CBC Digital Archives

Laughing with sailors

Whether they're homegrown comics or jokers from abroad, CBC has hosted more than its fair share of comedians over the years. From Buster Keaton of the silent-film era to a young Jim Carrey, CBC Digital Archives presents a selection of guests that have kept us laughing.

At "an eastern Canadian port" (the censors' preferred term for Halifax), comedy legends Woodhouse and Hawkins (Art McGregor and Frank Deaville) have arrived for two programs of music and comedy for the men of His Majesty's Royal Canadian Navy. The sailors aren't just there to laugh though: after a few jokes, Petty Officer Bob Sewell struts his stuff as a soloist, then joins with the crowd in singing a rousing rendition of Apple Blosom Time
• Canadian comedy duo Woodhouse and Hawkins began their radio careers in 1935 with a 15-minute program on the CBC's precursor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission. They moved to Winnipeg to put on a 30-minute show. During the war they travelled across Canada putting on shows for members of the Armed Forces, including In the Navy with Woodhouse and Hawkins and At Manning Depot for air force trainees. Their CBC program moved to Toronto, ending in 1947.

• Everything that went to air during the Second World War was heavily scrutinized to make sure it contained nothing that could hinder the war effort or aid the enemy. CBC newsrooms received and followed directives from government authorities, but "under no circumstances attempt to withhold or modify news on their own initiative." News reports from overseas were censored by the military at the source.

I'll be with You in Apple Blossom Time was written in 1920 by Neville Fleeson (words) and Albert Von Tilzer (music) — the man credited with writing the tune for Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Apple Blossom Time appeared on screen in the 1941 Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates (sung by the Andrews Sisters) and the 1947 Esther Williams swimming flick This Time for Keeps (sung by Johnnie Johnston). It's also been recorded by Barry Manilow.

• Host George Young introduces the western-themed songs with a joke about "boarding ship and sailing deep into the heart of Texas," by taking a "prairie schooner." That was the name for a half-sized version of the Conestoga covered wagons used to haul people and freight across the Wild West. The name refers to the horse- or oxen-drawn wagons' white canvas tops, and their resemblance to sails on the ocean.
Medium: Radio
Program: Woodhouse and Hawkins
Broadcast Date: May 22, 1942
Host: George Young, Art McGregor, Frank Deaville
Performer: Bob Sewell
Duration: 2:51

Last updated: February 17, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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