Transcript: Knowlton Nash | Feb 11, 1997

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue.”

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard Ouzounian and a guest sitting in a filming studio: “Knowlton Nash. Broadcaster.”

The set is dark, with black walls and a wooden ladder.

Then, Richard appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a black suit, white shirt, and checked black and white tie.

He says HI, I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
YOU'VE HEARD THE OLD
SAYING, WOULD YOU BUY
A USED CAR FROM THIS MAN?
WELL, I'D BUY A USED
CAR FROM THIS MAN,
AND I DON'T EVEN DRIVE,
BECAUSE HE EPITOMIZES TRUST.
SO, WHEN HE TELLS US ABOUT
THE CBC, AS HE DOES
IN HIS BOOK
CUE THE ELEPHANT,
I LISTEN AND I TRUST.

He shows the book, which has a yellow and red cover that features a picture of a female broadcaster and portraits of several men.

Richard continues AND YOU WILL TOO.
THIS DIALOGUE
IS WITH KNOWLTON NASH.

Knowlton is in his late sixties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted white hair. He’s wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a black velvet suit, white shirt, and striped red and black tie.

Richard continues SO, KNOWLTON, I
HAVE TO ASK YOU-
USED CAR SALESMAN, EH?
DO YOU LIKE THAT?

Knowlton says YEAH, I GUESS SO.
I LIKE THE
IMPLICATION OF IT,
BUT I'M NOT SO SURE.
I'LL TRY IT THOUGH.

Richard says YOU SPENT OVER 40
YEARS AT THE CBC,
YOU FINALLY RETIRED
FROM FULL-TIME WORK,
ALTHOUGH YOU'RE
STILL WORKING THERE.
NOW, MOST PEOPLE
WHEN THEY RETIRE,
THEY WANT TO DO
SOMETHING DIFFERENT;
THEY WANT TO GO
OFF AND SEE VENICE.
YOU'VE WRITTEN TWO
BOOKS ON THE CBC,
THE MICROPHONE WARS
AND NOW THIS.
HOW COME YOU'RE STILL
STICKING WITH IT?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Knowlton Nash. Broadcaster."

Knowlton says OH, I ENJOY IT;
I WOULDN'T DO IT
IF IT WASN'T AN
AWFUL LOT OF FUN.
AND I LIKE WRITING.
WRITING IS INTERESTING
BECAUSE IT'S DIFFERENT
FROM TELEVISION,
WHAT WE'RE DOING.
IN WRITING,
PARTICULARLY FOR A BOOK,
YOU USE COMMAS AND
SEMICOLONS AND PARENTHESES.
AND IT'S WONDERFUL FREEDOM
TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT,
BECAUSE YOU DON'T
HAVE TO REPEAT STUFF.

Richard says ALSO, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
OF MATERIAL BEING CAREFULLY
DIGESTED AND PUT OUT IN
SHORTER AMOUNTS OF TIME,
DOES IT FEEL SCARY TO SIT
DOWN THERE AND THERE'S
NOTHING BUT - I WOULD SAY
ALL THAT EMPTY PAPER,
BUT NOW IT'S ALL THAT EMPTY
SCREEN ON YOUR COMPUTER.

Knowlton says NO, IT'S LIBERATING,
BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT TIME;
YOU HAVE THE LUXURY OF
TIME TO DO SOMETHING.
YOU CAN GO BACK TO IT.
YOU DON'T HAVE A DEADLINE
OF THREE MINUTES FROM NOW,
YOU'VE GOT TO BE
ON THE AIR.
IT'S A PLEASURE; IT'S
A LUXURY TO DO IT.

Richard says NOW, AS I MENTIONED,
YOUR PREVIOUS BOOK,
THE MICROPHONE WARS,
WAS
PRETTY SERIOUS - VERY SERIOUS -
AND AN ANALYSIS OF
WHERE WE WERE GOING
IN THE NEWS BUSINESS
AND IN THE CBC.
THIS, AT FIRST,
LOOKS LIGHTHEARTED -
THE TITLE
CUE THE
ELEPHANT.
YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN
TO OUR VIEWERS.

Knowlton says IT IS A LIGHTHEARTED BOOK;
IT'S A BOOK ESSENTIALLY
OF ANECDOTES AND
STORYTELLING.
BUT CUE THE ELEPHANT
COMES FROM WHEN THE CBC
WAS GETTING READY TO GO ON
THE AIR FOR THE FIRST TIME
BACK IN 1952, IN
THE FALL OF 1952.
IN AUGUST OF THAT YEAR, THE
CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION
WAS ON IN TORONTO,
AND THE CBC
WAS RUNNING AN
EXPERIMENTAL SHOW.
THE PRODUCER WANTED TO START
OFF HIS FIRST EXPERIMENTAL
SHOW LIVE, OF COURSE, WITH
AN ELEPHANT FROM THE CIRCUS,
FROM THE EXHIBITION,
WHICH WOULD COME ON,
WAVE ITS TRUNK, AND FLAP
ITS TAIL, AND SO ON.
BIG OPENING; BIG,
GRAND OPENING.
THE DAMN ELEPHANT
WOULDN'T COME ON THE SET.
YOU'RE ON THE
AIR, IT'S LIVE.
THE PRODUCER WAS SHOUTING,
“CUE THE ELEPHANT,”
“CUE THE GODDAMN ELEPHANT!”
STILL WOULDN'T MOVE.
FINALLY, IT WAS PRODDED
BY THE FLOOR DIRECTOR -
WHO WAS HARRY RASKY
PRODDED BY HIM.
HARRY GOT THE THING GOING;
IT MOVED JUST INTO
CAMERA RANGE, AND LEFT
AN ELEPHANTINE DEPOSIT
ON THE SET, AND THEN
LUMBERED OFF AGAIN.
AND I GUESS SOME PEOPLE
WOULD SAY TELEVISION
HAS BEEN A MESS
EVER SINCE.

Richard says AND NOT JUST TELEVISION;
I HAVE TO ASK IF THERE
IS ANOTHER MEANING ON YOUR
MIND WITH
CUE THE ELEPHANT.
AND IF I TELL PEOPLE IT'S
A BOOK ABOUT CBC, AND
IT'S CALLED,
CUE THE
ELEPHANT, THEY SAY:
ISN'T CBC AN ELEPHANT
IN SOME WAYS?

Knowlton says IN A WAY, IT APPLIES
IN BOTH WAYS, SURE.
YOU'VE GOTTA CUE
TO GET IT GOING,
AND YOU HAVE TO GOAD IT
SOMETIMES TO GET IT GOING.
AND OCCASIONALLY, IT
ALSO LEAVES A DEPOSIT,
I SUPPOSE, ONCE
IN A WHILE.

