pat Ferns, and the executive producer, for Imperial Oil, was Gordon Hinch.


Newfoundland Holiday

Thu 5:00-5:30 p.m., 7 Jun-16 Aug 1973

Thu 4:30-5:00 p.m., 4 Jul-5 Sep 1974

A summer series, this was a series on wildlife and natural attractions in Newfoundland. It included programs on sailing, tuna fishing, travelogues about specific areas of the island, items of interst to artists and photographers, and films from the Newfoundland Tourist Bureau. The series was produced in St. John's by Derm Breen, and the host was Dave Quinton.


News From Zoos

Mon 4:00-4:30 p.m., 20 Oct 1980-25 May 1981

Sat 12:00-12:30 p.m.,, 18 Oct 1980-18 Apr 1981 (R)

Sat 12:30-1:00 p.m., 17 Oct 1981-20 May 1982 (R)

Fri 4:00-4:30 p.m., 2 Apr-2 Jul 1982 (R)

The host for this half-hour program was Charlie, a chimpanzee who spoke with the voice of actor Carl Banas. Charlie introduced young viewers to features about animals, from zoos around the world, presented with the help of voice-over commentary by Sandy Hoyt. Features on the premiere show included the aid given a newborn Sable antelope at Jackson Zoological Park and the hunt for a Wolf Fish, a creature resembling a large eel, and its transportation to an aquarium in Victoria, B.C. Subsequent programs included features on specific zoo projects, such as the San Francisco Zoo's Adopt-an-Animal scheme, as well as on exotic animals, including the Giant Panda's of China and the Komodo Dragon, the world's largest living lizard. The series, which was written by Jill MacFarlane, was created and produced by Michael Spivak for Jaylar Productions.


News Profile

Sun 12:30-12:45 p.m., 17 Sep 1972-26 May 1974

In its fifteen minute Sunday afternoon news roundup, the CBC included five minutes of headlines and a ten minute profile of a personality currently in the public eye, usually featuring filmed interviews with the subject and his or her associates and opponents, filed by CBC correspondents and regional reporters. Subjects included Edward Heath, Prime Minister of Great Britain; Salvador Allende, President of Chile; West German Chancellor Willy Brandt; and dictators, such as Idi Amin of Uganda, Juan Peron of Argentina, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, and Francisco Franco of Spain. The first season also included a feature on sports lawyer and hockey players' representative Alan Eagleson.

The 1973 season featured a number of Canadians in the news, including Peter Lougheed, Premier of Alberta; Michel Couvin, the Canadian Commissioner in South Vietnam; lawyer Robert Lemieux; Dr. Charles Best, co-discoverer of insulin; and R.C.M.P Commissioner W.L. Higgitt; as well as French President Georges Pompidou; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; and musician Duke Ellington.

The senior editors for the series were Dave Quance and Bill Boyd, and the directors Barry McLean and Curt Laughlin. The host was Jan Tennant.


Newsfile

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 15 Feb-21 Jun 1973

A half-hour documentary feature, Newsfile ran every other week, and alternated with Encounter. Host Lloyd Robertson presented film material in a live broadcast from Toronto. The program ran on a delayed basis to western time zones, although the production permitted stories to be altered or updated as needed. Subjects included progress reports on the preparations for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal; land claims and native live in the Northwest Territories; the federal-provincial conference in May 1973; and unemployment and Canadian young people. The executive producer of the program was Angus McLellan, who had been a producer of CBC Radio's Sunday Magazine, and the news editor for the series was Dave Quance.


