CBC Digital Archives

Percy Saltzman hosts 'Tabloid' on Boxing Day

Tired of the holiday hustle and bustle? Pour yourself a cup of eggnog, pull a chair up to the warm glow of the computer monitor and embrace the month of December with CBC Digital Archives. In the spirit of the season of sharing, we've unearthed a trove of Radio and TV clips about Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice and Kwanzaa.

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The popular Tabloid hosts are in serious holiday mode in this gimmicky Boxing Day episode that points to the pure fun of making television in CBC's early days. Percy Saltzman is left to hold down the fort, doing what he does best - the weather - as the rest of the hosts drink coffee and light one another's cigarettes in the CBC cafeteria. After talking about their holidays, the hosts chat with British actor Eric Christmas about his trip through Western Canada. Back in the studio, Humane Society director, Leslie Anderson, tells Saltzman, in remarkable detail, what holiday leftovers are safe to feed to pets, proving that in the television's embryonic stage, people really would watch anything.

• Viewers adored weatherman Percy Saltzman, who bicycled to the CBC studio every weekday after punching out from his day job as a government meteorologist. Saltzman was so popular that McLean moved him from the chalkboard to the studio, where he quizzed guests with blunt curiousity. • McLean handpicked his friend Elaine Grand to work as a freelance interviewer. A fashion illustrator from Winnipeg, Grand proved a natural and quickly became the most famous woman on Canadian TV. Grand moved to England in 1956 to work for British TV but continued to freelance for CBC, even hosting her own series, Elaine Grand, from Britain in 1976.

• Host Dick MacDougal, a.k.a. "Mr. Relaxation," also came from radio. MacDougal was a fixture on the show until his unexpected death on Feb. 1, 1957. Tabloid cancelled its regular programming the next day to pay the much-loved host a special tribute.

• British-Canadian actor Eric Christmas is best remembered for his roles as the priest in Harold and Maude and as Mr. Carter, the principal of Angel Beach High School, in the first three Porky's movies.

• The Sarnia Humane Society website warns pet owners to watch out for these holiday hazards: stagnant Christmas tree water, electrical cords, tinsel, batteries and glass ornaments.

Medium: Television
Program: Tabloid
Broadcast Date: Dec. 26, 1955
Guest(s): Eric Christmas
Announcer: Gil Christy
Host: Elaine Grand, Percy Saltzman, Dick MacDougal
Duration: 28:22

Last updated: January 31, 2013

Page consulted on January 5, 2015

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