Richard says BUT THERE'S ALSO
THE THING ABOUT
THE ELEPHANT
NEVER FORGETS.
AND WHAT I FIND AMAZING IN
THIS BOOK IS THAT THERE
WERE STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE
WHO I KNEW AND HEARD OF,
WHICH WE'LL GET TO, BUT WHAT
FIRST GRABBED ME WAS YOU
START OUT AT THE BEGINNING
IT'S WONDERFUL -
YOU TALK ABOUT THE
GOLDEN DAYS OF RADIO,
AND SOME OF THOSE
VIVID PERSONALITIES.
I HAD HEARD, BEING
IN THE BUSINESS,
ABOUT WHAT ANDREW
ALLAN WAS LIKE,
BUT YOU REALLY GO INTO
THE MAN'S PERSONAL LIFE.

Knowlton says ANDREW ALLAN WAS THE SUN
GOD OF CANADIAN DRAMA,
AT LEAST, IN TERMS
OF BROADCASTING,
AND I THINK HE WAS A
MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
TO THE GOLDEN AGE
OF RADIO.
HE WAS A MAN WHO, I
THINK, MADE A TREMENDOUS
CONTRIBUTION TO
THIS COUNTRY.
HE GAVE THIS COUNTRY ITS
ONLY NATIONAL STAGE,
I THINK, NATIONAL THEATRE.

Richard says BUT YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS
WITH ANDREW, TO START WITH,
IS YOU GET, AS YOU
SAID, THE SUN GOD,
THE PORTRAIT OF THIS
GLORIOUS PERSON.
BUT THEN THE PERSONAL
DEMONS EAT AWAY AT HIM.

Knowlton says YEAH, BUT THAT'S
THE WHOLE MAN.
RATHER THAN JUST LOOKING AT
A PIECE OR A COMPONENT
OF THE PERSON, YOU WANT TO
LOOK AT THE WHOLE PERSON.
AND I GUESS WITH MYSELF, I,
AS A JOURNALIST, YOU WANT TO
DO THAT; YOU WANT TO
PORTRAY THE TOTALITY OF
AN INDIVIDUAL, NOT JUST A
NARROW PORTION OF THAT PERSON.

Richard says DO YOU FIND
THAT UP 'TIL NOW,
THERE'S BEEN A CERTAIN
AMOUNT OF WHITEWASHING,
LIKE, WE WANT OUR HEROES
TO BE REALLY PURE?

Knowlton says WE ALWAYS DO, DON'T WE?
EVERYBODY WANTS THEIR
HEROES TO BE PURE,
BUT OUR HEROES ARE HUMAN,
AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT.

Richard says I MENTIONED TO SOMEONE
THAT I HAD BEEN READING
THIS BOOK, AND IT
SAID, OF COURSE,
ANDREW ALLAN HAD A TERRIBLE
ALCOHOL PROBLEM AND WENT
THROUGH A GREAT DIP IN HIS
LIFE AND CAME OUT AT THE END.
AND THEY SAID, I DON'T
WANT TO KNOW THIS;
I WORSHIP ANDREW ALLAN.
NOW, WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT
THAT KIND OF A REACTION?

Knowlton says AGAIN, I GO BACK TO MY
BACKGROUND AS A JOURNALIST.
I WANT TO KNOW; I
WANT TO FIND OUT.
IT DOESN'T DIMINISH
THAT INDIVIDUAL.
IN FACT, IF ANYTHING, IT
MAKES THE INDIVIDUAL
MORE HUMAN, MORE ROUNDED,
AND MORE ATTRACTIVE,
AS A MATTER OF FACT, BECAUSE
THEY DID ALL THAT THEY
DID OVERCOMING AN AWFUL
LOT OF FRAILTIES.

Richard says WHEN YOU LOOK AT THESE
EARLY DAYS OF RADIO,
WHICH IS, AS I SAID,
WHERE THE BOOK BEGINS,
IT SEEMS THAT EVERYBODY WAS
TYING ONE ON IN THOSE DAYS.
I THINK IF THERE HAD BEEN A
12-STEP PROGRAM AROUND
THE CBC, WE WOULDN'T
HAVE HAD HALF THE RADIO.

[laughing]

Knowlton says THAT'S TRUE, THERE WAS
CERTAINLY AN AWFUL LOT
OF IMBIBING GOING ON,
NOT ONLY WITH ANDREW,
BUT A LOT OF PERFORMERS.

Richard says THERE'S A WONDERFUL ONE
ABOUT A PERFORMANCE OF
KING LEAR,
I BELIEVE -
WAS IT JOHN CARRADINE
WAS DOING, AND HE TOOK
EVERYONE OUT FOR DINNER
BEFOREHAND, AND
THEY ALL GOT-

Knowlton says THEY ALL DRANK FAR MORE
THAN THEY SHOULD HAVE
AND THEN WENT BACK,
AND, OF COURSE,
EVERYTHING WAS LIVE
THEN, SO YOU WERE IN
A GREAT DEAL
OF DIFFICULTY.
I THINK FRANK WILLIS
WAS IN THAT PROGRAM,
AND HE HAD MORE
THAN HIS SHARE.

Richard says HE GOT SLOW WHEN HE DRANK.

Knowlton says HE GOT SLOW
WHEN HE DRANK.
AND I THINK CARRADINE,
WHO KNEW IT ALL BY HEART,
IN ANY EVENT, KEPT
MUTTERING ASIDE:
HURRY UP, HURRY UP!

Richard says AND MCMILLAN, I THINK,
WAS DOING THE SCORE.

Knowlton says HE WAS DOING A SCORE, AND
HE WAS HURRYING UP TOO,
I SUPPOSE, IN RESPONSE
TO CARRADINE'S COMMENTS,
SO MUCH SO THAT IT
SEEMED LIKE A RAILWAY
TRAIN LEAVING
THE STATION.
HE WAS ANXIOUS
TO GET GOING.

Richard says EVEN NOW, WHEN YOU TALK
ABOUT THE GOLDEN DAYS OF
RADIO DRAMA, I WOULD LOVE
TO SEE SOMETHING LIKE THAT,
OR HEAR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, HAPPEN TODAY.

Knowlton says PART OF THE REASONS
WHY IT DOESN'T HAPPEN -
AND IT DOES HAPPEN,
TO A DEGREE,
BUT NOT AS MUCH -
BECAUSE IT ISN'T LIVE.
WHEN YOU'RE LIVE,
YOU'RE LIVE;
YOU HAVE NO CHANCE FOR
RECOVERY IF YOU'RE MAKING
A MISTAKE, OR IF YOU'RE
DOING SOMETHING
THAT'S NOT APPROPRIATE.

Richard says ALSO WHAT'S FASCINATING,
THE BOOK SEGUES FROM RADIO TO
TELEVISION, AND IT GETS INTO
THE LIVE DAYS OF TELEVISION.
AGAIN, MAVOR MOORE
RECOUNTS SOME AMAZING THINGS
IN THE BOOK ABOUT THE
TIME HE FORGOT HIS LINES
IN A COCKTAIL PARTY SCENE?

Knowlton says I THINK HE SAID, I THINK
I'LL GO TO THE BATHROOM,
I THINK HE SAID HE
WAS GOING TO DO.
SOME PEOPLE SAY, I'M GOING
TO GO PLAY TENNIS FOR A BIT.
THE BEST ONE THAT
I'VE COME ACROSS,
IT WAS DON HARRON
TOLD ME ABOUT IT,
AND THAT WAS AN ACTOR
WHO OCCASIONALLY
WOULD FORGET HIS LINES.
BUT WHAT HE WOULD DO WAS
CONTINUE TO MOUTH...
SO THAT EVERYBODY
WOULD THINK, MY GOD,
MY SOUND'S GONE OFF.
HE'D DO THAT UNTIL HE
GOT THE LINES BACK,
AND THEN WOULD
CARRY ON WITH THEM.

