Are the stars out tonight? Yes, for the Dora Awards. But not all today’s showbiz news is happy …

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: And welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in Our Town.  Sparklies set to join host Jian Ghomeshi on stage tonight at the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards at the Winter Garden include Anne

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

Anglin, Cynthia Dale, playwright John Gray, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Tom McCamus, Colin Mochrie, National Ballet of Canada soloist Rebekah Rimsay, Ontario Culture minister Aileen Carroll and Mayor David Miller. Director Vinetta Strombergs and writer Briane Nasimok will be talent-wrangling from the wings … what’s NOT happening today? TheNational Post, which is attempting some creative cost-cutting by NOT publishing a Monday newspaper – a new policy that will continue through the Labor Day weekend …  and, of course, Monday garbage pick-up is NOT happening either — unless you’re listening to the right radio station. CFRB wise guys Bill Carroll and Jim Richards are taking trash talk to a new level by sending 1-888-I AM JUNK to pick up trash every week during the strike for six listeners who send the best emails telling why the station should pick up their garbage. The contest ends this Friday, and the winners can invite neighbours to drop off their trash for weekly pick-up as well!

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Singer Paul Potts, who was the Susan Boyle YouTube sensation of his day when he first triumphed on Britain’s Got Talent, serenades tomorrow night at Kitchener’s elegant Centre In The Square. Torontonians will have to wait a couple of weeks more, when he performs here at the Elgin on July 18 … superthrush Sarah McLachlan and Quebec charmer Marie-Jo Thério will headline the party at Parliament Hill on Wednesday night in Ottawa. CBC Television, Radio-Canada and bold will telecast highlights at 9 pm … Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire

DORE: Rivoli-bound

DORE: Rivoli-bound

are set to headline the first annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island on July 10, 11 and 12 … Jon Dore is hosting two nights of comedy mayhem at the Rivoli July 15 & 16 with a very catchy title: The Jon Dore Television Show’s Writers and Jon Dore of the Jon Dore Television Show Stand-Up Comedy Show, Show! Expect an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Dore and his writers Mark Forward, Laurie Elliott and Steve Patterson. “It is important to understand,” adds Dore manager Lorne Perlmutar, “that none of the proceeds of this show will be going to a charitable organization. Jesus is cool.” Whew! That’s a relief … and did you know that Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander is an accomplished song-and-dance man? He’ll show off that next-to-secret skill set when he appears at Casino Rama July 25.

MANN:  more honours

MANN: more honours

FLICKERS: Chalk up another win for enduring filmmaker Ron Mann. Last week he received the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Mann, whose hit doc Know Your Mushrooms is now available on DVD, won the award for Individual Artist, and then selected Toronto actor and film-maker Charles Officer (Nurse. Fighter. Boy) as the Premier’s Emerging Artist prize winner … Canuck heartthrob Taylor Kitsch will team up with one of his Wolverine co-stars, Lynn Collins, in the Disney adventure John Carter of Mars. And talk about yer parent traps — Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston will play Miley Cyrus’

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

parents (!!!) in The Last Song, also for Disney … our National Film Board and the Shorefast Foundation will establish Newfoundland’s first e-cinema installation, the NFB’s first English-language e-cinema partnership in Canada.

The new system will use new digital technology to give residents and visitors to Fogo Island access to great works of Canadian cinema from the NFB as well as independent filmmakers. Fogo Island, by the way, is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the new project will be launched this November … and management of the merged British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, where The Dark Knight, The Bourne Ultimatum and most 007 epics are shot,  has signed a five-year deal

CRONKITE: failing health

CRONKITE: failing health

to take over the seven state-of-the-art sound stages of Toronto’s struggling Filmport, which will now become Pinewood Toronto Studios.

APRIL SHOWERS IN JUNE: Quite naturally, lots of other news was overshadowed last Thursday by Farrah Fawcett’s passing and the shock waves caused by Michael Jackson’s unexpected demise. The saddest of the lot, for me, was the confirmation that legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite is seriously ill with cerebrovascular disease and is “not expected to recuperate.” And to add to that unhappy news — not that you were looking for more — neither Mike Wallace nor 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt are doing very well at the moment.

