Tag Archives: television

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I once wrote a story about writing letters as a child to the media and it got me thinking.The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in black and white. But then exciting things came to television like Coca Cola and Dick Clark. Here were some of my favourites:

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody 

Cartoon Corner, Friendly Giant and Howdy Doody were daily favourites of mine in black and white on CBC. I also remembered having to unplug the TV when a thunderstorm occurred in the afternoon as my Mother said it was “going to blow the house up if one of those bolts wrapped around the venetian blinds”.

Razzle Dazzle

Every night at 5 in 1961 I would watch the CBC- TV show Razzle Dazzle hosted by Suzanne Somers’ husband, Alan Hamel. I had entered a writing contest and was eagerly waiting to hear if I won a pen with my “meatless meat pie” essay. A few weeks later I found out that I had indeed won a Razzle Dazzle pen for my story along with a photo of Howard the Turtle.

Hockey Night in Canada

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and I was a member of the Dave Keon fan club who scored the winning goal that year for the last game. I was a proud card carrying member, and for 25 cents you got a signed glossy photo of him and a membership card. 

The day after the playoffs I brought in that black and white 8 by 10 photo of him and taped it to the classroom blackboard. My teacher Mrs. Shufelt, who was not a fan of Dave Keon or said team, had an upset look on her face when she saw it. Yes, it was worth the 25 cents I had spent on it. I can still see the frown on her face like it was yesterday.

Hello Boys and Girls, it’s time for Magic Tom!

Every afternoon as a child, I was glued to the TV set awaiting my beloved Magic Tom Auburn on CFCF TV out of Montreal. Tom once described himself as a “man who played with silk hankies” but to me and every child he was a man with something new up his sleeve every single day. Canada’s Man of Magic was never fully appreciated by my Father as he constantly said Magic Tom needed to polish his act up. 

Magic Tom once said that little girls only wanted to be three things in life: a Mommy, a Nurse, and an Airline Stewardess. It was the same thing I heard a few years later in the Cowansville High School Vice Principal’s office when I told him I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I often wondered if they were related.

Tom began his career at age 13 with a bout of scarlet fever, a magic book and a lot of time on his hands just outside Cornwall. It is the unspoken ethic of all magicians to not reveal the secrets, and once in a blue moon Tom did. Sometimes the kids thought he was cheating and expressed their sentiments– but the next time you saw the same trick, maybe you didn’t see that glass of milk sinking under the red cloth– and wondered if you had been right the first time.

Each day I waited until the end of the show to see the empty silver dish suddenly become full of candy for the kids with a simple mere tap of his magician’s wand. No matter how hard I looked I could not find out how Magic Tom did this trick. 

I later found out however that this same trick was performed in WW11 by a small group of French Patriots who were being held prisoner by the Germans. They made a deal with their captors that if they performed this trick they would be let go. There was a happy ending and they were freed. 

Magic Tom and his wife Dolores have long passed and are buried in the Cornwall region at the St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery near Long Sault/Cornwall. I hope people remember Magic Tom as a  kind man who brought magic to the people as he pushed the boundaries of wonder for all of us. 

Some people say there isn’t magic. Some people say there is. I say there always will be— as in a way, we are all magicians, and so was television when I grew up in the 50s and 60s. They provided a wonderful open door to the everyday pleasures when life was just  a simpler world.

Remembering Home Grown Cafe — Clippings

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Remembering Home Grown Cafe — Clippings
With a huge repertoire of popular songs from the past 100 years, this band can deliver the goods.
Anyone who has seen their shows knows that the Diplomats have played with the likenesses of “The King” and “The Man in Black
“. Pat Willbond

Friday night at our vigil in Carleton Place we had Pat Willbond sing a song to open the event. I wanted to announce him properly and found out he had won Home Grown Cafe in the 90s. Home Grown Cafe???

That of course set my mind wandering and I had to document it so people would remember and never forget that 30 minutes a week the family was glued to the TV.

There are 150,000 viewers every Sunday night to see what appears to be endless lineup of eight-year-old tapdancers. Arrive at CJOH studios half -hour before taping begins. Big lineups outside for members of audience, mostly relatives and friends of performers. Demand for tickets so great that bleachers added to Cafe set to accommodate 140 people. Tickets all gone a week ago.

