home  •    about us  •    courses  •    student work  •    alumni news  •    what's new

CBC Television Series, 1952-1982

by Blaine Allan

Return to
CBC Series Index


U.N. In Review

See United Nations.

U.N. Newsreel

See United Nations.

U.N. Review

See United Nations.

U.N. Today

See United Nations.

The Umbrella

Sun 5:00-5:30 p.m., 3 Apr-26 Jun 1966

Sun 5:00-5:30 p.m., 9 Oct-18 Dec 1966

An adventurous program on the arts, The Umbrella brought some of the articulate cultural commentary that had previously been the territory of CBC radio to the television network. It was essentially the successor to Show On Shows (q.v.), which included features by some of the same contributors and which was also produced by John Kennedy. The host of The Umbrella was William Ronald, the painter who had achieved recognition for his abstracts, as a member of the Toronto group, Painters Eleven, in the 1950s, and whose status grew through the l960s. The show's announcer and Ronald's on-camera colleague was Lloyd Robertson.

The first show, perhaps typically, centred on Ronald himself; he talked about his own work to art students. Subsequent programs moved to wider, different subjects, both local and international in focus. In the first month, for example, Ronald presented his interview with the legendary artist Marcel Duchamp, filmed in New York, and a program on the burgeoning cultural scene in London, Ontario, and interviews with painters Greg Curnoe and Jack Chambers, and with writer James Reaney. Subjects included the visual, literary, and performing arts, and regular contributors included Rita Greer Allen, Barry Callaghan, and Timothy Findley. Allen interviewed choreographer Brian MacDonald, Callaghan talked with the British writers Alan Sillitoe and Arnold Wesker, and with Margaret Laurence during her stay in the U.K., and Findley met, in different programs, actor William Hutt, preparing for the season at Stratford, and British producer Michael Langham. The program also paid attention to developments in film and television, and included interviews with Sydney Newman, who had left the CBC in the 1950s and was now head of drama at the BBC, and with New York underground filmmakers and purveyors of kitsch, George and Mike Kuchar. (The Kuchars' Canadian friend and collaborator Bob Cowan had produced a short, filmed hommage to introduce the Umbrella interview with Duchamp.)

Uncle Chichimus Tells A Story

John Conway returned to the air with his puppets Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock for this filmed series. See Let's See.

Uncle Ed's Party

Tue 5:00-5:30 p.m., 30 Dec 1952-

A program of songs and stories for young viewers, with Ed McCurdy. This series was also called Ed's Place (q.v.).

Under One Roof

Mon 10:00-10:30 p.m., 3/10/17 Aug 1964

Mon 10:00-10:30 p.m., 7/14 Sep 1964

This series of five, half-hour programs on family life, produced by Denny Spence, was originally broadcast on Take Thirty in spring 1964. The program organizers were Helen Carscallen and Margaret Fielder, and the researchers and writers were Margaret Norquay, June Callwood, and Rose Wilcox. The interviewers were Take Thirty hosts Anna Cameron and Paul Soles.

Under Twenty-One

Tue 10:00-10:30 p.m., 25 Sep-16 Oct 1956

Jeanne Sauve' hosted this series of discussions with young people on topics of contemporary public interest, such as bilingualism and biculturalism. The programs were produced in Ottawa by Michael Hind-Smith.

The Unforeseen

Thu 8:30-9:00 p.m., 2 Oct 1958-2 Apr 1959

Wed 10:00-10:30 p.m., 28 Oct 1959-9 Mar 1960

As the anthology drama format eroded in U.S. television, it was modified into series that had more unified approaches, even though they might not follow the story of a single set of characters from week to week. The CBC anticipated the example of The Twilight Zone, which started in 1959, with The Unforeseen, which succeeded On Camera as the network's half-hour weekly drama. As the title suggested, The Unforeseen presented suspense drama, or stories with a surprise twist at the end, not necessarily futuristic narratives or tales of the supernatural.

