Tag Archives: television

What Ever Happened to Beat the Clock?



Montreal Gazette, March 17 1973

‘Whatever happened to the actor who hosted Beat the Clock? Why did he leave?
K.E.L. Carleton Place


The original show, hosted by Bud Collyer, ran on CBS from 1950 to 1958 and ABC from 1958 to 1961. Contestants were required to perform tasks (called “problems”) within a certain time limit which was counted down on a large 60-second clock. If they s ucceeded, they were said to have “beaten the Clock”; otherwise “the Clock beat them”. The show had several sponsors over its run, with the most longstanding being the electronics company, Sylvania.

The show was revived in syndication as The New Beat the Clock from 1969 to 1974, with Jack Narz as host until 1972. The stunt show which was shot out of CFCF-Montreal began its syndicated life on 40 stations and dropped drastically the following two seasons. and then he was replaced by the show’s announcer, Gene Wood.

I miss these old shows


The Danger Zone —TV Technicians in Carleton Place



Television reception came of age in the 1950s. It was a time when prosperity had returned to most homes and many people could afford to purchase a black and white television.  However, television reception in the 1950’s was an expensive, and at times a challenging, experience. I know first hand that my father was on the roof on an almost daily basis adjusting the antenna for better reception. Those were the days of TV repair safety hazards– technician and home owner.


In the 1950s, a black and white television receiver might have had several dozen vacuum tubes and cost approximately $300.That was a lot of money at a time when an AM table radio cost only $20. The 1950s television receiver was physically large and complex. In fact, it was probably the most complex device ever to be introduced into our homes.



I have deep respect for the people who could decipher that mess– but then again, hello fellow vintage Volkswagen owners. Service techs back then didn’t have cameras on their phones to remember where that piece they took out went back. There was no board. Technology and wiring in general was really complicated/clusterfinicky before circuit boards

My father, the electrician, told a story many times about some fellow who was working on a television who went out the room to get a beer. His partner in crime decided he would take matters in his own hands and plugged the TV back in. It didn’t do anything, so he turned it off. The  original guy assumed it was still discharged, touched something in the back, and sent the screwdriver in his hand flying so fast it embedded itself in the wall.

They were fire hazards, and lethal to anyone that dare take the rear cover off, and poke around with a screwdriver. If it was an old TV, you better also know how to safely discharge the high voltage cap that was still charged even after pulling the plug! Many an old TV tech got the crap zapped out themselves on a regular basis. Do you know how many times I was told never to touch or go near the back a TV set– and for God’s sake unplug the TV when there was a storm.


Top marks for being able to service something like this. Considering the amount of bare wire inside, it makes me wonder how these things didn’t just burst into flames. Wait, didn’t they burst into flames periodically?  So were the dangerous days of being a technician. Hence the offer of a free house from Mr. Flint!

Ah, the smell of old electronics… oh man!

1959 ad in The Ottawa Journal
Photo of one of the first Televisions from Flint’s TV store from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.


Dedicated to Keith LeChausseur- Our man of the hour for TV repair back in Cowansville, Quebec.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison





I wrote a story about writing letters as a child to the media on Sunday, 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. Because we lived 14 miles from the Vermont border in Quebec we were lucky to be able to receive American television but my family insisted on progressing from Mantovani to Don Messer’s Jubilee.


Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody were favourites of mine in black and white 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”.


One day in the 60’s my father went to Keith Lachasseur’s Appliance store (just found out last week he is friends with Mac Knowles from Carleton Place-small world) 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.

 - There. win be several new live children's...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 02 Aug 1958, Sat,
  3. Page 62


For a few years my father had a special plastic sheet stuck to the front of the black and white that ‘simulated’ full colour. It was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive color 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.



My father 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 for years 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 map burning on the TV show Bonanza was priceless.

The Friendly Giant went from this:

To this:

flintOriginal televison brought from Art Flint’s store in Carleton Place-Thanks to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

I will always remember that day because my father was afraid I was watching TV way too much and he took all the tubes out after “to test them”. Tube testing was usually a Saturday morning project, but he was always worried they were going to fry from overuse.



One night my father went out 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?

 - Homme, TVs Friendly Giant, dies of cancer...

Had my father taken out the tubes for more testing? Was he last seen 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.

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 back and white to colour.



Clipped from

  1. The Gazette,
  2. 03 May 2000, Wed,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 10


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. Instead of drugs my family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messers Jubileee we inherited the television show below. Yes, it was just 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.  McLuhan said,“The medium is in the message.  I shook my head as 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.”

More on “High Diddle Day” this week

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place