Richard says IN ONE OF THESE SCENES
MOORE TALKS ABOUT,
HE WAS ACTUALLY ABLE
TO LEAVE THE SET,
LOOK UP HIS SCRIPT,
AND COME BACK.
IT MAKES YOU WONDER
THE LEISURELY PACE
OF CBC DRAMA IN
THOSE DAYS.

Knowlton says I SUPPOSE THERE WERE OTHER
THINGS GOING ON ON
THE STAGE, AND HE
COULD JUST FLIP AWAY.
THE OPPOSITE
OCCASIONALLY HAPPENED.
IT WAS BARRY MORSE; HE
WAS TELLING ME HE WAS
DOING A SHOW ONE TIME WITH
A CHAP WHO WAS A BUTLER,
AND BARRY MORSE WAS THE
MASTER OF THE HOUSE.
THE BUTLER CAME IN AND
WAS SUPPOSED TO SAY,
THERE'S A MESSAGE
FOR YOU, SIR;
AND HE LOOKS AT
THE MESSAGE.
BUT THE BUTLER SAID, MAY I
HAVE YOUR PERMISSION
TO TALK TO YOU FOR
A MOMENT, SIR?
MORSE SORT OF LOOKED
AT HIM: SURE...
HE SAID, I'VE DECIDED
TO RESIGN, SIR.
AND MORSE SAID, WELL,
THIS IS RATHER SUDDEN -
NOT KNOWING WHAT
WAS COMING NEXT.
AND THEN THE BUTLER WENT
ON FOR ABOUT FIVE OR EIGHT
MINUTES WITH A DISCUSSION
ABOUT HIS LIFE AND TIMES
AND HIS PROBLEMS WITH
THE LAUNDRY MAID
AND THE GIRL DOWNSTAIRS.
AND THEN HE SAID, AND
HERE'S A MESSAGE FOR YOU,
SIR - AND THEN
WALKED OFF THE STAGE.

Richard says AND NONE OF THAT
WAS IN THE SCRIPT.

Knowlton says NONE OF IT WAS
IN THE SCRIPT,
AND IT CERTAINLY CAUSED
SOME PROBLEMS IN TRYING
TO SHORTEN THE SHOW DOWN.

Richard says I THINK THAT EXPLAINS
WHY SOME OF THE PEOPLE
I SAW WRITING FOR TV IN THE
GOLDEN AGE HAD GREY HAIR.

Knowlton says VERY EARLY, VERY EARLY.

Richard says WHAT ALSO HAPPENS IS YOU GO
INTO PEOPLE WHO I ONLY KNEW
FROM, LIKE,
THE HAPPY GANG;
YOU KNEW ABOUT
THE HAPPY GANG,
YOU HEARD RUMOURS THEY
DIDN'T GET ALONG TOO WELL.
BUT YOU REALLY GO INTO
HOW TRULY UNHAPPY
SOME OF THEM WERE.

Knowlton says YEAH, THEY WERE VERY
UNHAPPY OFFSTAGE
AS WELL AS ON, AS
A GROUP.
IT'S INTERESTING
BECAUSE THEY WERE THAT,
AND YET THEY PROVIDED SO
MUCH JOY TO CANADIANS
IN THEIR PROGRAM.
BUT BERT PEARL,
WHO WAS A LEADER,
WAS A BIT OF A
TYRANT, A BIT OF A...
HARD TASKMASTER.

Richard says AND TORTURED BY HIS OWN SEXUALITY.

Knowlton says AND TORTURED BY HIS OWN
SEXUALITY AND HIS OWN SENSE
THAT HE WASN'T
BEING APPRECIATED,
AND WHEN HE LEFT TO
GO DOWN TO HOLLYWOOD,
IN A SENSE, HE WAS
DEVASTATED THAT CBC
NEVER ASKED HIM TO COME BACK
TO DO A TELEVISION SHOW.
AND HE WOUND UP REALLY
ALONE IN A SMALL APARTMENT
IN LOS ANGELES.

Richard says I DON'T MEAN TO
DEPRESS PEOPLE,
BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT
OF AMUSING THINGS HERE,
BUT WHAT STARTS TO OCCUR
ALSO IS THE SAGA
OF THE GREAT CANADIAN STAR
CUT OFF IN THEIR PRIME.
ONE OF THE FIRST ONES
THAT YOU TALK ABOUT
IS THE SAGA OF
OUR
PET JULIETTE.

Knowlton says JULIETTE, IN A SENSE, I
DON'T KNOW WHETHER SHE
WAS CUT OFF IN HER PRIME; I
SUPPOSE SHE WAS BECAUSE
OF THE CANCELLATION OF HER
SATURDAY NIGHT POST TALKY
PROGRAM, ALTHOUGH SHE DID A
LOT OF PROGRAMS AFTER THAT.
TO THIS DAY, SHE'S
STILL SINGING,
SHE STILL DOES DATES FROM
TIME TO TIME IN VANCOUVER.

Richard says BUT SHE WAS SO
WILDLY POPULAR.

Knowlton says OH, SHE WAS
IMMENSELY POPULAR.

Richard says BUT THEY MADE ONE
OF THESE ARBITRARY
DECISIONS TO MOVE HER.

Knowlton says YEAH, IT WAS A DECISION BY
THE EXECUTIVES AT THE TIME,
THAT THEY WANTED A YOUNGER
FACE, A DIFFERENT MOOD,
A DIFFERENT APPROACH.
AND JULIE HAD BEEN
AROUND FOR A LONG TIME,
SO THEY JUST ABRUPTLY TOOK
HER TO LUNCH ONE DAY
AND SAID, BYE BYE.

Richard says ONE OF THE MOST REVEALING
ANECDOTES IN THE BOOK IS
JULIETTE SAID AN EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY HAD WARNED HER.

Knowlton says SHE HAD A LOT OF FRIENDS,
SHE HAD A LOT OF FRIENDS
IN THE CREWS - EVEN THOUGH
SHE WAS SOMETIMES TOUGH
ON THE CREWS, BUT SHE
WAS GOOD TO CREWS.
AND IN THE SECRETARIES
AND OTHERS,
SHE HAD A LOT
OF FRIENDS WITH,
AND THAT SECRETARY HAD
WARNED HER THAT THIS
WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.
SO, SHE WENT OUT AND PUT
ON HER MOST SEXIEST GOWN,
AND A MINK COAT, AND
EVERYTHING ELSE,
TO REALLY MAKE IT MORE
DIFFICULT FOR THE GUY
WHO WAS ABOUT
TO FIRE HER.

