My first seven days of TV

Maclean's put a TV set into the home of this innocent bystander, chained him to a chair mid made him watch the screen for a solid week. Is Canadian television worth the money? Here's one man's answer

Robert Thomas Allen January 15 1954

My first seven days of TV

Maclean's put a TV set into the home of this innocent bystander, chained him to a chair mid made him watch the screen for a solid week. Is Canadian television worth the money? Here's one man's answer

Robert Thomas Allen January 15 1954

ONE WEEK last November I submitted to a strange experiment. For seven days I watched so many cowboys chase one another up canyons, cover up for their kid brothers and dust off their sombreros for a cutie called Miss Julie, that I began to go bowlegged myself. I watched a man wearing a wastepaper basket on his head quarrel with two puppets. I attended a university lecture on anthropology, died with Camille, took one of the most terrible beatings ever experienced by a fight fan, and learned how to make pea soup. I saw some of the most magnificent entertainment I've ever looked at, and a lot of stuff so bad that I blushed for the human race.

All this happened to me over television, on a set Maclean’s installed in my living room. My assignment was simply to watch it for a week, then report on how Canadian television is doing as it enters its second full year of operation. The Toronto station, CBLT, Channel 9, was chosen because it is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s major English-language production centre from which most programs will originate as CBC’s national network develops.

I was chosen because my mind was a blank about television. I’d watched it about six times in my life, mostly in store windows. I’d never seen a Canadian program. I went at it with an open mind, an open mouth and a lively curiosity about all the controversy revolving around CBC television.

On the key point, of the controversy I was reasonably objective. I held no strong views and still hold no strong views—about public versus private ownership. Whether the Canadian government should get out of the TV business or stay in it is not a question which stirs my passions in itself. My sole interest in the subject is what comes out of the box.

Station CBLT opened in September 1952 with a five-hour daily schedule. A year later the schedule was increased to nine and a half hours daily. The station is equipped to produce and telecast live programs from Toronto; to relay live programs from Buffalo and the other CBC television stations in Montreal and Ottawa; to provide, by means of special television film, called kinescope, delayed programs from other parts of the world; and to telecast films, both those made specially for TV (I’ve designated these “TV film”) and just plain films (designated just plain “film”). To you and me, both kinds of film mean “canned,” which doesn’t necessarily mean inferior: and kinescope means programs that originated as TV shows but, unlike “live” shows, aren’t taking place while we’re watching them.

For five days, Monday through Friday, CBLT came on at two-thirty in the afternoon, showed a movie until three-thirty, then went off the air, except for recorded music, until four-thirty. There was no break then until midnight or later. On Sunday CBLT started at two and ran until after midnight with no breaks. On Saturday it started at ten in the morning, went, off at noon, came on again at two-thirty, went off at three-thirty, came on at four and stayed on until midnight.

During sixty-five hours of television I saw eight hours of sports; eight and a half hours of variety shows; nineteen and a half hours of drama; two and a half hours of documentaries; an hour and a half of women’s programs; an hour of music; two and a half hours of special events; thirteen and a half hours of children’s programs; and eight hours of discussion, news and public affairs. CBLT ran “spot” commercials all week, either of twenty or sixty seconds duration, Monday was the heaviest day, with nine spots, together, Monday through Saturday, there were thirty-four of them, with none on Sunday.

I saw twenty-five hours of Canadian programs, thirty-one hours of American programs and nine hours of British programs. I tuned in CBLT’s test pattern at two o’clock on Sunday, November 8 and watched everything on the screen until midnight Saturday, November 14. My wife gave me meals on the chesterfield. It was a bit like Lindbergh’s first flight across the Atlantic. Here’s a daily record of the adventure and where there’s a sponsor it’s indicated; otherwise, the programs are sustaining—that is, presented by the CBC:

SUNDAY 2 TO 4.45:

Sweet Caporal Presents the Game of the Week (live American). A professional football game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. A shot of the crowd, a shot of the field, a quick switchback to a guy in a business suit telling me about cigarettes, then staring in embarrassment at me till the camera took us back to Wrigley Field; a wonderful action close-up of a running player and from then on I was enjoying a football game; more, I think, than if I were sitting in the stands.