Wait in hallway with dancers, singers, etc. Hear someone doing vocal exercises. Hear someone practising stepdancing. Try to remain anonymous to forestall lobbying. Judge must be impartial. Say hello to Joel Stapansky, show’s producer, diminutive fireball constantly busy doing several jobs at once, Stapansky tells us tonight’s shows, taped two at time for fall season that started Sunday, will feature adult entertainers.

This is a relief. Younger performers are more difficult to judge, and Stapansky has many stories of mothers of children waiting for him after show to attack him physically. Big change in program this season is that there are now eight acts per show instead of six, cutting performance time from 21/2 minutes to two.

The idea is to make things go more quickly, givethe show brighter pace, provide TV exposure to more of 1,400 people a year who audition. Stapansky perpetually amazed at program’s success, thrilled to have it mentioned in same breath as such ratings giants. “Any time you see Homegrown Cafe and Roseanne in any proximity at all” he says, shaking head. Studio finally opens.

Take seat on raised dais with fellow judges, talent agent Eileen Hennemann, radio host Michael O’Brien. Receive briefing sheet instructing us how to rate performers. Key is entertainment value: must judge two acts in each of vocal, dance, variety categories, rate each on scale of 1 to 10 on basis of self-confidence, material, salesmanship, pizzazz, which act we would rather see again. Asked not to consult each other before marking scoresheets.

Program director tells audience to applaud quickly to make it sound like more people. Applaud like mad for host J. J. Clarke, CJOH weatherman who dons tuxedo for Homegrown Cafe gig. Clarke introduces acts, keeps audience amused during breaks when microphones go on blink, lights go off, other small disasters of taped television.

Clarke has large supply of shameless jokes: the two Newfie moose hunters; the Englishman, the Irishman and the Scotsman at the Olympics; the bee at the bar mitzvah, the stuttering Bible salesman, etc. Taping begins with two female singers, continues with two sets of dancers, two male singers. Have seconds to decide who is better and by how much.

Things get trickier in variety category, when two women from area church, one playing piano and the other ringing bells, compete against older gentleman who performs ragtime piano number, occasionally shouting, “Boogie woogie!” Even more difficult is variety pair in second show when short, grandmotherly woman doing bare-legged jitterbug with tall, young partner ” competes against South American man in costume playing pan flute and some kind of Peruvian mandolin.

However, I do my best, and sense that choices would be the same if winners had been chosen by audience vote. Stapansky, who says he can’t wait for interactive -TV will let viewers at home decide which act is best, and involve the public more. This I would eliminate the need for celebrity judges, spell end of career on bench. On the other hand, I did manage to get out without being attacked by mothers of any losing eight-year-old tapdancers.

Jay Stone

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada27 Sep 1993, Mon  •  Page 22


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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Jun 1991, Thu  •  Page 32

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Jun 1989, Thu  •  Page 88
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 1994, Thu  •  Page 57

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
03 Mar 1994, Thu  •  Page 22

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The Weekly Advance
Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
05 Oct 1994, Wed  •  Page 16
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Feb 1997, Wed  •  Page 1
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Feb 1997, Wed  •  Page 1
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sat, Mar 12, 2011 · Page 18
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
18 Jul 1997, Fri  •  Page 63

Paula Anderson

The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
28 Oct 1996, Mon  •  Page 9
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The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
09 Feb 1991, Sat  •  Page 139

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Oct 1989, Thu  •  Page 3

Should I Have Done that on Television?

Live to the Max — Max Keeping

Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

Remembering the Littlest Hobo

Did You Watch Maggie Muggins?

Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

I’m Your Puppet! — Hi Diddle Day and Uncle Chichimus

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers Part 2 — Dorothy Ann “Dottie” Seese

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

My life as a wayfaring troubadour in concert

It hasn’t all been pleasant, but it’s never boring, writes Lyle Dillabough

OPINION OCT 11, 2018 BY LYLE DILLABOUGH  CARLETON PLACE ALMONTE CANADIAN GAZETTE

Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

Life Before the Remote……Linda Knight Seccaspina

The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in black and white. Because we lived 14 miles from the Vermont border in Quebec we were lucky to be able to receive some American television, and not just the staple Canadian three.

