TV and Radio are a little different now than they were back in my childhood. Now we have cable, or satellite, and hundreds of channels with nothing on them. Back then, at my house anyway, we got CBC TV from Port Rexton on channel 13 and, depending on the weather, CTV/NTV on channel 6. If you could see it for snow that is. Sometime later we got closer broadcasts on channel 10 and 7, but even then weren’t always easy to see. We had the old rabbit ears or outdoor aluminum antennas, with wire strung across the garden to get it, and we’d always be out adjusting them.

Radio was similar, there were no close stations till I got older when VOCM added CKVO to Clarenville (tho of course there were no people there per se, all the broadcasters were in St. John’s) and later on OZ-FM got a rebroadcast channel there too. Tho of course OZ-FM itself was a fairly new thing then too!

Most radio was AM radio in those days, with VOCM and for the life of me I forget the other larger stations name! One of the highlights was listening to the top 10 at 10. I’m old enough that one of the songs I remember from the countdown was Paul McCartney and Wings. Another highlight were the call in talk shows, the largest one hosted by Bas Jameson. I can hear the people saying “Datchewbas?” now. The topics were many and varied, and it always amazed me the difference of opinion, and of course you also got the real winners sometimes too. Bas had an acerbic tongue and had no problems cutting people off and hanging up on them!

One of the better memories I have tho, was that back in the day of analog radio, AM channels often skipped off the atmosphere, especially at night, and was a highlight to slowly dial through the channels seeing what you could find; I remember channels all over, and even listening to a hockey game from New York one night. Of course they’d fade in and out sometimes, and then disappear entirely, but was cool to pick them up.

Not so many analog radio dials now, and not so many AM channels either. Another passing thing that today’s youth may not get to experience.

The Three Dons

This is curling season in Canada.  The Scotties Tournament of Hearts just ended, and starting tomorrow the Tim Horton’s Brier begins.  Curling brings back memories of growing up and watching Sportsweekend and other sports programming on CBC on Saturday afternoon and weekends.  Back then every weekend, there was a 1 hour curling program on every Saturday evening in winter.  What was more memorable than the curling in some ways were the hosts.

No they didn’t make you any offers you couldn’t refuse, but it seemed comical that all three hosts were named Don!  Don Wittman, Don Duguid and Don Chevrier.  Curling is a big part of the canadian sports scene, and these guys introduced us to the likes of Al Hackner, the Wrench, Ed Werenich, and the ever so quiet Russ Howard.  I’m not sure what they squeezed into their hour long show back then, but I remember watching religiously as a kid.  I remember dad laying on the couch, me laying on the floor, with my feet over the furnace grate, and watching closely. Not only is it a fun sport to watch, but brings back great memories of growing up.

Looking forward to watching more this weekend and next week!

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.