CBC Digital Archives

This Hour has Seven Days: Chuvalo, Welles, and the Klan

In just two seasons between 1964 and 1966, This Hour has Seven Days staked its claim as the most defiant and controversial program in Canadian broadcasting history.~ Created by Douglas Leiterman and Patrick Watson, Seven Days launched a new era of public affairs television, actively taking on the role of the nation's ombudsman and interrogator. Some — including certain members of the CBC brass in Ottawa — called it "sensationalism," "arrogant" and a breach of journalistic neutrality. But Canadians loved it. Millions tuned in every Sunday night at 10 p.m. to watch the show everyone would be talking about the next day. The CBC Digital Archives presents nine complete episodes here, selected from the 50 programs made before the show was cancelled. Due to copyright issues, satirical sketches and songs that originally aired between news segments have been edited out.

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Fixing for a fight, Seven Days profiles Canadian boxing champ George Chuvalo, makes some unexpected introductions when the Ku Klux Klan comes to town and challenges girlie magazines on their claims to being revolutionary. Also in this 1965 episode, Sudbury, Ont., mourns a young police sergeant gunned down in the line of duty. In Vancouver and Toronto, Jack Webster and Larry Zolf talk to down-and-out men in the street to get their opinions on the upcoming election. In Paris, Patrick Watson buttonholes Orson Welles for a chat about film.
• Robert Guccione founded Penthouse magazine in 1965. First published in England, Guccione moved his hit adult magazine to New York in 1968. He immediately took out an ad in the New York Times that said "We're hunting rabbits," with a picture of the Playboy logo in a rifle sight. Penthouse published more explicit pictures than Playboy and targeted a less literary reading audience. Circulation pulled even with Playboy in the early 1980s, but slipped back below it by the mid-1980s.

• Orson Welles was an American actor, writer, director and producer of radio, film, television and theatre. Early in his career he made a name for himself with his 1938 radio adaptation of the H.G. Wells novella War of the Worlds. The program caused thousands to panic as listeners mistook the play for an actual news report of an alien invasion. His first film, Citizen Kane, is still considered to be one of the greatest films ever produced.

• According to the New York Times, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon Calvin Craig, seen in this episode, was something of an enigma. A fiery opponent of desegregation for most of the 1960s, he abruptly resigned his leadership post in the Klan in 1968 and declared that he wanted to help build a nation where "black men and white men can stand shoulder to shoulder in a united America."

• Rev. James Bevel was a key member of the civil rights movement. He led the Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963 and spearheaded the Selma right to vote campaign in 1965. A close ally of Martin Luther King Jr., Bevel kept up the fight after King's death and expanded his activities to include protests against the Vietnam War. In 1995, he helped organize the Million Man March. But Bevel too turned out to be a somewhat enigmatic figure. Later in life, he aligned himself with perennial U.S. presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche, running as his vice presidential candidate in 1992. He's also worked closely with controversial figures like Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon and Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan.

• To view part of the George Chuvalo profile on its own, please visit the CBC Digital Archives clip Boxing's Holy Grail: the World Title. For a full overview of Chuvalo's life and times, please visit the CBC Digital Archives topic Still Standing: The People's Champion George Chuvalo.
Medium: Television
Program: This Hour has Seven Days
Broadcast Date: Oct. 24, 1965
Guest(s): James Bevel, George Chuvalo, Calvin Craig, Dennis Duncan, Robert Guccione, Mrs. L. Quesnelle, George Sleigh, George Target, Orson Welles
Announcer: Warren Davis
Host: Dinah Christie, Laurier LaPierre, Patrick Watson
Interviewer: Robert Hoyt
Reporter: Jack Webster, Larry Zolf
Duration: 49:16
Penthouse photographs and magazine covers published by FriendFinder Networks.

Last updated: October 3, 2014

Page consulted on October 3, 2014

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