Previously, the supervising producer of television drama oversaw the production of the half-hour drama, but Peter Francis was delegated responsibility as executive producer of The Unforeseen. Although the thematic limits of the series were pretty loose, they strained the capabilities of the contemporary writers. Administrator Hugh Gauntlett remarked, "...we found that by over- specializing the series it was difficult for us to get scripts from our Canadian writers. We had a fair number of playwrights who could write a story involving a personal situation with which they were familiar, but what we lacked was the sort of skilled craftsman who could be given this sort of assignment, think for a few moments, and the come up with the sort of suspense story of mystery that the series demanded." (Quoted, Roger Lee Jackson, "An Historical and Analytical Study...," 1966) Consequently, very few of the scripts were original stories by Canadian writers; among the exceptions were Donald Jack and Peter Francis himself.

United Nations

United Nations In Action

Mon-Fri 4:30-5:00 p.m., 5 Oct-7 Nov 1953

Mon-Fri 4:00-4:30 p.m., 21 Sep-15 Oct 1954

U.N. Today

United Nations Report

Mon-Fri 4:30-5:00 p.m., 24 Aug-11 Sep 1953

U.N. Review

Dateline U.N.

Sun 12:15-12:30 p.m., 4 Jan-8 Feb 1959

Sun 12:15-12:30 p.m., 11 Oct-20 Dec 1959

Sun 12:00-12:30 p.m., 27 Dec 1959-27 Mar 1960

The CBC provided Canadian viewers with regular coverage of the United Nations, direct from New York, and telecast on both English and French services, starting with the Ninth General Assembly. At the time, of course, the Korean War and the division of the country and the cold war were hot issues, as were the questions of French colonialism in Tunisia and Morocco, the friction between the U.K. and Greece over Cyprus, Indonesia's and the Netherlands' conflict over Western New Guinea, and apartheid in South Africa. Coverage during the first year included daily reports, titled At The U.N. or U.N. General Assembly, with the CBC's correspondent at the U.N., Peter Stursberg, and a filmed weekly summary of the proceedings, titled U.N. In Review.

The CBC continued to cover the U.N. proceedings on a regular basis until 1965, usually in a fifteen minute or half-hour summary on Sunday afternoons or early Saturday evenings, under such titles as Dateline U.N., Report From The U.N., or U.N. Review. Correspondents after Stursberg included Charles Lynch (l956-57), Stanley Burke (l958-6l), Tom Gould (l962), Peter Reilly (l963), and Randy Kraft.

Up And Coming

Wed 6:15-6:45 p.m., 7 Nov 1962-26 Jun 1963

Paddy Sampson produced this non-competitive talent show for young performers, ages six to sixteen. Bruce Smith hosted the fifteen minute broadcast from Toronto, which also featured guest appearances by such CBC personalities as Fred Davis, Allan Blye, Joyce Hahn, Tommy Common, Denyse Ange, and Joey Hollingsworth. Lou Snider and his group provided musical accompaniment.

Up At Ours

Fri 9:30-10:00 a.m., 6 Apr-28 May 1979

Thu 10:30-11:00 p.m., 9 Oct-25 Dec 1980

Fri 2:00-2:30 p.m., 29 May-31 Jul 1981 (R0

Thu 7:00-7:30 p.m., 1 Apr-29 Apr 1982

Newfoundland-born Gordon Pinsent created this half-hour comedy/drama that centred on a St. John's boarding house. Verna Ball, played by Mary Walsh, owned the house, and Jack Howse, played by Ray Guy, was her long-standing lodger. Janis Spence played Mrs. O'Mara, who lived next door, and Kevin Noble was Dolph, the myopic driver of the Outport Taxi. Mrs. Ball's boarding house attracted a number of troubled and eccentric characters in a series that trod between humane relationships and comic treatment. Pinsent himself was featured in one episode as a parish priest who came to St. John's and found his faith tested and reconfirmed in his encounter with two young women, one a boarder at the house and the other another runaway from an outport community.

