CJCI's "Pulse Today"
November, 30, 1973
Interviewer: Bob Harkins
Interviewee: Jack Carbutt
B.H. Good afternoon Bob Harkins, with rather a special addition of "CI Pulse Today". Today were going to take a nostalgic look at the broadcast era of Prince George. It spans 29 years, a man's career. It all started at CKPG in the mid-1940s immediately following the Second World War. At that time there was a young man who was Mr. Radio in Central B.C. He had a program called "Reveries", it was a very popular program. Everyone from the logger to the housewife listened to it. Here's how it sounded on October 20th, 1949.
J.C. A good name, a good name in man and woman is the immediate jewel
of all their souls. He who steals my purse steals trash to something -
nothing. Twas mine, is his - and has been afraid to fathom. But he that
takes from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes
me coy indeed. Lines of William Shakespeare.
That was the way of rejoicing contains such a goodly measure of truth - in the few lines - and makes one realize very definitely the importance of guarding a good name. When we say that tonight we mean not only our own but that of the other fellow. I sometimes think that a great deal of sorrow in this world is caused through the lack of thought - maybe only idle gossip and yet it can be a terrible weapon in the hands or rather in the mouth of the thoughtless irresponsible person. You know idle gossip has caused so many heartaches and wrecked homes that I don't know why we continue to carry on with it. It should be avoided under all circumstances the story can be so twisted and misrepresented that it loses all semblence of the true facts. Think well before you repeat harmful gossip or scandal, and I truthfully believe that you cannot say something good about the other fellow, well, forget about it, don't mention it. For there is my friend so much in this world that is beautiful and good and fine. So many people that are really wonderful when you get to know them that if you would give them a chance to prove to you what they are before condemning them through idle gossip then you've got something. You know its all right to say Mrs. so and so or Mr. so and so is well you know what he is or she is and you've heard this and you've heard that. All right so you've never had them in your home you don't know what they are, you don't know their story, two or three times maybe they'll breakdown and tell you, then you'll know the other side. Its a thing too that we often forget and shouldn't, there are always two sides to every story. If we remember to give the other fellow a break and not repeat anything no matter how true it may be, it will hurt or jeopardize his chance for happiness. Then my friends we will have found a little of the true rhythm of life and in consequence our own hearts will be happier. You know you and I, we may not be able to set the world on fire with accomplishments or be able to create wonderful works of art but we can give to the world kindness and charity, all that is required is careful thought, the lack of jealousy and lack of selfishness. Kindness after all is one of the finest arts that any man in this world of ours today that you and I are living in today can practice. Beware of idle gossip and keep a good name in your own soul and in your own conscience.
B.H. Well that was a friend of mine who I've known for 20 years who got me into this business Jack Carbutt who celebrating tomorrow his 29th broadcast anniversary in the City of Prince George. Mr. Radio, I'm glad to have you and proud to have you on "Pulse Today".
J.C. Thank you very much Bob. Um the only thing that I should mention right at the beginning here, uh to you're operator first of all, uh levels are not going to be what your used to sir cause the voice isn't that good, but uh you bear with me and I'll bear with you. Thank you very much for having me here Bob today.
B.H. And that was Jack Carbutt, uh excerpt from a program of "Reverie" which I know a lot of old timers in Prince George will recognize, which is up at the-.
J.C. Even I know.
B.H. Town that meant a lot of and Jack didn't know that I had this here.
J.C. No I didn't.
B.H. Was he surprised too, but I know a lot of old timers will find it nostalgic and kind of nice to hear Jack again on "Reverie". When did it all start for you in Prince George?
J.C. In Prince George, um I came up here Bob in December the first 1945.
I came into the city by bus, Greyhound no plugs you their sponsorship,
um I want uh came into the city you know and we got up to the airport around
that district and it was so foggy that I think the bus driver who got down
to oh low and uh it took us about half an hour from the airport to get
across the Fraser River Bridge and I thought for goodness sakes I've done
it again and gone back to Vancouver, you know what the fog was that time
of year.The bus depot was in the same location that it is now. Unfortunately,
right across the street there was a hotel. I didn't stay there but it was
nice to see that the lights were on and uh I knew where I was at that time.
