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CBC Television Series, 1952-1982

by Blaine Allan

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Tue 10:30-11:00 p.m., 19 Feb-11 Jun 1962 Tue 10:30-11:00 p.m., 3 Jul-25 Sep 1962


Sun 11:00-11:30 a.m., 3 Jul-25 Sep 1966 Sun 11:30-12:00 noon, 2 Jul-17 Sep 1967 Sun 12:00-12:30 p.m., 17 Sep-24 Sep 1967


Sun 1:00-1:30 p.m., 26 Sep-5 Dec 1976

Franz Kraemer produced the 1962 series of half-hour recitals, which stressed music over introductions and commentary. Performers included harpist Lise Nadeau, pianists Ronald Turini and Marek Jablonski, tenor Leopold Simoneau, soprano Pierrette Alarie, cellist Zara Nelsova, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, the Montreal Baroque Trio, and contralto Maureen Forrester, accompanied by John Newmark. Many of the broadcasts originated in Montreal, although at least one was produced by George Robertson in Vancouver.

A series of Sunday morning performances also ran under the title of Recital in the summers of 1966 and 1967. Produced by Francois Provencier in Quebec City, the broadcasts included vocal works by Micheline Robitaille and Leonard Bilodeau, piano duets performed by Renee Morisset and Victor Bouchard, and Renaissance vocal works by the choir of Laval University.

Armand Baril produced a series of nine half-hour shows, which originated in Edmonton, also for Sunday broadcast. Dennis Woodrow hosted the show, and talked with the performers about the musical selections, which stressed light classics, and works by Debussy and Mozart, and modern serious music, such as Scott Joplin's compositions for brass ensembles.

Red River Jamboree

Fri 8:30-9:00 p.m., 8 Jul-24 Sep 1960 Sat 7:30-8:00 p.m., 1 Oct 1960-24 Jun 1961 Fri 8:00-8:30 p.m., 7 Jul-23 Sep 1961 Sat 8:30-9:00 p.m., 30 Sep 1961-30 Jun 1962 Fri 8:00-8:30 p.m., 6 Jul-21 Sep 1962 Sat 8:30-9:00 p.m., 29 Sep 1962- Wed 8:00-8:30 p.m., 25 Sep 1963-24 Jun 1964 Wed 8:00-8:30 p.m., 23 Sep 1964-23 Jun 1965

Originally a local Winnipeg broadcast, Red River Jamboree replaced Country Hoedown in the summer of 1960 and went on to enjoy a healthy, five year run on the network. More than a studio-bound program of country and western music, the program framed music with stories of Canada's Old West, and, produced by Perry Rosemond, included film sequences shot at a ranch established at the turn of the century to lend the show authenticity.

The original host was Stu Davis, formerly host of Swing Your Partner and the CBC's country music and story show for children, Rope Around The Sun. He was joined by singer Peggy Neville, by Andy Anderson, Brian Flye, Olie Alto, and Bert Scinocca, a quartet called the Altones, by square dance caller Joe Johansson, and by a troupe of eight dancers, the Valley Beaux and Belles, under the direction of Sam McConnell. The musical group that provided accompaniment was called the Selkirk Settlers, led by Ted Komar on the accordion. Along with Komar, the band comprised Clelio Retaghatti and Wally Deduck on fiddles, Jim Pirie, Irvine Wahl, and Monte Levine on guitars, Reg Kelln on drums, Paul Olynk on bass. The music and tales on each show revolved around a single theme, such as homesteading, Saturday nights in the west, the disappearance of the buffalo, or fur trading.

Stu Phillips, Canada's "Travelling Balladeer," replaced Davis for the regular season of Red River Jamboree and hosted the show throughout most of its history. He was replaced by Reg Gibson in l965 when it was announced that Phillips would host a show (called Country A Go Go) to be syndicated to stations in the U.S.A.