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody were favourites of mine back in the day on CBC. I also remembered having to unplug the TV when a thunderstorm occurred as my Mother said it was “going to blow the house up if one of those bolts wrapped around the venetian blinds”. Of course, I still think of that when it’s storming outside sitting in my lazy boy chair that’s pointed at the television along with every other piece in the room, and still with decorative venetian blinds.

Every night at 5 in 1961 I would watch the CBC TV show Razzle Dazzle hosted by Suzanne Somer’s husband, Alan Hamel. I had entered a writing contest and was eagerly waiting to hear if I won a pen with my “meatless meat pie” essay. A few weeks later I found out that I had indeed won a Razzle Dazzle pen for my story along with a photo of Howard the Turtle.

One day in the 60’s my father went to Keith Lachasseur’s Appliance store on the Main Street in Cowansville and came home with a colour TV. I didn’t really care one way or the other as I was actually used to the rainbow hues of “the plastic sheet” on the front of the television. It ‘simulated’ full colour along with rabbit ears covered in tinfoil to stimulate even better viewing. Of course it was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive colour TV and its promise had sucked my father in. I think he immediately knew he had the wool pulled over his eyes, but never knowingly admitting a mistake, he insisted that it was ‘just as good’ as the real thing.

In our family he was the only person allowed to touch the new TV and he was always up on the roof adjusting the antenna to get the best

picture. After seeing everything in black and white while we simultaneously hunted dinosaurs in those days my world had now progressed to technicolor with a new neighbour coming in every night to see ‘the TV.’ Some of the highlights were: ‘Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Colour’ when Tinkerbell would splash colour on the screen and of course the burning map on the TV show Bonanza was priceless.

One night my father went out to a Lodge meeting and my friend Sheila came over to watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E. David McCallum, who played  “Ilelya Kuryakin” on the show, had been dubbed the “British James Dean” and was the only reason I watched that show. The fact that I had always seen him cast as a delinquent was a bonus for me since there is nothing like a bad boy. Sheila and I sat down and got ready to watch. The NBC Peacock came on and it remained in black and white. Where was the colour?.

Was my father really not at  the Lodge meeting and adjusting the roof antenna so I could not enjoy the show? The Man from U.N.C.L.E began and I started fidgeting around with the buttons. Instead of black and white the show suddenly turned red and then blue and I wondered if the rainbow plastic sheet had found its way inside the TV. Was I doomed?  After fidgeting some more the picture started skipping and I had to play around with the “horizontal hold” button. I think all of you remember that particular button with joy and happiness.

Illya still stared at me in glorious black and white, and I stopped playing with the buttons. Fifteen minutes before the show ended my father came in and tweaked his magic and it turned from black and white to colour.

Once you had colour TV you never went back to black and white- you just went to “upgrade”. Some of my friends in the late 60’s used LSD instead, and their whole lives became Technicolor — without television. My family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messer’s Jubilee we watched Tommy Hunter on Friday nights. Who knew a

Hoedown, Tommy Hunter and Brenda Lee could all exist in colour together?

McLuhan once said,“The medium is in the message”– or was that ‘the massage’.   But now we are confronted with all sorts of media so pardon me while I check my Facebook Twitter and Instagram and watch a season of something on Netflix real quick. Just remember if someone had not invented the TV we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.

Sock it to me!

Did You Ever Watch Two for Joy?

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Did You Ever Watch Two for Joy?

If you are wondering why I am documenting a lot of Mary Cook’s archives it is because she says she doesn’t have a lot of the newspaper archives. I feel it all needs to be documented for future readers to come so that is why I am doing it.

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Oct 1992, Sun  •

Having her books turned into a TV series isn’t quite what Carleton Place writer Mary Cook thought it would be. “I thought I’d be there on the set with my own chair, yelling out instructions,” laughs Cook, well-known local broadcaster and author of a series of stories about her Depression-era childhood in Renfrew County.

 

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The stories have been pounced upon as the basis of a proposed CTV series, Two For Joy. Actually, Cook has been so far removed from the process of turning her touching, humorous family recollections into prime-time Canadiana that she didn’t know the show’s pilot had been shot until a friend sent her a clipping from the Orangeville Banner. “Television crew turns Alton into movie set,” is the headline over a story that tells how a town of 400 south of Orangeville was dressed up to stand in for the Ottawa Valley.

