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Hinterland Who's Who
October 21, 2003 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Hinterland Who's Who Back in the mid 1906s the Canadian government made what have now become the longest running public service annoucments ever. They're also possible the most boring, but that can't stop them from being amazingly popular. Don't forget to check out the spoofs.
posted by tiamat (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should also mention, they're now making new ones!
posted by tiamat at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2003


Brings back my Cable-less childhood, all 2 channels.

I remember on an episode of SCTV John Candy did a faux HWW, for the Marmaset I think. He did it totally straight. I thought it was the funniest thing ever, but I was also high at the time.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2003


I recall my brief stint working at CBC in Vancouver, where I'd occasionally take a lunch break to wander through the video library archives. It was then that I discovered that happiness is watching all the old Hinterland Who's Who spots back to back with a large bowl of popcorn.
posted by antifreez_ at 12:03 PM on October 21, 2003


1906s = 1960s.
(if ever there was a case for proofreading...)
posted by me3dia at 12:11 PM on October 21, 2003


Back in the mid 1906s the Canadian government...

Those canadians, always ahead of the technological curve!
posted by signal at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2003


Better Hinterland than Participaction spots.

You never see animals running around like fools just for the hell of it.
posted by orange swan at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2003


Here's the story on the new ones.
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2003


Another great thing about a cable-less Canadian childhood: Animated National Film Board shorts instead of commercials.

Lest all you non-Canuck MeFites think we had to subsist on a diet of lo-fi nature documentaries, the CBC also used to air the pioneering, award-winning work of the NFB's animation wing in the places where ads for sugary cereals went on other networks. A short list of classics:

The Sweater - In which some poor Quebecois kid gets the wrong hockey jersey from Mr. Eaton and winds up a social pariah

Oh Sure - In which some weirdo on a park bench goes cartoonishly mental

Log Driver's Waltz - The McGarrigles sing something about "burling [?] down and down the white water," while a kinetically animated logger dude does just that.

Also, I can't remember for certain if I saw these as CBC interstitials or not, but no mention of the NFB would be complete with links to The Big Snit and to the unparalled genius Norman McLaren. (I highly recommend seeking out in particular Begone Dull Care. McLaren painted directly onto the animation cels to bring life to an Oscar Peterson soundtrack. In eight minutes, it does more to explain the artistic merits of both jazz and animation than a shelf of books. And it's as accessible as, well, a cartoon.)
posted by gompa at 12:31 PM on October 21, 2003


When I was a wee one I actually wrote to the Canadian Wildlife Service to get more information on pretty much every single animal I saw in those things. Getting free stuff in the mail kicked ass.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:52 PM on October 21, 2003


I remember on an episode of SCTV John Candy did a faux HWW

"The woodchuck...inhabits northern climes..."
posted by gimonca at 12:55 PM on October 21, 2003


The Log Driver's Waltz is brilliant - and you can sometimes find the NFB video floating around on a file-sharing program. "Burling" means keeping your balance on a log as it floats downriver. Here's another story on the new Hinterland Who's Who.

Speaking of the way things used to be, I, for one, would like the CBC to be able to offer high-quality Canadian programming without commericals. I'd be more than happy to pay higher taxes to see that happen. Who's with me!
posted by Dasein at 1:00 PM on October 21, 2003


wow, serious flashbacks of waiting for Mr. Dressup to come on...
posted by krunk at 1:07 PM on October 21, 2003


gimonca, Razzle: You're not thinking of the Woodchuck spot available here, are you?

I would check it out myself, but I can't get my machine here at work to handle WMV files. Working on a Linux machine when you don't have admin privileges can be very frustrating.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:18 PM on October 21, 2003


# | Speaking of the way things used to be, I, for one, would like the CBC to be able to offer high-quality Canadian programming without commericals. I'd be more than happy to pay higher taxes to see that happen. Who's with me!

Wouldn't that be fantastic? I would absolutely love to see the Mother Corp begin the ascension to the level of quality and cultural relevance that can be seen in other public broadcasters such as the BBC.

Concerning money matters, I believe the CBC gets a budget of roughly $1 billion a year. This sounds like a huge amount, but consider that it's paying for 2 national television networks, 2 24-hour news channels, a recording label, a symphony, a global news bureau, two national radio networks (and a dozen provincial ones) and goodness knows what else. Once everyone takes their slice, there's not much left.

While the cutbacks the CBC underwent during the Mulroney administration forced them to do a fair bit of internal restructuring, I still think that they're still sufficiently top-heavy that there needs to be more reforms before we simply dump cash on them.
posted by antifreez_ at 1:22 PM on October 21, 2003


Dasein -- Thanks for the burling definition (I thought maybe it was a contracted slang version of "barreling" or somesuch).

And I too would pay higher taxes in exchange for a commercial-free CBC, but only if it was accompanied by a ten-year moratorium on nostalgic dramas set in remote rural environments.
posted by gompa at 1:33 PM on October 21, 2003


but only if it was accompanied by a ten-year moratorium on nostalgic dramas set in remote rural environments.

The TV production company in "Made in Canada" were always scared they would lose tax credits if they did more than one period drama per year.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2003


Thanks for the links, tiamat and gompa, I'm completely homesick now...at the mention of The Sweater, I instantly had that Quebecois accent in my head...ahh...good old 'ockey...