Sat 6:00-6:30 p.m., 2 Apr-24 Sep 1960 Mon 3:00-3:30 p.m., 17 Oct 1960-26 Jun 1961 Sun 5:30-6:00 p.m., 7 Jan-30 Sep 1962

A fifteen minute program of music for strings produced in Halifax, and broadcast on stations in Atlantic Canada, Souvenirs expanded to a half-hour, changed its name to Reflections, and graduated to the national network a year after it began. The hosts were Syd Davidson in 1960 and Pat Napier, starting in 196l, and the centre of the show was the orchestra, with arrangements and conducted by Gordon MacPherson of the Maritime Conservatory of Music. Dave Woods, Lucio Agostini, and Eddie Graf also contributed arrangements.

The program stressed light classics and standards--in fact producer Robert Alban announced that the move to the Sunday afternoon time slot in 1962 provoked the change to an even lighter, more relaxed format. Regularly featured performers included Francis Chaplin on violin, Phyllis Ensher on harp, Carol Hughes on piano, and soprano Jean Marshall, and folk singer Ed McCurdy was a frequent guest. For the 1962 series, baritone Clarence Flieger joined the cast, and Peter Donkin became producer.

Regional File

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 5 Jun-10 Jul 1975

This series comprised six, half-hour documentaries produced in and about different areas of the country. The films included Northwest Quarter, Mike Halleran's production on industrialization in northwest British Columbia; What's All The Fuss About?, an Ottawa documentary on drug abuse; Sex And Sixteen, a discussion on teenagers and sex, produced by Ian Parker in Toronto; The Other Side Of The River, produced in St. John's by Ian Wiseman, on the divisions of the Labrador community of North West River; Truth And Consequences, a segment of the CBLT program The Rogers Report, with Bruce Rogers, on the use of lie detectors; and Suicide, a Winnipeg production by Norm Bortnick.

Regional Programming

Mon-Fri 1:30-2:00 p.m., 19 Oct 1981-21 May 1982

Rehearsal In A

Tue 9:30-10:00 p.m., 7 Aug-18 Sep 1956

Percussionist Chuck Skelding was the host of this half-hour program, and led a band that consisted of Paul Grosney on trumpet, Bob Nix on trombone, Jim Weber on clarinet, Bob Gross on drums, Ray Moga on upright bass, Lloyd MacDonald on vibraphone, Al Mann on saxophone, and Wally Towns on piano. They played jazz, blues, ragtime, and popular music in this informal show, produced in Winnipeg.

Reluctant Nation

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 15 Sep-20 Oct 1966

To celebrate--or at least commemorate--the upcoming Centennial year, the CBC presented this six part series of historical programs, which pointed to the similarity of current issues and problems with those that faced the founders of the nation: Canada-U.S. relations, Canada-Europe relations, the status of Francophones under Confederation, federal-provincial relations, and the establishment of an independent economy.

Written by executive producer Eric Koch and producer Melwyn Breen, in consultation with John Saywell of York University, the series employed actors to represent the Fathers of Confederation and other historical figures in a "you are there"-interview format. Actors Tom Harvey and Arch McDonnell played CBC television reporters who covered events from the past with modern technology and the techniques of public affairs television. Other performers included Robert Christie in his well-known recreation of Sir John A. Macdonald, Jack Creley as Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Antony Parr as Premier Andrew G. Blair of New Brunswick, Caulde Bede as Premier William S. Fielding of Nova Scotia, Paul Kligman as Premier Oliver Mowat of Ontario, E.M. Margolese as Premier John Norquay of Manitoba, Robert Goodier as Premier Honore' Mercier of Quebec, William Osler as W.C. Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Norman Welsh as Professor Goldwin Smith, the Oxford don and cynical pro-American who acted as an observer and commentator on developments throughout the series.

Remote Assignment

CBC television spread its wings in this series of remote broadcasts produced by Franz Kraemer, who took a mobile unit into the streets of Toronto for sidewalk interviews on events of current interest. The series also included a series of broadcasts from the Canadian National Exhibition. See Actuality.

