Should I Have Done that on Television?

Should I Have Done that on Television?
1979 when I designed clothes for Ruth Buzzi for the show You Can’t Do that on Televison” (missing a piece from fragility)
“To Linda, thank you for the wonderful costumes- you are indeed wonderful to work with- I hope this goes well so we do it again” Love Ruth Buzzi 1979.. She was on one season and replaced with local actress Abby Hagyard– loved this woman

One morning in 1979, British writer, director, and producer, Roger Price made a visit to my store Flash Cadilac in Ottawa. The “Tomorrow People” creator was surrounded like the Pied Piper with small children, who I did not know at the time were actors. Price invited me to come to the CJOH-TV studios that night after the store closed. He wanted to use clothing from Flash Cadilac for a new TV program he had created.

It sounded exciting, but Ange was not impressed, as he said it interfered with his dinner time. He did agree however, that we should check it out. That night we met Roger and future award winning, innovative, Nickelodon media executive Geoffrey Darby for a private screening of the new show.


For an hour they played reel after reel of the new show in hopes I would agree to provide the wardrobe. I thought their new show “You Can’t Do That on Television” was fabulous, but Ange soon got into a slight argument with Roger over the need to go home and eat. The two of them quickly began a loud discussion that Ange should just suck his hunger up, but he won, and we left the station shortly.

The local Canadian-made kids’ show involved snot, barf, and fart jokes, along with local contests and music. For the next year and a half Flash Cadilac provided the clothing for the television show in exchange for a 60-second-spot on the show. Those spots did not last long, as my models and management ideas quickly clashed. Here was a children’s slapstick comedy show featuring Ottawa icon Les Lye advertising models in sultry wear that did not smile.

As I have said before, my models and I did not care for facial expressions on runways, so they were most certainly not going to bare their teeth in a commercial. Discussions began immediately that these women HAD to smile for the family orientated TV show. That went over like a lead balloon. Soon, I was advised they either needed to join ACTRA, or the spots would be discontinued. As most of the models did not have extra disposable money, it was an easy painless way for the show to get rid of the spots.

The thing is, you couldn’t blame them, because after the premiere CJOH middle management wanted the show off the air. It was only because of head honcho Bryn Matthews insistence that the program stayed on and went to greater heights. “You Can’t Do That on Television” did not need anymore problems. like mine but I stayed–without the models.

I don’t know why, but I continued donating my time and clothing to the show on Thursday and Friday nights and weekends. I loved the kids, and so was the idea of being involved with something groundbreaking. I met a lot of great people on that show, and a few of the grownup ‘kids’ are still Facebook friends. I don’t know what has stuck out more after that year and a half ‘internship’. Cleaning the kids up after they got slimed, or hand sewing sequin trim on Disco-star Alma Faye Brooks while she had her outfit on.

After a year, CTV decided to turn the local show into a network program. I was offered ‘a paying job’ doing the wardrobe and still can remember getting a cheque from CTV for $1000. I made a black sequin dress for actress Ruth Buzzi who joined the cast, and we actually exchanged a few letters after I left to pursue other things. Buzzi is nothing like the character she played on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In”. Smart, caring, and sassy is how I will always remember her. She was so in love with her husband Ken, and talked about him all the time. The comedian was so down to earth, that her presence made the time spent on the pilot a complete joy.

When I looked at season one of the show this week that Roger Price has put up on YouTube I was proud when I saw ‘Wardrobe by Flash Cadilac’ in the credits. All these kids lived locally, and some went on to greater things. For those inquiring minds: I never met Alanis when she was briefly on the program. She would come into my life later on when her music career would begin to soar. I thought you just “Oughta Know” that.


Note to Cyndi Kennedy and Moose Christine McGlade: I still have that “Linda” mug one of you gave me for my birthday….. somewhere..:) – I think I saw it last week..:)

From the book- “Flash-backs” of Ottawa’s Little Miss Flash Cadilac

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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