Richard says AGAIN, THIS IS SO FUNNY,
BECAUSE YOU HEAR THIS THING
RECURRING AGAIN AND
AGAIN IN THE BOOK.
IT HAPPENED TO
THE
BEACHCOMBERS
GOT MOVED
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS,
AND TOMMY HUNTER,
AGAIN, THEY SAY TO
TOMMY, WE'LL GIVE YOU
A FEW SPECIALS NEXT YEAR,
YOU'VE GOT TO STEP DOWN.
IS THIS UNIQUE?
YOU NEVER HEAR OF AN
AMERICAN SHOW BEING
CANCELLED WHILE
IT'S DOING WELL,
BUT YOUR BOOK IS FULL OF
CANADIAN SHOWS BEING CANCELLED.

Knowlton says THAT HAPPENED WITH TOMMY
HUNTER AND IT HAPPENED
WITH
BEACHCOMBERS
AND IT
HAPPENED WITH JULIETTE.
YEAH, IT DOES HAPPEN,
AND IN A DIFFERENT SENSE,
IT HAPPENED WITH
STREET
LEGAL
AND SOME OTHER SHOWS.
THAT'S PART OF THE
BACKSTAGE GAME, I GUESS,
THAT GOES ON, AND THE FACT,
THAT WE REALLY DON'T HAVE
A STAR SYSTEM HERE.
WE HAVE STARS, BUT
NOT A STAR SYSTEM,
WHICH THE STARS COMPLAIN
ABOUT PRETTY FREQUENTLY.

Richard says WHAT'S INTERESTING IS THAT
ONE OF THE CHARACTERS -
IN FACT, I THINK IT'S
THE DIRECTOR WHO WAS
THE CUE THE
ELEPHANT GENTLEMAN.

Knowlton says SYDNEY NEWMAN.

Richard says SYDNEY NEWMAN SAID
THAT WE EAT OUR YOUNG.
CANADIAN SHOW BUSINESS IS
PLANTED WITH THE BLOOD
OF ALL THE YOUNG THAT
WE'VE KILLED TO DO IT.

Knowlton says A LOT OF PEOPLE
WANTED TO STAY,
A LOT OF STARS
WANTED TO STAY.
I THINK NORMAN JEWISON
ESTIMATED THAT SOMETHING
LIKE 40 PERCENT OF ALL THE
BROADCAST CREATIVE TALENT
IN CANADA HAD GONE TO THE
STATES BY THE EARLY '60s.
THAT'S A BIG, BIG DRAIN.

Richard says ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU
LOOK AT ALL OF THE NAMES.
YOU HAVE JEWISON
AND YOU HAVE BRAULT
AND THEY KEEP GOING ON.

Knowlton says THE DIFFERENCE IN THE
WAY THEY'RE TREATED,
JOHNNY WAYNE AND
FRANK SHUSTER, I THINK,
TOLD ME THAT ONCE
THEY WERE ASKED TO DO
A SHOW IN THE
UNITED STATES.
AND THEY WENT DOWN, THEY
FLEW DOWN FIRST CLASS.
THE NETWORK IN THE STATES
BROUGHT THEIR WIVES DOWN
AS WELL, TOOK THEIR
WIVES OUT SHOPPING,
GAVE THEM A LIMOUSINE,
RED CARPET TREATMENT,
GOLD STAR ON THEIR DOOR.
AND THEY WERE GOD, WHEN
THEY WERE DOWN THERE.
THEY CAME BACK TO
CBC IN TORONTO
AND THEY COULDN'T
GET INTO THE PARKING LOT
BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T
HAVE A PARKING STICKER;
THEY HADN'T BEEN
GIVEN ONE.

Richard says BUT THAT'S
TYPICAL, ISN'T IT?

Knowlton says YEAH, THERE ARE SOME
EXECUTIVES WHO REALLY HAD
A GOOD SENSE OF THE
IMPORTANCE OF THE STARS,
BUT A LOT DIDN'T.

Richard says ONE OF THE OTHER THEMES
THAT KEEPS COMING UP
IN THIS BOOK IS THAT THERE ARE
PEOPLE IN HEAD OFFICE AT CBC,
AND THE NAMES KEEP
CHANGING; IN ONE VERSION,
PHYLLIS PLATT
IS THE VILLAIN,
AND IN ANOTHER,
IT'S IVAN FECAN.
IT'S INTERESTING; EVERYONE
IS SOMEONE'S VILLAIN
AT SOME POINT HERE.

Knowlton says YOU'RE SOMEONE'S VILLAIN
IF YOU CANCEL THEIR SHOW,
THAT'S FOR SURE.
AND YOU'RE SOMEONE'S HERO IF
YOU HELP EXPAND ON THE SHOW.

Richard says DO YOU EVER THINK THERE
WAS A CASE WHERE THE CBC
DID THE OPPOSITE, AND LET
SOMETHING STAY ON AND STAY ON
AND DWINDLE AWAY WHEN IT REALLY
SHOULD HAVE BEEN SACKED?

Knowlton says I DON'T KNOW.
I CAN'T THINK
OF ONE OFFHAND,
I CAN'T THINK
OF ONE OFFHAND.
SHOWS WENT ON FOR A LONG
TIME;
FRONT PAGE CHALLENGE
WENT ON FOR A
LONG, LONG TIME,
BUT IT STILL HAD A PRETTY
GOOD AND A LOYAL AUDIENCE.
IT WAS A VERY GOOD VEHICLE
FOR PUBIC RELATIONS AT CBC.

Richard says THAT'S ONE OF THE MOST
ACERBIC CHAPTERS, I THINK,
IN YOUR BOOK, IS THE ONE
ABOUT
FRONT PAGE CHALLENGE,
BECAUSE IT'S STILL SO
FRESH IN OUR MINDS.
I GUESS WHAT WE DIDN'T KNOW
IS THAT THE ORDER CAME
FROM IVAN FECAN TO PUT
AN EDGE ON THE SHOW,
AND SO CAMERON BELL AND A
NEWSMAN FROM THE WEST COAST
WAS BROUGHT IN
TO FIX IT UP.

Knowlton says AND MOVE IT TO VANCOUVER.

Richard says RIGHT, NOW, WHY
MOVE IT TO VANCOUVER?

Knowlton says I SUPPOSE TO GET IT
OUT OF THE STUDIO,
TO MAKE ROOM FOR
SOMETHING ELSE.
I DON'T KNOW WHY
MOVE IT TO VANCOUVER,
BUT THERE WAS A FACILITY OUT
THERE THAT WAS AVAILABLE,
AND IT WAS JUST DECIDED.
EVEN THOUGH THE CAST
WAS ALL IN TORONTO,
THEY FLEW OUT TO
VANCOUVER TO DO IT.
ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THAT
PROGRAM WAS IT WAS SUCH
A WONDERFUL PUBLIC RELATIONS
VEHICLE WHEN IT TRAVELLED
AROUND THE COUNTRY, TO
REGINA, OR TO ST. JOHN'S
OR TO DAUPHIN,
MANITOBA.
IT GOT TREMENDOUS AUDIENCES
AND GAVE THE CBC
REALLY A GOOD IMAGE
IN THOSE COMMUNITIES.
AND I THINK IT WAS CUT OFF
RATHER ABRUPTLY AND UNFAIRLY.

