Knowlton Nash’s detailed and widely praised history of the CBC, The Microphone Wars (1994), provided...
Knowlton Nash’s detailed and widely praised history of the CBC, The Microphone Wars (1994), provided a superbly researched view of the trials and triumphs faced by Canada’s embattled public broadcaster since its birth sixty years ago. But for most Canadians, the CBC is not its backroom movers and shakers, nor even its boardroom masters. The CBC is its programs and its stars. And now Nash has written their book.Based on interviews with more than 120 performers, producers, and behind-the-scenes players, Cue the Elephant is packed to the covers with revelations and surprising anecdotes that range from the serious to the plain ridiculous, from the hilarious to the very poignant.Goofs, gossip, peeves, and rivalries sprinkle the pages as Nash relates hundreds of memorable incidents: Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau changing his baby’s diaper backstage at “Front Page Challenge”; the professional battles between Wayne and Shuster; Juliette’s struggle to keep cameramen from “shooting up her nose”; Tommy Hunter’s fights with producers; announcer Allan McFee’s creative use of a can of asparagus and his attempt to asphyxiate a producer; Barbara Frum’s devotion to her messy dog, Diva; Peter Mansbridge’s worry about going bald; and the long-mysterious expense account acronym PACR, which was finally discovered to stand for Pissed Away, Can’t Remember. Whether you’re curious about the real reason for the cancellation of “Front Page Challenge,” “The Beachcombers,” and “Street Legal,” or want to know what Anne Murray, Gordon Pinsent, and Cynthia Dale are really like, Cue the Elephant provides an engrossing, funny, and nostalgic look at the stars of the CBC – from the radio days of Foster Hewitt, the Happy Gang, and Rawhide to the current hit television shows.