Watch John Candy run a shopping mall present-wrapping contest in 1976

On Dec. 2, 1976, John Candy broadcast live on location from a BC shopping mall.

In 1976, reality TV didn't get more exciting than this

Live on location from a BC shopping mall, John Candy hosted a CBC gift-wrapping competition on this day in 1976. (CBC Digital Archives)

For some of us, John Candy brings back holiday memories. Maybe you watch him every winter in Planes Trains and Automobiles.

Or remember him in Home Alone?

Revisiting those movies has become a holiday tradition, and back in 1976, the same year Candy started on SCTV, CBC recruited the comic for some festive programming of their own.

Imagine a gift-wrapping competition, broadcast live to a national audience. Only the Yule Log could top that promise of slow-TV thrills, but 90 Minutes Live, a talk show hosted by Peter Gzowski, made it happen 39 years ago today. 

On location at a Burnaby, BC shopping mall, John Candy laid out the game while providing colour commetary. "The rules are simple: anything goes," and real contestants were faced with one simple challenge: wrap a box. Some, like Candy for instance, might say the challenge was too simple. 

"I hate giving away CBC money like this on such easy things," he says in the clip. Watch to see what happens next.

For more throwbacks like this one, head to the CBC Digital Archives.


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