Richard says THEY TELL THE STORY AT THE
END THAT THEY PROBABLY
ALL HEARD BY
VOICEMAIL, I THINK?

Knowlton says NOT ALL, BUT ALMOST
ALL DID, YEAH,
AND SOME DIDN'T
HEAR AT ALL.
I DON'T THINK PIERRE
HAS HEARD YET DIRECTLY.

Richard says HE KEEPS SHOWING UP
AND HE WONDERS WHY
NO ONE'S AT THE STUDIO.
BUT AGAIN, YOU MARVEL AT
THE IDEA THAT YOU'VE GOT,
AS SOMEONE SAYS IN THE
BOOK, SOME OF THE BEST
INTERVIEWERS IN
THE COUNTRY.
YOU'VE GOT PIERRE
BERTON, YOU'RE GOT
ALLAN FOTHERINGHAM,
YOU'VE GOT BETTY,
YOU'VE GOT JACK
WEBSTER THERE.
AND THEN SUDDENLY, THEY'RE
GETTING TOLD HOW TO DO THINGS.

Knowlton says YEAH, PIERRE WAS THE
LEADER OF THE GROUP,
AND HE GENERALLY FELT THE
PEOPLE TUNED IN TO WATCH
THE SHOW TO SEE THE
PERSONALITIES WHO MADE
THE NEWS, AS WELL AS THOSE
WHO WERE ON THE PANEL.
AND WHAT THE PRODUCERS
TENDED TO WANT WAS
A DIFFERENT KIND OF PROGRAM;
THEY WANTED TO MAKE IT MORE
ISSUE-ORIENTED, AND SO THERE
WAS A FUNDAMENTAL CONFLICT
BETWEEN THE PRODUCERS
AND THE CAST.
AND THEY WERE AT
EACH OTHER'S THROAT,
FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING,
ALMOST ALL THE TIME.

Richard says I'M CURIOUS, THERE'S SOME
STORIES IN HERE THAT ARE
WONDERFULLY COMPLETE
AND TELL ME THINGS
I NEVER KNEW BEFORE.
I KNOW SOME OF THE PEOPLE
ON THE
STREET LEGAL
CAST,
AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW ALL
THE FIGHTS THAT WENT ON
IN THE LAST YEAR
THAT YOU REPORT,
BECAUSE THEY WERE BEING VERY
DISCRETE - MAINLY BATTLES
BETWEEN CYNTHIA DALE AND
THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.
AND REALLY, VIRTUALLY
WORTHY OF HOLLYWOOD...

Knowlton says WE'RE ALL HUMAN; WE
HAVE THOSE THINGS,
BUT SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER,
THEY HAVEN'T COME OUT.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS I
WANTED TO DO WITH THE BOOK TOO,
WAS TO MAKE US MORE
AWARE OF THE HUMAN NATURE
OF THE STARS AND MAKE US MORE
AWARE OF OUR CANADIAN STARS,
BECAUSE WE SEEM TO KNOW
AN AWFUL LOT ABOUT
THE MINUTIAE OF AMERICAN
AND HOLLYWOOD STUFF,
BUT NOT ENOUGH
ABOUT OUR OWN.

Richard says I WAS DOWN IN OUR NEWSSTAND
IN THE BUILDING HERE AT
TV ONTARIO TODAY, AND THERE
WAS A THING SAYING:
CYBILL SHEPHERD FIGHTING
WITH HER SEXY COSTAR,
CHRISTINE BARANSKI AND
THEIR WARS ARE ALL OVER,
AND THE FACT THAT CYBILL
KEEPS FIRING PEOPLE,
OR THAT SO-AND-SO
FIRES THEIR PRODUCERS.
IT'S EVERYWHERE.
NO ONE KNEW THAT THE
STREET LEGAL
CAST WERE
ALL OUT FIGHTING THE
FRONT OFFICE WITH KNIVES.
IS IT JUST OUR
CANADIAN RETICENCE?

Knowlton says I SUPPOSE, I SUPPOSE.
WE HAVEN'T TALKED
ABOUT IT VERY MUCH,
AND PEOPLE WANTED
TO KEEP IT QUIET.

Richard says BUT WHY DO THEY WANT
TO KEEP IT QUIET?

Knowlton says JUST THE NATURE,
THEIR RETIRING NATURE.
AND IT'S INTERESTING, AS
THEY DISCUSSED IT WITH ME -
BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY WE WERE
HAVING AN ON-THE-RECORD,
RECORDED INTERVIEW -
BUT PEOPLE JUST WANTED
TO TALK ABOUT THINGS.
AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE FUN
THINGS ABOUT DOING THE BOOK,
WAS LISTENING TO ALL THE
STORIES PEOPLE WOULD TELL,
BECAUSE THEY ENJOYED IT,
AND I ENJOYED IT TOO -
GREAT CONVERSATION.

Richard says AS I SAID, THERE WERE
THINGS THAT WERE
VERY COMPLETE, LIKE
STREET LEGAL.
THERE WERE ALSO LITTLE
PLACES WHERE I FELT YOU WERE
TELLING A STORY AND YOU
DIDN'T GO INTO IT IN GREAT
DETAIL, AND I WAS WONDERING
IF IT WAS BECAUSE
IT HAD BEEN TOLD BEFORE?

Knowlton says IT DEPENDS ON THE STORY.

Richard says HOW ABOUT THIS
HOUR HAS SEVEN DAYS?

Knowlton says AH, THAT WAS BECAUSE IT HAD
BEEN TOLD SO OFTEN BEFORE.
I'D DONE A GOOD BIT OF
IT IN
MICROPHONE WARS,
AND I JUST REALLY DIDN'T
WANT TO GO INTO IT AGAIN,
BECAUSE IT'S THERE, SO I
DIDN'T REALLY TOUCH ON THAT.
YEAH, YOU'RE RIGHT.

Richard says THE CHARACTER OF
LAURIER LaPIERRE,
WHO IS ALWAYS
LARGER THAN LIFE,
I GUESS THE READERS
OF THIS BOOK
SHOULD KNOW WHAT'S
GOING ON THERE AS WELL.

Knowlton says MAYBE I COULD HAVE
PICKED A CHAPTER OUT OF
MICROPHONE WARS
AND PUT IT IN
THERE, BUT THAT WAS WHY;
IN THAT CASE, I JUST
THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE
OVERKILL TO DO THAT AGAIN.

Richard says THERE'S ALSO SOME VERY
AFFECTIONATE AND PERCEPTIVE
WRITING IN THE BOOK,
LIKE WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT
SOMEONE LIKE PETER
GZOWSKI, FOR EXAMPLE,
AND HIS BOUNCE BACK AND
FORTH FROM RADIO TO
TELEVISION UNSUCCESSFULLY
AND THEN BACK TO RADIO.
I GUESS IT STILL MUST HAVE
HURT GZOWSKI AFTER ALL
THESE YEARS, BUT YET HE'S
VERY CANDID ABOUT IT.