What television lost in scope and atmosphere it gained in close-ups of the plays. For the first time in my life I always knew who had the ball. On the other hand, it showed up a weakness of television, either giving wide-focus shots which lost detail, or narrow-focus shots which lost the rest of the world. On a forward pass, the camera often follows the ball so that for a moment all you see is the sky with a football in it, then comes back to earth in time to show the receiver reaching for the pass.

As the camera moved around, players seemed to be hauled up to heaven on wires and dropped out of the television set onto my floor. One disgruntled player ran right under my chesterfield and, as far as I know, he’s still there. The referees’ feet were always walking weirdly across the top of the screen. There were occasional interludes when strange men in front of blackboards gave me a description of a play then led me around to Sweet Caporals, and others when a Sweet Caporal slogan in white block type moved across the bottom of the screen between plays. But the commercials were short, to the point, and not very irritating. All in all, very enjoyable stuff.

4.45 TO 5:

Music Hall Varieties (American TV film). A girl in a pullover dancing to mouth organs, very prettily, although when she stopped dancing, and the camera still hadn’t got around to the guys who were serenading her, she didn’t seem to know what to do with her face. A costume dance, three men and a girl singing a solid arrangement of Frenchy, which I haven’t heard since I used to save alleys; a boogie piano, an “oompah” band number, with a bosomy creature sitting on the piano with nothing to do but justify television. She did.

5 TO 5.30:

Small Fry Frolics (Canadian kinescope). A kid’s quiz in which the camera had nothing to do but turn from one speaker to another, and got me dizzy doing it. Pleasantly handled but a very phony imitation of a grown-up quiz in which kids asked questions like, “Sir, is civilian defense important for children or just for adults?” A bit of fun breaking balloons.

5.30 TO 6:

The Story of Species Homo Sapiens (American kinescope). A documentary about the history of man, produced by the American Museum of Natural History. A lecture, half of which was accompanied by animated diagrams, gaining nothing over radio; half, by a film of Australian aborigines, gaining tremendously over it. The lecture itself was excellent. 

6 TO 6.25:

Our Miss Brooks (American TV film). Eve Arden in a light, well-done comedy skit about getting a baby mixed up with a monkey. The scenes seemed crowded and looked at times as if they were taking place in a well-lit broom closet. I missed the feeling of a life-size movie, the feeling of being right in the room with the players, with lots of space to move around in.

6.25 TO 6.30:

A five-minute filler of three cookies doing a slave dance, followed by an announcement to be careful at railway crossings.

6.30 TO 7:

RCA Victor Presents the Dennis Day Show (American kinescope). A flimsy story about an old ladies’ fan club gives Dennis Day a slight excuse to sing but too slight to make it worthwhile changing from radio to television. Pretty equally balanced between Dennis Day and shots of the inside of RCA Victor instruments. There followed a lot of announcements by CBLT telling me what’s coming up on CBLT which filled the time allowed tor the U. S. commercial.

7 TO 7.30:

CBC News Magazine (Canadian film). A newsreel about minks, dogs, men’s clothes, the Queen opening parliament, an inaugural flight, an ambassad or being welcomed somewhere, wreaths being laid, a drunkometer being used on a drunk in Vancouver. He looked sober to me.

7.30 TO 8:

Canadian General Electric Presents Showtime (live Canadian). A well-done pleasing musical about three Canadian sailors on a tropical island with stage palms, the Leslie Bell singers, some good dancing and songs, but the same television distortion. When a man and a woman in a love dance get mad and run away from each other, the guy ends up so close to the camera that he has no head or legs, while in the distance the girl who stands beckoning to him looks about three inches high. A jump from the south-sea islands to a picture of a General Electric product. Followed by more announcements about what’s coming up on CBLT. This sort of thing goes on all week.

