1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 9 (Canada)
Don Messer’s Jubilee appeared on Canadian television in the same time slot for almost an entire decade and became one of the most beloved CBC shows. Produced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it presented a selection of old-time, country, and maritime-flavoured folk music.
Messer was the show’s musical director and arranger and – in name, at least – also the host (although he didn’t speak much and projected an unassuming on-air personality).
His regular ensemble of musicians and performers included Charlie Chamberlain, a large and broad, bilingual singer dressed in lumberjack’s clothing; Duke Nielsen, reputedly a roustabout, fire eater, and bear wrestler who could play twenty-two different musical instruments; vocalist Marg Osburne who conveyed a folksy elegance in contrast to Chamberlain’s rowdier image; and The Islanders, featuring Rae Simmons, Waldo Murdo, Cec MacEachern and Warren MacRae.
In addition to weekly guests, the show also featured organist Ray Calder and vocalists Catherine McKinnon (l964-66) and Johnny Forrest (l966-69). The Gunter Buchta Dancers, a troupe of ballroom, folk, and square dancers also appeared regularly.
The announcer on Don Messer’s Jubilee was Don Tremaine.
The network’s decision to cancel the show in 1969 provoked a strong response from viewers across the country. Although the CBC did not reconsider its decision, the show was picked up for syndication by private station, CHCH-TV Hamilton.
The Gunter Buchta Dancers