Articles - Don Messer's Jubilee (Series) (1959-1973)

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Don Messer's Jubilee
From TV Guide, June 7, 1969

When the CBC decided to put Don Messer's Jubilee out to pasture after a network run of 10 years, every other foot-stomper from Torbay to Tofino fired off an angry letter to his MP, the public network, or both. No less a country boy than John Diefenbaker rumbled on the series' behalf in Parliament—to no avail.

On May 25, just when Don, Charlie, Marg and the gang had stopped looking for the silver lining, Hamilton's independent CHCH-TV announced that it would produce the series for local screening in the same old Friday night time slot next fall. And, said station manager Doug Gail, "We plan to syndicate the show. We've already had inquiries from several stations that want it."

Messer, who is known in the trade as a foxy businessman despite his fiddle-and-bow-tie image, said that he "didn't hurry" to accept the contract. "What I have in mind," he allowed, "is that many of the private stations will be interested in picking up the show if our fans apply the same sort of pressure that they put on the CBC." Will the format be changed? No siree. "We have been rather successful down through the years," said Messer with pardonable smugness.

The cast will commute from Halifax to Hamilton and tape several editions at once. Finding a sponsor poses no problem since, at last count, the Messer show stood about 20th in the national ratings—considerably higher than its CBC summer replacement and successor, Singalong Jubilee. The CBC's motive in dumping Messer was to attract a more youthful audience. CHCH's is, as always, to give the people what they want. "They just love him," said Doug Gail. "He's still right in there."

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
Blaine Allan's directory