Friday, November 29, 2013

bonus features: kit's kingdom

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


If you're interested in sampling Kit Coleman's writing, the best compilation is Ted Ferguson's Kit Coleman: Queen of Hearts, published in 1978. Ferguson organizes excerpts from Kit's columns by theme, generally choosing her funniest bits. One major drawback of this book: no footnotes indicating which editions of the Mail or Mail and Empire the pieces were drawn from.

The last chapter offers a series of "words of wisdom" from Kit. Some of her advice seems quaint, some reveals her distrust of others, some only require slight tweaking to remain relevant:
The arrogance of youth would be unbearable if it were not so amusing.

Candor is a virtue for which women pay most dearly.

It is no use attempting to converse with cranks. As soon as you discover their crankism, fly.

Was there ever a friendship between two women that did not mean a plot against a third?

There is no more charming girl in all the world than she who is attentive to old ladies.

On the dunghills of life, we sometimes find the sweetest flowers growing.

Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.

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.

Monday, November 11, 2013

vintage korean war recruiting ads

Source: Toronto Star, August 9, 1950. Click on image for larger version.
During a recent research project, I found a handful of military recruitment ads from the early years of the Korean War, which feel appropriate to post for Remembrance Day. The Toronto personnel depot listed in these ads is long gone, having been converted to parkland in the early 1960s.

Friday, November 01, 2013

past pieces of toronto: yorkville town hall/st. paul's hall

From November 2011 through July 2012 I wrote the "Past Pieces of Toronto" column for OpenFile, which explored elements of the city which no longer exist. The following was originally posted on July 8, 2012. 

This installment marked the end of the column - what was originally a summer hiatus turned permanent when the entire site wound down a few months later. A placeholder page still exists, optimistically claiming that the site is still on hiatus, but all of the content was pulled down. Fear of such a move resulted in this series of reprints. And yes, I was among those who were owed money for a time, though I eventually received it via dogged persistence. Apart from that ending, OpenFile was a good experience, providing another outlet for my writing.

When word came that the column would be suspended for two months, it was a relief. I figured I would take a breather, wand direct my energy toward other projects I was working on. When I took over "Ghost City" at The Grid soon after, it was clear that if the column came back, it required a new focus. A proposal to switch to a series focusing on people whose names graced neighbourhood streets, buildings and institutions was accepted, pending a review of OpenFile's freelance budget.

Two posts await revisiting, each bearing lessons I learned after they were published. Expect annoying forwards when they surface. But enough blabbing...on with the show!

St. Paul's Hall, formerly Yorkville Town Hall, 1907. Toronto Public Library.
Perhaps Yorkville has always had a taste for luxury. When presented with two designs by architect William Hay for its town hall in 1859, the councillors of what was then a separate suburban village picked the pricier plans. Was the extra money worth it? Probably, since the building they approved at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Yorkville Avenue served the community well until its fiery demise during World War II.