8 TO 9:

Mercury, Lincoln, Meteor Present Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town (live American). A big-time variety show from the States where they can really get low when they’re serious but higher than kites when they aren’t. In between some scenes of opera that neither you nor I would ordinarily see without going to New York and spending a fortune, Sam Levinson gave a lecture on bringing up kids that had the house, including mine, rocking; Victor Borge did a bit of burlesque, coming on stage wearing something like a mop on his head, walking to the grand piano, stepping up onto the piano bench and right up onto the piano, then going into his own opera. Ordinarily these days I go into a movie ready to laugh if someone wiggles their ears just because it cost me six bits. This stuff had me practically lying on the floor for free. Top-notch entertainment. A lot of talk about cars but you are willing to put up with it.

9 TO 9.30:

The Singer Sewing Machine Company Presents Four Star Theatre (American film). A tough and tarty story about a diver bringing a body up off a Chicago pier. Right after he hauled it up, a smooth blonde said to me, “Hello, aren’t the new fashions exciting?” and told me about sewing machines on easy budget terms, then I was whipped back to the body. You’ve seen this story, or one just like it, a thousand times.

9.30 TO 10:

The Jet Age (Canadian film). This was a one-spot sponsored show by A. V. Roe. The kind of commercial movie they show to employees to make them work harder. A few good pictures of jet craft in flight and a terrific shot right from the cockpit of a jet, but pretty dull stuff.

10 TO 10.30:

This Week (live Canadian). Three experts discuss world affairs. Very interesting but nothing has been added to radio by seeing three men sitting around as if they were in the outpatients’ room at General Hospital. Television has just placed an unnecessary burden on these programs. When all the men were in the film at once, the one farthest away looked as if he were sitting at the end of a banquet table.


Anastasia (British kinescope). One in a series of Sunday Evening Feature —which is the TV counterpart of radio’s Wednesday Night. A drama about a Russian princess which started off badly with bearded men in a murky cellar but gradually without the aid of scenery, Technicolor or anything but terrific English performers, developed into one of the most dramatic things I’ve ever looked at, on or off TV. If you got this sort of thing all the time there would be no questions about it: you’d do better to give up movies and save up for a television set.

A brief weather forecast followed; then more about what’s coming on CBLT, then O Canada, with very stirring pictures of battleships, guns firing, airplanes and the flag, and God Save the Queen.


2.30 TO 3.30:

Movie Matinee (American film). Starts off with Ralph Bellamy, looking about eighteen, paying a gambling debt by selling his polo ponies. This should give you an idea of the plot but if it doesn’t—well, see, this girl falls in love with Bellamy, who is irresponsible but honest, but then she thinks he is poisoning her cows with anthrax, then Bellamy knocks someone cold, wins a horse race, puts out a fire and the girl discovers that he might be irresponsible but he’s also irresistible, and it all ends with everyone smiling into one another’s eyes and threshing wheat. I don’t know how the cows made out. Over at 3.30, and none too soon.

3.30 TO 4.30:

Recorded music.

4.30 TO 5:

United Nations in Action (live American). A man sitting behind a desk reads the news, this followed by a newsreel, then you are taken to the United Nations’ assembly where you actually see and hear the procedure. I still don’t enjoy seeing people give speeches, much less seeing them read speeches, but apart from that, I thought this was an excellent feature. I learned more about world affairs looking at it every day for a week than I ordinarily would in six months.

5 TO 5.15:

Telestory Time (live Canadian). Pat Patterson, a very personable young lady, tells the kids a story about two foxes while George Feyer does quick cartoons illustrating them as she goes along. My kids and I sat very still during this.

5.15 TO 5.30:

Hobby Workshop (live Canadian). Youngsters making things, under the friendly supervision of Tom Martin. This time it was little plaster casts of cars. A little too polite, but good stuff.

5.30 TO 5.50:

Lost in the Wash (British film). A combination of kids’ adventure and a weird brand of British humor.

5.50 TO 6:

A ten-minute travelogue about South Africa. (American film).

6 TO 6.20:

Run Sheep Run (Australian film). A very good documentary about a sheep dog. One of the best things so far for either adults or kids.