Knowlton says HE IS VERY CANDID
ABOUT IT, BUT YEAH,
I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT,
THOSE ARE SCABS THAT
DON'T EVER REALLY
TOTALLY HEAL.
THERE STILL ARE
WOUNDS THAT ARE THERE.
WITH TIME, YOU GET ADJUSTED
TO IT, YOU UNDERSTAND IT,
BUT NEVERTHELESS,
IT HURTS, IT HURTS.
HE WAS BADLY TREATED BY
CRITICS, PARTICULARLY.

Richard says WITHOUT ASKING
YOU TO REVEAL,
BUT WERE THERE PEOPLE WHO
WOULDN'T TALK TO YOU?

Knowlton says NO, I DIDN'T RUN INTO
ANYONE WHO WOULDN'T SIT DOWN.
MOST OF THE TIME,
WE'D DO THREE, FOUR,
FIVE HOURS OF
CONVERSATION, WHICH THEN
I'D GO BACK AND
TRANSCRIBE.
NO, THE MORE WE CHATTED, THE
LONGER PEOPLE WANTED TO TALK
BECAUSE ONE STORY LEADS
TO ANOTHER STORY:
OH, I REMEMBER WHEN
SO-AND-SO HAPPENED.

Richard says DID YOU EVER FIND YOU WERE
GETTING CONFLICTING STORIES?

Knowlton says OH, SURE, OH, SURE.

Richard says WHAT DID YOU DO IN
A CASE LIKE THAT?

Knowlton says WHAT I DID IN A CASE LIKE
THAT WAS SIMPLY TO REFLECT
THE TWO STORIES, WHAT ONE
PERSON SAID - PARTICULARLY
IN
STREET LEGAL,
FOR INSTANCE,
THIS IS WHAT CYNTHIA
says, THIS IS WHAT
THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SAYS,
AND LET IT LIE THERE.
I DIDN'T MAKE A JUDGMENT
AS TO WHO WAS RIGHT
OR WHO WAS WRONG.

Richard says THERE'S OTHER THINGS I
DIDN'T REALIZE UNTIL AFTER
I READ THIS, FOR EXAMPLE, A
SHOW LIKE
HANGIN' IN
HAD BEEN
SUCH A LONG LIVED SHOW,
BECAUSE I ALWAYS THOUGHT
IT WAS THERE AND I
THOUGHT, YES, THAT'S OUT,
AND IT'S AROUND.
BUT IT LASTED SEVEN SEASONS
AND WAS VERY POPULAR AS WELL.

Knowlton says EXTRAORDINARILY
POPULAR, YEAH.

Richard says DOES THAT PUT KIND OF
THE LIE TO THE THEORY
THAT PEOPLE HAVE
OFTEN SAID THAT CBC
DOESN'T KNOW HOW
TO DO SITCOMS?

Knowlton says OH, SURE IT DOES.
I THINK THE CBC DOES
A LOT OF GOOD THINGS
OF THAT KIND: SITCOMS
AND DRAMAS AND COMEDY,
PARTICULARLY, AND
VARIETY SHOWS.
A TREMENDOUS
NUMBER OF THEM.
ONE OF THE
PROBLEMS, I GUESS,
HAS BEEN AN ABSENCE
OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
INFRASTRUCTURE, THE THING
YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT
A MOMENT AGO, IN SOME
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
AND STUFF, WHICH
REINFORCE AN AUDIENCE'S
INTEREST IN PROGRAMS.
WE HAVEN'T DONE THAT AS
WELL OR AS EXTENSIVELY
AS THE AMERICANS DO.

Richard says NOW, WE'RE TOTTERING ON
THE EDGE OF IF YOU RAISE CBC,
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS CARRYING
AROUND ON THE BACK OF THE MIND
IT'S NEAR DESTRUCTION,
YOU HEAR TODAY,
AND IT'S GOING
TO BE DISMANTLED.
AS SOMEONE WHO IS ON THE
INSIDE AND THE OUTSIDE
SIMULTANEOUSLY, WHAT DO YOU
THINK THE PROGNOSIS IS?

Knowlton says PRETTY BLACK RIGHT NOW
BECAUSE OF ALL THE CUTS
COMING ON - SOMETHING
LIKE 4,000 JOBS
AND 416 MILLION dollars OF CUT.
THAT'S A PRETTY
HORRENDOUS CUT.
WHAT IT MEANS IS THERE'LL
SIMPLY BE LESS PUBLIC SERVICE;
THERE'LL BE MORE REPEATS,
THERE'LL BE LESS RESEARCH,
THERE'LL BE LESS FACT-CHECKING,
THERE'LL BE LESS OF THE
KIND OF RESOURCES
THAT HAVE GONE INTO
PROGRAMS IN THE PAST
THAT HAVE MADE THEM
QUITE DISTINCTIVE.
AND I THINK THAT'S A SHAME;
I THINK THAT'S A TRAGEDY.
IN A WAY, IT SEEMS ODD TO
ME BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT'S
STRATEGY IS TO REALLY UNITE
THIS COUNTRY AND TRY TO GET
A SENSE OF THE WHOLE
NATION, FOR ALL OF US
TO HAVE A SENSE OF NATION.
AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE
INSTRUMENT IT HAS IS THIS
PUBLIC BROADCASTING,
IS THE CBC.
AND YET ITS TACTICS ARE
TO DAMAGE THE INSTRUMENT,
WHICH IS THE CENTRAL
ONE YOU CAN ACHIEVE
YOUR LONGER OBJECTIVES.
SO, YOUR STRATEGY IS AT
WAR WITH YOUR TACTICS
ALL THE TIME, AND I DON'T
UNDERSTAND WHY THEY DO THAT,
BUT THEY DO.

Richard says THERE'S AN
EPILOGUE, ALMOST,
IN THE BOOK WHICH IS A
MEMO FROM THE LATE 1940s.

Knowlton says YEAH, FROM A FORMER CHIEF
NEWS EDITOR OF THE CBC.
I PUT IT IN THERE BECAUSE I
THOUGHT, NOTHING CHANGES.

Richard says IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW THE
PEOPLE AND WHAT HE CALLED -
WHAT WAS THE NAME OF
THE DEPARTMENT THEN?

Knowlton says THE ADMINISTRATION P.N.A.

Richard says P.N.A. THAT THEY DO
EVERYTHING AND
WE ARE WALLOWING
IN BUREAUCRACY.
NOW, I PUT IT TO YOU, THERE
ARE PEOPLE WHO WANDER AROUND
THE BUILDING AND SEE THINGS
AND SAY THAT IT'S STILL
WALLOWING IN BUREAUCRACY,
AND WHEN IT GETS CUT,
IT GETS CUT ON AIR;
IT DOESN'T GET CUT
IN THE BUREAUCRATIC.

Knowlton says NO, IT'S BEEN CUT
IN THE BUREAUCRACY,
BEEN CUT PRETTY HEAVILY.
IN FACT, YOU WALK AROUND
NOW, YOU DON'T SEE MUCH;
YOU SEE A BIT OF
BLOOD ON THE FLOOR,
BUT YOU DON'T
SEE MUCH WASTE.
WHO KNOWS, MAYBE A
WEE BIT HERE OR THERE,
AS THERE IS IN ANY
ORGANIZATION, BUT CBC
IS NOT ONLY CUT TO THE
BONE AT THIS POINT,
IT'S CUT INTO THE BONE.
AND IT'S GOING
TO SHOW ON AIR;
IT WON'T BE AS EFFECTIVE
AS THEY ONCE WERE.