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month.

Maybe. But this year, June is no picnic either.


Remembering Michael & Farrah



You Better Watch Out

Some guys have all the luck.

I know, ‘cause I’m one of them.

In 1990 I had the good fortune to be hired as a professional babysitter for a truly wide and varied collection of CBC Television shows. 

One of them was a weekly series called CODCO, an amazing comedy ensemble headed by Greg Malone & Tommy Sexton, ably abetted by Andy Jones, Cathy Jones and Mary Walsh. It was the first time I’d ever worked with of them, Happily it would not be the last.

Greg Malone, author
Greg Malone, author



Greg Malone, whose on-camera impression of Barbara Frum made her more famous than her brilliant stints on The Journal ever could, had the razor wit and uncommonly musical sense of language that I would later learn to define as characteristics of the true Newfoundland personality.

Greg used both those gifts to create some wonderfully memorable moments on CODCO, and uses them again, to great advantage, in his new memoir published by Knopf Canada,  You Better Watch Out.

Is it funny? Of course.  It’s Greg Malone. Who else could tell the story of Danny Williams, the future premier, sourly playing St. Bernadette in an all-boys’ play, with Greg barely concealing his joy in performing as her “chatty sister”?

But there’s so much more to it, including his unabashedly romantic account of his father’s first encounter with his mother.

“Sometimes on warm summer evenings, Dad and his buddies would climb Springdale Street to Charlton Street and the Bee Hive Store, where the owner, an Englishman named Arthur B. Walker, made superb homemade ice cream and sold the best bonbons and Turkish delight. They were hungry for it all, but these sugar plums were not the visions that had brought them there. They had come for the unexpectedly perfect sight of Vera Walker, the owner’s daughter, with her fine features, her thick, dark blonde hair clipped back and her exotic hazel eyes that seemed always ready to laugh. She was tall and moved with an easy, lively manner. They watched her scoop out vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream as she danced around the little shop of confections and entertained them with anecdotes about her customers. Vera, the Goddess of Goodies, laughing at them and ladling out Turkish delights.

malonecover188“Of course, Vera was entirely aware of her beauty and charms. She dressed in the latest fashion, posed for pictures like a movie star and laughed at the results. They were bedazzled, smitten by this English witch. Oh, those cool Protestant girls from Prince of Wales College. They were exactly the forbidden fruit that a tortured Catholic boy from St. Bon’s longed for. Dad and the boys were secretly converted. The Bee Hive became their shrine. Observances were frequent and well attended, but not always successful. Vera was not in regular attendance on the main altar of the shrine. Usually there was just the girl minding the shop, hired help without any of the secret charms that had drawn them. So dazzling was the goddess Vera that it was many moons before these savages were even aware of the younger sister.

“Ada was barely fifteen and her full head of rich, caramel-coloured curls fell on her shoulders framing a gentle, smooth face with full cheeks and classical features. Like her older sister, she too was quick to laugh, but her hazel eyes, though full of humour like Vera’s, looked out on the world with more caution, and there was even a trace of sadness in the corners of those perfect, dreamy eyes. There was a vulnerability to her look that provoked in males between the ages of fifteen and fifty an overwhelming desire to protect and a passion to possess such mysterious and fragile treasures.”

As life would have it, Greg’s father will meet Greg’s future mother Ada not at The Bee Hive but on Bell Island, where he goes to compete in a track meet.

“She was dressed up like a movie star when I saw her,” said Dad, “in a fancy satin outfit with a jacket and bows and gloves and a fancy hat. And then she had the face and the figure to match it. You couldn’t miss her. It was like she just appeared in front of me. I still can hardly describe it today.”

No need to describe it today, as long as son Greg is around.



TOMORROW:  Joan Rivers & The Donald.