Thursday, 1 December 2011

CBC Memories: King of Kensington

In 1975, King of Kensington was one of CBC's first forays into sit-coms. The wonderful actor Al Waxman played Larry King, son of immigrant Jewish parents, who ran the family convenience store in Toronto's ethnically diverse Kensington neighbourhood. He lived above the shop with his WASP wife Cathy and his mother Gladys.

The comedy was a little corny, a little earnest, gently satirical and full of understated Canadian humour. The show reinforced the values of tolerance and multiculturalism which were then being actively promoted and developed in Canadian society. King of Kensington strove to be a direct contrast to All in the Family, its blue-collar American equivalent.

I enjoyed King of Kensington despite its shortcomings. I agreed with its values, then and now. And who can ever forget that iconic opening theme song?

(American readers may remember Al Waxman as Lt. Bert Samuels in Cagney & Lacey and as the archangel Judge Othniel in Twice in a Lifetime, before his untimely death in 2001).


Jane said...

I loved this show, whereas I loathed All In The Family (to this day). I'm sure part of the appeal was that it was Canadian.

Jeanne said...

My FIL had found a few episodes of this show at a yard sale many, many years ago on vcr tape. Also found some episodes of a few British sitcoms - and yes, our vcr still works :0)

Winter Slytherin said...

I've never seen it but it that was my birth year. :-)

mermaid gallery said...

Canadian to the core! was super corny but the message was clear....have a heart!....i love being a canuck!

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've never heard of this show, nor did I ever watch Cagney and Lacey, but what a great theme song/intro. I loved these cheesy 70's/80's intros. Probably my favorite is Greatest American Hero. Cheese to the max.

My Grama's Soul said...

Have not heard of this series....I'll bet it was an enjoyable one.


Laeli said...

I don't ever remember this show sadly! I would have been 3 years old when it came out. I feel like I missed out!

yellowdoggranny said...

zip..right over my head..never saw it.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I SO remember this show! I used to watch it all the time with my brothers. Yes, it sure was corny, but I loved it just the same. Hubby and I were just joking about this show just a couple of weeks ago. Awwww...the memories...

Tricky Nag said...

Apart from the basic premise I remember very little about this show, except of course, for the awesome theme song. We must have been musically deprived kids. We sang it so much I still can sing most of it!

Leviathan said...

I always liked this show, it used to be on late-night TV in the states, perfect fodder for my hours at that time. I especially liked the multicultural aspect, reminded me of my home in New York. Thanks for the flashback!

laughingwolf said...

waxman always gave great performances, no matter the part he played... rip, al... and k of k!

wv: mintagra... mint-flavored viagra? :O lol

Walter Dutchak said...

Lyrics to theme song.
- a Canadian sitcom set in Toronto, starring the late Al Waxman (2001)
- this one always went over well when it was played in Canadian pubs
- many "fell in love" with the song and appreciated the message in the lyrics.

When he walks down the street
He smiles at everyone
("Hey, look, It's the King!")
Everyone that he meets
Calls him "King of Kensington"
("How ya doin', King?"
"Put `er there, King!"
"Hey Karen! It's King!")

He finds his fortune in the faces
that surround him
His wife says helping other people
brings him luck
But then his mother tells
a slightly different story
He's the only king around without a buck

He's... a... man among men
The people's champion
And when destiny calls him...
(buzz... buzz..
"I'm sorry,
that line is STILL busy")
He's "King of Kensington"
("Whatta guy!")