Flashback: Sundown on a Canadian legend

The latest Flashback newsletter remembers when Lightfoot met Trebek and shares more tidbits from the CBC archives.

Memories of Gordon Lightfoot and the retirement of a longtime CBC host

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Man plays guitar on TV studio set with a fence behind him
Gordon Lightfoot was photographed on the set of CBC's Music Hop on Oct. 16, 1963. According to CBC records for the episode that aired the following day, he performed the song "Four Strong Winds." (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot died on May 1 at age 84, and his impact continues to resonate. Ideas for tributes to his memory — including a statue at a beloved music venue and a public square named after him — have already surfaced.

According to CBC records, he first appeared on two shows almost simultaneously in 1959: as one of the Singin' Swingin' Eight, a square-dancing ensemble on Country Hoedown, and as a contestant on Talent Caravan. In 1963, he appeared on the teen-oriented Music Hop (pictured above) and chatted with host Alex Trebek.

"Gord, how do you feel about how the folk songs are booming these days?" Trebek asked. (He also called Lightfoot "Gordie.") "It's very good, Al," Lightfoot replied. "There certainly is a lot of work around for folk singers."

Ticked off

People seen from knees down with pants tucked into socks
Tucking one's pants into one's socks while in an area known to harbour deer ticks was the best way to avoid Lyme disease. (The National/CBC Archives )

With warmer temperatures comes the temptation to bare one's legs, but that comes with risks, especially for anyone walking in tall grass, reports CBC News.

Garden-variety wood ticks are nuisance enough, but for more than 30 years, Canadians have also had to beware the hazard of Lyme disease. On CBC's The National in 1989, reporter Eric Sorensen learned how to avoid deer ticks, which cause the illness.

"The ticks will wait and they'll look in the grass along the trail for something like a deer or a person to walk by [and] they'll latch on," said wildlife manager Jeff Robinson. His advice to avoid that was to tuck one's pants into one's socks. 

Ready for a riot

Rioting breaks out in Vancouver after 1994 Stanley Cup loss

29 years ago
Duration 3:59
Police deploy crowd-control methods on the streets when things turn violent after the Canucks lose Game 7 to the New York Rangers. Aired on CBC's Prime Time News on June 15, 1994.

The creators of I'm Just Here for the Riot, a new documentary about the melee in Vancouver that followed the Canucks' Stanley Cup loss in 2011, apparently named their film after the slogan printed on a T-shirt worn by an out-of-town participant.

The 2011 mayhem may have been fuelled by regular repetition of TV footage from 1994. "In the days leading up to Game 7, footage from that riot became a regular feature on local news," noted CBC Arts in a recent profile of the documentary.

The police were ready for whatever might happen on the streets during the final, according to a 2011 report from CBC News. "Our crowd-control unit is going to be front and centre," said Chief Jim Chu. "They're also going to be looking for people that might be getting a little carried away and give them a friendly chat." 

Coffee talk

Man in front of image of drip coffee machine
The CBC's Knowlton Nash is seen introducing a news item on The National on Jan. 31, 1979, which related to a labour dispute over a secretary who'd been asked to fetch a coffee for her boss. (The National/CBC Archives)

How much coffee is too much? CBC Radio podcast The Dose said recently that genetics can have a lot to do with it. In 1979, even one cup proved to be too much for a secretary whose boss expected her to fetch coffee.

The last laugh

woman behind microphone in radio studio
From the studio in Toronto, Shelagh Rogers read some of retiring host Peter Gzowski's favourite letters to CBC Radio's Morningside. The last edition of the program aired on May 30, 1997. (CBC Television)

Longtime CBC Radio host Shelagh Rogers has announced that her last time on air after 43 years will be next month. In 1997, when the CBC's Peter Gzowski hung up his microphone, Rogers was there for his last show.

Corner stories

Portage and Main in 1958

4 years ago
Duration 1:33
Stanley Burke reports on the 1958 Manitoba election while standing at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg.

An intersection seldom inspires strong feelings, but one in Winnipeg does for a resident who spoke to CBC Radio's As It Happens. Seen above: Portage and Main in 1958. Barricades have blocked pedestrians from those streets since 1979.

Checkered past

rock band performing in dark club
Halifax band Sloan (Jay Ferguson, Chris Murphy and Patrick Pentland, above; not pictured: Patrick Scott) performs in 1992 on the CBC program Ear to the Ground. (Ear to the Ground/CBC Archives)

A new radio documentary from from Atlantic Voice, a storytelling series out of Halifax, revisits the city's heyday as "the new Seattle" due to the success of its bands (such as Sloan, above). At the time, a radio doc from CBC's Brand X painted a picture of "more plaid than you can handle."

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