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CBC Television Series, 1952-1982

by Blaine Allan

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One Canadian: The Political Memoirs Of The Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker

Wed 8:30-9:00 p.m., 6 Oct 1976-6 Jan 1977

Executive producer Cameron Graham followed The Tenth Decade, his 197l filmed history of the years of political conflict between Liberal leader Lester Pearson and Progressive Conservative leader John Diefenbaker, and his 1974 filmed memoirs of Pearson (First Person Singular: Pearson - The Memoirs Of A Prime Minister) with a similar series devoted to the life and political career of Diefenbaker. Director and writer Munroe Scott and historical advisor and interviewer John Munro shot some twenty thousand feet (over nine hours) of interview footage with Diefenbaker during the autumn of 1974. The filmmakers combined original interview footage with archival film and photographs to produce a series that spoke for Diefenbaker himself. (Diefenbaker's three volumes of written memoirs, One Canada, were published by Macmillan of Canada starting 1975.)

The first two programs in the series of thirteen, half-hour films introduced viewers to Diefenbaker and his progress to the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party, and traced his boyhood on the prairies and the initial impact he made as a defence lawyer. Parts three and four documented his political career from 19l9, marked by twenty years of defeat until his election to the House of Commons in 1940, and moved forward to 1956. Parts five through eleven were devoted to his career as leader of the party, as Prime Minister, and again as Leader of the Opposition through the middle of the 1960s. In the penultimate segment, he discussed the leadership convention of 1967 and the successful campaign by party President, Dalton Camp, to remove Diefenbaker. The final episode offers the politician's conclusions on his career and on aspects of government in Canada.

Graham's political documentary series were rarely overtly critical of their subjects. In the interviews, Diefenbaker opened himself to considerable criticism for his own defensive posture and failure to be candid about his own mistakes and shortcomings. Nevertheless, the film offered his in his own voice, and underscored that position with the apparently reverential image of Diefenbaker, a silhouette against a prairie sunset, that closed each episode.

The director of photography for the series was Wilfred Doucette. Thomas Van Dusen was a location interviewer. The voice of the interviewers in the finished film was supplied by Douglas Rain. Herbert Helbig composed and conducted the music, and the theme was performed by the Canadian Brass.

One More Time

Sat 10:30-11:00 p.m., 10 May-14 Jun 1969

Mon 8:00-8:30 p.m., 4 Aug-1 Sep 1969

Wed 10:00-10:30 p.m., 24 Jun-14 Sep 1970

Sat 6:30-7:00 p.m., 1 Jul-16 Sep 1972 (R)

Sydney Banks, producer of Let's Sing Out and Brand: New Scene, assembled this series of musical variety shows, which was taped in Montreal. It starred Gilbert Price, a young singer from the United States who had attracted attention in a Broadway musical and on the talk show circuit there, and 3's A Crowd, a Canadian band that consisted at the time of Colleen Peterson, Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, Dennis Pendrith, and Richard Patterson. The series gave some emphasis to blues, and guests included Josh White, Lonnie Johnson, John Lee Hooker, John Hammond, Mike and Judy Callahan, Johnny Nash, Terry Ber, Dick Smith, and Ed Evanko.

One Night Stand

Sat 7:00-7:30 p.m., 17 Apr-26 Jun 1976

Fri 7:00-7:30 p.m., 10 Sep-17 Sep 1976

Mel Profit and Rob Parker alternated as hosts of this ten part series of half-hour concerts of pop and rock music from Toronto. Among the performers to be featured were the Christopher Ward Band, the Dominic Troiano Band, Shawne Jackson, Joe Mendelson (of the band Mainline, and who would later be known as Mendelson Joe), and Diane Hetherington. The producer of the series was John Martin, and the director was Dee Gilchrist.

