Q Revelation

Listening to that Q show this morning on the kitchen radio, it finally dawned on me.

It’s The Radio Show with Jack Farr, revisited for 2009.

Guests being hyped this week in include Howie Mandel and Anne Murray, peppered with indie Canadian bands and pop culture ‘stars’ from the US.

It sounds like every story meeting at Jack Farr’s The Radio Show in 1982, right down to David Suzuki (who was Jack’s bemused guest more than a few times).

This might not be that surprising, considering that the Q guy was a guest on the The Radio Show back then, when he, that Q guy, was touring with Moxy Fruvous (insert your own umlauts at will).

I think I know what happened. While he was busy photocopying band bios on the CBC’s Xerox, he must have stolen all our secrets.


The only difference is that in those days, Executive Producer Jim Millican insisted all items be short – like 3-and-a-half to 5 minutes maximum.

Which is about as long as that Q guy’s guest intros.




There were a lot of things wrong with the mid 1980’s.

Almost all of them are encapsulated in this photo.

Yours truly, CBC Winnipeg Open House – circa 1984


44 thoughts on “Q Revelation”

  1. Man I miss Jack Farr. Best show ever, not that that apparently matters. Fight! Scott.

  2. What did Jack Farr do to end up on the CBC blacklist. I have looked every where I can think of to find info on the The Radio Show, (which in my opinion was the best show ever produced by anyone anywhere), and its fabulous host, but it is like he or the show, despite being on for 10 years, never existed. I can find other people like Bill Casselman, who mention the show and Captain Jack, but it is always brief and does not go into any kind of detail. Jack is not even on the list of CBC radio show hosts, which includes names who are from current and previous shows. Is there anyone out there who feels and wonders the same thing? Signed; it was the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon ever invented!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I think part of Jack’s “disappearance” might be due to the fact that he left the CBC well before the Internet era, and so a lot of that stuff that we had at the time was lost to the lack of any kind of larger ‘publishing’ environment. Keep in ind that the radio show was written on a typewriter on 8 part carbon paper, though the last few years we were using early office PC (DEC computers) to generate scripts, but the only record was hard copy and whatever floppy disks individual producers chose to save. There is probably audio material in the CBC Archive in Toronto, but it’s not something that’s managed like a national library or anything so stuff just either sits or disappears.

      Some may be self inflicted – you mention Bill Cassleman. His web site is self run and he’s done a lot to keep his presence known, and he’s still actively writing and making a living with his words and ideas. Jack not so much, and unfortunately his contribution to pop culture/ Canadian culture has been lost. Some may be due to the fact that his time slot was taken over by another show, also based in Winnipeg, that appears to have been keen to wipe the slate clean and not include any of the former show’s elements. Not that unusual.

      I worked on the Radio Show for almost 5 years – and during that time there was some incredible radio created. It IS a shame it’s lost.

      1. Hi there..Was wondering if you remember The theme song for The Radio show by Dire Straits …I was traveling from BC to NS as a one man band on the street and did a few reports into Jack as well as dropped into the studio to sing something live.
        I had my pet budgie Victor with me who would always chirp along when I sang. Of course he wouldn’t sing a note or chirp in the studio but Jack made the best of it. Great guy! On the way out I ran into a producer from another show and told him about victor. He assured me this happened all the the time where the bird wouldn’t speak or the animal perform. I was embarrassed to say that Victor was only supposed to chirp and make a noise while I sang..not actually speak or do anything special…I loved that show

  3. Thanks for your response Robert. Having worked on “The Radio Show” you obviously know of what you speak. However, Having been into the CBC archives and seeing what historical material is available for us CBC lovers to watch and listen to, I am still struck by the abscence of anything from “The Show” or even a mere mention of same. Type in either “The Radio Show” or Jack Farr or Captain Jack etc. and nothing comes up. At the risk of repeating myself, even though it had a very lengthy and successful run, it is as if “The Show” or the Captain had never went across the mother corp’s airwaves. I would love to find some of the broadcasts or even info onabout The Captain himself, but it appears that it is completely fruitless, which is very frustrating and and a complete head scratcher. When I found out the it was being cancelled I actually taped the last 2 shows, but the tapes deteriorated over the years and cannot be listened to anymore. I have been wondering and thinking about this for years so I must thank you for this forum which allows me to rant about, what is for me, a topic of much passion!! It is indeed a shame that this incredible radio creation seems to be lost. Jim

  4. Add my voice to those who declare “The Radio Show” the best ever.

    Jack, this is my opportunity to thank you for damned good entertainment. I wish you well.

