Get the Mack Sennett Story tonight on Documentary

One of the things that surprised Sean Patrick Shaul while making “Silent Legend: The Mack Sennett Story” was how few people, even in the film and TV business, had even heard of the man dubbed the original “King of Comedy.” The Vancouver-based filmmaker’s Sennett doc premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on CBC’s Documentary Channel. Having… Read on



Don Francks 1932 – 2016

I only have one Don Francks story, and it’s really not even about him. News of the passing of Francks came over the weekend. He was 84. The Vancouver-born actor, jazz musician and all around cool dude worked right up till the end, finally succumbing to lung cancer. Francks is somebody I really regret not having… Read on


Bat-tacular time at Thursday’s TV on Film Project screening at TIFF

One of the wonderful surprises from Thursday night’s TV on Film Project screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox was discovering an audience member had a hand in bringing two classic gems to Canadian TV screens. For many years, Pip Wedge was VP of programming at CTV.  In the fall of 1966, however, Wedge was creating shows for CTV… Read on


Garry Shandling 1949 – 2016

First reaction: tremendous sadness. The great Garry Shandling passed away Thursday at 66 after suffering a heart attack. Second reaction: thank goodness he got to take that one last ride with Jerry Seinfeld. Go to Crackle.com now and watch the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode from the most recent season featuring Shandling. The episode is… Read on



Classic TV still a no fly zone on Air Canada

Who picks the “Classic TV” options on Air Canada flights–somebody with a dart board? Is this some plot by Air Canada to drive folks to turn off their screens and save electricity? Among the classic choices this week: two episodes of the best-forgotten Howard Hesseman classroom comedy from the late ’80s, Head of the Class.… Read on


Rewind: 1960s Batman doesn’t pack the same Pow!

How batty was I over Batman? Fifty years ago, when it first premiered on ABC, pretty batty. So when The Toronto Star started running reviews on old TV shows as part of their “Rewind” series of “first pop culture loves,” I called dibs on the bat-beat. See how I rated the show back when I… Read on


Abe Vigoda: 1921 – 2016

Back when he was on NBC, Conan O’Brien would invite Abe Vigoda on Late Night just to prove that the former Barney Miller star was still alive. On Tuesday night’s Conan, the host paid tribute to the actor, who finally passed away–after all those premature rumours–at the age of 94. The above clip shows several… Read on


Ninety years ago: Baird demonstrates the first TV

Television, it seems has many fathers. One of them is John Baird, showcased in Tuesday’s Google Doodle. Ninety years ago Tuesday, Baird gave the first public demonstration of his invention: the first mechanical television. It was to regular television what Donald Trump is to presidential candidates: crude, sketchy, loud, often unintelligible. Still, back in 1926, Baird transmitted… Read on