The clipping was Cook’s first indication the series had gone beyond the script-writing stage, a process in which Cook was only peripherally involved. Then “like a bolt out of the blue,” executive producer Sheldon Wiseman of Ottawa’s Lacewood Productions phoned her last week and asked whether she’d like to see the pilot.

“I expected to hate it,” she admits. “I thought, I can’t sit through this and be sober.” Her fears proved to be unfounded. “It was wonderful. They’ve caught the feeling of the “30s exactly”. “The little girl who they’ve got to play me is a wonderful actress. She’s better than I was.”

There were some disappointments. “I was sorry to see they annihilated two members of my family, but I suppose that was to keep the budget down.” Word is that CTV officials are also quite taken with the project, which is co-produced by Lacewood and Toronto’s John Delmage. Wiseman says the pilot will be'”‘ taken to the international TV market”, in Cannes later this month in search of foreign sales to help with financing.

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Should I Have Done that on Television?

A One and a Two Memories with Lawrence Welk

My Favourite TV Shows — Almonte Carleton Place

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

Remembering the Littlest Hobo

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers Part 2 — Dorothy Ann “Dottie” Seese

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Did You Watch Maggie Muggins?

A One and a Two Memories with Lawrence Welk

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A One and a Two Memories with Lawrence Welk

 

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For nearly 28 years I think I saw every single episode of the Lawrence Welk Show– or — sometimes it felt like I did.  Lawrence Welk was the musical voice of my wax coke bottle and candy cigarette generation before I discovered  punk rock, and Madonna. His shows carried on for almost 30 years, and after I stopped watching them I knew that my Grandmother and others had not stopped the tradition. In all honesty Lawrence Welk never really went away.

Through the magic of syndication and of course the internet, the late Lawrence Welk still blows his signature bubbles to this day. I was born from a generation that has long forgotten Welk’s music, comparing it to music found in second hand shops or those occasional visits to your aged relative’s home. Then there were some of the odd things that I will never forget. Maybe they weren’t strange to some, but I could not figure out what kind of allure those English tenors had, or how about those god awful powder blue suits everyone seemed to wear.

But, really it was the innocence of it all, something the whole family could watch and enjoy– especially those Lennon Sisters. It was a very different era when they were known as America’s sweethearts with their sugary smiles and angelic voices.

Those were the days of no remote control and you had to get up to change the channel. My grandfather not only got up to change the channel but he also adjusted the “rabbit ear” antenna on the top of the television set. I can still remember the clicking as it turned to one of the 5 channels we had.

What was watched on television was determined by the elders in your family. Evening television wasn’t watched until dinner was done, dishes put away, and the only television was in the living room.

 

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1985-Now The Goyer Complex with Varins still there.

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F. J  Knight Electrical Contractors and home

Every Saturday night my grandfather would cross South street to Varin’s Pharmacy and buy a large bar of chocolate. In the winter he would sit in his chair and carefully break apart the bar so we could all share while watching the Admiral television. In the summer the treat would be a bag of Laura Secord Fruit Flavoured Jelly Slices.

There are many cozy memories of huddling around the TV set with my grandparents. There was Lawrence Welk on Saturday, Ed Sullivan on Sunday, and Andy Griffith during the week. My grandfather would sit in his upholstered chair beside the old radio that he listened to the BBC news on. My grandmother was in her well worn arm chair on the left with a stack of Reader’s Digests on the small table along with whatever needed darning that week. I sat on the long blue couch that was covered in plastic that was never removed in my memory. It made a loud crunch each time you sat on it, and the plastic stuck to you in the summer heat. But everyone covered their couches in those days to preserve its beauty, and it was as normal as having a daily cup of tea.

I still occasionally watch Lawrence Welk on PBS and memories of my aging neighbour comes to mind who loved this show too. In the mid mark of dementia a few years ago she and I were watching a rerun of the famed bandleader and she turned to me and quietly said during a commercial,

“You know, I’ve always liked Lawrence Welk. But I think he was better before he died.”