6.20 TO 6.45:

Hans Christian Andersen (British film). The story of a top and a ball with a magnificent bit of ballet. One thing I liked about this and other English films was that it gave my kids a chance to hear English spoken again after so many years of Hollywood and comic books. In one place where the girl’s mother called her to come for supper, she answered, “Yes, Mother, right away.” Both my kids looked at one another in embarrassment. It ended with the closing line, “Time often makes love pass by,” something I’ve been trying to tell my daughters every movie night when we’re driving home from a Hollywood clinch. In other words, infatuations shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

6.45 TO 7:

Uncle Chichimus (live Canadian). There’s no point in giving you individual descriptions of this and the other live puppet shows. Uncle Chichimus came on daily from Monday to Friday, Planet Tolex Tuesday and Friday. Willie Wonderful on Wednesday was an American TV film listed as educational. All make do with meagre backdrops. Many of the children’s space-ship-type programs are dedicated to the proposition that nothing is too pointless for kids.

7 TO 7.30:

Tabloid (live Canadian). A half hour of news, verbal and filmed, and interviews, weather reports and a lot of relaxed fun, piloted by Dick MacDougal, with Percy Saltzman as copilot. Saltzman, of the Toronto meteorological office, has turned out after all these years among the highs and the lows of the weather, to be a naturally gifted television personality. Each night he gives the weather report, chalking out the details on a blackboard as he goes along. MacDougal has a genuine feeling for humor and a better-than-average understanding that television is a visual instrument. Often, when people just have something to say on television, they seem to be able to think of nothing else to do but sit behind a desk and say it. MacDougal gives you something to look at, does a bit of acting, pantomime, arranges some really gifted gags and somehow manages to interview girls that make you want to crawl right into the set.

7.30 TO 8:

The Exploring Mind (live Canadian). A lecture at the University of Toronto by Prof. E. S. Carpenter in which he debunks what he calls the “little furry parable” outlook on animal psychology. The camera does everything it can to liven things up pictorially, by giving occasional shots of student’s legs, without getting very far. In spite of the pictorial limitations of a lecture, this was one of the finest things I saw during the week.

8 TO 9.13:

Family Theatre (British film). The story of a French war orphan in Switzerland, so well done that it held my interest in spite of a merciless barrage of spot commercials with little boys eating Frosted Flakes; singing commercials about something being very mellow and easy on your throat; an announcer lighting up a cigarette; and a real old snake-oil salesman selling something that only sheep have. Just as a kid fell off a rock in a very exciting mountain-climbing sequence, somebody popped up to tell me the difference between good plastic and other people’s. One time the program was broken very annoyingly by a commercial about how I could avoid being annoyed at television.

9.15 TO 9.30:

United Nations News (American film). More newsreel pictures of people reading their speeches, which has probably become about the dullest habit of the twentieth century. Has everyone lost his memory? An interesting sequence about Samoa.

9.30 TO 10:

Songs From Everywhere (live Canadian). Ed McCurdy and his guitar. I couldn’t figure why I felt so good until 1 realized that it was the first program of music I’d heard so far. Unfortunately, my spirits soon subsided. In spite of McCurdy’s honest interest in the background of his songs I still can’t get excited about things like Old Clarkie Had a Cow, or spirituals, even when as well presented as they were by McCurdy’s attractive guest Isabelle Lucas.

10 TO 11:

Westinghouse Presents Studio One (live American). Michele Morgan played Camille the night I was looking. The sponsor tried to sell me something every time Camille started

coughing but both Camille and I saw it through. In spite of the commercials and television camera tricks, this was a very good effort. The male lead was very tall, so tall he practically had to park out in the garage to get into the picture, while Miss Morgan talked to him sitting on my knee—which was okay with me. Often people made impassioned speeches standing in holes or with their heads in attics. This sort of thing, incidentally, I became completely unconscious of within a few days, and you will too.

II TO 12.20:

Adventure Bound (British film). An old movie in which Margaret Lockwood is acquitted of two murders. Fair.

12.20 TO 12.30:

Late Night News. An announcer gives news while film shows teletype machine working. News on film again, same as we saw before.


2.30 TO 3.30:

Matinee Party (live Canadian). Two of the four segments of this show are sponsored, one by Gruen Watch and the other by Monarch Flour. Strictly for the girls in Toronto’s Eaton Auditorium. I learned how to embroider a sweater and how I should dress if I were a tall girl. I watched four women do finger paintings of Byng Whitteker, the master of ceremonies, who did a magnificent job of being courteous to all those women without joining them. I heard Terry Dale sing; saw one of the finest dance routines I’ve looked at in a long time; and with the help of Rosemary Boxer, Chatelaine’s beauty editor, (a) interviewed Lady Bonham Carter and (b) interviewed a child psychologist and found that I haven’t been giving my kids enough allowance. A good show but it left me cold.

