More TVOntario Nostalgia -

More TVOntario Nostalgia


Among the winners of last night’s Writers’ Guild of Canada Awards, one name might be familiar to Ontarians: Heather Conkie, who won the showrunning award for producing Heartland, preceded her long scriptwriting career by starring in TVOntario shows like Report Canada — which I watched all the time — and Dear Aunt Agnes, which I didn’t watch much. The former is not available online, but the latter is, and man, now I know why I didn’t watch it: the empty-studio feel of the whole thing makes it seem a little scary. It’s the best argument for why shows need laugh tracks:


I don’t know about the experience of other people growing up in other provinces, but I think I was pretty lucky to grow up with the kids’ programming on TVO in the early ’80s. A lot of the original programming was fairly imaginative, and the makers of shows like Today’s Special and Harriet’s Magic Hats understood how appealing fantasy/magic elements are to children. Plus there were various foreign-made cartoons like Dr. Snuggles, Willo the Wisp, and the Japanese-made Fables of the Green Forest, which presented a more realistic view of animals’ lives than we were used to (relatively speaking, I mean; the characters had weird round heads and talked to the wind). It’s not surprising that people who worked on TVO kids’ programming in that era have gone on to successful national careers.

Update: A commenter corrects me: “‘Harriet’s Magic Hats’ was an Alberta creation, not a TVO one.”

By the way, as a child, when trying to figure out which country “Green Forest” was from, I guessed Yugoslavia. So my geographical understanding of animation wasn’t great.


Filed under:

More TVOntario Nostalgia

  1. I was even luckier than you, Jaime. Where I grew up, there was no television signal until I was 12 years old. My friends and siblings and I learned to entertain ourselves.

    • And yet you have a television icon as your profile picture

      • One of the things that makes icons iconic is that they are known beyond their original context. Don't assume I'm a big Star Trek fan.

    • My equation:

      Growing up with no TV is better than growing up with bad TV, but growing up with good TV is best of all!

  2. One of the things that makes icons iconic is that they are known beyond their original context. Don't assume I'm a big Star Trek fan.

  3. A couple of things: First, "Harriet's Magic Hats" was an Alberta creation, not a TVO one. Second, "Dear Aunt Agnes" is a high water mark of so-unspeakably-bad-it's-good entertainment. Canada's "Small Wonder" if you will.

  4. Does no-one remember "Big Blue Marble?"

    Mind you, I preferred Commander Tom with Promo the Robot.

  5. I'd never heard of "Fables of the Green Forest," but I see on your clip it's based on the works of Thornton W. Burgess. I loved Burgess' books as a child, but they've been out of print and hard to find over the last few decades. I think Dodo Press has just started reissuing them. Did anyone else grow up reading these books? I'm tempted to buy a couple just to find out if they're still as wonderful as I remember them to be.