Produced at CKCO from 1961 to 1964

In December 1960, Bruce Lawson, the CKCO program director contacted Wayne Somerville, the physical education consultant for the Kitchener and District Public Schools about an exercise program.  Wayne felt he could not accept the job because of his role as consultant so he recommended me to the program director.  I taught physical education in the Kitchener and District Public Schools since 1956.  I was called the week before Christmas and asked to come in for a ‘screen test’ on Christmas eve day.

Bruce was there for the screening however before I was finished he called a halt to the ‘screen’ and with very little further discussion I was ‘invited’ (if you knew Bruce, you can read into the ‘invite’) to be at the studio on New Year’s Day to tape an entire week’s worth of programs. The first program began on January 2, 1961.

I was the producer, writer, host of the program and was paid accordingly – $10 per program .  I taped 3 shows on one night and 2 shows the next night.  George Moskal directed most of the shows.  Jack Alexander was usually on cameras – the turret kind of lenses. Jack would often lift the one camera off the tripod while taping, sit it on the floor so he could shoot the exercises from that angle when I was lying on the floor or the close ups of the hand exercises.  Ron Beatty was usually on boom and Pat Ludwig was on piano and the Hammond organ – no rehearsal or prior consultation with Pat – he just followed what I was doing and whatever rhythm he set I made the exercise fit. We worked extremely well together as I recall – Pat is the consummate professional musician – brilliant.

The show followed the CBC’s Friendly Giant all in glorious Black and White.

Video tape recorders had just been introduced – I believe CKCO had the first outside Toronto.  VT machines were very unreliable in those days – sometimes I had to repeat a show – sometimes again because the recording did not ‘take’ – there was no way of knowing this until the show was over and checked. Of course being an exercise program I would tend to perspire after each 20 minute show. The production staff were not thrilled with having to wait for me to cool down – sometimes the shirts were soaked and the forehead poured perspiration like a shower. The staff pushed me to get going on the next show so that they could go home. They claimed I was just out of shape.

The program went off the air in the summer of 1964 with a series of reruns .  However, with this experience I was later appointed audio visual consultant for the Waterloo County Board of Education.

Doug Gerrard
Feb 20, 2009