Newfoundland TV

Newfoundland has a great tradition of entertainment, from our own magazines such as the Downhomer and Decks Awash to wonderful TV shows like Tales from Pigeon Inlet, Codco, Wonderful Grand Band, and Up at Ours.  I can remember many a Monday evening busting a good laughing at Dickie on WGB and their take on things.  Who doesn’t remember Leo Budgell saying “My son the best friend you got in this life is your wallet!”, (you can hear it in the song posted on the left) or their take on the soaps with “I love you Dennis.  I hate you Paige”.  My personal favorite had to be Dickie in school, with the priest asking him his name “Dickie Fadder” and the priest saying there are no Dikies in this class, only Richards.

My favorite show had to be Up at Ours, where Mary Walsh ran a boarding house, Ray Guy played the permanent lodger who could always be found reading comic books, while Kevin Noble played Dolph, the taxi driver.  This always brings me back to more musical entertainment, because it reminds me of Joan Morrisey singing “The Boarding House on Federation Square”

And of course I can’t forget Ted Russell’s Yarns from Pigeon Inlet.  These were made for TV, but I remember the books and plays most of all.  We read the Hangishore in class in grade 11 with yours truly as the ‘angishore.  I remember Wade Bowring was the magistrate and I made him crack up when I leaned ahead, looked him in the face and said “Yer ‘onor? what is a ‘ole?”

I’d give a lot to have those old shows on DVD now, I think I’d still split a gut laughing at Greg Malone and Tommy Sexton.

Besides the comedy’s and variety shows, we also had some kid’s programs, like Skipper and Company.  I think that I remember a class or group from Random Island went to visit the lighthouse once.

Goin to de time de nite?

One of the traditions of outport Newfoundland was the “time”.  Havin a time seemed to die out over the years, but I do remember many held at the old one room school houses back on Random Island.  Most of these buildings had a stage for little community concerts and recitals.  And they mostly all had home made hardwood floors.

What was a time? Well it was a combination of food, dance and music generally, often held as a fund raiser for the church, women’s group, cemetery  or to help someone out. Someone likely had a guitar, or accordion or some musical instrument, and sometimes someone might even sing a tune or two.  They’d gather on the stage, or more likely around the old pot bellied stove, we’d push back the tables and desks, and we’d be thumping our feet and dancing jigs around the place.  Was a tame time if someone didn’t accidentally get thrown into a wall.

The night might have started off with a soup supper, or bean supper, or a pot luck (god I love pot lucks!) where we’d stuff our faces, and need the dance later to work it off.

And of course there were a few drinks involved too, but generally they were home made; home brew, moonshine, lemon gin, blueberry wine, and of course, the next best thing to paint thinner, dogberry wine.  You’d see people in later years at least go outside for a smoke, or drink or just to cool off.  I can remember blasts of frost coming in through the door now, and people yelling “Close the door!”

Eventually everyone would stumble home, walking generally, times were pretty close to home usually.  Next day, with big heads, I can hear us now, “Some time at the time last night wha?”