Uh, 1946 when we opened CKPG where the ________(??) and uh Ray Tape, the engineer um that was on February the Eighth of 46. We had many, many things that happened to us uh on the Ritts-Kifer Building, that was right at us at the Prince George Hotel and uh maybe if you want to go on we could explain few of these little difficulties that occurred.
The building itself when it was 20 below outside it was 25 below inside and um any of the insulation that was put into the building they forgot to do what they should of done and it used to be an old basketball court, a dance hall. We never did see any of the girls or anything like that but it it used to be and uh we had uh many, many frightening experiences but fortunately for us, as far as I was concerned, we had the fire department right down below us. We used to all go up on 100 pounds sacks, 21 stairs until we got the transfer company to cut it to 50 pounds and not to 50 stairs no and 21 stairs but it felt like 50 stairs by the time, we had an old potbellied stove and uh, uh many, many times uh we'd go down we had, any engineer would be very happy to hear this, and uh again I'm not being paid but we had one of the finest turntables in the business, still is I think, Gerards, but they were oil propelled in those days not the same way that the engineers know them today and there were mornings when it was 30 or 35 below ______(??) , pardon me I'm just putting out my cigarette uh so my voice is up and down like a phone again, but uh in those days uh there were many mornings I went up, had a coat on, scarf on, gloves on uh put a little more coal on the fire, I went in the studio and we didn't sign on in those days Bob till seven o'clock in the morning and the first ________(??) I guess period, and eh I turned them with my hand so that the turntables would get moving and some of the records and we only had, that's another story. We only had 500 records when we opened up the station so one day we played one side and the other day we turned them over and played the other side, but in the mornings when you had to turn by hand everything worked beautifully because it was new selection entirely. Coronel ______(??) came out just like Coronel no ________(??) No it was it was a very, beautiful deal.
B.H. Jack could you answer me a question now, I started work at CKPG at in the old Ritts-Kifer Building, I was fortunate, I started on July 1st in the summertime and I only stayed there until we moved into the building on Sixth Avenue in November.
J.C. That's correct.
B.H. But is it true that the station bought a parka for the morning man in the control room?
J.C. Bought a parka?
B.H. Provided the morning man with a parka.
J.C. They provided them ______(??) not bother to pay, but one of the others were, yes. Ya, we had parkas that came in bottles.
B.H. Oh those kind.
J.C. Ya, you know we used to flip the bottle lid open and everything,
the parka came out, oh yes, yeah we had those.
B.H. I don't know what you call those, but I meant the other kind.
J.C. No, yes, they did Bob that's right.
B.H. You know Jack the business is still the same we have to make a buck.
J.C. That's right.
B.H. We'll stop right now.
B.H. You know Jack one of the things you used to do every year I recall
was to go up to the high school on career day and you did this in the spring
in 1953 and you
so impressed a couple of young fellows that um we both wound up working for you, Ron East and myself and uh.
J.C. Where is he now by the way.
B.H. Ron, the last I heard I think he was working in Medicine Hat I think.
J.C. Yes that's a very good station down there too.
B.H. At any rate I don't know whether to blame you or thank you at this point.
J.C. Well its your privilege Bob.
B.H. You started out in Vancouver in Radio.
J.C. That's right, I started out in CKMO in Vancouver that's 34 years ago.
B.H. Which became CFUN and then CKMO and then back again. That was Anna
J.C. That is correct on Robson Street, we had a lot of fun down there
Bob in Vancouver
as a matter of fact um you know when I was with Val last night just trying to reminisce about old times I want to tell you something too before I go to
_______(??) When you to get to my age and that applies to all of the people I see around here cause there younger than I am by many years. In fact three of four of them here put here together can still be put on top of the age limit and I would just like to mention that you get quite nostalgic about things and, and you get a little bit, like you played that tape. I'm glad we weren't on television you know because I had a couple of tears running down. But in Vancouver I learned many, many good things um we used to at CKMO
I had a deal where I worked from twelve till one in the morning. We used to run a grab bag , got the others ________(??) backstage at the Beacon.
B.H. The old Vaudeville Theatre.
J.C. That's Pandugious (??) Theatre at that time, yes, I can't tell you what happened there but there are many, many interesting things that could be written. Um, I don't know if you ever knew the _______ (??) organist pianist Randy Mathews is now doing a tremendous job in Montreal.
B.H. Ronnie played for years on radio, I think at CKMO and CJOR.
