Saturday, 27 April 2013
One Channel Charlie - My memories of the CBC
This winter has been insufferable. Wasn’t it back in February, I was whining that it was the longest.winter.ever? Well looky here, we’ve got April on a downhill run and the snow banks are still piled high.
You know what winter is? Winter is the fly that won’t die. You know that one housefly that keeps buzzing around your head. You finally summon the energy to find the fly swatter and then derive great satisfaction from smacking it. Moments later, you witness it crawl right out of the garbage can, take flight and resume its job annoying the heck out of you. At this point, I’d welcome a fly with nine lives. Insufferable.
I heard that the Canada Geese have had a meeting to discuss what they’ve come back to. They say if they are going to continue to allow us to be their title sponsors, we have to get it together before April next year. Otherwise they’re staying in Boca Raton. That’s what I heard.
The thing about a long winter is that there is little else to do but watch TV or join a curling league. I can’t lift a 40 pound rock and I’m iffy at sweeping my own kitchen floor properly, so TV it is. Really though, I haven’t been much of a TV watcher for years, except for the local news, the Food Network, and AFV. But even chuckling babies and a great cat montage wasn’t quite enough to get us through the long stormy evenings, so we turned to Netflix. Do you do Netflix? Oh my stars! You can watch an entire season of TV shows commercial free! Forget snacks or trips to the bathroom. There’s no time; you are committed.
Can you imagine if, when we were kids sitting in front of our gigantic Zenith console television sets, someone told us that one day we would be able to choose whatever we wanted to watch from thousands of shows anywhere, anytime on a portable device? I would never have believed it. Yet here we are.
When I was a kid, we had one channel. Channel 12. CBC. We were One Channel Charlies. Some days we would get Channel 9 if someone held the rabbit ears and turned the dial in a very specific way. Sometimes it was just a colour test pattern and the image would be in a constant vertical roll, but hell, we’d watch it anyway because it was Channel 9! Yellow, cyan, green, magenta...What the hell is cyan? Why use that? "Honey, I think our cyan is off...it's running more to a turquoise."
We had to be content with CBC. If you didn't like The Beachcombers or Front Page Challenge then too bad for you. You had to help your Mom bake bread. For years I heard ‘city friends’ talk about The Brady Bunch, Dukes of Hazzard and all those great shows. I had no clue. What were Daisy Dukes? Even as an adult, I feel I have nothing much to contribute to those nostalgic television conversations. What am I supposed to say, “Oh yeah, remember that one episode of Hymn Sing where one of the altos wore that low-cut blouse?” That’s me, life o’ the party, once again! No, instead I just keep repeating the same thing, “Um, we didn’t get Channel 8”.
Nonetheless, I’m glad I grew up with the Ceeb. I now understand that it’s an institution that gave a voice and a stage to our own. I love it and have great respect for it. Where can I find an old broadcast of The National with Knowlton Nash? I’ll skip the National Ballet specials (sorry, Karen Cain and all the men in those awful tights), but I’d give a lot for one more Irish Rovers Special or to see the Tommy Hunter Country show in all its glory once again. I wonder where Donna & Leroy are now? Boca Raton?