Alan Walker's Old Time CBC TV December 22 2019

Welcome back everybody.  First up this time is a recollection from Taylor Ogston on one of the sad events of the 1960's.

June 5, 1968: A Night to Remember

I was a summer relief audio operator, working in the Transmitter Booth (also called "Studio 50). At around 11.45 pm on this night, CBUT was presenting its regular local newscast with Dan MacAfee being the newscaster.

The newscast location in our old premises at 1200 West Georgia Street had just recently been relocated from Studio 49, at the opposite end of the hallway, to our Studio 50, and the very small announce booth attached. An old studio camera was set up beside the audio operator in the control room, shooting through the glass into a ‘phone booth’ sized studio.

Following that regular newscast, Dan McAfee returned to the newsroom, filed his script away, and was about to go home when he heard the various news teletype machines all chiming continuously with their news alert bells*. Thankfully, Dan looked into the teletype room (actually an air conditioning/furnace duct ‘closet’) and saw the enormous quantity of wire copy spewing out of the machines. A quick scan of the stories revealed the tragic news of the shooting just minutes earlier of Senator Robert Kennedy, just after he gave an election speech at a hotel in Los Angeles.

Grabbing an armload of teletype copy, Dan ran back to the announce booth, told the Presentation Co-ordinator, Tom Dodd, and the Technical Supervisor, Dave Sharp, what had just happened in L.A. Quickly it was decided to get Dan back on the air with this breaking news while some quick phone calls were made to enable CBUT to carry live coverage coming from Los Angeles.
CBUT was the first Vancouver station to have live coverage just minutes after the shooting.

Yes, a night to remember.

*Both wire-service and private teleprinters had bells to signal important incoming messages and could ring 24/7 while the power was turned on. For example, ringing 4 bells on UPI wire-service machines meant an "Urgent" message; 5 bells was a "Bulletin"; and 10 bells was a FLASH, used only for very important news, such as the assassination of President Kennedy.

Taylor (Ogston) has had an interesting career having been, among other things, a "Boss Jock" at CKLG, an associate producer/director for CBC's Hourglass, and Canadian Vice-President of Fuji Film Motion Picture Sales.


This month's sports trivia question:

What sport is at least 5000 years old? Answer at the end of the column.


Meeting Lorraine

In 1958, Lorraine McAllister was a beautiful 34 year-old entertainer who already had a career on radio and at concerts as a singer with big bands across Canada, and as a solo vocalist. At the same time, I was a callow 19 year-old, working as the most junior technician at CBC Television in Vancouver.
Ms McAllister was starring in her own TV show "Meet Lorraine", a weekly nighttime presentation on CBUT. Lorraine's musical accompaniment was by the Chris Gage Trio, featuring the amazing keyboard talents of Chris Gage, with Stan Johnson on bass, and Jim Wightman on drums.

                                                     Lorraine & husband Dal Richards

In our crowded main Studio 41 at CBUT, the show's technical staff would likely have consisted of three cameramen, Harry Hooper, Jim Currie, Bob McQuay, Harold Haug or Max Albrechtson. Our switcher was probably Art Doig, video control Andy Martens, our audio operator Dave Liddell (who was known for making the funniest comments over the talkback mike listened to by the boom operators), and perhaps Bob McFarlane and Bill Kyashko on boom. (Bill Kyashko was perhaps the friendliest technician you could ever meet, and I was very sad to hear of Bill's recent passing.)

The producer of the whole musical extravaganza was Jörn Winther, a Danish ex-patriate who went on to a brilliant career in the U.S., directing among other things, many of the "Sonny and Cher" shows, and the interview series with David Frost and the disgraced President, Richard Nixon.
And then there was me – totally in awe of the whole process, especially looking at the gorgeous star. My job on Lorraine's show included pushing the boom men around on their boom dollies, pulling the heavy camera cables out of the way of other equipment and people, and incidental tasks like the one I am about to describe, the highlight of my whole existence!
On this particular show, the esteemed director decided that he wanted some "wide" shots of Lorraine singing with the band in the background, which would have been a problem creating without the boom equipment showing. "I have the answer" said director Jörn, "we'll have one of those small microphones concealed in Lorraine's cleavage!"
Guess whose job it was to install it? The microphone was called a "BK6", and it was the size of a short, fat cigar. I approached Lorraine with the mike and the cable, and asked her to pull the mike and cable up inside her dress to her "front". Lorraine asked me to help, and I was doing my nervous best when she said to me, "Haven't you ever touched a woman's breast before?" And I said to myself as I blushed, "Not as much as I'd like to."

Lorraine continued her most successful career at CBC TV and elsewhere, but passed away at the relatively early age of 62. By contrast, Lorraine's husband, Dal Richards ("Vancouver's King of Swing") survived to age 97, and just passed away in 2015.

During the same time period, I occasionally worked on CBC TV shows starring the incredible Eleanor Collins, "Vancouver's first lady of jazz", who just turned 100 years old last month. I was never asked to help put on her microphone.


For those few following my attempts to get $10,000,000.00 US from Nigeria, I can now advise I am negotiating with the Nigerian FBI as to how much I need to send them before they begin their investigation.

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A story from a former CBCer.  She does not wish to be identified.

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, “surely I can't look that old?”
I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist.
I noticed his diploma on the wall, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago.
Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?
Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.
This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.
After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Delbrook High School.
"Yes, yes, I did. I was a football and hockey star" he gleamed with pride.
"When did you graduate?" I asked.
He answered, "In 1975. Why do you ask?"
"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.
He looked at me closely, and then, that ugly, old, bald, wrinkled- faced,
fat-ass, grey-haired, decrepit, s.o.b. asked,
"What subject did you teach?"

Yesterday's Bad News:  First day of Winter.  Yesterday's Good News:  The days are starting to get longer.

Trivia Answer:

In the 1930's, a British anthropologist discovered a child's grave in Egypt more than 5000 years old which appeared to also contain a crude form of bowling paraphernalia. Underneath the bowling stuff was a Stationbreak flyer from Peggy urging attendance at the next scheduled get together at the Giza pyramid lanes.

The success of this column's future lies in your hands. Comments would be welcome, and your contributions would be greatly appreciated. If you have an item to add to a future column, please email me at If you require any assistance in editing, I am happy to help. Alan

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