The Rene Simard Show

Only sixteen years old when he began his network television show, Rene' Simard had been a singing and dancing star throughout his adolescence. The show, produced in Vancouver by Alan Thicke, had high production values and featured Canadian and international guests, including Salome Bey, Jose Feliciano, Liona Boyd, Andy Williams, and Peter Ustinov in songs and sketches. In addition, the show featured sports champions, such as high jumper Greg Joy and skier Wayne Wong, not to mention what one can only imagine as a regrettable musical combination--Rogatien Vachon, Marcel Dionne, and Boom Boom Geoffrion, the Hockey Rockers. Often, Rene's youth was complemented by other teenage performers, such as frequent guest, twelve year old trumpet player Robert London.


Sat 4:00-5:00 p.m., 10 Apr-5 Jun 1971 Sat 6:30-7:00 p.m., 18 Sep 1971-24 Jun 1972 Sat 6:30-7:00 p.m., 23 Sep 1972-30 Jun 1973 Sat 7:30-8:00 p.m., 22 Sep 1973-27 Apr 1974

The CBC tested Replay, a sports talk show taped before an audience, in a series of three, one hour broadcasts, broadcast on occasional Saturday afternoons over two months. The shows featured CBC Sports announcer Tom McKee and former Ottawa Rough Riders quarterback Russ Jackson as hosts and interviewers, and included film features as well as conversation. Their guests included writer and perennial amateur sportsman George Plimpton, boxer George Chuvalo, golfer Doug Sanders, and NHL goaltender Jacques Plante. The results were promising enough that the program reappeared in the autumn, with Bob Moir replacing McKee as Jackson's partner. Producers were John Spalding (l97l), Claude Baikie (l97l-73), and Bob Smith (l973-74), who taped programs in various locations across the country.

Report From The U.N.

See United Nations.

The Restless Wave

Sun 4:00-5:00 p.m., 2/9/16 Aug 1970

This series of three, one hour programs documented the history of the Royal Canadian Navy in interviews and with footage collected from European and Canadian film archives. The first segment included an interview with Rear Admiral Victor G. Brodeur, who was in the first class of cadets in 19l0, and outlined the navy's development to the Second World War. The second hour concentrated on the war to 1943, and the third part described the concluding years of the war and brought the story up to date with the unification of the armed forces.

The series was produced in Montreal by Frank Williams, and the host was Liston McIlhagga, with interviews by Bill Herbert and Sheridan Nelson.

Revival Night

Thu 8:00-8:30 p.m., 9 Sep-7 Oct 1954


Tue 10:00-10:30 p.m., 22 Jul-28 Oct 1958 Sun 7:30-8:00 p.m., 28 Jun-13 Sep 1959 Sun 10:00-10:30 p.m., 20 Sep-27 Sep 1959

Conductor Ivan Romanoff had been associated with the CBC since l939, and these summer series of half-hour programs of traditional music spotlighted him and his orchestra. Hosts Joseph Furst (l958) and Jan Rubes (l959) introduced folk music and dances, choreographed by Boris Volkoff, from regions of Canada and from around the world. Each program featured three or four segments, each with music, costumes, and settings to evoke a different area and culture. The producer's job rotated among Eric Till, Franz Kraemer, Norman Campbell, Harvey Hart, and Mario Prizek.

Rhythm Pals

Mon 7:40-8:00 p.m., 16 Apr-20 Aug 1956

This twenty minute musical program, with the Rhythm Pals--later regulars on The Tommy Hunter Show--originated in Vancouver. In central Canada, it followed The Nation's Business, and ran every second week to fill a half-hour time slot.

Riding High

Fri 9:00-9:30 p.m., 18 Nov-30 Dec 1955

Produced by Mario Prizek in Vancouver, this musical show had a different setting each week. One week, for example, it took place in a western saloon, and the next it was set in a music hall at the end of the nineteenth century. The half-hour broadcast starred Eleanor Collins, Don Francks, Pat Kirkpatrick, Ron Beckett, and the Four Bits.

