Gang's second jailbreak becomes CBC's first TV news story
It's the early 1950s, and banks are popping up all over "Toronto the Good." So too is a daring group of villains (or heroes, depending on who you ask): the bank-robbing, jail-busting "Boyd Gang." Warring newspapers and budding television stations race to break any news of Toronto's most infamous gangsters, and capture the imagination of the public.
The news anchor on this opening night is Lorne Greene. The reporter covering the Boyd Gang escape is a young Harry Rasky. In this clip, Rasky returns for CBC TV's 50th anniversary to explain how he created the item.
. Each day for thirty minutes the gang members let themselves out of their cells to saw through the bars at the end of the cellblock while the guards supervised prisoner transfers. On the night of Sept. 7, 1952 they crawled out of the window onto a wall and made their way down into the Don Valley.
. When their absence was first noticed, the jail was ringed by reporters and guards who thought the escapees were still on the roof. Eventually a prisoner yelled down from a window to tell them the gang members were long gone.
. The Don Jail's warden and several guards were suspended for letting the gang escape.
. A $26,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of each of the four escaped gang members. The Province of Ontario, the Board of Commissioners of Police for the City of Toronto, and the Canadian Bankers' Association fronted the money. There were reported (and untrue) sightings across Ontario and Quebec.
. The escapees were rightly considered armed and dangerous. Local police officers travelled in well-armed pairs.
The Sept. 8, 1952 CBC newscast was introduced by anchor Lorne Greene. Greene was the "voice of doom" CBC Radio announcer during the Second World War, and later became a famous TV, film and stage actor.
. Harry Rasky went on to become one of Canada's most acclaimed documentary filmmakers. He has received an Emmy Award and two Oscar nominations.
Program: Inside Information
Broadcast Date: Sept. 18, 2002
Guest(s): Harry Rasky
Host: Bill Cameron
Last updated: June 11, 2014
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
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