J.C. Yes, then they had the trouble at OR with the kiddie show, then they didn't have any trouble down at CJOR till they had an open line and eh everything went to blazes at that particular point. Chandler's owned the station at that time OR and Mr. Patterson of course now and Danny Alfick (??) that was associated naturally with Seth Affleck at CKPG for many, many years, and do you ever see him do his half-shoe?
B.H. No, but I heard that he had done dumbbells in the First World War.
J.C. That is correct and he was one of the greatest artist in the business
and he proved it when he came out to manage stations. I have an act for
you at the Orpheum Theatre, you, I think many, many people know the Orpheum
the great Orpheum we used to call it. Um, we did many shows from there.
I remember one day at ______ _______(??) they polled us, the management,
myself and ______(??) and, "have you any records or do you anything about
Lionel Hampton?" Well it's a long time ago Bob, over 30 years ago and eh
we had two records of Lionel Hampton and they said, "Well we'd
like to bring them in for a week." _______? was talking with Murray, the manager at Famous Players, and then we said well why not? What you paying them? Fifty-five hundred dollars for a week, 4 state shows a day and six on Saturday and that was big money in those days. They brought them in and there wasn't a seat ever vacant in the Orpheum Theatre. He was one of the finest men not only in the region I have ever met. I'm talking too much.
B.H. Now then you went to Kamloops did you not?
B.H. And you worked, you started out or at that time a young fellow
by the name of
J.C. That is correct, I started out there and of course, I wonder where he is now too?
B.H. Yeah, I think he's in a Melford, Saskatchewan.
J.C. Yeah, we had a lot of fun with Bob Hutton that eh was on CKNW. I was living in his mother and father's house at the time and he wanted to get into radio. He got in and look what he did he, I mean he really made it and then we had Brian ______(??) right up here at CKPG, Bob. What station am I on now. Anyway, we had Hutton up here um, Forest I should say and he's doing a very fine job now for NW. There's many, many men, Do you remember Don Wilson? I'm not talking about the Don Wilson that went to the United States.
B.H. Yeah, I remember Don.
J.C. He was a terrific man and he went down to Montreal, unfortunately his last, I don't think the money was enough and he came back. Anything else?
B.H. Well out of Vancouver, out of that same era of people like Fletcher
of course starred Alan Young and other great ones from OR and eh.
J.C. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of people of which I guess when your young you don't realize really Bob do you how much knowledge you are gleaning from these people. Uh, Leo Nicholson, I don't know whether many people remember him but I guess he was the finest sportscaster in Canada and I'll always remember, one day he said, "while your doing commercials for me at the Orange Hall," which was on Hastings and Gore Avenue, " ________ so I enjoy this evening" and on the table right in front of the map, in those days you weren't located anywhere but right in front, the map was you know I depicting now but the map was up top and you were there. And on the table Bob and there nothing wrong with this there was a jar of vaseline. I had looked at this but I thought well now okay, he's going to tell me what its all about and he said, " No you use it put a little on the finger put it in your mouth because you'll never get through a commercial with the rosin coming off the bag _______(??). I said, "Oh sure that's fine." You know, I tried, I didn't, I used it and that's the most wonderful thing for the voice too.
B.H. An occupational hazard in those days when radio was radio. We'll take a break now.
Commercial: Mackenzie's Men's Wear, Odeon Princess and Shoppers Food Mart
B.H. Our guest today Jack Corbutt, Mr. Radio, in Prince George who is celebrating his 29th year in broadcasting here in Prince George with CKPG. And, Jack tomorrow is Rotary Radio Auction Day, Radio and Television Auction Day now.
J.C. Its changed hasn't it?
B.H. It did, but remember those early years, and I can only think of well go back to 1953 but I know it went further back than that and its a very interesting history, and maybe you could tell us about this thing of all because its become an annual event that is raised an awful lot of money for an awful lot of people in this area.
