Day 6

'Everything is funny. It really is.' Remembering former CBC Radio host Arthur Black with a smile

For nearly 20 years, Canadians spent their Saturday mornings being entertained by Arthur Black, host of CBC Radio's Basic Black. We remember our former colleague following his death on Wednesday.
Arthur Black, seen in a 2002 news piece about his retirement, announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in January. (CBC)

He was CBC Radio's best hope as a contender for Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers

For almost two decades, Basic Black aired in what is now Day 6's time slot.

Canadians woke up each Saturday morning for their fix of humour, music and interviews with ordinary people who have extraordinary stories.

That show was hosted by Arthur Black. A brilliant writer and humorist, he was great at reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously. He was also a really nice guy.

Arthur Black died this week after announcing he had pancreatic cancer last month. He was 74.

Basic Black was known for its unconventional segments including the Humline, a phone line where listeners could leave a tune if they couldn't remember the name of a song.

It also featured a number of unexpected and delightful interviews.

We've dug into the CBC Archives to uncover some of the show's most memorable moments.

Arthur Black was host of CBC Radio's 'Basic Black' which ran from 1983 until 2002. (CBC Archives)


"The natural look is in!"

After finding out about Neuticles, a line of accessories for dogs living with 'Post-Neutering Trauma,' Black spoke with Greg Miller, the inventor of testicular implants for dogs, cats, horses and bulls.

Arthur Black learns that dogs can suffer trauma after being neutered — and Greg Miller has the solution. 3:34

Sweaters for Penguins

"It's just a little one-piece pullover with a little turtleneck!"

When volunteers were looking to help baby penguins recovering from oil spills off the coast of Australia, Black answered the call. He spoke with Linda Parker who was part of a group knitting wool sweaters for penguins.

After a group of fairy penguins got caught in an oil spill, a group of volunteers put out a call for knitted sweaters. Linda Park told Arthur Black why. 3:17
Arthur Black is shown in his office in this undated photo. (CBC)


"Man, those guys bug the heck out of me."

Sick of telemarketers calling him all hours of the day, Tom Mabe decided to take revenge with pranks. Black spoke to Mabe about the hilarious — and sometimes gory — ways he turned the tables.

Fed up with incessant calls, Tom Mabe began pranking them. Arthur Black plays those calls and hears about why. 9:04

Annoying jingles

"Your credit's good at People's every day!"

Ever get a jingle stuck in your head? You're not alone. But Black considers the bright side of the jingles that just wouldn't leave his brain… five decades later.

Plagued by their tunes, Arthur Black sings some memorable jingles on 'Basic Black'. 0:58