Monday, June 16, 2014

THE UNCLE BOBBY SHOW (1962 - 1979)

Those of us who grew up in Southern Ontario, Canada, have fond memories of watching The Uncle Bobby Show on CFTO (Channel 9, Toronto) on Saturday mornings. In my case it was the very early 1970s (specifically: 1970); especially since I was getting a little long-in-the-tooth for a show essentially aimed at small fry. My younger sibling would watch; so I would watch along with them. (Besides, I had to get ready to watch Thunderbirds on the same station then switch over to CKVR at 10:30 to catch the adventures of the Space Family Robinson in Lost in Space -- this was before I realized how horrible the show actually was; that came later, in September of 1978 when CKVR re-ran the series... starting with the colour episodes of the second season.)

Brit expatriate Bobby Ash (1924 - 2007) played "Uncle Bobby". He had that nice grandfatherly manner -- even when he was not old enough to be a grandfather as such, especially in his early tenure with the show -- and when he spoke, whether it was directly to the camera or conversing with one of his guests, Ash used a soft spoken tone. And, more importantly, it has been said that a big reason for his success is due to the fact that he did not talk down to his audience. This made him a comfortable presence to kiddies.

The show, the way I remember it, was a bit of a fever dream: "The Clickity-Clack Express"; "Bimbo the Birthday Clown, son of Happy". Really now!

Trivia: I met a guy years ago who told me that his school bus driver was Uncle Bobby himself. This made more sense to me a few years later when I read somewhere that Ash did not make a lot of money playing his famous character every week; he had to pick-up extra work, such as driving a school bus. Sad, really, when you consider that CFTO was probably pulling in good ad dollars for The Uncle Bobby Show -- so typical of that business, unfortunately.

On Youtube is an archived clip of a CFTO news story on Bobby Ash. Enjoy the video...

There is a major Uncle Bobby fan in Buffalo -- which is part of the CFTO market -- by the name of Steve Cichon, and he has web pages dedicated to the show...

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