As to The Big Snit, all I can say is "STOP SHAKING YOUR EYES!!!!"
posted by biscotti at 1:51 PM on October 21, 2003


"Always shaking your eyes HERE and shaking them THERE. Why don't you join some SHAKING ROCK AND ROLL BAND, that's what they say..."
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:03 PM on October 21, 2003


Robot Johnny, STOP SAWING THE TABLE!
posted by jon_kill at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2003


It's time for... SAWING FOR TEENS!

Jeez, I was six when that short came out... although I don't think I saw it until I was eight or nine. Still, surprising I remember it.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:39 PM on October 21, 2003


I believe the CBC gets a budget of roughly $1 billion a year[....] consider that it's paying for 2 national television networks, 2 24-hour news channels, a recording label, a symphony, a global news bureau, two national radio networks...

Actually, CBC Newsworld and its French counterpart are not publically funded. They are self-supporting, with their own revenue. I'm not sure about the other CBC operations.

CBC Radio 1 kicks ass, though. Nothing like doing the BC to Newfoundland driving marathon every summer, and listening to the same radio shows the whole time. I'm glad they've kept CBC Radio commercial free.

As for The Sweater, it's a TV adaptation of Roch Carrier's book. We liked it so much we put it on the back of the new Canadian $5 bill.
posted by MiG at 2:52 PM on October 21, 2003


In other Canadian news, I heard that a group of schoolteachers was absolved of responsibility in the case of a student losing an eye during a snowball fight they didn't stop.

The reason: snowball fights are a part of Canadian culture.

Sorry, no link, someone just told me that on the Metro the other day.
posted by jon_kill at 2:59 PM on October 21, 2003


It's time for... SAWING FOR TEENS!

In my graphic design classroom in highschool, there was a saw hanging on the wall, labelled "sawing for teens". It confused the hell out of me. A few years later I saw The Big Snit, and a giant lightbulb was illuminated above my head. Such a relief to finally figure that out.
posted by krunk at 3:01 PM on October 21, 2003


# | Actually, CBC Newsworld and its French counterpart are not publically funded. They are self-supporting, with their own revenue.

This is true. However, there is some residual public funding in that Newsworld uses some CBC technical staff paid with public funds as well as using a studio in a CBC building.
posted by antifreez_ at 3:32 PM on October 21, 2003


This is true. However, there is some residual public funding in that Newsworld uses some CBC technical staff paid with public funds as well as using a studio in a CBC building.

On the other hand, CBC proper benefits from having Newsworld by the additional news content it can glean for its normal nightly news broadcasts.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:29 PM on October 21, 2003


Best thing the CBC ever did for me - Brave New Waves
Brent Bambury was a guiding light for me through the mid to late 80's.
posted by davebush at 5:10 PM on October 21, 2003


jon_kill: It's much more likely that the judge just tossed the case on general principles. We don't (like the USA) have silly civil statues that say everyone is responsible for anything that happens near them. And generally we sue people a whole lot less as well. :)
posted by tiamat at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2003


While we're waxing nostalgic about CanCon, how about the Canada Post Shorts. "Dr. Penfield, I smell burnt toast!"
posted by Officeslacker at 5:34 PM on October 21, 2003


I heart CBC.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:35 PM on October 21, 2003


Dear god, people, nearly 30 comments and no one has mentioned Paddle to the Sea?!?!?! That film and Helicopter Canada were shown to us "Clockwork Orange"-style in order to turn us into peaceful, law-abiding citizens of Canada — the second largest, most beautiful country in the world.

Oh, Canada, our home and native land...

[I was cured all right]
posted by filmgoerjuan at 8:25 PM on October 21, 2003


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: CBC Radio 3 is a fine online magazine ... with its own soundtrack. Can't quite compete with Radio 1, but it's a good start.
posted by mrmcsurly at 9:07 PM on October 21, 2003


how about the Canada Post Shorts. "Dr. Penfield, I smell burnt toast!"

They aren't Canada Post Shorts, they're Heritage Canada Minutes, and they're the glue that makes our country stick. Wait, that's an overstatement; let me rephrase: they do more than our entire education system to inform Canadians about their past. And they offer partial - and I stress partial - redemption for Sheila Copps.
posted by Dasein at 9:09 PM on October 21, 2003


I heart CBC

me too...! and not just because they've employed me off and on for over 30 years. in fact that can often make a person hate the cbc, but anyway... i love the radio programming, the 24 hour news, the local news, the historical dramas, all of it.

They're also possible the most boring, but that can't stop them from being amazingly popular

uhm, yah... so boring they're really popular 8-) i guess i was a massively nerdy little kid because i loved those spots and would eagerly await new ones... the theme music even gave me goosebumps! i'm pretty sure they inspired a whole generation's interest in wildlife conservation.

yup, i'm pretty stoked there are going to be new ones, can't wait to see them.
posted by t r a c y at 12:11 AM on October 22, 2003


"The Willow Ptarmigan is a very stupid bird..."
posted by rikabel at 1:20 AM on October 22, 2003


Dasein, the Heritage Minutes are privately funded by Historica (which I believe has the Bronfmans behind it). The Halifax Explosion one still makes my eyes water. Yay Canadian history.
posted by Yogurt at 4:43 PM on October 22, 2003


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