Newsmagazine

Mon 7:30-8:00 p.m., 8 Sep 1952

Mon 10:00-10:15 p.m., 8 Sep 1952

Sun 8:00-8:30 p.m., 14 Sep-21 Sep 1952

Sun 7:30-8:00 p.m., 28 Sep-14 Dec 1952

Sun 7:00-7:30 p.m., 21 Dec 1952-

Sun 7:00-7:30 p.m., 19 Jul 1953-7 Feb 1954

Sun 6:00-6:30 p.m., 14 Feb-19 Sep 1954

Sun 7:30-8:00 p.m., 26 Sep 1954-

Sun 8:30-9:00 p.m., 25 Sep 1955

Sun l7:30-8:00 p.m., 30 Oct 1955-14 Sep 1958

Sun 5:00-5:30 p.m., 21 Sep 1958-

Under the title CBC News Magazine, and later as Newsmagazine, this film digest of international news features ran for almost thirty years on the network, from the first day of television transmission.

Originally designed as a television newsreel, the program opened with the words, "These are the sights and sounds of our time," spoken in the authoritative voice of newsreader Lorne Greene. The CBC Newsreel Service gathered footage from camera operators and reporters across Canada, from the BBC in the United Kingdom, from NBC in the United States (which covered the Far East), from newsreel services in France (which also covered Africa), West Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and Norway, from reporters in Italy and Hong Kong, and from services in the Canadian armed forces and NATO. The principal persons reponsible for cutting the thousands of feet of footage that arrived into a half-hour program were news editor Gunnar Rugheimer, camera operator Stanley Clinton, writer and reporter Harry Rasky, film editor Arla Saare, and script assistant Joan Barstead. The typical show was arranged around a single feature, running up to ten minutes, and included shorter news items.

As the program evolved, and as Harry Rasky took over as its producer, the newsreel format fell away. It became more like a magazine program, still with a weekly story prepared by the features department of CBC News, and with stories in "departments," such as medicine, science, and foreign affairs. It included interviews with newsmakers as well as filmed news stories. By June l956, the policy of the show had changed; Newsmagazine was anchored by host Gordon Burwash in the Toronto studios, and included a five minute review of the latest headlines, read by Bruce Marsh. The program's producer was John Lant, its supervising news editor Ronald Hallam, and the editor Michael Maclear.

As one of the mainstays of CBC television news coverage, Newsmagazine availed itself of the resources that the news department offered, in particular the network of correspondents, which would later include Norman DePoe, Ken Mason, Michael Maclear and Stanley Burke in London, Tom Gould in the Far East, covering the Vietnam war, David Levy in Moscow, Peter Reilly at the United Nations, Phil Calder in Bonn, and James Minifie and Knowlton Nash in Washington, D.C. The reader of the national news also assumed the role of anchor for Newsmagazine: Lloyd Robertson (l973-76), Peter Kent (l976-78), and Knowlton Nash (l978-8l).

The producers of the program were David Marcus Roland (l96l-64), Murray Hunter (l964-66), William Harcourt (l966-73), Tim Kotcheff (l973-76), George James (l976-78), Tom Leach (l978-8l), Tony Hillman (l978-8l) and Peter Rehak (l978-80). Executive producers including Don Cameron (l960- 66), Tim Kotcheff (l976-77), George Jones (l977-79), Trina McQueen (l979- 80), and Ann Medina (l980-8l).


NFB Film Can

Wed 4:30-5:00 p.m., 4 Apr-5 Sep 1979

The CBC presented approximately forty productions of the National Film Board in a series of twenty-six, half-hour programs in an after-school time slot. They included animated films, such as Co Hoedeman's The Sand Castle, comic fictions, such as Soap Box Derby, directed by Andre Melancon, and The Ride, directed by Gerald Potterton.


NFB Presents

Although the CBC has rarely found time to air National Film Board productions on a regular basis, the network has slotted in films periodically, sometimes under the umbrella title, NFB Presents. For example, in the 1964-65 season, when Festival productions ran one hour, instead of ninety minutes, the CBC filled the extra half-hour with dramas and documentaries from the Film Board. They included Phoebe, by George Kaczender; The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson, written by M. Charles Cohen and directed by Richard Gilbert; The Visit, directed by John Kennedy; Blindness, directed by Morten Parker; Joey, directed by Graham Parker; Golden Gloves, by Gilles Groulx, and You're No Good, by George Kaczender.