One Northern Summer

Wed 4:30-5:00 p.m., 29 Dec 1971-7 Jun 1972

Sun 10:00-10:30 p.m., 18 Jun-13 Aug 1972 (R)

Sun 5:00-5:30 p.m., 4 Jul-5 Sep 1973 (R)

Mon 5:00-5:30 p.m., 17 Jun-16 Sep 1974 (R)

Thu 4:30-5:00 p.m., 25 Aug-29 Sep 1977 (R)

A series of thirteen, half-hour programs originally scheduled in an after- school slot, this series offered southern Canadian viewers an all too rare view of nature in the arctic regions. The premiere show focused on the concentration of fur seals of the Pribiloff Islands in the Bering Sea. Subsequent programs concentrated on both human and animal activities, and subjects included the Second Annual Northern Games at Inuvik; bird life; the seal hunt in Tuktoyaktuk; Churchill bears; salmon and bears; national parks in Alaska; whaling; reindeer; the Dawson City Klondike Festival; walruses. The series closed with a summary program about the filmmakers' One Northern Summer.

The films were shot by Curt Clausen and produced by Denis Hargrave.

One Of A Kind

Fri 8:30-9:00 p.m., 6 Jun-12 Sep 1958

Wed 8:30-9:00 p.m., 1 Oct 1958-24 JUn 1959

The CBC offered One Of A Kind, a panel quiz show, as a less serious alternative to Front Page Challenge. Panelists were asked to identify, instead of headlines and news stories, an object, which might be real or imaginary, associated with a person who might be living, dead, or fictional. As in Front Page Challenge, an interview with a guest who accompanied the object followed the quiz.

The show was created and written by Bernard Slade, and produced by Harvey Hart, Bob Jarvis (l958-59) and Claude Baikie (l959). The panelists were Lloyd Bochner, Allan Manings, Kathie McNeil, and Rita Greer Allen, and the moderator Alex Barris. The program attracted a wide variety of guests, many from the field of show business, including Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Mitch Miller, Xavier Cugat, Celia Franca, Jan Peerce, Celeste Holm, Kate Reid, Walter Susskind, and, in a hastily arranged, ultimately unpaid appearance, Arthur Godfrey. (Alex Barris writes about the program in his The Pierce-Arrow Showroom Is Leaking [Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1969], pp. 30-42.)

One Of A Kind originated as a summer replacement, but was picked up for the regular season in the autumn. The CBC had never acquired the full rights to the show, which continued to belong to Slade. Previously, John Aylesworth had disputed the ownership of Front Page Challenge and the terms under which the CBC produced the series, which necessitated an agreement, and Slade, according to Barris, has contended that the show was cancelled after a relatively short and successful run because network officials feared a repeat of their dispute with Aylesworth.

One Of A Kind

Fri 4:00-4:30 p.m., 6 Jan-31 Mar 1978

The CBC revived this title for an anthology series of half-hour documentaries and special programs for children, which ran during the winter of 1978. They included The Mitt, produced by Michael Brownstone; Ranger Ryder And The Calgary Kid In The Adventure Of The Dinosaur Badlands, produced and directed by Don Eder; Another Kind Of Friendship, produced by Rebecca Yates and Glen Salzman; Monsters And Other Scary Things, produced by Sandy Lane. The executive producer was Ray Hazzan.


Tue 5:00-5:30 p.m., 29 Sep 1970-29 Jun 1971

In the early days of U.S. broadcasting, a comedian named Joe Penner snagged laughs with a catchphrase, "Wanna buy a duck?" Later, on Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life, the secret word was revealed by a duck that dropped from above. Ooops, a half-hour television quiz show for elementary school children, had a similar preoccupation with swimming birds. Children were asked to submit bad jokes and riddles to the show, and they were used in a game in which contestants made their way around a Snakes and Ladders-style board. They advanced or fell back depending on whether the joke got a laugh (which made it a "goof") or a groan (which made a "gain"). Winners could select one of six "boodle bags" for their prize. The bag might contain a book or record or transistor radio, but one held an unwanted surprise, a duck.