Now that statement was worth any bar of accordion music any day of the year. Thanks for the memories Mr. Welk!

 

 

Where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

Should I Have Done that on Television?

My Favourite TV Shows — Almonte Carleton Place

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

Remembering the Littlest Hobo

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers Part 2 — Dorothy Ann “Dottie” Seese

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Did You Watch Maggie Muggins?

Banking the Memories of Aretha Franklin

And That’s the Way it Was….

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And That’s the Way it Was….

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And That’s the Way it Was…. Linda Knight Seccaspina as read in the Sherbrooke Record

The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in glorious black and white. Because we lived 14 miles from the Frelighsburg–Vermont border we were lucky to be able to receive American television channels, but my family insisted on progressing musically from Mantovani to Don Messer’s Jubilee. My father always hated radio and I think he couldn’t wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.

For a few years my father had a special plastic sheet stuck to the front of the black and white TV that ‘simulated’ full colour. It was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive color TV set and its promise had sucked my father in. Finally he gave in and bought one of the first colour televisions on Albert Street in Cowansville and our home instantly became the local tourist attraction. After seeing everything in black and white for years my world had now progressed to technicolor with a new neighbour coming in every night to watch my father play around with the “horizontal hold” button.

Of course he was the only person allowed to touch it and he spent a great deal of time on the roof adjusting the antenna to get the best picture. After constant calls to Lechausseur’s TV on the Main Street he became obsessed with something called tubes.  Picture tubes were expensive, and it was a sad day if the repairman told you that you needed a new one.

This TV was considered state of the art in those days and was not like the old black and white where he used to take all the tubes out “to test them”. Tube testing was usually a Saturday morning project, and sometimes I went with him. Back in the 50s they used to have a display setup in the local drugstores and I used to watch him put the tubes into a display socket and a meter would tell you if it was good or ‘fried from overuse’.


Once you had colour TV you never went back to black and white- you just went to what was called an “upgrade”.  In the late 60’s some of my friends used LSD instead, and their whole lives became Technicolor without television. Instead of drugs my family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messers Jubilee we inherited The Tommy Hunter Show on Friday nights.

Who knew a Hoedown, Tommy Hunter and Brenda Lee could all exist in colour together? That is the exact moment I seriously thought drugs might be the answer.  Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan once said,”The medium is in the message”. I shook my head after I heard Brenda Lee’s message full of Technicolor words,

“Brother, if you want to get the lowdown, come along and let’s all have a hoedown.”


You bet your sweet bippy Brenda! Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence sometimes? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it has never seemed to work. For me anyways.


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As read in the Sherbrooke Record Quebec

 

  1. Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

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Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 11

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 10

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

What I Learned From Rhoda Morgenstern

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Valerie Harper died Friday in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer at the age of 80.  She and The Mary Tyler Moore Show hold enough personal memories for me to last a lifetime. Please raise your hand if you wanted to live in Mary’s apartment and wear all her clothes.  I used to sit around watching a snowy television set minus today’s remotes, iPad or cell phones, and always related to Rhoda Morgenstern– because she and I felt the same way about life.

You’re having a lousy streak. I happen to be having a terrific streak. Soon the world will be back to normal. Tomorrow you will meet a crown head of Europe and marry. I will have a fat attack, eat 3000 peanut butter cups and die.” – Rhoda Morgenstern-

Rhoda helped me get over bad adolescent memories like Valentine’s Day and other horrid ‘heartfelt’ festivities in school. I can never remember any year being a Hallmark moment and sometimes you just wished the day would go away. Like Rhoda I kept waiting for that magic moment to happen and it never did until many years later.

“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m another person in the room – Rhoda Morgenstern. .” 

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Like Valerie Harper in her final television sitcom days as Rhoda,  we search our entire life to find the answers, to accept ourselves. As I type this I want to tell Valerie Harper that you gave me the message I needed to understand years ago.

Rhoda finally found husband Joe, and after decades I finally found my Hallmark moment. My “Joe” helped me accept myself for who I am, and he “can always take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.” Real love is not based on romance, candlelight dinners and walks along the beach– it is based on respect, compromise, care and trust.

