STATIONBREAK.CA

STATIONBREAK MAGAZINE Jan / Feb 2023


JAN / FEB 2023
Compiled by Ken Gibson for January 1st
  with technical assistance from Bill Morris.

ITEMS IN THIS EDITION:  click on title required ...

STATIONBREAK: IN THE BEGINNING by Jim Nelson. (2003)

WHO AM I (Quiz from 2003)

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL  QUE PASA  by Lorn Curry (Spring 2002)

THE MAGIC BOX by Mike Oldfield

AULD ACQUAINTANCES by Peggy Oldfield   (Jan - March 2000)

TV TRIVIA QUIZ

ANSWER TO WHO AM I?

ANSWERS TO TV TRIVIA.

A POEM TO WHICH MOST OF US CAN RELATE.

.... and a Happy and Healthy NEW YEAR to you all.

Please note that some details are not current in the following Magazine items but were accurate at the time they were originally published (date of publication appears after the title/author line of each piece).

                               STATIONBREAK: IN THE BEGINNING …. by Jim Nelson  (2003)

In 1987, CBC had started its deep cuts, the glow of EXPO ’86 had faded and Premier Bill Vander Zahn had just started to get himself into one mess after the other.  STATIONBREAK started out with its first issue in July of that year. As the local Employees Assistance Program committee, we were looking for ways to make people aware of the programs and its services. Many confused our letters EAP with the American EPA (Environment Protection Agency) so awareness was the goal.

Sharon Spruston was the one to suggest a very small, very modest, newsletter. Patterned after the staff publication in Winnipeg called COFFEEBREAK, this was to be a once a month publication. The intention was to print it on a single piece of legal paper that was folded in half. Simple, small, not much work, some EAP presence, these were the key objectives of the newly formed STATIONBREAK. The small format was adhered to only for a few issues and then it grew and grew to become the very popular publication we have today.

Many people have helped to keep STATIONBREAK alive and well throughout its 16 year run (now 35). In the beginning it was Gillian Cheek (first editor), Les Jackson, Sharon Spruston, Bill Reimer, Diana McCoy (the logo), Duplicating Dave Newcomb, Caroline Adjei, Louella Quan, Rob Markley, Angela Nash, Janie Bell, Cathy Morrin and Louise O’Donnell-McKnight (the marathon editor) and myself. We thank everyone who has ever contributed to our EAP publication of STATIONBREAK.   
In 2003, the members of the EAP/PAE (Programme d’Aide Employes) Committee here in Vancouver consisted of Jason Coleman, Helene Dupre-Espeut, Ken Gibson, Ken Golemba, Val Hark, Marika Jorgensen, Andrea Maitland, Jim Nelson, Lou Normandeu, Scott Stewardson, Claudine Viallon, Kate Wells and Lawrence Wright. They do not access or give advise but steer people needing help to the place where they can get it free and confidential .. Family Services.  

UPDATE: For several years now, STATIONBREAK has had no connection to EAP but is the website of the CBC/SRC Association.


                                                  WHO AM I?  (Quiz from 2003)

Something different .. our mystery guest will be best known to all who were at CBC before 1995.

1. I was born in London, England and came to Canada on the ocean liner Queen Mary.
2. In high school, I aspired to be a writer.
3. I was a member of a CBC Task Force on the road for seven months from coast to coast.
4. I was once caught in a near shoot-out in a Mexican restaurant in Seattle, the result of a police sting operation.
5. I am often considered the connecting link between past and present CBC staff in British Columbia,.
6. If I could live anywhere in the world, I’d choose Kona, Hawaii, or anywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. I’ve been there 15 times!
7.  I’ve set foot inside the prestigious Reform Club in Pall Mall, London.
8.  Long after the hippie era ended, I still had longer hair than anyone else at CBC, Vancouver.
9.  I was once Santa’s helper in the guise of a snowman at a CBC Children’s Christmas Party in Vancouver.
10. My spouse and I both have famous names in music.  

 Check out the identity of our mystery guest a few articles down.

Radio Canada International Que Pasa?  by Lorn Curry. (From Spring 2002)                      

So this guy from the EAP drops by my office and says “Write something.”  And I  say, "Gee, there’s not much going on right now, Ken.”  And like some persistent Seinfeldian oracle, he says “Well just write about that…”  So you’ve been warned.

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird!  No, it’s a lockout!  No, it’s a strike!  Well, let’s just say that as a result of a broader “labour conflict” that lasted two months at Maison Radio Canada, in Montreal, most of RCI’s staff was off the job this spring. In practical terms, average plans at RCI for some major international events, such as the G8 meeting in June, are now at a full boil.