3.30 TO 3.45:

Cat's Paw Presents the Garry Moore Show (live American). A lot of nothing, full of commercials and bum gags. Followed by forty-five minutes of recorded music and a blank screen.

From 4.30 to 5, and from 5 to 5.15 we had United Nations in Action again and Planet Tolex.

5.15 TO 5.30:

How About That? (live Canadian). Percy Saltzman showed the youngsters how to make an instrument to measure rainfall, using a glass bottle, a cardboard milk carton and a paper cup. They can send in for detailed printed instructions. I think I will. This is my idea of a top-notch children’s show, a top-notch television production and a top-notch CBLT choice.

5.30 TO 6.20:

Cowboy Corner (American film). All about the Pecos Kid and my idea of the sort of thing CBLT should stop doing. The only thought I had during the film was whether the television set would really explode if I put my foot through it. This is another category that I’ll cover now and get it over with. Seven - hours a week I spent out west on horseback with everyone from Hopalong Cassidy to Andy Devine and the same old herd of cows. The only difference between the films was that sometimes the cowboys galloped the other way. Shots of the same old arroyo, everyone talking with the same old drawl, saying ain’t, hitting one another with clubs, guns, trees, bricks, rocks and flexing their muscles for Miss Julie, a cutie right out of Schwab’s drugstore. I can’t say which was the worst. When you get down to this

level there are no grades although I think the low spot came with Andy Devine telling me to be sure to eat Corn Flake Sugar Pops.

6.20 TO 6.45:

A Nation of Skiers (British film). A I documentary about a school for ski j instructors. Followed by Uncle Chichimus and Tabloid until 7.30.

7.30 TO 7.45:

Chevrolet Presents the Dinah Shore J Show (live American). Very slight but ! entertaining, with Dinah singing amid musical-comedy stage setting.

7.45 TO 8:

On The Spot (Canadian film). A tour through a western museum of old farm implements and old cars. Very dull.

8 TO 9:

Buiek Presents the Milton Berle Show (live American). Berle and Martha Kaye providing another hour of the funniest stuff I’ve looked at for many I years. I’d forgotten how hilarious Martha is and how big her mouth is. In one sequence when she was laughing over the telephone she nearly swallowed the mouthpiece. I almost decided after this to borrow some money and buy a television set.

9 TO 10.30:

General Motors Presents CBC Theatre (live Canadian). A play by Robertson Davies about three Canadian pioneer I women in the Peterborough area who nursed their problems in the Canadian J backwoods. The big difference, visui ally, between this and the filmed j productions was that it employed a j stage technique, with stage scenery, which somehow sharpened the drama. As a play I rated it fair, although it I didn’t belong with a lot of others I j put under the same heading. I just didn’t think this one came off, but it was a solid effort to give Canadians something worthwhile, and, in my opinion, the sort of thing CBLT and Robertson Davies should keep doing.

10.30 TO 1 1 :

Hans in the Kitchen (live Canadian). Hans, a Toronto chef, shows that he knows how to put over a TV program as well as how to make pea soup —which we tried. I like my wife’s pea soup better.

I I TO 12:

Drama Playhouse (British film). A murky movie about love and war in Spain. All about merchant sailors, Oriental dives, girls doing sleezy dances and so forth. Ended at midnight although I could have sworn it was two in the morning.


2.30 TO 3.30:

Movie Matinee (American film). Here we go again! In this one a reckless rich girl, circa 1928, insists on smoking on a dude ranch, and George O’Brien threatens to spank her, and her father hires him to treat her like a frisky horse and keep a tight rein on her, and she gets mad but finally learns to love him and stop smoking places where there is no smoking. CBLT ought to rename this series From Two-Thirty To Eternity.

3.30 TO 4.30:

Recorded Music.

4.30 TO 5:

United Nations in Action (see above).