Right On

Wed 5:00-5:30 p.m., 13 Dec 1972-28 Mar 1973

This afternoon half-hour show for teenagers was produced and directed by Barry Cranston as a live telecast, and featured young Canadian performers. Among the regulars was Martin Short, then featured in the Toronto production of Godspell. The band, led by pianist Gary Gross, included Stan Perry on drums, Bob Edwards on guitar, Dave Young on bass, Paul Zaza on percussion, and Gene Amaro on saxophones.

Ritter's Cove

Fri 8:00-8:30 p.m., 19 Sep 1980-20 Mar 1981 Wed 4:00-4:30 p.m., 14 Oct 1981-31 Mar 1982 (R)

A co-production of the CBC, Taurus Films of Munich, and Global Television of London, Ritter's Cove was a family adventure series shot in British Columbia. Perceived as a successor to the network's long-running, west coast series, The Beachcombers, it was written by Lyal and Barbara Brown, who had contributed scripts to the earlier series. Hans Conninberg as Karl Ritter, an elderly pilot whose procrastination over a medical examination lost him his licence to fly. He was forced to hire Kate Ashcroft, played by Susan Hogan, as his replacement to keep his single airplane aloft and his transport business afloat. The stories generally revolved around the antagonism and mutual respect of the older man, set in his ways and his sexual stereotypes, and the younger, strong-willed woman.

Ritter's Cove was produced by David Pears, and the executive producer was Peter Kelly.

The Road Show

Fri 9:00-10:00 p.m., 3 Jun-24 Jun 1977

The Road Show, a series of four, one hour programs produced by CBC Winnipeg, replaced The Tommy Hunter Show in June 1977. Hosts Colleen Peterson and Rick Neufeld, Neufeld's Prairie Dog Band, and humorist and doggerel writer Peter Paul Van Camp taped shows in the three Prairie provinces. Ian Tyson was their guest for the program shot at the Royal Winter Fair in Brandon, Manitoba. Dick Damron and Len Udow joined them at the School of Fine Arts at Banff. They returned to Manitoba for a show taped at the Shilo Armed Forces base, with Buck Evans, and concluded the series with a program from the maximum security prison at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with special guest seventy-one year old New Orleans blues singer Roosevelt Sykes.

Executive producer Marv Terhoch devised the series after the taping of a concert at Manitoba's Stoney Mountain Penitentiary for the Winnipeg program, Points West.

The Road To Adjustment

Wed 10:30-11:00 p.m., 2 Mar-30 Mar 1960

The Road To Adjustment, produced by Murray Creed for the CBC's Farms Department, interrupted the run of Explorations for a four part series on the farming and fishing industries. The first of the half-hour shows, The Old Road, examined the contemporary situation of the small farmer with a film about Quebec farmer Earle Hooker and a panel discussion. The Detour: The Farmer Has Moved Out looked at the cases of farmers who earn significant portions of their income off the farm. The Throughway included a discussion of how modern farmers need to adjust. The final program, The Seventh Wave, examined the problems of the Atlantic fishing industry through interviews with fishermen at Port Bickerton, Nova Scotia. The series was researched and organized by Keith Russell.

Rocket Robin Hood

Mon 5:00-5:30 p.m., 9 Oct 1967-10 Jun 1968 Tue 5:00-5:30 p.m., 7 Jan 1969-10 Mar 1970 Mon 5:00-5:30 p.m., 28 Sep 1970-30 Aug 1971 Thu 5:00-5:30 p.m., 6 Jul-7 Sep 1972 Tue 5:00-5:30 p.m., 18 Jul-1 Aug 1972

Rocket Robin Hood was a cartoon series, about the adventures of a futuristic, comic superhero and his band of aides, who lived on Sherwood Asteroid. The series was commissioned by Steve Krantz in New York, and all the scripts were written in the U.S.A., but the animation was produced by Al Guest's Trillium Productions in Toronto, and sound tracks were recorded in Toronto, and featured such recognizable voices as Len Birman, Paul Kligman, Gillie Fenwick, John Scott, Carl Banas, Ed McNamara, Chris Wiggins, and Bernard Cowan. The series was very successful: it was syndicated in the U.S.A., and scheduled in the U.K., Australia, and South Africa, and foreign language versions were prepared for Radio-Canada and international sales.