The show's host was CBC announcer Harry Brown, called "the Great Drake," and the program also included John O'Leary at the news desk, with "Ooops! Nooos" bulletins and the "Ooops! Weather For Ducks" (which might go something like, "Duck ponds still frozen, but watch out for quacks in the ice.") The production travelled to different production centres across the country, and Brown shared hosting duties with local CBC announcers. Children were encouraged to participate in the quiz at home, and the CBC sold viewers a home version of the game so viewers could follow on.

The producer of Ooops! was Sandy Stewart.

Open House

A half-hour, afternoon, talk and features program, Open House was directed at an audience of women in the home. It included regular spots on cooking, fabrics, interior design, exercise, fashion, books, and current events. In addition to studio interviews, the program included filmed features on life and events outside Canada, and periodically presented reports from remote units around Toronto. On several occasions, the show was produced in other cities. (In spring 1956, Open House moved to Winnipeg and Vancouver for a week of shows in each city.)

The show's host original host was Corinne Conley. After several years, the program regularly featured a woman and a man as co-hosts. Anna Cameron and Fred Davis were the television couple, and their place was taken, starting in l960, by Gwen Grant and Max Ferguson. Other regular contributors included University of Toronto professor Paul Fox, who provided features on historical subjects, and who regularly provided commentary on the week's headlines; Elizabeth Cleaton, who demonstrated exercises, and Lorraine Thomson, who did the same from 1960 to 1962; Mme Jehane Benoit in the Open House kitchen; Mary Humphries, a research expert in textiles; and Kildare Dobbs, with book reviews. The program regulars typically appeared on a specific day of the week.

Producers of Open House included Ted Pope and, from 1959 to the end of the show's run in 1962, Peggy Nairn Liptrott.

Opening Night

Wed 8:30-10:00 p.m., 23 Oct 1974

Wed 8:00-9:30 p.m., 15 Jan 1975

Wed 9:30-11:00 p.m., 12 Mar 1975

Opening Night, a series of ninety minute broadcasts produced by Robert Allen, reflected the rapid development of theatre in English Canada during the 1970s, and presented some of the finest from the young theatre groups in productions for television on four occasions in the 1974-75 season. Although the productions were re-mounted for videotaping, the original cast was usually retained.

The premiere production was The Farm Show, the collaborative production of the Theatre Passe Muraille company, directed by Paul Thompson. The actors were Anne Anglin, Janet Amos, David Fox, Miles Potter, Ted Johns, and Carole Galloway, who had lived awhile in the town of Clinton, Ontario, and used their experiences and observations to create a stage portrait of farming life in western Ontario. The television version, broadcast 9 October 1974, was directed by Ron Meraska.

The Head, Guts, and Sound Bone Dance, aired on 23 October 1974, was the first drama produced by CBC television in Newfoundland. The source was a play written by Michael Cook, set in an outport community in the near future, after no more fish remain to be harvested. It was staged in St. John's by the Open Group, and featured Gerard Parkes, Pat Byrne, Dick Buehler, Florence Paterson, Todd Stuckless, and Kelly Buehler, and produced for television by Ray McConnell.

The third production, by Irish playwright Brian Friel, was Freedom Of The City, a story of the Londonderry riots of February 1970. It had been staged on Broadway, and was adapted for television by Hugh Webster and directed by Eric Till, starring Florence Paterson, Neil Munro, and Mel Tuck. It was seen on l5 January 1975.

The series ended on l2 March 1975 with David Freeman's You're Gonna Be Alright, Jamie Boy, staged by the Tarragon Theatre of Toronto. Freeman's working class drama starred Hugh Webster, Lillian Lewis, David Ferry, Jayne Eastwood, and Chuck Shamata, and was produced by David Peddie and directed by J. Edward Shaw.