5 TO 5.30:

Let's Make Music (live Canadian). Another top-notch children’s program in which David Ouchterlony taught the kids how a beautiful little tune could be composed on three notes, gave them

an ingenious lesson in rhythm and had my nine-year-old, at least, scurrying around making a drum out of a wastepaper basket, a paper bag and a wooden spoon. Really worthwhile, and handled witli the skill to make it entertaining.

5.30 TO 6:

Excursion (American film). Another dismal U. S. movie about the American Civil War, this time with a kid the hero.

6 TO 6.27:

The Forbidden Village (American TV film). Jungle, monkeys, vines, intrigue, the Taj Mahal, and Ramar, a new Tarzan, no better than the old one.

6.27 TO 6.30:

Film Featurette. Three minutes of terrific ballet.

6.30 TO 7.30:

Willie Wonderful, Uncle Chichináis and Tabloid (see above).

7.30 TO 8:

Jazz with Jackson (live Canadian). A boppy mixture of music and showmanship, with a big band. The camera busily shifting from brass to bass and so on.

8 TO 8.30:

Foreign Dit rigue (TV film). Tripe about foreign intrigue with everyone talking in an accent and carrying brief cases.

8.30 TO 9:

Fighting Words (live Canadian). A well-handled discussion but 1 still don’t enjoy seeing people talk, although I did enjoy seeing a psychologist and a philosopher get mad at one another.

9 TO 10:

The World of Sports (live Canadian). Amateur boxing at the East York Arena, Toronto. Just as good as sitting at ringside, although just at the most exciting moment, while two big guys were really clomping into one another, the program changed because it was 10 o’clock.

10 TO 10.27:

Pm the Law (American TV film). American bilge about George Raft tracking down a murderer. These halfhour and hour-long films are pared right down to the bare bones of action, like a two-bit action story, which makes them even worse. Not that anything would help this one. I think they should have let the murderer go and hanged George Raft. I understand this has since been deleted.

10.27 TO 10.30:

Three minutes of symphony.

10.30 TO 11 :

Nightcap (live Canadian). This one from Montreal. A casual nightclub scene with the m.c. wandering around among the guests. You’d need a few of those drinks to enjoy this.

11 TO 11.30:

Music Hall (live Canadian). Lots


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of sentimental and comedy songs that move along fast amid the setting of an English music hall. Very good.

11.30 TO 12:

Regal Theatre (American film). An American movie with Ann Rutherford that is exactly the same as any other American movie with Ann Rutherford.


2.30 TO 3.40:

Movie Matinee (American film). A domestic drama about two kids being kicked around by a divorce. Pure slick melodrama with no substantial moral or guts, but with some competent acting. A lot better than the horse operas.

3.40 TO 4.30:

Recorded music.

4.30 TO 5.15:

United Nations in Action and Telestory time (see above).

5.15 TO 5.30:

Pet Shop (live Canadian). A good idea, the kids showing their pets and telling something about them, but it could be handled a lot more entertainingly.

5.30 TO 6.30:

Cowboy Corner (American film). I don’t know when these cowboys get time to look after their cows.

6.30 TO 6.45:

Through the Grand Canyon by Boat (American film). A very well-done American documentary that had the whole family sitting on the edge of their chairs, watching a flotilla of small boats navigate the Colorado rapids.

6.45 TO 7.30:

Uncle Chichi mus and Tabloid again.

7.30 TO 8:

Kelloggs Present Wild Bill Hickok (American film). Ugh!

8 TO 8.30:

Now’s Your Chance (live Canadian). A talent show for kids. (If Serge Rand, the child pianist, didn’t win, I’m going to write to CBLT.)

8.30 TO 9.30:

The World of Sports (live Canadian). The wrestling bouts from Maple Leaf Gardens. The same incredible junk as ever, except that on television the announcer has to work harder to make you believe they’re touching one another. Jack Wentworth of Stbney Creek, 227 pounds, gives Herb Larson of Hamilton, 228 pounds, a hug. (Announcer: “This works on the nerves

of the shoulder”) . . . Larson pretends be clips Wentworth in the ear . . . Wentworth staggers back like a fat lady who has been insulted . . . Wentworth pretends he pulls Larson’s hair . . . Larson pretends he’s mad . . . Larson pretends he hits Wentworth in the kidney . . . Larson pretends he tells the referee that he did it with his open hand . . . (Announcer: “Oho! Mr.

