CBC Digital Archives

1982: Friendly Giant Bob Homme steps out of costume

They come into our living rooms via the radio or TV set, speaking directly to the kids with a friendly, familiar tone. It's a rather intimate set-up, which is why the hosts of popular children's programs often hold a special place in our hearts — even long after we've grown up. From Mary Grannan to Ernie Coombs, the CBC Digital Archives has compiled a collection of radio and TV interviews featuring some of the CBC's most cherished children's program hosts.

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"This is the first time you've ever been on television outside of The Friendly Giant, out of character," says CBC-TV host Bob McLean in this 1982 interview. "Why was that, Bob?" Bob Homme, the actor in the lead role on CBC-TV's The Friendly Giant, explains that he thought it would have been "puzzling" for young fans to see him as a real person. So he had kept the real Bob Homme private since the show began in the 1950s, but decided to do this rare 1982 TV interview as himself in order to promote a new Friendly Giant record album.
• Bob Homme was born in Stoughton, Wisc., on March 27, 1919. • The Friendly Giant first began as a radio program aired in Wisconsin starting in 1953, and soon moved to television, airing on a local Wisconsin TV station. CBC executives saw the program and were impressed with it. So in 1958, the CBC invited the show's creator and star, Bob Homme, to move the show to Canada. The CBC produced The Friendly Giant from 1958 until its cancellation in 1985.

• By the time production of The Friendly Giant ended, more than 3,000 episodes had aired.

• Under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the federal government made massive budget cuts to the CBC in December 1984.  Several days later, on Dec. 18, 1984, it was announced that The Friendly Giant was being cancelled. The last new show aired in March of 1985.

• In a Dec. 19, 1984 editorial titled "The giant-killers," the Globe and Mail strongly lamented the cancellation of The Friendly Giant. "This was an exceptional component of Canadian television, and one that will be sorely missed. Even among those whose pre-school years were left far behind, the theme music (Early One Morning) comes easily to mind and, with it, a feeling of tranquillity that can put the frantic pace of everyday life into absurd perspective."

• Homme passed away in May 2000 at the age of 81, leaving behind his wife Esther and their four children.

Medium: Television
Program: McLean at Large
Broadcast Date: April 13, 1982
Guest: Bob Homme
Host: Bob McLean
Duration: 6:41

Last updated: November 3, 2014

Page consulted on November 12, 2014

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