In later years, NFB Presents filled out time slots left empty by hockey games that ended early, and replaced The Way It Is over the summer of 1968.

National Film Board shorts appeared on the air on a more regular basis in local and regional programming. For example, a fifteen minute program called NFB Showcase aired on Sunday afternoons in the Toronto and Ontario area from summer l967 to autumn 1975.


Nic And Pic

Wed 5:00-5:30 p.m., 10 Sep 1975-24 Mar 1976

Wed 5:00-5:30 p.m., 5 Jan-30 Mar 1977

A popular children's program produced by Helene Roberge for Radio-Canada, Nic And Pic was for a time dubbed for the English language network. Nic and Pic were two puppet mice operated by Pierre Regimbald and Michel Frechette. They found adventures as they travelled in their balloon to exotic, far-off locations, such as China, Scotland, and the North Pole. The voice of Nic was supplied by Joan Stuart, formerly of Comedy Cafe, Comedy Crackers, and radio's Funny You Should Say That. Pic's voice was that of Madeleine Kronby, who had had experience with puppet mice herself on Chez Helene.


Nightcap

Wed 10:30-11:00 p.m., 21 Oct-27 Dec 1953

Fri 10:30-11:00 p.m., 12 Feb-28 May 1954

Tue 9:30-10:00 p.m., 1 Jun-6 Jul 1954

A half-hour produced in Montreal, Nightcap was a very informal musical variety program, set in a cabaret. The host was Alan Mills, who played the club's patron; William Robert Fournier, another regular, was the waiter. Mills would circulate among the studio audience, in which celebrities were planted, to talk with his guests and perhaps to convince them to do a number. The program also featured singer Nina Dova and pianist Gilberto Assais.


Nightcap

Wed 11:37-12:37 a.m., 2 Oct 1963-

Wed 11:37-12:23 a.m., 1 Apr-24 Jun 1964

Wed 11:38-12:23 a.m., 30 Sep 1964-16 Jun 1965

Tue 11:41-12:41 a.m., 5 Oct 1965-

Tue 11:41-12:26 a.m., 12 Apr-28 Jun 1966

Wed 11:45-12:40 a.m., 19 Oct 1966-31 May 1967

Renowned in the history of CBC television, Nightcap marked a high point for sophomoric satire and a low point for taste. It punned, it leered, it winked, it nudged. It nipped iconoclastically at inflated egos and punctured the nation's institutions in a weekly patchwork of topical blackouts and sketches. It was notoriously sexy--overly preoccupied with sex to some viewers, who seemed to tune in every week to see just how overly preoccupied with sex the show was.

The show starred singers and comic actors Billy Van, June Sampson, Bonnie Brooks, and Jean Christopher, who was replaced by Vanda King after the 1965 season, when Nightcap was near the height of its popularity, and Al Hamel, the actor and CBC announcer who during the same time was the co-host of the popular children's show, Razzle Dazzle. Music for the show was provided by a Quintet (known as the Rubber Band) led by trumpet player Guido Basso, who frequently doubled as a sketch actor.

The program grew from a local Toronto broadcast in 1963 and spread first over a market that included Barrie, London, and Windsor (which the show proudly called "the world's smallest network"), until the 1966 season, when the CBC unleashed it on viewers in Vancouver, Ottawa, Pembroke, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Nightcap was written by Chris Beard, and produced and directed by Terry Kyne on a minuscule budget. On one occasion, the musicians reputedly left the show before taping was complete, because the budget did not permit paying the band overtime, and the five performers were left to hum the closing theme themselves. In the summer of 1966, Billy Van walked out of the production prior to the season's start in a dispute over a raise of $l00 per week, and started to look for work in California before public ire brought the Corporation around. In many ways, Nightcap flaunted its shoestring budget. A sketch deliberately pitched an expensive CBC production of The Magic Flute to Nightcap viewers who might want to "join the 300 other people who enjoy Festival." Instead of ratings, the program ran an Annual Toilet Flush, during which viewers were encouraged to use as much water as possible, which would permit the CBC to measure viewer levels through water levels.