 

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These beloved women from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda” created characters that meant a lot to each and every one of us. The humour and laughter they brought is nothing compared to the inspiration and lessons about life we have learned from them. They have proved that friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest, it’s about who came, and never left your side. We truly have been blessed by their longevity, and for some of us they changed our lives.

Me? I am  trying to ‘live every moment as much as I can’. Thanks Valerie Harper for your words of wisdom. I have not stopped living each day to its fullest and I bet Hallmark doesn’t even have a card for me either– and that’s okay with me– because it was okay with you. I will miss you Valerie Harper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TV Shows We Loved

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Photo–Me, Linda in front of my tv circa 1957

 

Claudia Allen began a Facebook thread remembering how she used to watch Hockey Night in Canada on her Grandfather’s TV as no one else owned one in the immediate family. I soon remembered coming home from school and watching American Bandstand every afternoon or listening to my Mother ramble on about what soap-opera horrors were on the Guiding Lightthat day. These small thoughts of course got the whole group remembering what their favourite shows used to be during the CHS years.

Paul Cournoyer- I remember getting home to watch American Bandstandon ABC Channel 8- Poland Spring, Maine with a snowy TV screen.

Decker Way– I Used to watch American Bandstand,  wished I could dance as well as they could and I also liked the Mickey Mouse Club with Annette.

Keith McClatchie– I hardly ever missed an episode of Queen for a Day and I remember being in total disbelief of some of these sob stories! Annette Funnicello and Cubby O’Brian on the Mickey Mouse Club. Do you folks remember The Adventures of Spin and Marty on The Mickey Mouse Club and at  supper time they had a different adventure/action show every day – Robin Hood, Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, etc.

Channel 8 Poland Springs was once owned by Jack Paar (Tonight Show Host) and on Saturday afternoon they would show a triple header Western Movie every week.

 

Bob Bromby – Only time I got to see Queen for a Day was if I could convince my mom I was too sick to go to school or a school holiday and there wasn’t something more interesting to do outside. In those days the outside usually won!

And now a word from our sponsor- Bob Bromby’s CHS Bus Complaints!

We got home too late from school after the bus ride as the bus dropped us off at about 4:30 and then another 15 minute walk from there. We left to catch the bus at 7:30am and returned after 4:30pm. Our bus was the 1st to arrive at CHS in the morning and the last to leave at 4:00pm. The bus did a double run to Dunham so we got dropped at school in the morning and it would head to Dunham to pick them up. After school it would drop the Dunham crowd off 1st and then come back to pick us up. Could never understand why if we got dropped off 1st in the morning and then why didn’t we get picked up 1st after school. You Dunhamites were a bunch of pampered woosies!

Audrey Bromby – You just forget Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Audrey, were Rocky and Bullwinkle part of the Dunhamites?

 


Decker Way – Fess Parker as Davey Crockett was a must watch but as Bob says outside stuff took precedent over TV. I had the hat, vest & pants—did you know that Davy & about a dozen others survived the battle of the Alamo but as they fought under a flag of no surrender, were put to death after the battle was over!

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Bob Bromby – The Flash Gordon serials were before TV and played in the theatres..They were broadcast on American channel 8 after school for a while. Think they were produced in the 1930’s and Ms. Arden was Flash’s lady. I always had a thing for Jane Arden (no not that Jann Arden) of the Flash Gordon serials and talk about special F/X.

One of my favourites had three characters Sandy, Dusty and a third who was their comic relief. I can,t recall his name. Then there was Lash Larue, Whip Wilson, Cisco Kid with Pancho-all in dazzling fuzzy B&W.
Decker Way: Then a tad later came Gunsmoke with Marshall Matt Dillon & Chester was a woman to but forget her name—mustn’t forget the adventures of Palidin in Have Gun Will Travel!

 

 

It was Miss Kitty Decker- Technically she died of liver failure brought on by viral hepatitis, which was AIDS-related.” Blake’s secret was known only to a few intimates. “Once she knew she had it, she decided to keep it to herself,” says her closest friend, Pat Derby.
Bob Bromby – Gunsmoke- The barmaid was called Kitty.

I just said that Bob! Boy we both must be mindreaders today!