J.C. That's right it has. _________(??) it started out Bob in 1947 around Christmas time in the Ritts-Kifer Building and the building never stood it but it did. Those were the days Bob when we started that, our _________(??) by the way was the Elks Rotary and Kinsmen then eventually the Rotary Club took it over in its entirety. We were doing then what you might call a soft shoe act, everybody did something, everybody acted. I remember the Provincial Police were here at that time and we got Harold Moffat, Mr. Moffat Sr. He was up in his building at the store and somebody had bid twenty-five dollars for him to sing or do something like this and he would not appear. The um one of his sons, quite young at the time probably was the present mayor, I'm not too sure, I wouldn't like to say that because you may not admit this. But, eh anyway one of the Provincial Police went up and brought him back down to the station in handcuffs and eh, Mr. Moffat Sr. wasn't too happy about the whole thing but after everything went beautifully. Now, we started out on a Friday night on the first auction and we went three days or three nights I should say because the response was that good and that's how actually the whole thing did start and now as I say its developed into a major production.
B.H. I can remember the fall of 1953, November of 1953 and at that time there was a long and bitter woodworkers strike in Prince George.
J.C. Oh yes.
B.H. And that was the year that all the money went to Christmas hampers and there was it was needed in those times as you will recall and we started out and Chuck Loedel of course was at the station then and we went and we had an auction. Charlie _____(??) Alec Bowry, Alec Clark, Wally West all of these fellows who are still around were involved in this and in the morning we had one clock left over and I was doing the morning show and you were reading the news. We had a good morning show in those days.
J. C. Yeah, that's right. You were taking it over for me the following day.
B.H. But at any rate there was a clock left over so we started and we
decided to auction
that clock off on the Saturday morning.
J.C. I remember very well.
B.H. And we finished up at six o'clock the next morning, Sunday morning and this was all spontaneous and I think we raised something like 6 or 7 thousand dollars.
J.C. That's right, everybody kept sending stuff in. Yes, you know and
that's the way
you know this actually city has been. Uh, even today Bob with the growth that has occurred over the last few years. Things have really, really progressed but we still have that same kind of a spirit and mentioning Chuck Loedel. I remember very well when I was at CKMO in Vancouver Bob, the Rythmn Rascals, and that was Chuck's Band at that time on the coast and he came up here as a policemen
and I met him here and then he joined the station and it was something. We also at CKMO, I say we because I just happened to be there at the time, also started Mike and Jeff the Rythmn Pals. Yes, they were quite young. Evan Chimp (??), do you remember him? He's a guitar player, he's been around.
B.H. Oh, Evan, yeah.
J.C. ______ (??) O'Shea used to play for him in those days.
B.H. That is correct.
J.C. We had a lot of fun down there with Rod Whiteside (??) who was CBC Chief Engineer out of Vancouver, Ernie Rose who is connected with some other channel, Vice President of Engineering at BCTV. I was still making the same money when I came. I had a very interesting, and listen to this Bob, with Gypsy Rose Lee. Um, she kept me off after about two minutes of the interview, you'd think the place was raided. I'm not too sure about that, I can't remember that, quite and of course, I know you want to talk so go ahead.
B.H. Well, I'll tell you what since five after one there's been a I haven't called for any calls. But, I think I will now because there a lot of people that want to talk with you and reminisce with you and there has been a call online for about twenty-five minutes, so I think we should pay them the courtesy of opening that line, good afternoon.
Caller Good afternoon, I'm very happy to hear Jack on the line again. I wish I could here more, I think I came to Prince George and it was shortly after I came here that Jack started the radio station.
Caller And uh I guess we never had one if it hadn't been for him eh.
I don't know but
he's wonderful and eh I know all about his life and I know him up and down and
I'm just so happy today to hear his voice on the radio.
J.C. Thank you very much madam.
Caller Okay, Bye.
B.H. Thanks for calling. Our lines are open, our guest Jack Carbutt,
29 years in broadcasting in Prince George, 562-5511.
Commercial Fred Walls and Sons, Radio Shack
B.H. Hello, Hello Nora.
Caller No this is Nancy Middleton in McLeod Lake.
B.H. Oh, Nancy , you got the wrong line but no we have the right line, go ahead.
Caller I'd just like to extend my congratulations to Jack, I've listened
to Jack since
1954 at CKPG and its certainly nice to hear him on the program again today
and that's too long.
J.C. Thank you very much Mrs. Middleton.
Caller Yes, good-bye now and good luck to you in the future.
J.C. Good luck to you.
B.H. Good afternoon, Pulse.
Caller Bob, I have on the telephone I'm sorry for the mix-up I didn't
hear the wrong line.
I have a lady on the telephone that would like very much to you and to your guest,
Caller Hello Bob
B.H. How are you?