  5. Add me too to the list of Jack Farr fans. I had more fun listening to Jack’s show than should be allowed. I used to plan home improvement projects around it just so I’d be close to a radio. Sometimes I would have 6 radios going so I wouldn’t miss anything as I went from room to room.

    Saturday afternoons have never been the same since. You don’t want to get me going on that incredibly boring DNTO.

  6. re: Ouitmet: “There is probably audio material in the CBC Archive in Toronto, but it’s not something that’s managed like a national library or anything so stuff just either sits or disappears. ”

    FYI – There’s loads of Radio Show material in the CBC Archive in Toronto where valuable archival content is being properly managed and preserved.

    1. “library” – re: the Radio Show material in the CBC Archive in Toronto – is this material available to the public in any way ? Has The Radio Show material been digitized or is it still on 1/4 inch audio tape, which as you know, deteriorates. I know you can ‘cook’ it (literally) to try to save it from sticking to itself, but please enlighten us on your ‘properly managed and perserved’ statement. Obviously there are people out there interested.


  7. I loved and miss The Radio Show too. The memory and spirit of it has indeed been all but erased from the CBC, along with any trace of my other favorite show, Finkelman’s 45s.
    The replacements–“DNTO” and “Vinyl Tap” are sad excuses for radio, and to me, un-listenable.
    I too would be interested in these “preservation” efforts. Clearly the librarians have time to scan blogs and write responses in their own defense, but no time to provide particulars.

  8. I remember talking to a CBC radio producer in Vancouver about 15 years ago. I was lamenting the loss of The Radio Show and wondering what had happened to Jack Farr. He said that Jack wasn’t happy about the show’s demise either and the producer believed that Farr had stepped on the wrong person’s toes and was banished. This is entirely believable as Farr stepped on everyone’s toe’s.
    It’s hard to figure how someone with his talent didn’t land somewhere highly visible.

  9. Just wanted to say thanks for all the kind words about the Radio Show…I still miss it like crazy…but one must FIGHT on & make the best of what we have.So I am currently wintering in SanMiguel de Allende in Mexico..Robert O,if you see this,please email me FIGHT!!! Jack

    1. The Captain
      You are missed. The Radio Show was one of the best radio show’s ever. I can’t forget you phoning around the country for advice on snow tires, or doing moose calls. I have never laughed so hard as during your show. I too miss Billy and Danny…


    2. Captain Jack. I am a Radio Show fan and would love to meet you in San Miguel de Allende. Perhaps we can have a coffee and a conversation? Shoot me an email if you have an hour to spare. I have no agenda other then remembering the best Saturday afternoons of my life. There must be wild cows in SMDA?

  10. Well I’ll be! I’m so glad I found this blog because as others have already mentioned, I too miss The Radio Show and remember it fondly. I can’t pass a herd of cows without thinking of “Les Vache Sauvage”! And let’s not forget the search for the elusive and highly dangerous American woodcock. I am so glad to hear that Jack is enjoying life where the ground doesn’t freeze. The CBC should definitely celebrate fabulous past shows like The Radio Show and Double Exposure – two great reasons to be alive and kickin’ back in the ‘80s.

  11. I can’t believe that almost 20 years after it’s demise, The Radio Show has this impact on people. I thought that I was the only person who felt this way. I once emailed Billy Casselman to ask about Jackie and the availability of programs to listen to again. He said probably the only place to find them would be in the CBC archives.
    I am going to categorically state that The Radio Show was the funniest 2 hours in the history of radio. I used to plan my Saturdays around it. I’ll never forget the guy Jackie called who had the talking crow.
    As Danny Finlkleman would have said “we are the wrong demographic” I would give anything to hear those shows again.


