Harvey Kirck (1928-2002)
Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Kirck, Harvey (1928-2002)
On December 3rd, 1983, Harvey Kirck could lay claim to being the first broadcaster on a coast-to-coast network to anchor a nightly television news broadcast for 20 consecutive years.
Harvey had become a TV network newscaster even before CBS' Walter Cronkite - even before NBC's Huntley and Brinkley, and lasted longer than any of them. For an occupation notorious for brief life expectancy - such longevity was unusual.
Harvey came to the CTV Television Network from radio. His broadcasting career began shortly after his family moved from New Liskeard to Toronto in 1943 and he joined an aspiring group of young radio actor hopefuls that performed on CKEY.. His first staff job was as a news announcer at CJIC in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. From there, he moved to CKBB Barrie and thence out west to CKXL in Calgary.
Returning to Toronto in 1948, Harvey became a roving reporter assigned to on-the-scene coverage. In 1953, he moved up Yonge Street to CHUM where he stayed for seven years, combining his radio experience with newspaper work at the old Telegram.
1960 proved to be the turning point in his life. Harvey was hired as a news presenter at Hamilton's CHCH-TV. A year later, back in Toronto, he started with CFTO-TV as a news writer and reporter, and in the fall of '61, was appointed News Director. In '63, Harvey went to Ottawa to as anchorman for CTV's Ottawa Bureau, and remained there for the next three years - then, back to Toronto.
Around the time of his 10th anniversary, a Toronto writer described Harvey as "believable, unflappable - totally in-charge. He's also personable, and outside the studio, very easy-going and casual. He has great audience appeal which contributes to the fact that he is 'down-to-earth'. He takes his work seriously, yet without being overbearing. His well-known face is greeted on the streets by viewers with an amiable 'Harvey' rather than the formal 'Mr. Kirck'."
Harvey continued to be recognized for his warm and authoritative delivery, personifying the indefinable qualities necessary to be accepted by the public. Harvey had credibility. At the time of his retirement in 1983, a fellow journalist, Bruce Phillips, who was later appointed by the Prime Minister as Languages Commissioner, described him as "a beat-up friendly face". Lloyd Robertson, who had become Harvey's co-host seven years earlier, praised him as "a decent and honest human being". Whatever, Harvey had what it took to hold nightly the attention of millions of television viewers from the Atlantic to the Pacific for two decades. People who saw his final broadcast can recall that it ended as Harvey turned to his viewers and said. "Thank you, Canadians, for letting me stay that long".
It marked the end of an era - one recalled in a biography published by Collins Publishing in 1985 and so appropriately titled: "Nobody Calls Me Mr. Kirck" (ISBN 0-00-217466-9)
In 2000, Harvey Kirck was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.
Harvey Kirck died of a heart attack, February 18, 2002
Written by J. Lyman Potts - October, 2000