Thursday, November 28, 2013

bonus features: next on tvontario, doctor who

This post offers supplementary material for a Torontoist post I recently wrote, which you should dive into before reading any further. 

Art by Ted and Pat Michener. The Toronto Star, September 11, 1976.
As much as I hate the new archives databases the Toronto Public Library uses for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star (a grocery list of reasons that would fill several posts), there are some bright spots. One is the inclusion of Star Week, which will be handy for researching television- and food-related articles. For this particular story, Star Week helped nail down Doctor Who's initial airdates on TVO. It also offered an interesting glimpse into Saturday night television at the dawn of the 1976-77 season. 

None of the shows spotlighted on Star Week's cover had staying power. Clockwise from top left:

Bill Cosby - Cos. Sketch comedy/variety show. Cancelled November 1976.

Tony Randall - The Tony Randall Show. Sitcom about a widowed judge. Only show featured on this cover to last more than one season, surviving until March 1978.

Nancy Walker - The Nancy Walker Show. Sitcom about L.A.-based talent agent. Cancelled December 1976. Walker quickly resurfaced as the star of Blansky's Beauties in February 1977.

Jim Bouton - Ball Four. Sitcom inspired by Bouton's controversial best-selling book about life as a pro baseball player. Cancelled October 1976.

David Birney - Serpico. Drama inspired by the Al Pacino movie. Cancelled January 1977.

John Schuck and Richard B. Shull - Holmes and Yoyo. Sitcom about a cop and his robot partner. Cancelled December 1976.

Dick Van Dyke - Van Dyke and Company. Sketch comedy/variety show whose cast included Andy Kaufman. Cancelled December 1976.

Robert Stack - Most Wanted. Crime drama. A Quinn Martin production. Last wanted in August 1977.



Here's the full Saturday preview page.  

Doctor Who wasn't the only British import TVO added discussion points to. As shown here, the 1968-70 ITV drama Tom Grattan's War was supplemented with bonus material featuring Andrea Martin, then appearing on another show which debuted in September 1976: SCTV. I'd love to see how Martin illustrated particular points about a young Londoner's adventures set against the backdrop of the First World War. I'm guessing Edith Prickley didn't make an appearance.



What aired against the Time Lord's TVO debut? For Toronto viewers, music, music, music. Hee Haw (channel 2) featured Tammy Wynette, Waltons star Will Geer, and Kenny Price. CFTO (channel 9) ran Canadian Stage Band Festival, featuring big bands from schools and post-secondary institutions across the country. Dolly Parton's short-lived Dolly! (channel 7) guest-starred "Captain Kangaroo" Bob Keeshan. Grandparents enjoyed champagne music with Lawrence Welk on channel 29, while the disco set grooved to a steady stream of dancers and stylin' fashion on CITY-TV's Boogie.


After the post ran, I received an email from a reader who passed on the story to Dr. Jim Dator, who clarified his association with TVO and Doctor Who. Dator was on a two-year absence from the University of Hawaii, and worked with the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (OECA, as TVO was originally known) on their contribution to Science Council of Canada's Canada as a Conserver Society project [PDF]. Upon returning to Hawaii, he shot one year of extros there before Judith Merril took over.

While I did co-teach a course at New College, and was given a visiting professor title in UT Department of Industrial Engineering (of all departments) thanks to Arthur Porter, and was also affiliated with the Department of Adult Education of OISE, thanks to Roby Kidd,  it was OECA who paid my salary. The Dr. Who stint was the final TV production I did for OECA, and the clip you sent of my swan song was actually filmed in Honolulu.
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Besides the Torontoist TVO piece, I also wrote a post for The Canadian Encyclopedia's blog about Sydney Newman, who spearheaded the show's creation. If you're interested in more about Newman, check out Adam Bunch's Toronto Dreams Project post. For more TVO-era clips, check out Retrontario's survey for BlogTO.

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