 

 

Manuel Greig ‎@ Bob-Funny,when I read Jane Arden, I thought of Jann Arden and her song “Insensitive”. I don’t recall a Jane Arden as it must have been before my time!
Claudia Allen: We’re much younger than Bob, Manuel . . haha
Hmmm- How old is Bob anyways??
Decker Way– How about the first soap La Famile Plouffe?

Manuel Greig– I think all these things are before my time- or maybe before we got a TV.
Claudia Allen– I was too young too Manuel but I did hear of the Family Plouffe and think they were on the radio first.

Audrey Bromby- I loved the Loretta Young Show in the afternoons. But, as Bob mentioned, we sometimes had to (fake) be sick to stay home to watch them during the weekdays. My Grandmother used to love to watch The Edge of Night and As The World Turns. I used to sit and watch them with her when she was visiting.
Manuel Greig-  I don’t remember these shows. I guess I had other things to do- like being a farmer!

Linda Seccaspina- I named my son after the villain of The Edge of Night – Schuyleur Whitney.

Insert sounds of silence and birds chirping as very few name their kids after soap-opera villains except Linda!

  

The Weather

Claudia Allen -Anyone remember Bird Berdan the weatherman? Bird Berdannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn?
Keith McClatchie: Bird Berdan the Weatherman from Channel 5 WIRI b4 they changed to WPTZ

Bob Bromby- Then of course there was Percy Salzman the Canadian weatherman with the chalk board. He would toss the chalk in the air at the end of his forecast.


Claudia Allen: Righto, Percy, he was a great weatherman! I remember the chalk thing !

We suddenly revisit The Mickey Mouse Club
Manuel Greig ‎@ Decker-there was another on Mickey Mouse, besides Annette, can’t remember her name,cute little thing…
Bob Bromby: Darlene was the blonde one and Annette the dark hair. Annette went on to those horrible Beach Party movies with Frankie. She was a role models none the less- overly naive but compared to the role models todays kids have!

Bob- are we talking Britney Spears here? No!!!! Not a role model? What a shocker!


Manuel Greig ‎@ Bob-Darlene…that be her…good man Bob!
Bob Bromby – I think Darlene went on to be a Dallas Cowgirl Manuel.

Manuel Greig ‎@ Bob –.No ,last I heard she was down on her luck…..:(

Linda Seccaspina – Manuel Has she hit The Enquirer yet?
Manuel Greig – Oooh ya !! Probably so, a long time ago….

In December 1998, Darlene Gillespie was convicted in federal court of aiding her third husband, Jerry Fraschilla, to purchase securities. She was sentenced to two years in Federal prison. Gillespie was never seen cheerleading behind bars.
Carole Beattie- I remember we would all sit around the T.V. to watch The Honeymoons with Jackie Gleason every Sunday night and I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball. I think they were much funnier than the comedy programs they have today.  The quiz show I remember was What’s My Line? and a news show with Harvey Kirk and Joyce Davidson (Can’t remember the name of it now).

Google does not compute Canadian television and Joyce Davidson was born Joyce Brock, used her first husband’s name even after marrying (and divorcing) the late David Susskind. Ever wonder why CBC’s news anchor Yvan Huneault mysteriously disappeared after a CBC  newscast joke about a Basset Hound named Isabel?

Paul Cournoyer- Jackie Gleason- One of these day”s Alice Pow to the moon?”

Yes, Paul that is what happened to Yvan Huneault 

Paul Cournoyer– Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In-  “sock it to me!”

Again Paul I bet that is what happened to poor Huneault too.

 


Bob Bromby- Anyone old enough to remember the Dobie Gillis Show with Tuesday Weld? The beatnik Maynard G Krebs who went on to be Gilligan.
Manuel Greig- Before my time, Bob….lol

Bob Bromby ‎@Manuel- What? Were you born in like 1980?

Bob Bromby- No one has mentioned the Howdy Doody Show. I know Manuel is too young to remember that far back.

Carole Beattie- It’s Howdy Doody Time…. it’s Howdy Doody time, it’s Howdy Doody Time…. it’s Howdy Doody Time 🙂
Carole Beattie– Kookie….. lend me your comb !!!! And then there wasDragnet.

Bob Bromby– Just the facts Mam!