Richard says SO, THINGS AREN'T LEANER
AND MEANER, THEY'RE JUST?

Knowlton says THEY'RE JUST MEANER.

Richard says JUST MEANER.
DO YOU THINK THAT
INFLUENCES THE PHILOSOPHY
BEHIND PROGRAMMING
AS WELL?

Knowlton says THAT'S ONE OF THE REAL
WORRIES RIGHT NOW -
AT LEAST, I THINK IT
IS, WITHIN THE CBC -
BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE ARE SO
PREOCCUPIED WITH TRYING TO
CUT THIS 400 MILLION dollars THAT
THEIR TOTAL MIND IS ON THAT,
AND IT'S NOT AS MUCH
ON THE CREATIVE SIDE,
BECAUSE YOUR FOCUS, YOUR
ENERGY IS GOING OVER TO:
HOW AM I GOING
TO SAVE THIS MONEY?
RATHER THAN ON THE DARING,
PIONEERING, ADVENTURESOME,
CREATIVE SIDE, AND
THAT'S WORRISOME.
IT'LL COME BACK, IN TIME.
I'M FOREVER AN OPTIMIST,
BUT I THINK IT NEEDS SOME
CHANGED ATTITUDES BEFORE
IT CAN BE BROUGHT BACK.

Richard says BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
HAS SPRUNG UP AND CHANGED
IN THE LAST DECADE IS
THE FACT THAT, LIKE,
OUTSIDE PRODUCERS COME IN.
YOU TALK ABOUT THE GREAT
SUCCESS OF KEVIN SULLIVAN,
AND RIGHTLY SO, AND HIS
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
AND
THE ROAD TO AVONLEA
AND HE
HAS A NEW SERIES STARTING.
BUT THAT'S KEVIN
SULLIVAN PRODUCTIONS,
WITH A WHOLE EMPIRE
BUILT DOWN IN
THE EAST END OF THE CITY.
IT'S NOT REALLY
CBC DOING IT.

Knowlton says IT'S CBC HELPING, PROVIDING
SOME OF THE INFRASTRUCTURAL
SUPPORT FOR THAT KIND OF A
PROGRAM, AND IT'S CBC
AIRING IT, FOR
THAT MATTER.
AND I THINK THAT KIND OF
THING CAN BE VERY HELPFUL
AND IT CAN BE VERY GOOD,
PARTICULARLY NOW
WITH CBC GOING
INTO 100 PERCENT
OF ITS PRIME TIME IS
CANADIAN CONTENT.
IT'S GOING TO CRY OUT FOR
MORE CANADIAN CONTENT,
AND GOSH, CRY OUT FOR
MORE KEVIN SULLIVANS.

Richard says WHAT'S INTERESTING ALSO
IS IF YOU WANDER AROUND
THAT HUGE BROADCAST
CENTRE DOWNTOWN,
AND IF PEOPLE WANT TO COME
SEE TELEVISION BEING MADE,
BUT THE ONLY TWO THINGS
THEY CAN COME TO SEE
ON A REGULAR BASIS
NOW:
RITA MACNEIL,
AND
THE AIR FARCE, BOTH OF
WHICH ARE VERY POPULAR,
INDIGENOUS SHOWS, BUT
BOTH OF WHICH CBC
NEARLY LOST, AND YOU
TOUCH ON THAT TOO.

Knowlton says NEARLY DID, NEARLY DID.
I THINK THAT WAS BECAUSE
OF ITS PREOCCUPATION
WITH BUDGETS, AND YOUR
MIND SHIFTS AWAY FROM
YOUR CENTRAL PURPOSE, WHICH
IS SURELY THE PROGRAMS
ON THE AIR, TO THESE
OTHER BUDGETARY
PRIORITIES THAT YOU HAVE.
AND I THINK THAT'S
WHAT HAPPENED;
IT WAS A PREOCCUPATION WITH
THAT THAT ALMOST LOST
AT LEAST AIR
FARCE, ANYWAY.

Richard says NOW, I WANT TO GET CLOSE TO
HOME - YOUR LOVE, OBVIOUSLY,
TO GO INTO THE
CURRENT AFFAIRS AREA.
YOU TALK ABOUT THE GREAT
BOLD LAUNCHING OF
THE NATIONAL
AND
THE JOURNAL,
WHICH MOST PEOPLE AGREE
WAS ONE OF THE FINEST
THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO TV.

Knowlton says NOT AT THE TIME!
BEFORE IT WAS ON THE AIR,
EVERYBODY THOUGHT -
NOT EVERYBODY, BUT ALMOST
EVERYBODY FELT IT WAS
A FOOLISH GAMBLE THAT
WOULD NEVER WORK.

Richard says AND WHO'S GOING
TO WATCH TV AT 10:00,
AND WHO'S GOING
TO WATCH A WHOLE HOUR?
I REMEMBER YOU TALK ABOUT
PETER HERRNDORF BEING
IN TEARS AT THE END OF
THE FIRST BROADCAST,
JUST BECAUSE IT
HAD HAPPENED,
DESPITE ALL THE
NAYSAYERS.
IT'S LIKE
THE NATIONAL
AND
THE JOURNAL
IS KIND OF
LIKE A METAPHOR FOR THIS
WHOLE BOOK - ALONG COMES
THE FIDDLERS, AND THEY SAY,
LET'S TAKE THIS AND CHANGE IT
AND CHANGE THE NAME AND
MOVE IT AN HOUR EARLIER
AND PLAY AROUND WITH PEOPLE.
AND THEY NEARLY
WRECK IT, RIGHT?

Knowlton says YES, THEY DID,
VERY CLOSE TO IT.

Richard says BUT THEN NOW, THEY TRY TO
PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.

Knowlton says BASICALLY, WHAT HAPPENED
WAS THAT THEY WERE LOOKING AT
THE CBC SCHEDULE: WHAT CAN WE
DO TO REALLY SHAKE THIS UP,
DO SOMETHING DRAMATIC?
ONE THING DRAMATIC WOULD BE
IF YOU MOVE THE NEWS TO 9:00
AND THEN YOU PUT CHILDREN'S
PROGRAMMING OR YOUNG ADULT
PROGRAMMING BEFORE IT, AND
ADULT PROGRAMMING AFTER IT.
YOU MIGHT HAVE A WHOLE NEW
IMAGE YOU COULD CONSTRUCT.
AND IT WAS REALLY TO
ESTABLISH A NEW IMAGE
THAT THESE CHANGES
WERE MADE.
WASN'T TO MAKE
THE NEWS BETTER,
OR WASN'T TO MAKE THE
NEWS MORE ACCESSIBLE;
IT WAS TO HAVE A
NEW IMAGE.
BUT IT JUST DIDN'T WORK.
9:00 WAS SIMPLY TOO EARLY
FOR NEWS BECAUSE PEOPLE
ARE STILL ON THE PHONE, THEY'RE
STILL FINISHING UP DINNER,
KIDS ARE GOING TO BED,
THERE'S TOO
MUCH ACTION GOING ON.
BECAUSE NEWS AND CURRENT
AFFAIRS PROGRAMMING DEMAND
YOUR ATTENTION; YOU'VE GOT
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROGRAM
IN THE SENSE OF WATCHING
IT AND PAYING ATTENTION.
YOU CAN'T JUST LET IT
SIT AND DRIFT BY YOU.
THAT ENVIRONMENT
WASN'T THERE AT 9:00;
IT IS THERE AT 10:00.