It’s an odd thing about the news cycle. While you’re feeding the beast, it is all consuming in its apparent urgency and importance.  But if you get benched suddenly watching The News, it’s a bit like watching trains go by – a so-so diversion but really, you’d rather be on board going somewhere. Anywhere!

Still, being off the flame, one had time to ponder things that would normally get shoved to the back of the grey matter closet. I’ve been with this organization for nearly 14 years now. And what I’ve learned is that, in this house, turmoil is its own status quo.  When all you ever do is move from crisis to crisis, putting out flames and praying your pant leg doesn’t catch fire, there comes a time when the lines start to blur. You start to think that up is down, normal is abnormal, dysfunction is function.  Until suddenly, gobsmacked, you realize the horrible nervous ticks that wrack your body 24/7 are actually a fringe benefit of your job. Thus, by burning extra calories, that twitching thumb and eyeball are helping you maintain your weight at a healthy level.  And, wise beyond your years, you are deeply, deeply thankful for this gift.

So what’s it all mean, dear reader? (Hey, if you’ve read this far, I think you deserve a reward).  "Well, gee, Ken, like I said, there’s not much going on right now."

                                                                                THE MAGIC BOX
                                                                                    by Mike Oldfield

Before television came to North Bay we, along with most others, spent the long winter evenings twisting the radio dial in hopes of picking up some long-range aural entertainment.  Even in 1955, when I was in my early teens, people would still brag about tuning in some distant American station and being gripped by a good mystery or suspense play.  The radio entertainers of the day were as familiar to us as they were to any American audience and Amos ‘n Andy, Fibber McGee & Molly, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny, and The Great Gildersleeve were family favourites.  Far-flung stations such as WBZ Boston, KDKA Pittsburgh, WMGM New York, and WLS Chicago came into our homes regularly…weather permitting.  Anyone from that era could tell the same story of being totally immersed in some spine-chilling radio melodrama only to have the atmospherics change as a low or high pressure system moved across the Great Lakes and drowned out the radio play with long bursts of deafening static.  WLS was one of my favourites because they broadcast The Lone Ranger and, if you were really lucky and the weather co-operated, you could hear the adventures of  Sgt. Preston Of The Yukon and his dog, King, every night at 5 p.m. from this same station.  But our days of radio delights were numbered and very soon, we would have an entertainment device with something to look at as well as listen to.

All during the summer of 1955, we had watched with interest as a large broadcasting tower had been erected on a hill near Callander on the far side of the lake and in October, our very own local station CKGN-TV went on the air.  From that moment on, whenever we went into town, we would see a small crowd outside Bannon Bros. furniture store with their noses pressed to the glass, mesmerized by the flickering blue image on the television set inside.  One by one, friends and neighbours began to buy TV sets and quickly realized that they had more friends than they ever knew, as mere acquaintances would drop by to view the evening’s TV fare!  One night in early December, there was a knock at our door.  Two delivery men stood there with a large carton on a two-wheeled trolley.  “Mr. Oldfield?” they inquired.  “We have your TV set for you.”

As they removed this magical and wondrous device from its cardboard box, I quickly saw that my Dad had blown the budget on this baby.  It was a 21-inch Westinghouse floor model in a genuine imitation mahogany cabinet with an adorable set of rabbit ears perched on top.  At long last, we had lurched into modern times; we were TV viewers!

I cannot remember everything that we watched on that first enchanted evening but I do recall some of the magic which glowed forth from our very own cathode ray tube.  First, we watched My Hero, a sitcom starring Robert Cummings and then a very ancient western which was probably called Renegades Of Rimrock Ridge or some-such title featuring a Hollywood unknown by the name of Don “Red” Barry.  I hasten to add that we would not have laid out fifty cents to see this third-rate cowboy shoot-em-up at one of our local theatres but there we sat, transfixed in our living room, as the hero in the white stetson galloped after the escaping bank robbers while firing 97 rounds from his six-shot revolver without bothering to reload.  Next came a 15-minute program starring singer Patti Page who was very popular at the time, followed by a British documentary series, The War In The Air and finally, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Ronald Howard as the indomitable sleuth.  At 11 p.m., our station signed off for the night.  Even after we had switched off our new TV set, we sat there in silence and watched as the tiny glowing dot in the middle of the screen slowly disappeared.