Decker Way- Oh yeah Dragnet, looks like a young crowd here that don’t remember these old shows, more into the 60’s—-Route 66, swore to drive it one day, finally did some 45 or so years later, highly recommend doing so!
Bob Bromby- When we 1st got a TV, the only station was CBC out of Montreal and they broadcast in French and English. The Indian Head was on the screen until about 5:00pm and returned at 10:00 or 11:00pm. A kids show with a guy with a guitar who sang to a frog down in a well would start off the daily programming.

A frog in a well? What year was that Bob?

 Oh heck, this concludes our broadcasting day!

From Linda’s second book Cowansville High Misremembered

 

Those Darn Kids from Cowansville High School Facebook group

 

 

 

From the book Cowansville High Misremembered

Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

 

Those Darn Kids from Cowansville High School Facebook group

Bob Flint’s TV Tips

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Photo from Steve Flint..The man with his arm up against the TVs is my grandfather Bob Flint. Also in the picture who at the time worked for my grandfather is well known since passed carpenter Bruce Sadler. Bill Baird is also in this photo. This would have been taken around 1954 to 1956. The first shipment of course TVs to Carleton Place. At the time I was told there were 3 places in Canada to get colour tv. Toronto , Montreal and Carleton Place.

 

 

Memories of Carleton Place in the 70s from the Carleton Place Canadian files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

RELATED READING

The Danger Zone —TV Technicians in Carleton Place

Would You Like To Be Queen For a Day?

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My grandmother began to wear wigs at the age of 52. It was about the same time she started watching the NBC TV show Queen of the Day. Her hair had been badly burned at the hands of a 1930’s salon perm and her thinning hair failed to cover her bald spots. Even though she was a Canadian citizen she wrote NBC constantly hoping to get on the show. Grammy wanted a fancy new American-style wig as the ones she was buying in Montreal were out-of-date she said.

Once a week I would watch one contestant being chosen as Queen of the Day at the Moulin Rouge with Jimmy Cagney’s sister Jeanne acting as Jack Bailey’s Vanna White. Today, Queen of the Day  is still considered one of the first big-prize giveaway shows and I can still remember Bailey ask,
“Would YOU like to be Queen for a day?”

This was basically nothing but a sympathy show with female contestants that all appeared to be excruciatingly poor and destitute. Each contestant had to explain why they were worse off than their peers on the show and then the audience would vote on whose story was more miserable. The ultimate decision was left up to the applause meter.

Some asked for washing machines, vacations, or one wanted close-fitting false teeth so she could resume her coronet playing. Of course she also got a years supply of Orafix, which was a sponsor of the show.
My Grandmother and I would share her cotton handkerchief many times during this particular TV show on a weekly basis. Queen For a Day is where I learned how to pity-cry on the spot and acquired knowledge about Ex-Lax and Sarah Coventry jewelry.

Often the requests were ridiculous and one just married wife asked for new underwear for her husband as she figured two months wear on his skivvies was enough. Sometimes the audience and the TV viewership rallied to the rescue when the contestants did not win. One particular woman’s husband had just left her and was saddled with two hungry children and was shunned by the audience. The viewers donated a two room apartment free until she found a job, a years free babysitting service and 8 bucks from a man who won the money at the racetrack.

Mark Evanier, veteran television writer, has dubbed the show “one of the most ghastly shows ever produced” and further stated it was “tasteless, demeaning to women, demeaning to anyone who watched it, cheap, insulting and utterly degrading to the human spirit.

My grandmother was never chosen for the show but I think that this show had more impact than anyone realizes. Whether or not it was demeaning to women, the home audience lapped it up and the show increased its running time from 30 to 45 minutes to sell more commercials, at a then-premium rate of $4,000 per minute.

That was a lot of money in those days and the rights are still owned by television executive Michael Wortsman, and a Spanish-language company, Reina Por Un Dia. Worstman is shopping around for a deal and I bet the premise for the revived game show will be; whoever has the biggest “sob story” gets more government funding.


If I could pick anyone to host the show today it would be icon John Waters as I can hear him yell,


“This is John Waters, wishing we could make every woman a queen, for every single day!”

Photos by Google except the top one that is my family.

Photo-Bernice, Arthur, Fred and Mary Knight- with little Linda and Robin Knight. I am the last one standing and may they all rest in peace.