The Romance Of Science

Sun 5:30-6:00 p.m., 5 Jun-28 Aug 1960

A series of thirteen educational films that dramatized the lives of great scientists, The Romance Of Science was produced by Niagara Film Productions of Montreal. Subjects included James Watt and the steam engine; Michael Faraday and induction, with William Needles; John Dalton and the atomic theory; Christian Gauss and his contributions to mathmatics; Helmholtz and electricity, starring Norman Ettlinger; Antoine Lavoisier, played by Lloyd Bochner, and chemistry; Charles Darwin, portrayed by Michael Kane; Leibniz and the invention of calculus, starring Ivor Barry and Mavor Moore; Johannes Kepler; Linnaeus and the classification of plants; Lord Kelvin; Count Rumford; and Sigmund Freud.

The Ronnie Prophet Show

Fri 9:00-10:00 p.m., 21 Jun-6 Sep 1974

Ronnie Prophet, who had starred the previous season in Country Roads (q.v.), replaced Tommy Hunter in the summer of 1974 with an eleven week series of country music, variety, and comedy. His compatriot in the series was actor Heath Lamberts. Regular guests included a trio of vocalizing sisters called the Peaches, and instrumental backing was provided by the Dave Woods Brass. The show's musical director was Bob Farrar. The writers were Gerry O'Flanagan and the producer of the series, Bill Lynn.

Rope Around The Sun

Wed 5:15-5:30 p.m., 2 Jul 1958- Wed 5:00-5:15 p.m., 29 Sep 1958-25 Mar 1959 Thu 3:45-4:00 p.m., 5 Oct- Thu 4:45-5:00 p.m., 4 Jan-28 Jun 1962

Cowboy singer Stu Davis starred in Rope Around The Sun, a fifteen minute broadcast of country songs and stories of ranches and the west. The stories were written by Kerry Wood, and Davis, a writer and collector of songs, selected numbers to fit the theme and concerns of the tale. Originally scheduled as a summer series, the show was popular enough that it carried over into the regular season of afternoon programs for children. Les Weinstein produced Rope Around The Sun in Winnipeg.

Ross The Builder

Thu 5:00-5:15 p.m., 7 Jul-23 Sep 1958

Ross Snetsinger and his puppet Foster, both seen regularly on a number of children's programs on the CBC, demonstrated how a variety of things can be built in this fifteen minute summer series. The producer of the show was John Kennedy.


Thu 4:00-4:30 p.m., 27 Nov 1958-5 Feb 1959 Thu 4:00-4:30 p.m., 18 Jun-25 Jun 1959

This half-hour program included a variety of films of interest to young viewers.

The Rovers Comedy House

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 8 Jan-19 Feb 1981 Sat 6:30-7:00 p.m., 9 May-13 Jun 1981 (R) Mon 7:30-8:00 p.m., 24 May-31 May 1982 (R)

Formerly the Irish Rovers and the stars of their own eponymous, half-hour musical variety show, Will Millar, George Millar, Jimmy Ferguson, and Wilcil McDowell returned to the network in another variety show produced by Ken Gibson in Vancouver, partly on the momentum of a popular special aired in October 1980. Singer Jimmy Kennedy also joined the troupe each week. Their guests included other Irish performers and folk singers, such as Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, Bob Gibson, and Oscar Brand, as well as Bruno Gerussi, Jim Stafford, Andy Stewart, and Dennis Day. The series of seven programs was repeated only three months after the initial run because of the NABET strike in spring 198l.

