Network: CBC Television Network
Broadcast Run: 1957 to 1969
Broadcast Medium: Television
Aired weekly from 1957 to 1969
This weekly music show was one of the most popular in the history of Canadian television. It featured an unassuming fiddler from New Brunswick by the name of Don Messer, who started playing violin at the age of five. The program started as a regular radio show in the 1930s and was then produced for television from Halifax. The Don Messer Show began being broadcast on the full CBC network in 1959. The show’s format was simple: Don Tremaine introduced the program which started with “Goin’ to the Barn Dance Tonight” with songs from Charlie Chamberlain and Marg Osburne and plenty of Celtic jigs. When it was cancelled, the audience response was remarkable; petitions, public rallies and writing campaigns were conducted but failed to bring it back. The last show on CBC was broadcast June 20, 1969 but it was so popular that syndication across the country was an easy proposition, with the new programs being produced at CHCH-TV Hamilton.
[See Don Messer and his Islanders in the CBC Radio listings]
Written by John Corcelli – May, 2006