Today in Canadian Art History: CBC Television Debuts [includes video]


Crew At CBC TV Vancouver Are About To Film The Title Roll For Show - 1952

September 8, 1952 – CBC Television launches in a night that The Globe and Mail reviewed as “cluttered but promising.”

Broadcasting from a studio in Toronto, a nervous and excited team of journalists and entertainers offers the first evening’s entertainment. Canadians laugh at a three-puppet sketch featuring the eccentric character Uncle Chichimus. A young Glenn Gould dazzles the audience with a performance. And, CBC TV presents its first scoop with a news story about the Boyd Gang’s break from the Don Jail.

The debut came after the CBC had hired producers, directors and technicians early in 1952 and spent months learning the new ways of television. “Mornings were spent in the classroom learning about TV techniques and theory; afternoons were devoted to hands-on learning in the studio.”

Funny fact:

CBC 1952“Seconds before the cameras went live, a technician removed and cleaned the CBC logo slide. Producer Murray Chercover shouted at the technician, “Don’t do that!” and the rattled crew member placed the slide back in upside down as the network took to the airwaves. “I can’t remember what we did, or if we shot the poor guy responsible,” Norman Jewison, then a 25-year-old floor director, later recalled. (Here’s Looking At Us, 2002).”

Two days earlier, on September 6, CBC TV debuted in Montreal on CBFT.

At 4 p.m., viewers tuned in and watched the movie Aladdin and his Lamp, followed by a cartoon, and then a French film, a news review and a bilingual variety show.

You can find out more about the history of the CBC here.

* Source: CBC

* FYI: Despite launching on September 6th in Montreal, CBC notes their launch date as the 8th in their archive which is why it is used initially here.