Sunday, March 9, 2008

Better Than Awesome website-old Canadian TV shows

Continuing what seems to be a theme of recalling old Canadian TV shows, recently the love of my life and I found the following link to a GREAT website:

It's not an exhaustive source, but it features some references to TV shows I had forgotten I had even seen. Shows like "Harrigan" (B & W photo), a kid's show featuring a somewhat demented-looking leprechaun who liked to sing-spell his name at the opening credits ("H-A-double-R-I....G-A-N spells Harrigan!!"). It was remarkable for it's cheesiness: Harrigan would prance about in front of a chromakey screen, squatting on poorly-rendered "toadstools", playing his clarinet and sharing stories and songs designed to force the young viewer to finally turn off the TV and switch to their homework for a welcome respite. Harrigan, like most "whimsical" children's entertainers, always kind of frightened me with the intensity of his desire to magically charm the viewer. It was kind of like watching "Lucky" from the Lucky Charms box trying to shake off a sugar high from too many yellow stars and purple horseshoes.

The site also includes references to that after-school classic "The Edison Twins". This eighties foray into "edu-tainment" features a pair of plucky twins and their unfortunate-looking younger brother. They would solve neighborhood mysteries like "who polluted the pond?" and "where did all the ferrets go?" through carefully considered applications of scientific principles (hence, the "Edison" part). I don't really remember too many of these episodes, except for one where dog whistles were used to solve the mystery-du-jour. Actually, I think dog-whistles featured in most of the episodes for some reason. The highlight of the show (and this web site) was the catchy neon-themed opening credits, featuring the eighties-appropriate twins dancing and rolling to one of the catchiest themes ever. To give you an idea of the impact the show had on young minds, I was recently told that some graffitti was spotted in the basement of a local old heritage building, the graffitti being the neon outlines of the Edison Twins as they were caught in mid-frolic.

Of course, the site wouldn't be complete without a couple of references to Canada's version of Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin put together, "The Littlest Hobo". Hobo was a German Shepard who travelled the highways and biways of Canada, stopping in his travels only to help a stranded orphan or some other deserving soul defeat a nefarious evil-doer (though never with a dog-whistle...can't blame him for that). I always thought the show was a little cruel, myself. At the end of each episode, Hobo would have been put through the ringer, usually having needed to jump into a waterfall or bite the tires off a moving Semi to foil the villians' plans. The show would usually wrap with a soulful-looking character asking a fellow survivor "Hobo looks lost....can we keep him?" As Hobo would look back expectantly hoping for a bed, a meal or even a stray milk-bone, the fellow survivor would usually say "no....his place in on the road!!" Thanks bozo! "The Littlest Hobo" had an even catchier theme than the Edison Twins did, which of course you can view in this site. Keep an eye out for the opening-credit scene where Hobo is carrying a high-powered hunting rifle!!! Apparently there was an episode where there Hobo came across ingrate too many!! A milk bone?? Can you spare it, sport?? Well, here's Hobo's response!! **kapow**