The Other Eye

Sun 10:00-11:00 p.m., 2 Jul 1967

Sun 10:00-10:30 p.m., 9 Jul-27 Aug 1967

A half-hour (the first broadcast was a full hour) of talk, music, and satire, The Other Eye was intended to complement the public affairs coverage of The Public Eye (q.v.) for the summer of 1967, and as a prime time successor to Nightcap (q.v.), which had died at the end of May. In fact, the summer run was designed as a market test for one of the CBC's long-time dreams, a successful late-night talk show (at least for Toronto; the CBLT production was to be called The Local Eye.)

The program had four hosts: Rod Coneybeare, Jean Templeton, and Larry Zolf were all CBC veterans, and Gary Smith was a neophyte recruited from the Ontario College of Eduction. Reed player Henry Cuesta led a musical trio that consisted of Jimmy Coxan on piano, Mickey Shannon on drums, and Murray Lauder on bass. The producer of The Public Eye, Richard Nielsen, created The Other Eye, which was produced by Sam Levene and, later in the summer, John Ryan, and directed by Jim Shaw.

The series premiered on 2 July, and used Dominion Day as its theme, with features on Canadian citizenship court, interviews on the street in which Canadian-born citizens were stumped with questions asked people seeking citizenship, and with guest, Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood. Hampered by scheduling in a time slot traditionally reserved for more sober public affairs, and by leadfooted production, The Other Eye failed. It was neither renewed in the regular autumn schedule, nor did CBLT manager Bill Weston go through with his plans to adapt the format for a local broadcast.

The Other Man

Tue 10:00-10:30 p.m., 30 Apr-4 Jun 1963

Eric Till produced this English thriller in six parts, each running thirty minutes. The story took place in Medlow, a town in the Thames Valley, and the site of Buckingham College, a public school.

When Paul Rocello, an Italian recently arrived in England, was murdered on a houseboat moored at Medlow, the principal suspect was David Henderson, housemaster at Buckingham. However, many of the other people in the town have connections with Henderson, including the police officer investigating the crime, Detective Inspector Ford, whose son Timothy has been given special tutoring by the schoolteacher. The story becomes more involved when a woman, Billie Reynolds, is murdered, too, and takes on international complications that bring in M.I.5, the secret service, when Rocello's sister travels to Medlow from Italy.

Douglas Rain played Henderson, Tony Van Bridge was Ford, and ballet dancer Angela Leigh played Billie Reynolds. Other members of the cast included Ivor Barry as James Cooper, a lawyer and the owner of the houseboat on which Rocello died, Victoria Mitchell as Rocellow's sister, William Osler as the doctor, Michael Learned as his niece and Henderson's romantic interest, Leo Leyden as a businessman, Christopher Newton as a newspaper reporter, Robin Gammell as Billie's brother, John Hardinge as Ford's associate, Detective Sergeant Broderick, and John Kastner as Timothy Ford. Toronto's Centre Island provided a location for Medlow.

The Other Man, itself fittingly a British serial drama, was essentially a pilot project for The Serial, CBC's upcoming series modelled on the British format of limited drama series.

Other Voices

Tue 10:30-11:00 p.m., 6 Oct-29 Dec 1964

Tue 10:30-11:00 p.m., 6 Apr-29 Jun 1965

Other Voices aimed to be controversial. The half-hour, public affairs program, which succeeded Horizon, had twelve-week runs in autumn 1964 and spring 1965. It purported to document people within society that television normally did not show. For one feature, for example, host Don Francks "infiltrated" groups of Mods and Rockers in the U.K., and for another, he lived for several weeks on a reservation near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The program also presented a two-part inquiry into homosexuality, shot by CBC director Ron Kelly. Other subjects executive producer Jim Guthro proposed to cover included the life of I.W.W. organizer Joe Hill, the welfare state in Sweden, and jazz and the black protest movement, with Charles Mingus.

