CBC Television Network


Network: CBC Television Network

Broadcast Run: 1969 to 1970

Broadcast Medium: Television

Aired Wednesday nights during the summer of 1970; aired Wednesday afternoons for two weeks in 1971. Aired Thursday nights from October 1976 to April, 1977

Teleplay ran on two occasions with separate producers but similar mandates.

In 1970, the network show called Shoestring Theatre changed its name to Teleplay. It was series of original dramas for television produced in Montreal and was a venue for new writers to try their skills in television.

The series opened with a family drama written by Dennis Donovan, Culpable Conduct, produced and directed by Jack Nixon-Browne and starring Chuck Shamata, Sabina Maydelle, and David Guthrie. Nixon-Browne also produced and directed Laurie, a play scheduled later in the summer. The other producers for the series were Michael Sinelnikoff, who produced George Salverson’s script, The Thing In The Cellar, and Gary Plaxton.

In 1977, John Hirsch, head of CBC Drama, revived the title and the intent: to offer new talent a chance at writing original works for television.

The series opened with If Wishes Were Horses, a racetrack story starring Gary Reineke, Jackie Burroughs, and Hugh Webster, and produced in cooperation with the CBC by Insight Productions (producer John Watson and writer and director Pen Densham). The series encouraged young filmmakers with contracts to direct new scripts for the series. Among them were David Cronenberg, who directed his own script, The Italian Machine, about the attempts of a group of young people to acquire a rare motorcycle, and Frank Vitale, who directed Richard Benner’s script, Friday Night Adventure, with Saul Rubinek as a young man confronting his homosexual leanings. Stephen Patrick produced both programs. Vitale also directed I’ve Always Been Lucky, a comedy by Michael Silvani, starring Ardon Bess, Ian D. Clark, Diane D’Aquila, Maxine Miller, Eric House and Gerard Parkes, and produced by Henry Tarvainen. Tarvainen also produced his own adaptation of the story, Herringbone, which was directed by Stephen Katz. George Bloomfield produced Flashes, which was directed by Deborah Peaker. Andre Brassard, who had collaborated with playwright Michel Tremblay on stage productions and in two films, directed Jack Humphrey’s script, Travels With Jane, which was produced by Robert Sherrin, and another Qubec filmmaker, AndreThiberge, directed his own story, Quicksilver.

The show also provided an outlet for both younger and older writers. Toronto playwright George F. Walker contributed Sam, Grace, Doug and The Dog, which was produced by Alan Erlich and directed by Martin Lavut. Robertson Davies’s story, Overlaid, was produced by Herb Roland and directed by Christopher Braden.

Written by John Corcelli – September, 2005