Caller Oh just fine this is a surprise.
B.H. Well were, were celebrating with Jack tomorrow 29 years in Prince George in broadcasting. I know you know all of those 29 years Nora.
Caller I certainly do, I think its wonderful I want to give him my heartfelt congratulations.
J.C. I appreciate that very much Nora.
Caller Hello Jack.
J.C. How are you?
Caller I'm just fine, this is just wonderful.
J.C. I think it is too. You know this station does a very good job.
Caller I should say so. I was awfully glad and guess what that ______(??) was doing?
J.C. Is that right, well I think it's wonderful to hear from you too. How are you by the way?
Caller I'm just fine.
J.C. They said we could have fifty minutes of what I'm talking about.
Caller Well you still have fifteen minutes left so you still have time.
J.C. I sure do appreciate it Nora, its wonderful to hear it from you and I think this is a very, very, very nice of you.
Caller Well thank you. It was an awfully nice thought and eh its really made my day.
J.C. Made mine too. Thank you very much Nora.
Caller Congratulations Jack, your a real card on the air.
J. C. Yeah right.
B.H. And Nora, just one question I have for you. If you were out in
here up at seventeenth and Larch I can tell you you'd be building a snowman,
what are you doing at Parksville.
Caller Well would you like to know really, I was planting tulip bulbs.
B.H. Oh dear.
Caller Just the very last few.
Caller But, I just wanted to have to tell you that it was quite chilly, there were snow drops up there.
J.C. Thank you very much Nora.
Caller Oh, all the best Jack.
J.C. Right, bye-bye Nora.
B.H. Pulse, good afternoon.
Caller Hello Bob, this is Mo. Mo Caybull(??)
B.H. How are ya?
Caller I'm great, Jack just giving me a terrible case of nostalgia though.
J.C. Mo when you get to my age you'll know all about it, nostalgia I mean.
Caller Well that's what I've got now. Gosh, you bring back all the old
all the old experiences, gosh.
J.C. Were outdating you Maureen. You arrived on the scene about 1954.
Caller Fifty-four, that's right it wasn't fun to be on radio in those days when you were ten years old.
J.C. That's right, I was really nine but you beat me to it.
Caller Yes, 54 and it was a real Prince George winter and Jack was one of the first people I met when I hopped off the old plane in those days and I think it arrived weekly or something. I don't know where I was or what I was doing but it was really great.
J.C. You know much about 54, in 1955 and 56 in Prince George and people believe that we are having a tremendous amount of snow this year Bob and eh my friend on the line. But, we had 132.8inches of snow in that year 55 and 56 and we didn't have the facilities like they are now you know.
B.H. You know nobody in the whole world Corbutt but you would remember that.
J.C. A lot of things I don't remember Bob. Good, good, thank you very much.
Caller Oh good to hear you Jack.
J.C. Thank you.
B.H. Pulse, good afternoon.
Caller Good afternoon, is that Jack Corbutt?
B.H. No, but you can talk to him and that sounds like Frosty Forest.
Caller How did you know that?
B.H. Well, they hung a sign in the window Brian nice to hear ya.
Caller Where is Jack by the way?
J.C. I'm right here.
Caller Oh, I could here that voice without a telephone.
J.C. For goodness sakes.
Caller Before I insult him I want somebody else who is standing here beside me to congratulate him too because he's known him from way back in the old days we can't even talk about so hang on a half a second.
J.C. Okay, Brian?
Caller Congratulations Jack.
Caller This is Jim Robson the hockey broadcaster of the Canucks here in Vancouver.
J.C. Yes Jim.
Caller How are you? Standing up under the strain?
J.C. Well no I'm steady and thank God I am. How are ya?
Caller Twenty-nine years, is that right?
J.C. That's right.
Caller Well Brian's about twenty-nine years old so there's uh quite a parallel there.
J.C. Don't let him tell you that he was twenty-nine when he came here.
Caller Is that right, well that's what he's been telling everybody anyway.
J.C. How is his hairdo?
Caller Hairdo. Well he still has to bring it up from the right side and bring it up from the left side and then bring his beard up from the front and he's got the top almost covered.
J.C. Boy, you had that all down didn't you? You know this is wonderful absolutely wonderful. I appreciate it very much Jim and Brian too.