  12. Like Larry, I used to plan my Saturdays around The Radio Show.

    A deliciously perfect blend of folksy, slightly twisted, unapolgetically Canadian, and often whack-to-the-side-of-the-head humour. ‘Authentic’ in the sense of that word before the branding industry got a hold of it. Which probably closely reflected the character of Winnipeg at the time.

    But enough retro-navel gazing. That’s what go us into the glop that passes for CBC Radio today. My guess is that the move from the rat’s nest HQ on Parliament Street in Toronto to the new Brand Central Station on Front Street is what started the balls rolling in that direction.

    Miss you Captain, Billy, Danny, and the rest of the gang. May your bovines be forever rambunctious.


    (PS: any chance of putting together a collection of the old shows for us old fans? I’ve started a new cookie jar for that hope.)

  13. Glad to see there is a reach out to Jack Farr & Danny Finkleman. Both great shows at the right time. Wishing you both the best in your lives. Remembering many great shows from both of you. Regards, Bryan

  14. “bzzzt!”

    I can’t hear a woodcock without thinking of that show. And I reference Casselman’s reviews of movies all the time (such as when he gave Pet Semetary 0.000001 “to distinguish it from all the other bad movies”)

    I suspect it was the loss of The Radio Show that has given me a 15 year dislike of DNTO — Young Torontonians trying to tell us what’s cool. Jian is a bit better than Nora Young and Sook-yin Lee, though

  15. Use to fly sround the country and never missed a program if possible. The Radio Show must live on somewhere in the banks of CBC achives. Surely the show was not treated as the removal of the Arrow Jet Fighter from the face of the earth. Curse you John Defenbaker. Jack’s 2 hours on Sat. produce more interest and laughs than any subsequent programs.

    We should all get our Radio Show offical painters hats and demonstrate where ever the CBC archives are. The Strumbo TV interview show should try and get Jack or Filkeman on for an interview and get to the bottom of what happened to The Radio Show copies.

    Fight fight on Captain Jack.

    1. Hello Mr Laxon
      I’ve been in touch with the people who look after the archives website and they’ve said that they will post some content from The Radio Show. I don’t know how soon they’ll be able to get to it but I’ll do my best to keep you posted.
      Brent Michaluk
      CBC Radio Archives

      Just received email from CBC acchives. As mentioned they will post some shows on their archive site. Just google CBC radio archive. Fight Fight Fight on Captain Jack.

      1. Just an update – it’s now Nov 23, 2011, and if you search the CBC Archives for either “Jack Farr’ or “The Radio Show” you get exactly this:

        Sorry, the words you searched for did not match any documents on the CBC Digital Archives website.


  16. The tapes do exist but team that selects programs says it to difficult to find them and add them to the available list. Bull Shit. I will pressure them again. Suggest everyone phone the phone in previous post snd rsttlr their cage. Capt Jack would not put up with this B.S. why should we as graduates from the best radio learning program.. FIGHT FIGHT

  17. Well guess what? After years of searching I actually found a 7 minute and 44 second segment of the “Radio Show” in an edition of the Rewind 75th- Arts and Entertainment show with Michael Enright, a show that plays parts of old radio shows from the CBC. In the segment Jacky learns what to wear when one is break dancing. Not a great piece but it was great to hear that old familiar voice and his contagious laugh. So does this mean that the Radio Show Army have shook some items out of the Archives attic?? I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship with our favorite radio program from long, long ago!!!!! We will fight on.

    1. I did hear the piece when they ran it on the air. It was great to hear Jack again, and I remember the item well. Jack the “spinning shrimp”. Very funny. I think some of the funniest pieces Jack ever did though were with Danny (Finkleman – pre Finkleman’s 45’s) – some classic stuff there. Danny would just have to start out with his drawn out “Jaaaaack” and Jack would keel over laughing. Jack made those items sizzle.

  18. Yes. All one can say, really, is that The Radio Show was one of the best programs ever produced on CBC… There is not a Saturday that goes by that I don’t think of Captain Jack, Name That Dog, Bill Casselman, Danny Finkleman…

  19. A friend and I were just talking about the Captain and remembering laughing so hard we cried. It was a bit he did with Finkleman on hobbies. Danny tried to convince him that “mulling” was a hobby. I think the another one was lying on a cool basement floor in the summer. Serisouly deranged stuff. Man, I miss those guys.