Richard says LET ME SUGGEST
THAT IN THE 1980s,
WHEN CANADA WAS
BEING BULLISH,
AND THE WORLD WAS
BEING BULLISH,
AND WE HAD A CONFIGURATION
OF GREAT PEOPLE
IN THAT NEWSROOM
ON THE AIR,
BEHIND THE SCENES, AND
THAT NATIONAL MENTALITY,
WE ALL SWUNG
BEHIND SOMETHING.
DO YOU THINK THAT'LL
EVER COME BACK AGAIN?
YES, WE'RE NOW BACK TO
10:00 AND THE NUMBERS
ARE GOING BACK UP, AND
PEOPLE, OF COURSE,
TRUST Mr. MANSBRIDGE, AS
WELL, TO BE OUT THERE
IN THE FRONT LINE, AND
THEY LIKE HANA GARTNER.
IS IT THE SAME?

Knowlton says IT'S NOT QUITE THE SAME,
BUT IT'S BUILDING BACK
TO THE SAME, I THINK...
NOT THE SAME - IT'S BUILDING
BACK TO A VERY SIGNIFICANT
BROADCAST ROLE, I THINK.
BUT, AGAIN, THAT'S ONE OF
THE DANGERS OF THE BUDGET
CUTTING, BECAUSE IF
THERE'S GOING TO BE
AN ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUT,
THAT'S GOING TO DRAMATICALLY
AFFECT WHAT
THE
NATIONAL
CAN DO,
IN TERMS OF ITS EVALUATIVE,
IN TERMS OF ITS ANALYTICAL,
IN TERMS OF ITS
DOCUMENTARY PROGRAMMING.

Richard says IF YOU WERE STILL SITTING
OUT IN THE FRONT DESK,
AND YOU KNEW THAT YOU
DIDN'T HAVE THAT SIX THICK
THICK BEHIND YOU, THAT
GREAT CBC BENCH STRENGTH,
DOES THAT EVENTUALLY
COLOUR HOW YOU'RE LEADING,
WAVING THE FLAG
IN THE FRONT?

Knowlton says MAKES YOU A LITTLE MORE
NERVOUS IF YOUR BENCH STRENGTH
ISN'T AS STRONG AS IT
USED TO BE, SURE.

Richard says AND DOES IT CHANGE THE
KIND OF NEWS YOU REPORT?

Knowlton says IT MAY CHANGE THE KIND OF
NEWS YOU REPORT BECAUSE
THE LESS MONEY YOU HAVE; IT'S
CHEAPER TO COVER EVENTS
THAN TO GIVE A DETAILED
EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS,
ANALYTICAL REPORT.
THEREFORE, YOU GET
FORCED INTO MORE,
AND THE TECHNOLOGY ALSO MAKES
IT CHEAPER TO COVER EVENTS.
AND EVERYBODY'S
COVERING EVENTS;
I THINK THE CBC HAS
TO BE DISTINCTIVE
IN ITS JOURNALIST.
IT HAS TO BE RATHER
SPECIAL AND MORE IN-DEPTH
THAN JOURNALISM ELSEWHERE,
BECAUSE IF IT'S THE SAME
AS JOURNALISM ELSEWHERE,
THERE'S NO POINT TO IT.

Richard says YOU CAN'T REALLY JUST BECOME
AMBULANCE CHASERS, RIGHT?

Knowlton says NO, NO, YOU CAN'T
BE, NOT AT ALL.

Richard says YOU TELL US IN THIS
BOOK,
CUE THE ELEPHANT,
ABOUT A GLORIOUS PAST AT
CBC - DARK, BUT GLORIOUS.
AND WHAT DO YOU
THINK THE FUTURE IS?

Knowlton says NOT LOTS OF FUN.
I THINK FOR THE NEXT YEAR,
IT DEPENDS WHAT HAPPENS
NOW WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S
400 MILLION dollars IN CUTS.
WITH THE NEW CUTS THAT
HAS COME INTO EFFECT,
IT'S GOING TO HAVE A
DRAMATIC EFFECT ON
THE QUALITY OF PROGRAMMING,
ON RADIO AND ON TELEVISION.
I THINK IT'LL TAKE A
WHILE FOR THE CBC
TO RESHAPE ITSELF,
RECONFIGURE ITSELF,
AND COME BACK.
IF IT CHOOSES THE
RIGHT PRIORITIES,
IF IT PROTECTS ITS
CORE PROGRAMMING,
THEN I THINK IT CAN
COME BACK AND BE A VERY
SIGNIFICANT PLAYER.
BECAUSE EVEN A REDUCED
ORGANIZATION WILL STILL
BE FAIRLY POPULAR, BUT
THE REAL QUESTION -
PEOPLE USUALLY ASK,
WHITHER THE CBC,
AND I WORRY THAT NOW
THE GOVERNMENT
IS BEGINNING TO ASK,
WHETHER THE CBC
AND THAT'S A SCARY
THING, BECAUSE THUS FAR,
THE BASICALLY CULTURAL
POLICY HAS BEEN BEING MADE BY
THE DEPUTY MINISTERS IN
THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE.
AND THAT'S THE WRONG PLACE,
I THINK FOR CULTURE POLICY
TO BE MADE IN THIS COUNTRY.
I THINK THAT IF THERE IS
A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE
COMING OUT IN THE
NEXT LITTLE WHILE,
IN THE NEXT SIX
MONTHS OR SO,
THEN THERE IS A REAL
CHANCE FOR A MAJOR,
SIGNIFICANT
CONTRIBUTION BY THE CBC

Richard says AND WE MIGHT EVEN
GET A THIRD BOOK.

Knowlton says WELL, I DON'T
KNOW ABOUT THAT.
HAVING DONE TWO OF THEM,
I THINK ONE WAS SERIOUS,
AND THIS IS LIGHT
STORYTELLING,
DESPITE ALL THE SHENANIGANS
THAT YOU AND I HAVE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT
BEHIND THE SCENES,
BUT IT'S FUNDAMENTALLY
ANECDOTAL RATHER THAN HISTORY.

Richard says IT IS, AND IT'S A
SERIES OF GOOD ANECDOTES.
KNOWLTON, THANK
YOU VERY MUCH.

Knowlton says THANK YOU VERY
MUCH, RICHARD.

Richard faces the screen and says
CUE THE ELEPHANT,
BY KNOWLTON NASH,
PUBLISHED BY
MCCLELLAND and STEWART.
FOR
DIALOGUE, I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOODBYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1996, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Knowlton Nash