The tone of the show was one of insolence. When Toronto television critic Roy Shields called Nightcap "the worst TV show in the world," the program was gleefully introduced each week with that very phrase. (As Sandra Peredo noted, though, Shields rejoined in a later review, writing, "Nightcap, the worst TV show in the world, slipped last night.") When cautioned not to produce any material on the Gerda Munsinger incident, Beard and the cast stepped right into the pasture of public affairs and produced a show on sex and national security, which featured interviews with "Gotta Humdinger."

In its last couple of years, the program ventured into different territory, away from the fast-paced sketch comedy that had characterized the show into more consistent ventures. In the 1965-66 season, the series included several productions of Canadian drama, the first being David French's play, Song and Dance, produced by Leon Major. The Nightcap dramas were overseen by Gordon Hinch. In 1966, a regular Nightcap sketch, Flemington Park, spun off into a series of six, half-hour programs which replaced new episodes of Nightcap during a vacation period. The story of Flemington Park, "a cesspool of desire in the heart of suburbia," revolved around young Dr. Carson, the object of lust for three women: Selena Carpenter, a married woman and "a seething mass of desire"; Jane Morton Murdock, daughter of millionaire Merton Morton Murdock; and Natalie Nolan, "l6 year old schoolgirl with the body of a woman."

Such programs as Nightcap and This Hour Has Seven Days represent a moment at which the power of television to impose itself on public consciousness came clear to Canada.


Ninety Minutes Live

Mon-Fri 11:22-1:00 a.m., 19 Apr-30 Apr 1976

Mon-Fri 11:35-1:05 a.m., 29 Nov 1976-20 May 1977

Mon-Fri 11:35-1:05 a.m., 26 Sep 1977-12 May 1978

The success of the radio program This Country In The Morning and its host Peter Gzowski, and the CBC's desire to expand network viewing time in a late-night talk show led to the creation of Ninety Minutes Live. It was an ambitious step in programming for the corporation, engineered by the head of Current Affairs programming Peter Herrndorf. The program faced considerable opposition, because it ate into local news and late-night programming time. However, Herrndorf was able to push through an expensive venture in what he proposed as an attempt at popular current affairs programming, which presumably would distinguish it as a Canadian alternative to the entertainment and variety programming offered on U.S. talk shows.

A tremendous amount was at stake in the production and presentation of Ninety Minutes Live, a type of television programming for which the corporation had little in the way of a record and in which the principals, host Gzowski, executive producer Alex Frame, and senior producer Bob Ennis, had little experience. For three years, through telephone links and travel, This Country In The Morning had bound the country in an informal and compelling network for three hours each morning, driven by Gzowski's own affable character, sincere curiosity, and earnest nationalism. The same qualities came through on television, although under the eye of the camera, he could not hide when he was less interested in his guests or sympathetic with them. Where Gzowski was obviously comfortable behind the microphone, he was less at ease after the grooming and tailoring that was intended to turn him into a television personality.

Ninety Minutes Live travelled to Halifax, Vancouver, and Winnipeg for local tryout sessions before the network show went into production. After the network broadcat premiered, the producers continued their attempts to bridge gaps across the country by moving the show out of the Toronto studios and into regional production centres.

In addition, the program extended its reach in the second season with feature interviews, conducted by John Harvard.

Ninety Minutes Live tried to cross-breed two different species of programming, information and entertainment, and achieved a curious type of hybrid. The CBC rarely overreaches, and the gamble it took in producing Ninety Minutes Live did not pay off in long-term programming benefits. After two seasons, Gzowski left the show, and Frame and Ennis repackaged the program as a more conventional, entertainment and variety oriented talk show to produce Canada After Dark.


