2003   JUNE 7   #158

1963 Radio Commercials Festival

Side A of a collection of the best Canadian radio commercials for 1963. Each spot was produced by a different station from various Canadian cities.

- Mike Harras

TT-18:40 / 17MB / 128kbps 44.1khz

(Image courtesy of Mike Harras)

John Dolan writes:

What a trip! Listening to the "1963 Commercials Festival", Group 2 on the label, "CHED Edmonton" Sherwin Williams Paint. I produced that spot ... and it took me back as though we did it just a few weeks ago. Both voices on that spot have passed years ago and it gave me such a buzz to lift it, clean it up and "sweeten" it a bit. 40 years later, we were reunited again. It's a treasure I've added to my personal archives. Thank you.

My mouth dropped when I heard the CHED spot. I worked at CHED until 1964, and produced that commercial in the back studio, using an old Ampex 1/4 inch reel to reel tape recorder ... and as I recall, that was the third take after setting levels etc. Can't recall the Ampex model, but it had a separate transporter, and we were forbidden to cut and splice edits, unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary. There hasn't been much archival material saved from CHED's early years, and that's why that spot is such a gem. The music is from a very old hit by the "Ink Spots" called "We Three." with the commercial lyrics written by Jerry Forbes, the station manager and falsetto voice heard on that spot. The bass voice was "Old Dad Taylor" who had a great country band that toured locally, and also worked at CHED as our librarian. Jerry was 6 feet 6 inches tall, and leaned over Dad Taylor's shoulder to sing his solo bit, and the harmony. They shared a single vocal microphone. Both have long since passed away, and it was such a trip for me cleaning up that track 40 years later, and remembering the session as though it happened only a week ago. Glad you were there to salvage that commercial L.P. I'm sending a CD copy of the Sherwin Williams commercial to CHED's station management, who I'm sure will be thrilled to include it in their archives.

Incidentally, track 3 on that 1963 commercials festival acetate is a real puzzle. I'm 99 4/100'ths % certain the character voices in the "Harry Rosen Fuels" commercial is Rich Little. But, it's "Harry Rosen Fuels" that's the puzzle. Harry Rosen was a clothier in Toronto, who furnished apparel for the likes of Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as well as a multitude of dignitaries and high profile personalities from around the world. Because that commercial is 100 seconds long, suggests it may very well have been a spoof, and produced only to include it in the "radio commercials festival" There really is such a place as "Moose Jaw" as you know, and there really is a "CHAB" radio. It's the sponsor I.D. on that commercial that's really curious.

In 1963, Rich Little would have been 25 years old, living in Ottawa, and doing his routine on stage, mostly in Canada. Little didn't break into the "BIGS" until a year or two after that commercial was produced. In 1965, Rich was one of the celebrities at the Dean Martin roast ... which led to appearances on many TV shows as a guest, which led to ............. Little may very well have been doing a Canadian tour in 62/63, with Moose Jaw as a possible stop. A writer with a fertile brain watching his act, may very well have come up with the concept of that commercial. And ... there's a possibility Little may have met "Harry Rosen" in Toronto, thus the name of that fuel company.