The series was produced in St. John's by Kevin O'Connell, with episodes directed by Walter Learning, Wayne Guzzwell, and O'Connell, and scripts by writers from the Atlantic provinces-- Pinsent, Learning, Gerry Rubia, Michael Cook, and Alden Nowlan. A twelve week series, Up At Ours was a rare example of continuing drama produced in a regional CBC centre and that employed a distinctive local milieu.

Up Canada

Tue 10:00-10:30 p.m., 23 Oct 1973-9 Apr 1974

Tue 10:00-10:30 p.m., 22 Oct 1974-25 Mar 1975

Up Canada tried to revive the form of the topical satire and public affairs show for which This Hour Has Seven Days broke ground nearly a decade before. It featured the work of talented and experienced producers, such as John Zaritsky, Michael Callaghan, Don Cumming, John Kastner, John Martin, and Doug Collins, under the supervision of executive producer George Robertson. Regulars on-camera included Rob Parker, Rex Murphy, Patrick MacFadden, Valri Bromfield, and singer John Allan Cameron, as well as Seven Days alumnus and the network's resident political gadfly Larry Zolf. However, the satire was criticized as dull and the reporting as slipshod and uninteresting.

Up, Up, And Away

Sat 7:00-7:30 p.m., 29 Jul-19 Aug 1967

After a Show Of The Week performance, the CBC brought back a vocal group called the Numerality Singers to star collectively in their own musical variety series, to run over six half-hours. The organization consisted of Miles Ramsay, Corlynn Canney, Bob Hamper, Pat Rose, Patty Surbey, Brian Gibson, and Brian Griffiths. Produced on videotape by Ken Gibson, the show combined location shooting in the Vancouver area--for example at the Nitobe Gardens at U.B.C., at Kitsilano Beach, and in Stanley Park--and studio work, on a set designed by Murray Devlin to resemble a beach house.

Bill Hartley was the show's writer, and Brian Gibson and Brian Griffiths provided musical arrangements for the group. Doug Parker conducted the orchestra, which was kept off-camera.


Sat 6:00-6:30 p.m., 3 Oct 1970-26 Oct 1974

Update, a half-hour program for early Saturday evenings, provided background to the news. It opened with five minutes of the day's headlines, and then moved into more detailed reports (four or five stories a week, so as much detail as could be worked into an average five to six minutes per item) and interviews. Executive producers for the show included veterans Peter Trueman, Curt Laughlin, and Tim Kotcheff, and the host was CBC staff announcer and news reader John O'Leary, then George Finstad.

Upside Town/Swingaround

Tue-Fri 4:30-5:00 p.m., 9 Jan-

Tue-Thu 4:30-5:00 p.m., 26 Apr- 13 Jun 1968

Tue 4:30-5:00 p.m., 13 Jun-

Tue/Wed 4:30-5:00 p.m., 2 Jul-24 Sep 1968

Barney Boomer (q.v.) was retitled and expanded; Barney, played by John Clayton, was phased out of the show as scripts paid more attention to the other people of Cedarville. A number of other actors and characters remained from the earlier show: Lynne Gorman as shop owner Florence Kozy, Franz Russell as the town Councillor, Trudy Young as Trudy, Rex Sevenoaks as Barney's uncle, Captain Boomer, Claire Drainie as Ma Parkin, Claude Rae as Mr. Andrews. (The program also continued to include in its time slot the kids' quiz show, Swingaround.) Several new actors joined the cast as new characters appeared in town: Jack Duffy was Eddie Power, a hotshot newspaperman with his own column, The Power Line, and Trevor Evans portrayed the always earnest copy boy, Harvey Fleetwood. Gerard Parkes was the newspaper publisher Sam Oliver. Lynne Gorman left the show, but Pam Hyatt replaced her as Mrs. Kozy. In addition, Ted Follows, and Danny McIlravey appeared.

Written by CBC children's department veteran Ron Krantz, the program was produced by Stuart Gilchrist and directed by Herb Roland and Flemming Nielsen.

Return to CBC Series Index

Queen's University