Our local TV broadcaster, like most of the independent stations across the country, was a CBC affiliate and much of their programming was shipped to them either on film or kinescope from Toronto, there being no network microwave connection at that time.  In this age of High Definition TV and digital cameras, it is difficult to describe just how bad the kinescope image was but since we had little to compare it to, we simply assumed that this was the way that TV was supposed to look.  Over the next months, we slowly became familiar with the CBC stars who had their own shows in those early days of broadcasting.  There was the Denny Vaughn Show with Joan Fairfax, Cross Canada Hit Parade with Wally Koster and Joyce Hahn, The Jackie Rae Show starring the man who would one day be the uncle of Ontario’s first NDP premier, Pick The Stars with Dick MacDougall, and later came a new and very intriguing panel show called Front Page Challenge.  But in our part of the world there was no argument as to which show had the biggest following; it was a Friday night offering from Montreal called The Plouffe Family.  The terms ‘Anglophone’ and ‘Francophone’ had not been coined yet and all we knew was that everyone in our community tuned in to watch the weekly trials and tribulations of Mamma, Pappa, Napoleon, Guilleame, Ovide, Cecile, and the rest of the family.  No Liberal government decree enforcing national bilingualism ever did as much to bring Canada’s two solitudes together as did the adventures of le Family Plouffe.  Following the Plouffes on Friday night was everybody’s second favourite, Wrestling From Maple Leaf Gardens.  Surely no one could have remained calm and relaxed in their chairs as Canada’s own Whipper Billy Watson and Pat Flanagan took on Hans Herman and Hardboiled Haggerty.  We felt it was our duty to shout encouragement and to warn them when the villains were about to clobber them from behind.  Anyone who dared to tell us that this was all fake and phoney would have been wasting his breath.  This life-and-death-struggle between the forces of good and evil had to be real, although we did marvel at the fact that these men could absorb so much punishment and walk away without a scratch on them.  The big-time wrestlers got our adrenaline pumping but the midgets…Sky Lo-Lo, Little Beaver and Fuzzy Cupid…had us shrieking with laughter.

Even though we may not have been a very sophisticated audience, it didn’t take us long to figure out which of the Toronto musical variety shows had a decent budget and which didn’t.  Shows that had been produced with only a few dollars usually featured some modern jazz choreography performed by the Andy Body Dancers in bowler hats and leotards leaping around a couple of wooden ladders and some lighting stands in a bare studio against a black drape.  The hosts of these shows would always saunter out, sit down on a wooden stool in a single spotlight and sing.  And that was pretty much the whole show.  I guess we were supposed to believe that this noticeable lack of sets, props and talent was very contemporary and “arty”.  But the programs that did loosen the purse strings a bit produced some good musical entertainment and gave us a fine array of female singers such as Juliette, Shirley Harmer, Sylvia Murphy and Joyce Sullivan.  One of the best produced and fastest-moving shows to come out of CBC Toronto at that time was Country Hoedown with fiddler King Ganam, comedian Gordie Tapp, and singers Tommy Common, Tommy Hunter, and the Hames Sisters.

Our first glimpse of the American television offerings of that era as they were telecast by our local station showed that as usual, New York and Hollywood spared no expense in putting on a show.  The $64,000 Question, hosted by Hal March, was a very exciting and suspenseful show.  We first saw it about one year before the big American TV quiz show scandal broke and two of the contestants stand out in my mind:  a lady by the name of Joyce Brothers who was an expert on boxing and title fights, and a wonderful old Danish explorer and mariner named Peter Freuchen who knew all there was to know about sailing ships and the sea.  Saturday nights gave us two of the most popular American shows.  First, there was Stage Show with Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey and their orchestras which introduced a very young fellow named Elvis Presley who gyrated as he sang and sent the girls in the audience into fits of screaming.  We thought that this was one of the funniest things we had ever seen and laughed uproariously at his antics.  Little did we know of the lasting effects that The Pelvis would have on Western civilization. Stage Show was followed by The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden exploding into mad tirades against his long-suffering wife Alice or his pal, Ed Norton.   

Sunday evenings gave us Disneyland wherein Uncle Walt showed us the delights to be found in his new theme park and a series called The Millionaire in which the filthy rich John Beresford Tipton regularly doled out a cool million via his secretary, Michael Anthony, to some deserving individual.  Regrettably, he never seemed to come to our town!  One of the most popular syndicated shows on Sunday night was Life Is Worth Living with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, a no-nonsense, plain speaking Catholic man of the cloth who discussed the political and social events of the day and probably did more to spread the Word than all the money-hungry television evangelists who were to come along in later years. 