    1. Paul – I think Danny had a point – mulling is a great hobby! I’d forgotten about that one, too funny. Those guys were brilliant.

      1. I even had it on a cassette tape somewhere. Maybe when I get around to digitizing the whole collection I’ll find it again. I’ll let you know. Good to find a place for these memories.

  20. As part of CBC Anniversary stuff, M. Enright did play one piece from The Radio Show. Half the clip is a Cindi Lauper clip and the “high prices producer” who put it together clipped the ending.

    It remains the ONLY reference to Jack Farr on the CBC web site.


    Anyone recognize the voice-over announcer who introduced the show back in those early seasons? CBC Winnipeg’s Lee Majors.

  21. Like all you, I was a big fan and tried to schedule my Saturdays around The Radio Show. I still have tots of trinkets from the show; mugs, the same T shirt the dummy is wearing (but it doesn’t fit anymore – must have shrunk in the wash I’m thinking), buttons, my painters hat, etc. I ate the chocolate finally. I tried to contribute to the Show too. Some may remember the “soda pop” they opened up on the last episode. Well, it may not have been pop but it did fizzle. I mailed it in – thanks Canada Post. Oh ya, they’re basically gone too.

    Rather than rerun the same current interviews and shows 3 or more times a week, why not go back and replay all the classic CBC shows in some of these time slots? Max Ferguson, Allan McFee, the early Morningside episodes that are digitally already available and of course, Jack Farr and Danny Finkleman

    The best to all old fans,
    Wayne Logus (Edmonton)

  22. Man, it’s great reading all of these comments and especially a word from our Captain! It was the best show ever, nothing has even come close!! Saturday afternoons aren’t the same. Jack, if you’re reading this: have you ever thought of doing a web based version of the show? Put my name down as a volunteer if you ever decide to give it a whirl!! Would be great to hear again!!!

  23. To reiterate the many posted comments… I find it so disappointing that there are still no clips of The Radio Show on the CBC archives. Some of my best CBC Radio memories were of Captain Jack on a Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the other posters for sharing my feelings so passionately.

  24. Wow, I’m way late to this discussion, but still really miss Captain Jack, Scoop Jordan, and The Radio Show.

    I was quite peeved when local Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair Jr wrote a nasty column about how boring The Radio Show had gotten, and the CBC cancelled it shortly thereafter. GRRRR! Unlike Sinclair’s self-serving columns, The Radio Show was never boring!!!

    I always liked The Radio Show way better than Basic Black. CBC is now a wasteland on Saturday; I don’t listen at all.

    Highlights for me:

    – Billy Castleman insulting “Steel Magolias”. (“Jackie … the man who made this film … needs a mint julep enema.”)

    – Billy Castleman insulting “Bethune”. (“Jackie … they should have called it ‘Buffoon’.”)

    – Any interview with Joy Fielding, for my money Canada’s best fiction writer by far.

    – Scoop Jordan researching putting together a space probe. (He went to a Ford dealer, got a price on a Ford Probe, and planned to put a message on it, something like “We come in peace. Disco was a horrible mistake, and we will never do it again”.)

    – Elvis as travel correspondent. While in Argentina, he “et a big bowl of beef” for every meal.

    – “Ceramic beverage containment system” made me laugh every time.

    – A live interview with ex-PM Joe Clark, in which Clark recounted his rowdy teenaged years, driving his father’s Buick up and down High River’s main drag, “sometimes, on a Saturday, until 8 p.m., rolling the power windows up and down”. (It was surely Clark, and yet it was like a clever parody of him. I was bewildered. This was my first exposure to Linda Cullen and Bob Robertson, later to become Double Exposure.)

    And to think that the CBC dumped Captain Jack, and kept the odious Michael Enright. Oh, the shame!

    OK, rant over …

  25. Agree with all raves, except my disappointment that no one mentioned “The News with Joe Goebbels”. Clearly a highlight.

Comments are closed.