Switchback (Series) (1981-1989)

Switchback was a popular Sunday morning kids series which was originally developed in Vancouver and was later produced other CBC regional stations, including Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. It was a live magazine variety show which employed a fast-moving format of rock videos, camp serials like Batman, puppets, personality interviews and toll-free phone-in contests. Each city's show was autonomous, but they all shared the name, the graphics and the weekly serials.

The Winnipeg version was cancelled in 1988 and was replaced by the Regina version, although Winnipeg still contributed segments to the program on a weekly basis. The Ottawa version (which was also being seen in Montreal) replaced the Toronto-produced show.

Rick Scott .... Vancouver Host (1981)
Gordon White .... Vancouver Host (1982)
Richard Newman .... Vancouver Host (1982-1984)
Andrew Cochrane .... Vancouver Host (1984-?); Halifax Host (1988-1989)
Stu Jeffries .... Vancouver Host (1987-?)
Stan 'The Man' Johnson .... Halifax Host (1981-1988)
Shawn Thompson .... Toronto Host (1985-1986)
Dale Martindale .... Toronto Host (1986-1987)
Howard Busgang .... Toronto Host (1987)
Eric Tunney .... Toronto Host (1987)
Laurie Mustard .... Winnipeg Host (1983-1988)
Jim Ingebritsen .... Peter Cotton Svenson (Winnipeg)
Howard Glassman .... Calgary Host (1983-84)
Ian MacGillvray .... Calgary Host (1984-?)
Keith Sandulak .... Calgary Host (1984-?)
Brigitte Robinson .... Ottawa Host (1986-1987)
Tom New .... Ottawa Host (1987)
Johnson Morretti .... Ottawa Host (?-1988)
Natalie Gray .... Ottawa Host (1987-90)
Terry Dimonte .... Ottawa Host (1988-90)
Don Westwood .... Dr. Why (Ottawa)
Bill Wright .... Regina Host (1984-1990)

Original Broadcaster(s): CBC

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Comments (9)
byClick here to see the profile of this user NatashiaB, April 12, 2013
Wow, I can't believe you are looking for this episode as well.. ! My children and I were just talking about this same epsidode! Let me know if you find/hear anything Renee! I would love to show my children as well.. they don't believe me!! Ha haha...
my sister and i entered an air band contest there were six entrants and we did, i think were alone now by tiffany we did the show at holy cross high school saskatoon. we were the winners and we won a fender stratocaster guitar my mom taped the show but lost the tape. i would love to get a copy of this show to show the kids our 15 minutes of fame.
byClick here to see the profile of this user Ringleader, November 4, 2010
Use to watch faithfully and so did my cousin,i would wake up at 6:30 on Sunday morning just to try and win the prize pack,loved it !!!
byClick here to see the profile of this user latreir, October 29, 2009
How would I ever get a copy of the show where I challenged the host (I forget his name but he was a bigger heavier set guy) to a putting contest at the end of the show. Also on that episode their was a group of improv students who did a skit on Hansel and Gretel?

I enjoyed the show best with Richard Newman as host. He was low-key and had a sharp sense of humour.
I remember him reading a letter I sent to him on the air
being maybe a bit bemused by what I wrote.
Richard made the show. They replaced him with someone else I didn't think was anywhere near as good. I stopped watching.
byClick here to see the profile of this user Missmiggles, June 2, 2009
This was the BEST show - I watched the BC and the Regina shows ... I was lucky as my uncle (Bill Wright) was the host of the Regina show, I think I got to see two or three live in studio.
That chicken lived in his living room for years!!
Great memories ...
OMG!!! I loved this show,I auditioned twice for the halloween show. The first time my costume was not good enough. The following year I had a kickin costume..the headless horesman I won 1st prize, second prize went to someone dressed up as the shower scene from karate kid,.. very inventive. I was soooo excited becauseI won a walkman LOL. That dates me, mind you to sy I was on the show really dates me.
byClick here to see the profile of this user Disteenguished Monstoor, April 24, 2009
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful
This was my favorite show growing up, got to enjoy Adam West's Batman, Flash Gordon serials, Gangbusters, Get Smart, etc. for the first time. Stan had a unique David Letterman-esque sense of humour, always kidding about CBC.
Actually I'd like to start a fan website so I'm looking for promo materials from the show such as postcards, articles, photos, etc; I have a good collection already but looking for more. Switchback came to our school to film because of me, and I was always sending in artwork and entering contests.
It would be great to get in contact with Stan as well, if anyone has info.....I met him in Switchback's final season when I was in Art School in Halifax, did a black & white photography project on the set, got to stay after and talk to Stan, John Nowlan, and "The Gorilla", and meet Rufus (the real dog) . I sent a couple 8x10 portrait photos of Stan to CBC, and he sent me one back autographed.

My one regret is that I never got to see Switchback live in studio. I grew up with the Regina version on Sunday mornings. Bill Wright was the host, but everyone knew the chicken was the star of the show. There were music videos, sometimes shown "Combat des Clips"-style, and they serialized episodes of "Batman" and "Get Smart".

And if the phone ever rang on Sunday morning, you'd better answer it with "Make it quick, I'm watching Switchback!"

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