Montreal Radio Blog

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Classic Canadian Children's TV

We've got these 24 hour kids channels now that show all kinds of stuff. Back in the late 70s and most of the 1980s, there weren't any specialized channels like that. If you didn't have cable, you had to watch what was on either channel 12 or channel 6, and if you felt adventurous enough, you'd check out what was on the french channels.

Who can forgot the CBC's morning programming? Look Up, way Up! Friendly Giant was only on for 15 minutes at a time, but there was something really cool about that show. Jerome the giraffe sticking his head through a fake window and Rusty the rooster sticking his head out of a bag? That was classic television! There were over 3000 episodes and the show ran for nearly 30 years! Did you know that the Friendly Giant originally aired in the United States? Bob Homme, who played the giant, was actually from Wisconsin.

And speaking of another American who created some classic Canadian children's television, we can't forget Ernie Coombs. He was Mr. Dressup. It's probably the most remembered Canadian children's show. It ran for about 29 years and stuck around in repeats though the mid-2000's even after the show was no longer in production and Mr. Coombs had died. Why did Casey and Finnegan have to live in that tree house anyway?

Then there was Canadian Sesame Street. It was the same show as down south, but with Canadian segments thrown in. It was an introduction to the french language for many, I'm sure. It was yanked off the CBC sched in the mid-90s, and that's really too bad.

And then there was Rocket Robin Hood. Listen to the theme music, it is brilliant... The overly dramatic description of RRH and his Merry Men is priceless. And then you get to see the same descriptive vignettes over and over and over again... To this day, it comes across as pretty damn funny!

I have to mention The Flintstones, even though it can hardly be considered Canadian content. For what seemed like forever, the show would air at noon on channel 12. It would disappear when school let out and then return "fresh" as ever in the fall. If you were home at noon, you watched the Flintstones, even if you had seen the same episode a million times already. There was an instance back in the 90s when the show was yanked off the sched for a while. A group of McGill students began a petition and campaign to get it back on. They succeeded - for a while.

Of course times have changed, and none of the above shows are on local TV anymore. The specialty channels do have some great stuff though, especially the retro channel.

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