CBC Digital Archives

Roy Thomson on Front Page Challenge

Pierre Berton fits right in with his spotted bowtie. Front Page Challenge has updated its image with a pink polka-dotted set and a new swinging theme song. But the show's journalistic integrity has not suffered from this newfound lightness. As proof, astute judgement and swift questioning prevail on this episode of the long-running CBC game show. Betty Kennedy uncovers today's mystery guest: a media mogul and lord who got his start in a small Ontario town. 
• Roy Herbert Thomson, the mystery guest in this episode, was born in Toronto in 1894.
• In 1934 he bought the weekly Timmins Press for $200.
• Thomson soon became a successful entrepreneur with a patchwork of companies to his name, including a hairstyling business and an ice cream cone manufacturer.
• By the 1950s he owned 19 newspapers and in 1966 he purchased The London Times.

• During his lifetime, Thomson acquired 200 newspapers.
• In 1964, Thomson was knighted Lord Thomson of Fleet. He died in London, England in 1976.
• Toronto's concert venue Roy Thomson Hall was named after the baron. Formerly known as New Massey Hall, the hall's name was changed in 1982 after Thomson's family donated $4.5 million. At the time, it was the most sizeable donation ever made to the arts community in Canada.

Front Page Challenge was on the air from 1957 to 1995. It was television's longest-running game show.
• At times during its run, the primetime show drew a record two million viewers.
• Notable mystery guests included Igor Gouzenko, Eleanor Roosevelt and Errol Flynn, and guest panellist Walter Cronkite.
• Panellist Betty Kennedy was also an announcer and public affairs editor for Toronto radio station CFRB.

• In 1972, CBC promotional material referred to Kennedy as "the beauty of the panel."
• When Gordon Sinclair died in 1984 he was replaced by Maclean's columnist Allan Fotheringham.
• Part of Front Page's success was that it connected with regional audiences. In 1972, the show aired from Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver.
Medium: Television
Program: Front Page Challenge
Broadcast Date: April 3, 1972
Guest(s): Roy Thomson
Host: Fred Davis
Panellist: Pierre Berton, Betty Kennedy, Gordon Sinclair, Gordon Sinclair, Jr.
Duration: 21:50
Please contact the Writers Guild of Canada at 416-979-7907 if you are able to identify the writer of this clip.

Last updated: March 19, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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