After about a year, our local TV station was connected to the CBC Network courtesy of the Bell Telephone’s microwave towers and we began to receive live broadcasts from Canada and the U.S.  Now, we could spend Saturday nights with Perry Como, Sunday nights with Ed Sullivan and watch Larry Henderson reading the CBC National News from Toronto every night at 11.  Hockey and football games came to us live as did Royal tours and political conventions and we saw the one-and-only telecast of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Julie Andrews.  Like thousands of other viewers, I sat spellbound on the edge of my seat as passenger James Doohan brought a stricken airliner down for a safe landing in Flight Into Danger on General Motors Presents.  I can remember getting up early on a Saturday morning to watch the live demolition of Ripple Rock in British Columbia and, on a sunny autumn afternoon, I played hookey from school to see the final game of the World Series and watch my beloved New York Yankees with Whitey Ford on the mound, Yogi Berra catching and Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hitting home runs, defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers and win the pennant.  Just as people today feel that the Internet connects them to the world, so did we once we were hooked up to the CBC Network.  We were no longer living in the boondocks; the world was now being delivered to our doorsteps. 

It has been said that the 1950’s were The Golden Age Of Television.  Well…maybe.  As with all eras, there was both good and bad.  But TV was certainly fresh and new then and very much a novelty to everyone.  Now, in the year 2006 as I click my way through more than fifty channels and find that I am either bored or disgusted by what I find there, my mind often wanders back to those early days when the excitement of television was still there and the magic box captivated us all.

                               
                                 AULD ACQUAINTANCES by Peggy Oldfield  (January 2000)

I’ll start off with belated congratulations to Randy Thauberger re the publication of a birding column and illustration of the Yellow Warbler in the May 1999 issue of ‘Garden West’ magazine. Entitled ’B-Say-Tah Point Magic’ Randy reminisced about his boyhood in the Qu’appelle Valley area of Saskatchewan and his first encounter with warblers.  Philip Keatley, Bob Gray, Merv Campone, Hagen Beggs and John Rogers were featured in the December issue of Real West Magazine, in an article focusing on the early years of the film industry in B.C.  In addition to the magazine spread, some of these familiar faces graced the cover too! Congratulations of a different sort are in order for new mom, Jill (Creek) Lundy and dad, Bob Lundy, who welcomed their first baby. The travel bug has bitten quite a number of our colleagues again. Angela and Peter Nash spent three weeks south of the border in November touring Wyoming, Utah and Arizona in over 100 degrees F in the shade!  Judy and Sandy Grindlay basked in Mexican sunshine during Christmas. Philip and Elizabeth Keatley opted for a February vacation in those sunny climes. Jacquelyn and Tom Robinson returned to Maui, Hawaii at the end of January; meanwhile Bob and Joley Switzer spent three February weeks in Aloha-land. Maurice Moses and his brother made a pilgrimage back to India in February and then on to London where Elizabeth Dichmont also spent a week before heading for the sights of Paris. Bob and Connie Gray returned to their ‘second home’ in Oz via the Cook Islands for a week before touring Queensland, Melbourne , New South Wales, Canberra and Sydney. Thanks to Bruce McDonald for passing on some updates of our colleagues … Janice (Talbott) McInnes has moved to Sechelt with husband Ron (who works at Global and BCTV) and commutes daily to her production manager job at Global. Attending irregular pub nights in Ganges are Marv Coulthard, John Sparks, John Harling (he sold his house in Gibson’s), Jean Stewart and Bruce.  Kaye Maxwell’s back problems resulted in her being taken to St Paul’s Hospital for a brief stay. Sailorman Tom Houston bid farewell to the balmy breezes of the Baja Peninsula and came home for a short visit at Christmas. Rumour has it that he was getting tired of his tropical paradise and longed for the cold, fog. slush, bone-chilling dampness of Vancouver weather!  So long till our next issue.

 

                                      TV TRIVIA  …. TEST YOUR MEMORY   (from April 1996)

1.  In The Beachcombers who played 1) the Constable  2) Constable Constable?

2.  Over the years, CBC TV has produced cooking shows such as ‘Wok with Yan’ and ‘Urban Peasant.’ What was our first cooking series and who were its two hosts?   Hint: One was a chef and the other a jolly staff announcer … and that’s BS!

3.  Who was Pacific Report’s first female host and do you know her husband’s name?  Clue: he was a former Vancouver mayor.

