Days (with apologies to Woody Alan)
Jack Benny, circa 1930s
That's the Westdale Theatre on the left. It the last business surviving from my time, except for the barbershop, out-of- sight to the right (east). Mons Hardware , on the corner ahead, is a Tim Hortons.
A sad side note: Ralph and I were reading the Sunday comic pages on the living room floor when the telegraph arrived announcing my Uncle Earl's death in a plane crash at his RCMP base in Nova Scotia.)
If at home, sick in bed, I'd listen to the 15 minute afternoon soap operas. My favorites (possibly because they seemed less mushy than the others) were "Ma Perkins" and the gently humorous "Loreza Jones and his wife Bell".
I spent hours as a kid drawing World War II airplanes.
This the only one to survive. Note the dog on s leash. Ripper?
Popular evening radio shows with adults and kids were "The Great Gildersleeve", "The Shadow", "Inner Sanctom", Amos 'n Andy", "Fibber McGee and Molly", "Jack Benny" and "Charlie McCarthy". Most if not all these shows can be heard on YouTube.
Canadian favourites were "The Happy Gang" and "Hockey Night in Canada, both on CBC. The voice of Foster Hewitt echoes through my adolescent years. I once shared an elevator with Hewitt in a CBC building on Yonge Street. He was short and dapper looking, as I remember.
My serious interest in CBC radio began in the my attic bedroom at 139 Sterling Street in Hamilton, Ontario. I lived on Sterling Street with my mother and her second husband, Arthur Bedwell. We moved to Sterling Street from a duplex flat on Dundurn Street North in Hamilton
As I said, it was in that attic room that I became a fan of CBC Radio, especially CBC Radio News. CBC news announcers with their deep, sonorous voices were my heroes. High on the list was Lamont Tilden and the greatest of greats, Earl Cameron. Here is Cameron announcing the D-Day landings inWorld War II.
Other great voices belonged to Alan McFee, deB Holly, Harry Mannis, Frank Herbert, Larry Palef and John O'Leary. But the greatest voice belonged to Cameron. There were no women news readers until Jan Tennett came along years later to break the glass ceiling .
Cameron read the flagship ten p.m newscast (the tv The National of it's day), McFee read the 1 pm newscast which was the big new program during the day. McPhee was also popular as the sidekick to the radio character Rawhide, performed by Max Ferguson. Ferguson was also a staff newsreader but not a very good one as I remember. One of the characters he voiced was "Marvin Mellowbell", a parody of a deep-throated announcer favoured by CBC at the time.
My first job with CBC was as a mail boy at the old CBC building at 364 Jarvis Street in Toronto. I took this low-paying job ( $18.00 a week, paid in cash in an envelop) because I guessed that if got inside the building in any capacity I was in a good position to get a better job, and that is exactly what happened. In my rounds of building delivering mail I deliberately made myself known to the radio news editor-in-chief, Bill Hogg. He liked me or I got him to like me, and when an opening came for copy boy in the newsroom he gave it to me. I was on my way!
My job as a copy boy was to assist the editors in composing newscasts throughout the day and evening. This meant shift work. The main newscasts were at 8 am, 1 pm and 10 pm. The Dominion Network of the CBC had its main newscast at 11 pm. This went out to the private radio stations affiliated to the CBC.
We worked in a crowded in the basement of 365 Jarvis Street, which the heart of CBC radio national programs at the time - drama, news and public affairs, schools, the lot! The tv tower that transmitted the first television show was still under construction in the parking lot.
Here is a piece of trivia from my early newsroom days. As copy clerk one of my jobs was to create carbon copy blank sheets for the editors. This was done by building a stack of writing paper, glue the spine of the pile, and when it dry insert carbon paper between each page. Finally you would tear off 2 or more pages to create a carbon copy.