Wentworth, you might be able to fool these fans but you can’t fool the television audience”). He’s right too, but neither can you, Mr. Announcer.

Between Maple Leaf Gardens and Marigold Gardens in Chicago (later in the week) 1 saw the Indian Deathlock, the Chop, the Cobra Twist, the Panther Pull, the Stone-Crusher Grind, the Fat-Man Flattener and the MiddleAged Mazurka ... I saw a BEAST in blond hair gouge another man’s eyes out, tear his cheek off, grind his knee in his face, make a noise like the Heidelberg man, and everyone leave the ring in the pink of condition and feeling a lot better than I did.

9.30 TO 10.30:

Kraft Theatre (live American). A fair hospital drama about a girl who forgot things, including a report of a shortage of plasma, broken up by little lectures on how to put toasted cheese sandwiches in soup, and how to make ; You-Never-F ail-Fudge.

10.30 TO 11:

The March of Medicine (American kinescope). A documentary on cancer that made no effort to do a job.

1 1 TO 1 1.20:

Savoie-Carter Fight (Canadian kinescope). Very poorly filmed, both guys are always off either side of the screen, j sometimes one right off’ it. You never j see their feet.

11.20 TO 12.20:

Inspector Horneligh on Holidays I (British film). Murder at Brighton. The English can turn out clinkers, too. j


2.30 TO 3.30:

Movie Matinee (British film). It took nearly all week, but I struck a good j one at last! An English film based j on Dumas’ adventure story of the j growing of the first black tulip in ! Holland, which proved that an adventure story can be good if it’s done I with English actors instead of Hollywood stars.

3.30 TO 4.30:

Recorded Music.

4.30 TO 5.15:

The United Nations and Planet Tolex (see above).

5.15 TO 5.30:

Junior Sports Club (live Canadian). Bob Davidson, scout for the Toronto j Maple Leafs, showed how to tape | hockey sticks and answered questions J about hockey. My daughters left me I alone for this, but I enjoyed it, and learned a lot of things about hockey I never had the nerve to ask.

5.30 TO 6.20:

Children’s Theatre (British film). A j kids’ mystery-adventure story about a | secret tunnel. Very well done and good for the kids.

6.20 TO 6.45:

Hansel and Gretel. The Salzburg Marionettes (British film). These pupI pets were made with loving care instead of with string and hot-water coils. The ; scenery was nice and woodsy, with dancing mushrooms, animals, birds flying and the whole thing accomI panied by good music and a good story, told by good voices.

6.45 TO 7.30:

Uncle Chichimus and Tabloid.

7.30 TO 8:

This is Show Business (American ¡ kinescope). Clifton Fadiman, Sam Levinson and other celebrities doing absolutely nothing but trying to sell Schick Shavers.

8 TO 8.30:

Pontiac Presents the Dcwe Garroway \ Show (live American). General Motors can have it. Typical humor: running a film of a pole vault backward. They should try running this program backward. Lots of commercials about j automobiles.

8.30 TO 9.30:

The Big Revue (live Canadian). An| other Canadian variety show that rated well over lots from the U. S. Phyllis ! Marshall singing, very good Calypso j number, Evelyn Could singing! Madame Butterfly, a couple of poor !

skits and »ne good one about a guy in a supermarket. A good show.

9.30 TO 10:

Campbell TV Soundstage (live American). A well-handled play about a youth who held up a jewelry store. Good acting, good story, and commercials about, Mmmm ! Good soup.

10 TO 11.10:

Bratton-Gavilan Fight (live American).

I don’t know whether I took the worst beating from Gavilan or Gillette, who sold me razor blades between rounds, but it was a terrific fight. I suggest that if CBLT wants to sell me a television set they try to match up Gavilan with eight of those fat men at Maple Leaf Gardens. Very well filmed. You’d spend a lot of dough for seats as good as this. The only person glad to see it end was Bratton.