Norman Corwin Presents

Mon 9:30-10:00 p.m., 19 Jun-26 Jun 1972

Fri 8:30-9:00 p.m., 7 Jul-25 Aug 1972

Thu 9:00-9:30 p.m., 22 Mar-21 Jun 1973

Wed 7:30-8:00 p.m., 27 Jun-12 Sep 1973

Tue/Thu 1:30-2:00 p.m., 17 Sep-4 Dec 1973 (R)

Norman Corwin, a prolific writer and producer of radio drama, was the host and principal writer for this anthology of half-hour dramas, produced on videotape in Toronto. The programs usually starred U.S. actors, but featured Canadians in lead and supporting roles, including Donald Sutherland, William Shatner, Gale Garnett, and Lynne Gorman. Some episodes were written by Canadians, including The D.J., by M. Charles Cohen, and directors for the series included Herb Roland and George McCowan. Arthur Joel Katz, Arjo Productions, produced this program for Group W Productions, a subsidiary of Westinghouse.


Now's Your Chance

Thu 8:00-8:30 p.m., 11 Sep 1952-6 May 1954

A half-hour of amateur performers, Now's Your Chance appeared in the first week of CBC television programming, and was called, a few months later, an "authentic dud." (Allan Sangster, "On the Air," Canadian Forum [December l952], p. 202)


Nursery School Time

Tue/Wed/Thu 3:45-4:00 p.m., 21 Jan-17 Apr 1958

Mon-Fri 2:45-3:00 p.m., 29 Sep 1958-29 May 1959

Mon-Fri 2:15-2:30 p.m., 13 Oct 1959-29 Apr 1960

Mon-Fri 2:15-2:30 p.m., 17 Oct 1960-30 Jun 1961

Mon-Fri 2:15-2:30 p.m., 2 Oct 1961-29 Jun 1962

Mon-Fri 2:15-2:30 p.m., 15 Oct 1962-31 May 1963

The School Broadcast Department of the CBC produced Nursery School Time, a fifteen minute program aimed at pre-school age children. It was presented three days a week, and each week the show concentrated on a different subject. The first week, for example, dealt with rabbits as pets for children. Subsequent subjects included cowboys, policement, dogs as pets, firemen, shopping, fun in the winter, the zoo, Indians, boats, farm animals, and trains. The opening season of programs was intended as an experiment, and the network solicited response from parents on how the show was received by their children. The reponse was strong enough that the program was revived in the autumn and its schedule extended to five days per week. The program combined entertainment and education for small children, and producers tried to help parents to use the program by publishing programming plans in advance and by providing lists of recommended books for their children.

The first series, written by Phillis Couse, originated in two cities, with two alternating teachers: Teddy Forman in Toronto and Shirley Knight in Winnipeg. The shows from Toronto also starred Hoppy, a hand puppet bunny, who presumably was the inspiration for the topic of the first week of programs. In September Teddy Forman and Hoppy returned, along with Smokey, a real cat. Broadcasts from Winnipeg were replaced with programs that originated in Montreal, and which featured a similar combination: teacher Maman Fon Fon, played by Claudine Vallerand, who was already well-known to audiences for a Saturday morning children's program on the French language network, a puppet--a scholarly beaver named Mr. Dick--and a real dog called Miki. In 1958, Maman Fon Fon left the show, and was replaced by Madeleine Arbour. (In the fashion of Romper Room, the teachers were called "Miss Teddy" and "Miss Madeleine.) From October 196l to February 1962, Toby Tarnow replaced Teddy Forman.

The organizer of the program was A.M. Fotheringham, and the producers were Thomas Knight (l958-59), Rena Elder (l959-6l), Dennis Spence (l96l-62), and Denyse Adams (l96l-62).


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