The Ron Petty Show

Wed 7:45-8:00 p.m., 8 May-27 Jun 1965 Sat 6:30-6:45 p.m., 3 Nov-29 Dec 1965

Singer Roy Petty starred in this fifteen minute Winnipeg broadcast of standards and blues and jazz tunes. He was backed by the Bobby Jackson Quartet, which featured Bobby Jackson on bass, Lenny Breau on guitar, Del Wagner on drums, and Bob Erlendson on piano.

Royal Suite

Wed 10:30-11:00 p.m., 6 Oct-29 Dec 1976

Obviously derived in part from Neil Simon's play Plaza Suite, Royal Suite concerned the various tenants and workers in a luxury hotel. The eight, half-hour comedy-dramas featured as regulars three members of the hotel staff: Eleanor, the manager, played by Maggie Griffin; Riva, the switchboard operator, played by Wendy Thatcher; and Gino, the bellhop, portrayed by John Evans. In the premiere episode, written by Tom Hendry, Murray Matheson played a supposed Hollywood producer, using the suite for auditions. Other guests included Diana LeBlanc, Charmion King, Sandy Webster, Saul Rubinek, Sean McCann, Andrea Martin, Nancy Dolman, Gordon Pinsent, Jack Creley, Elizabeth Shepherd, Patricia Collins, Jane Mallett, Eli Rill, and Louis del Grande. Among the directors of individual episodes were Sheldon Larry, Mario Prizek, Chris Braden, Herb Roland, and Stephen Katz, and the writers included Rod Coneybeare, Charles Israel, and George Salverson. The series producer was Jack Nixon-Browne, and the executive producer was Ron Kelly.


Wed 8:30-9:00 p.m., 12 Jan-27 Apr 1972

Bob Ruzicka was a singer, songwriter, and children's dentist from northern Alberta, who was familiar in the early 1970s not only for his records but for his appearances on Peter Gzowski's CBC radio show, This Country In The Morning. He had most recently appeared on a summer television series, Homemade Jam, before he graduated to his own show, produced in Edmonton. His musical variety show aimed for the same sort of informality he was able to achieve on radio. The guest list featured almost all the principal figures in the sub-Lightfoot/Cockburn/McLauchlan stratum of Canadian singer-songwriters: Valdy, Dan Hill, Sylvia Tyson, John Allan Cameron, Ann Mortifee, the Good Brothers, Len Udow, Leon Bibb, Stan Rogers, Colleen Peterson, Buck Evans and Diamond Joe White, and Brent Titcombe.

Ryan's Fancy

Fri 7:30-8:00 p.m., 7 Jan-1 Apr 1972 Tue 7:30-8:00 p.m., 13 Jun-5 Sep 1978 (R) Sat 6:30-7:00 p.m., 20 Jun-5 Sep 1981 (R)

Denis Ryan, Dermot O' Reilly, and Fergus O'Byrne comprised the Irish string band, Ryan's Fancy. Their syndicated series, which also starred Tommy Makem, had run for three years, and was produced through the independent Hamilton station, CHCH-TV. Each show in their CBC series, as might be expected, included a segment of performances in front of an audience, taped in St. John's. What made the show different, however, was that the band and the crew travelled to different locations in the Atlantic provinces to set the themes of the individual programs of songs of the sea, of Atlantic Canada, and from the Celtic tradition. Producer Jack Kellum, for example, set shows on a Newfoundland schooner, in the Dorchester penitentiary in New Brunswick, and on Prince Edward Island--a place seen all too seldom on the CBC. The film segments were shot by Douglas Pike, with sound by Bill Murphy and lighting by Les Button, and they were edited by Joe Murphy. The production enlisted the services of folklorist Wilf Wareham for research, and the shows were written by Al Pittman.

Network programs from the Atlantic centres are all too rare, and Ryan's Fancy was a creditable example of how productions might advance from the tried and true models of Don Messer's Jubilee and Singalong Jubilee.

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