The format of the show, which was produced by Richard Nielsen, also included interviews, music, satire, and dramatic productions

Our Fellow Americans

Thu 9:00-9:30 p.m., 27 May-5 Aug 1976

Sam Levene created and produced this series of eight, half-hour profiles of life in the U.S.A., written and narrated by Larry Solway. The series marked the bicentennial of the United States, and concentrated on eight different regions of the country. Each show included interviews with colourful, often well-known, characters from the region. So, in Texas, Solway talked with billionaire Bunker Hunt and with the leading citizen of Luckenbach, "Hondo" Crouch; in California, he spoke with writer Ray Bradbury; in the South, he interviewed Georgia governor Lester Maddox; and writer and radio announcer Studs Terkel told him about Chicago. Other programs in the series covered New York, Florida, the Mississippi River, and the Boston and Newport area. Levene claimed that the series did not aim for profundity, and that it took a friendlier approach to a neighbour. However, it was criticized for falling victim to all the same old myths about the United States, and for failing to provide any new insights.

Outdoors With Hal Denton

Mon 9:30-10:00 p.m., 20 Jun-11 Jul 1955

Denton, the editor of Northwest Sportsman, was already well-known to west coast radio listeners as the host of Sportsmen's Guide when he presented this series of five, half-hour broadcasts on fishing and hunting. The set for the show was a detailed replica of his own living room on Burrard Inlet. Programs included reports on big game hunting in the Rocky Mountains and a cougar hunt at Sechelt Peninsula, and demonstrations of how to make duck decoys, how to pack packhorses, and, with the help of taxidermist John Herman, how to mount a cougar head.


Sun 10:30-11:00 p.m., 3 Jul-25 Sep 1960

Nathan Cohen and his quiz show, Fighting Words, were replaced during the summer of 1960 with the equally erudite Arnold Edinborough, editor of Saturday Night magazine, and the half-hour political discussion program, Outlook. Several programs revolved around issues raised by the upcoming election in the United States. On the first program, for example, Edinborough, Max Freedman, Robert MacKenzie, and Louis Lyons debated the extent to which the press influenced politics, and later in the month MacKenzie returned for further discussion of the U.S. presidency. Hugh Garner, Morley Callaghan, and David Lewis gathered for a discussion on the evolution of socialism. Other subjects included the West Indies, Africa, Canada's economic future, and the problems of Latin America as seen from the perspective of participants of the current Couchiching Conference. The program organizer was Catherine MacIver, and the producer was Gordon Babineau.


Fri 5:30-6:00 p.m., 8 Jul-30 Sep 1966

A summer replacement for late Friday afternoons, Outlook presented films from the National Film Board and programs produced by the BBC. Films included The End Of Summer, directed by Michel Brault; a film portrait of ballerina Margaret Mercier; Stampede, on the Calgary Stampede, directed by Claude Fournier; Toronto Jazz, Don Owen's documentary on current music; Fabienne, by Jacques Godbout; You're No Good, directed by Jean Roy; and They Called It Fireproof, on safety in institutional buildings, directed by Roger Blais.


Sun 12:00-12:30 p.m., 1 Oct 1972-13 May 1973

Tue 2:30-3:00 p.m., 25 Dec 1973-12 Mar 1974 (R)

Exterior and interior design were the subjects of this weekly half-hour with interior designer Ray E. Staples and CBC announcer Alex Trebek (who appeared on a regular basis starting the end of November 1972). Sculptor and environmental designer Garth Haines also appeared periodically. They generally showed aspects of design in the Toronto area, and talked about its effects on residents' lives. The first program addressed itself to outsiders' images of Toronto. Subsequent programs examined the O'Keefe Centre, traffic signs, barns, and the mayor's office in City Hall. The program was produced by Shirley Franklin and directed by Chris Paton.

Over The Line Fence

Sat 5:00-5:30 p.m., 30 Jun-22 Sep 1956

Organized by Murray Creed for the network's Farm Department, Over The Line Fence, a half-hour summer show, was intended to provide urban viewers--at least those in the Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal broadcast areas, where the show was seen--with a view of rural life. Film features examined soil, wheat in the western provinces, sheep ranching in Scotland, and fishing.

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