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Wednesday: [w] Odd nostalgia fit

One of my earliest television-related memories is of watching Three's Company reruns in the mornings, before kindergarten. Oh, that Chrissy --

Wait. That's not it.

One of my other earliest TV-related memories is of watching static images. CHSJ had its own labour dispute many, many years ago (one of several, I think), and they had never been particularly assiduous about running actual moving video content during non-program time to begin with. Time is highly subjective when you're four, but I remember sitting in front of a grainy, oversaturated picture of Mr. Dressup for about half an hour one day. It would, if I concentrated hard enough, become an actual episode of Mr. Dressup.

It may or may not have turned into The Friendly Giant. I'm not telling. It was certainly a frustrating experience, but I was damned if I was going to switch over to CBAFT Radio-Canada.

Understand: CHSJ wasn't CBC owned-and-operated for the longest time. As with everything else in New Brunswick that wasn't Crown property, McCain-owned, a reservation, or incredibly bloody useless, CHSJ belonged to the Irvings. It wouldn't become a real CBC station until 1994, when it was magically transformed into CBAT. There was never any guarantee that you'd get any particular show that ran on "proper" CBC stations, or that it'd be on at the same time as anywhere else in the Maritimes. A quick riffle through the region's TV Guide could be deeply disappointing.

I never knew if the cards were a CBC-affiliate thing, or just a particularly localized kind of crap. I knew enough to realize that this didn't happen much on other stations; the ATV affiliate ran Interlude, a series of incredibly tedious nature montages set to insipid instrumental music, and most of the American stations ran, well, commercials, or pictures of their (inevitably hideous) station logo. WAGM in Presque Isle may have had the cards at the time; they existed in a sort of nebulous everything-affiliate state, running non-CBS shows a week late like some sort of UHF dollar theatre, so I wouldn't have put it past them.

The placeholder cards, which often ran in place of actual programming, were wretched. Had it been ten years later, one might assume that they had gone through a colour photocopier roughly two dozen times before having a logo slapped atop them and going in front of the camera. The skin tones on the WKRP card alone spawned nightmares. I have sharp recollections of a deeply discoloured Kermit the Frog.

It's an odd thing to flash back upon, of course, while the manager reading the hourly news on CBC Radio One botches the report for the ninth time in a row.

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at August 15, 2005 3:43 PM


Comment from: HydrogenGuy posted at August 15, 2005 4:29 PM

Ah, the CBC strike. I had a similar experience this morning when I woke up to Radio 2 playing muzak.

Good Lord, are they going to do this for the entire dispute?

Comment from: Wednesday posted at August 15, 2005 4:35 PM

Looks like it. At least, unless and until they let the workers back in, or they get the Quebec or Moncton folks to pitch in (for some reason, they haven't been involved).

Move to Radio One. It's running some Radio Two content, such as it is, and they're at least playing a decent chunk of East Coast style muzak instead of smoooooooth whatever.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at August 15, 2005 5:32 PM

I remember The Friendly Giant! Did that play on U.S. stations, or did we only pull it in because we lived in Detroit in the 60s?

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at August 15, 2005 5:37 PM

Man, it took me a few minutes to stop myself from reading "CBC" as "Chubby Bunny Clan".

If anyone else reading this has that problem, I will be shocked and amazed. But it's sort of a silty thing to begin with.

Comment from: empyress posted at August 15, 2005 8:21 PM

I didn't watch a lot of TV as a kid (deprived childhood, parents who thought we should *read* of all things), but I do remember the place holder cards of which Wednesday speaks (being of approximately the same vintage, although Western, not Eastern, Canadian). I mostly remember the nature or city scenes in place of commercials during simulcast programming - as if the evil american commercials (for what, I'm not sure) would damage us in some way.

We get SRC (SociĄt» Radio Canada) (my partner is a RABID Habs fan and wants to be able to see the games), and during their strike a couple of years ago it was somewhat surreal to watch, hearing the crowd noise, without the announcers filling the audio track with inane drivel. It will be interesting to see if the English CBC strike has the same result.

Comment from: lucastds posted at August 15, 2005 9:03 PM

Websnark's been taken over by Canadians!!!

Comment from: SeanH posted at August 15, 2005 9:05 PM

I remember placeholder cards, from sometime in the early Nineties. They had that woman on them, and a blackboard, or something. I can barely remember things that happened last month, so me trying to dredge up something I saw ten years ago is the very definition of futility.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at August 15, 2005 9:14 PM

Yes lucastds, we have taken over Websnark. In a very polite way. We're like that. Would you like some maple syrup?

Watch out for the stealth ninja pirate bunnies and mooses though. They could kill you, and if they do, they'll spend your last moments apologizing profusely for it.

Comment from: SeanH posted at August 15, 2005 9:28 PM

Would you like some maple syrup?

When I was in Canada, everything was advertising the everloving Hell out of Canadian beef, which wasn't the stereotype I was expecting...

Comment from: Sundre posted at August 15, 2005 9:32 PM

Yes, The Friendly Giant was a Canadian show. I also remember it as being extremely terrifying.

Hey, now. I was small. And that chicken puppet looked mostly dead. Also, that was a frelling huge giant.

Comment from: lucastds posted at August 15, 2005 10:14 PM

Actually Thomas, considering I'm Canadian as well (I live in Vancouver, BC), I'm pretty sure no moose are coming to get me.

Also, I'm pretty sure the stealth ninjas are beavers and not bunnies. They can kill with their teeth. Or get you with a felled tree as you skip through the woods.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at August 15, 2005 10:17 PM

Regarding the Friendly Giant...

Why is it there was only one rocking chair for someone to rock if they wanted to rock? I was always just sure my sister would get the rocking chair.

Not that my sister was watching with me. She was four years older than I was.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at August 15, 2005 10:23 PM

Dude, you can't have too many people rocking. The tree house would be rocked down.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at August 15, 2005 10:24 PM

Sean, if you visited after the USA shut the border to Canadian beef, I believe that's when the heavy amount of advertising for it began.

Actually, we've never advertised Maple Syrup that much in my lifetime.

We seem to really like tampon commercials though. (I mainly watched YTV until a few years ago, so it may be just that)

(Hopefully I get the spacing right this time.)

Comment from: Sundre posted at August 15, 2005 11:12 PM

Dude, if the treehouse can hold up the Giant, I'm sure it can handle a couple of rocking minifolk.

And, Sean: Most people I know buy maple syrup from the Mennonites at the farmer's market or beside the road. They don't seem to advertise much.

Comment from: DarkStar posted at August 15, 2005 11:50 PM

We have (had - I think it may have been sold) a CBC building in Edmonton. Truth be told, I think we have a few. I don't know what they did in it. It was a few stories high and my instincts yell me that there was probably TV related stuff going on inside. Anyway, we used to refer to it as the "Chocolate Banana Cake" as we drove by. That will probably always be associated with the CBC, for me.

Comment from: lucastds posted at August 16, 2005 12:21 AM

For the un-initiated: YTV is a youth station... mostly for kids/preteens/early teens. Like Nicolodeon I guess.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at August 16, 2005 12:46 PM

The Friendly Giant didn't live in a treehouse, he lived in a castle.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at August 16, 2005 12:53 PM

Yeah, but "rock the castle down" doesn't work.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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