11.10 TO 12.10:

Mystery Theatre (American film). Starts with a tough guy telling a blonde, “You know tpo much, baby. I’m checkin’ out.” The biggest mystery is why CBLT persists in showing these things.


Eaton's Santa Claus Parade (live Canadian). I had the best look at the parade I’ve ever had, with all the bands playing when they passed me.

II TO 12:

Eisenhower’s Speech from Ottawa (live Canadian). I saw Eisenhower read his speech.

2.30 TO 3.30:

The Rough Riders West of the Law (American film). Those horses must be really tired.

3.30 TO 4:

Recorded Music.

4 TO 3:

Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade, again, on kinescope.

5 TO 5.30:

Ed’s Place (live Canadian). Ed McCurdy and his guitar and some innocent comedy with firemen, postmen and a talk with a shadow man. Very good.

5.30 TO 6.30:

Hopalong Cassidy (American film). They headed that way! Hopalong killed them off too fast this time, so CBLT showed a cartoon in which a kid gives someone the Bronx cheer.

6.30 TO 7:

Space Command (live Canadian). Which proved that a kids’ program can be sheer entertainment without doing any harm. Children mightn’t learn anything from this pseudo-scientific wonder tale, but they won’t learn anything bad, and even / will keep quiet while it’s on. Lots of suspense. Upper lateral air jets on!

7 TO 7.45:

Tabloid and Dinah Shore Show.

7.45 TO 8:

Sports Club (live Canadian). Dave Price interviews Joe Krol.

8 TO 9:

The Jackie Gleason Show (live American). Another hour of terrific American vaudeville. Gleason, after a good bit with Senator Claghorn, goes into a skit in which he is a New York bus driver who has just lost his job. His neighbor in the tenement is a guy who works in a sewer. The only qualification for the job, he said, was that he had to be able to float. I thought this sort of thing had disappeared back in the days when I wore bloomers and went to Shea’s to see Spotlight Williams. It’s rough, tough, ribald, vulgar, wonderful, top-notch, old-time vaudeville and I hope this time it’s back to stay. Schick Razor presents a third of this in Canada so the commercials for the other two-thirds are filled by two people in Toronto talking about drama.

9 TO 9.30:

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Presents, for Blue Ribbon Coffee, The Bitter Heart (American film). A well-acted play about a wealthy New York Irishman and an old love. Not a gripping story but particularly well done.

9.30 TO 10.45:

Hockey presented by Imperial Oil (live Canadian). The hockey game between Boston and Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto which I thought lost a great deal from television compared to actually seeing the game. Nothing has been added to Foster Hewitt’s description but a pointless pattern of players too far away to recognize.

10.45 TO 11:

American Home Products Presents Greatest Moments of the Prize Ring. (American film). A fight between Jake LaMotta and another guy. (A girl cleans her teeth with Kolynos and a fellow chews Dentyne for you.)

11 TO 12:

Wrestling from Marigold Gardens in Chicago (live American). A mean guy refuses to shake hands with a good guy . . . the announcer pretends that the crowd is very mad at a man named Gunkle . . . the announcer pretends that the referee is having a terrible time keeping these two killers from killing one another. The announcer pretends it’s a wrestling match. 1 am going to get mad and I’m not pretending.


1 have almost decided that I am going to buy a television set. 1 don’t have to look at it any more and here 1 am looking at it again, with my whole family. I hope that CBLT keeps on doing a lot of things that it’s doing until then and stops doing a lot of other things.

I got the impression that CBLT, like some of the situations Hopalong Cassidy gets into, is made up of good guys and bad guys. The good guys are doing a terrific job but are only able to get enough stuff for about four hours a day. In the meantime CBLT is stuck with a nine-and-a-half-hour schedule so they’ve turned five and a half hours over to the bad guys. 1 suggest that instead they get more good guys, run more good English drama, more documentaries like Professor Carpenter’s lecture, more children’s programs like Percy Saltzman’s and David Ouchterlony’s. They’d also have time for some art, music, dramatic reading and be able to do a little better than squeezing three minutes of ballet in between Ramar of the Jungle and Willie Wonderful, and three minutes of symphony in between Nightcap and George Raft. In the meantime, I wish they’d sell that electric organ, if