Thursday, 13 October 2011

CBC Memories: Don Messer's Jubilee

When I was a kid, my family never missed an episode of CBC's weekly half-hour show Don Messer's Jubilee. We loved the old-timey music played by the great Maritime fiddler Don Messer and his band The Islanders. The show's cast of regulars included Marg Osburne and Charlie Chamberlain who always sang the show's opening theme, "Goin' to the Barndance Tonight."



The show also featured square dancing. My grandmother loved Don Messer's Jubilee too but was always very shocked whenever the female dancers' skirts and crinolines would twirl up to reveal their panties. "Oh, there's no need for that sort of thing," she would tsk tsk disapprovingly.

Only Hockey Night in Canada was more popular on TV. When the CBC cancelled Don Messer's Jubilee in 1969, there was a nationwide protest and angry questions in the House of Commons.

Don Messer was such a beloved musician in this country that his violin has become a national treasure. Years after his death, his daughter personally chose the next great Maritime fiddler to be given the violin to play -- like a sacred trust -- Frank Leahy.

15 comments:

DEZMOND said...

wow, nation wide protests? That must have been some very popular show :)

mermaid gallery said...

I used to watch this with my Grandma too.....i thought it pretty hokey but she loved it...and i loved her!...thanks for the memories.....

laurie said...

I guess we all did the same things becasue this was the show we watched as well that and Tommy Hunter and of course hockey, thanks for the memories, have a super day!

Linda in New Mexico said...

What a delightful treat this morning. I've never heard of this show but the "blast from the past" was a fun thing anyway. The square dancers look like I remember my older brother and sister looking on Friday night when they went to "dance". Fun......Oma Linda

mxtodis123 said...

I used to love square dancing. Used to go to this place called Happy Time Barn every Saturday night.
Mary

Jim said...

Oh yes, the Messer Show! We loved it too!
And those naughty dancers! lol One of the dancers is a friend of ours....I'll have to let her know about your grandmother's comment!
Ron and I saw Frank Lahey in Charlottetown a few years ago playing that 'said' fiddle.....he was great too!

Suzie Ridler said...

That is wild! I never saw this show but love your grandmother's reaction to it, mine would have done the same and muttered something in Latvian at the same time. The CBC is such an important part of the Canadian experience.

Lois said...

My husband remembers it, but not I... I remember Lawrence Welk and Wild Kingdom.

laughingwolf said...

mother wanted to see it, so we all saw it :P lol

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I would have watched it too.

Joyful Things said...

Soon as I saw the words Don Messer the song "Goin' to the Barndance" started running through my head. I only know the one line but that show was a regular in our household. So glad Frank Leahy got the fiddle but Natalie McMaster would have been a good choice too.

-E- said...

was unaware of the word "crinoline". good stuff.

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards,
http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This came on right after hockey so we always got kicked out of the house. I think dad like makin' love to fiddle music.

Kris (TX Rebel Cowgirl) said...

My Uncle Rene Mathieu and my Grandfather Emile Mathieu were a part of this band. My Grandad was a fiddle player, infact he used to make his own fiddles. As young kids we always had this kind of music in our lives. it was awesome growing up in a family of music.