Friday, 1 June 2007

This Day in LWOT History...

June 1, 1980

LWOT launches its very first weekly radio program: "Lies, or Occasional Truth?"

Broadcast on CBC Radio, and hosted by Newfoundlander Phillip Lowther, the hour-long program was to feature a unique interactive segment in which Canadian celebrities narrated short stories, after which listeners would call in and guess which parts of the tale were true and which were fictional. Some of the show's first geusts included former Montreal Canadien great Maurice Richard, former NDP leader David Lewis, and actor Al Waxman.

Despite the CBC's high hopes, the show was a monumental failure with both critics and the listening public.

The final broadcast, which aired on June 22nd - only three weeks after the show debuted - descended into shambles when Managing Editor Gradey Alexander called in and accused Al Waxman, live on the air, of stealing from his novel Kensington Market to create the character of Larry King on the classic Canadian television show King of Kensington. Waxman, who claimed that his King character bore no resemblance to Kensington Market's Joseph Krantz, debated Alexander for more than twenty minutes before finally storming out of the studio. Waxman later called it " absolute embarrassment."

What was meant to become a staple of CBC's Sunday evening lineup became one of Canadian broadcasting's most memorable flops. The program was cancelled after only three episodes, and Phillip Lowther, the promising young broadcaster who helmed the show, never recovered; he would never again work at the CBC.

Legendary radio man and critic Gordon Sinclair wrote in his book Will The Real Gordon Sinclair Please Sit Down: "A show that represented the worst of Canadian broadcasting. It was a tragedy, really...In my career I've never seen a failed program take so many people down with it. It was just plain bad, even for the CBC."

1 comment:

Eavesdroppings said...

"Do you remember King of Kensington?"
"Remember the corner store he used to run on the show."
"I used to shoplift there all the time."