4.  Name the Vancouver TV comedy series hosted by Terry David Mulligan and Bill Reiter.

5.  A veteran radio announcer and a current TV producer have the first and last names.  Who are they?

6.  A drama producer married the star of ‘Miss Patricia’s Phantasmagorical Presentation of Songs and Things.' What are their names?

7.  Name the Vancouver teen variety series produced by Alan Thicke.

8.  Phil Keatley produced a drama on BC’s feisty newspaper woman Ma Murray.  Who played Ma and who is that actor’s husband?   Hint: He is a retired producer/director.

9.  What was the title of weatherman Bob Fortune’s great outdoors show?

10. Who followed Ross Whiteside as Head of Technical Services?

11. What famous Toronto radio personality hosted a TV talk show for just one season and what was the title of that show?

12.  What was CBC Vancouver’s first TV gardening show?

13.  They billed themselves as 'An Act As Exciting As Its Name' before they hosted their first Vancouver TV series. Who were these guys?

14.  Who was the news reporter who, at his retirement, was co-host of a magazine series?

 15. Back around 1976 Riff Markowitz produced 'The Wolfman Jack Show.' Riff produced 2 CBC Specials as well. What were their titles?

16.  Who was Vancouver’s first female manager and which department was she in charge?

17.  How’s your memory for names of hosts?  a)  'Trivia'  b)  “Switchback’ before Stu Jeffries.  c)  2 hosts of 'Then and Now'  d) 'Canadian Express.'  e)  'One of a Kind.'

18.  Name 5 Vancouver Sports readers before Eric Dwyer.

19.  Name 2 male and 2 female anchors before Kevin and Gloria.

20.  In what year did CBC TV & Radio move from 1200 W Georgia and the Hotel Vancouver to 700 Hamilton Street?

Answers after the next item.

ANSWER to WHO AM I?  (2003)

PEGGY OLDFIELD was Admin. Assistant to the Director of Television (that’s what she did for the majority of her 29½ years) and is presently Secretary, CBC Association, B.C region, and Secretary. B.C and Yukon Pensioners’ Association and is Columnist for Stationbreak’s Auld Acquaintances item.  Peggy’s maiden name was Peggy O’Neil, the title of an old popular song, and her husband Mike (who calls her the human rolodex) has an identical name to the British multi-instrumentalist / vocalist of 'Tubular Bells' fame.


ANSWERS to TV TRIVIA.

1.  Terry Kelly was the first Constable and Jackson Davies was Constable Constable.
2.  Chef John Lindenlaub and BS is Bob Switzer.
3.  Carole Taylor married Art Phillips.
4. 'Taxi! Taxi!'
5.  Gordon Inglis an announcer, and the other a producer of 'Cycle.'
6.  Producer David Pears was married to singer Pat Hervey (Miss Patricia)
7.  'The Rene Simard Show.'
8.  Joy Coghill played Ma. Her husband was retired producer John Thorne ('Tidewater Tramp.')
9.  'Klahanie.'
10. Dave Curry and Andy Martens.
11, Peter Gzowski  '90 Minutes Live.'
12. 'Gardening with Bernard' with Bernard Moore followed J.P. Dickson's first TV gardening series. 
13. Mike (Neun) and Brian (Bressler) hosted 'Town 'n Country.'  Mike then hosted 'In the Round' and 'The Mike Neun Show.'
14. Bill Dobson.
15. 'Boo' and 'Bananas.'
16.  Ruth Levy of the Music and Record Library.
17.  Hosts were a) Red Robinson b) Andrew Cochrane  c) Terry David Mulligan and the Province's Insider film columnist Lynne McNamara   d) Terry ('Seasons in the Sun') Jacks  e) Iona Campanolo.
18.  Ted Reynolds, Bill Good, Bruno Cimoli, Steve Armatage, J.P. McConnell, Barry McDonald.
19.  Mike Winlaw, Harvey Dawes, Bill Good, Cecilia Walters, Judy Piercy.
20.  1975.


And finally ........

A poem to which most of us can relate

I remember the corned beef of my childhood, 
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work, not the wife.

The cheese never needed a fridge, 
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy,
And the wife was content with her lot.

I remember the milk from the bottle, 
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from a freezer; or shop.

The kids were a lot more contented, 
They didn't need money for kicks,
Just a game with their friends in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday flicks.

I remember the shop on the corner, 
Where biscuits for pennies were sold
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it....I'm just getting Old?

Bathing was done in a wash tub, 
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mum pressed everyone's 'duds'.

I remember the slap on my backside, 
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren't heard of
And we hadn't much choice what we wore.

Do you think that bruised our ego? 
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed. 

Author, Unknown