Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I'm Anarkyvist: Time Warp Television - CKVR - Adverts and Bumpers


In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It.'s time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

"While in the process of digitizing a mass of VHS tapes, I came across some material that I recorded off of CKVR television in 1991-92. Back in the day when they used to be a great station, "VR" ran a framework concept titled "Time Warp Television" which showcased old television classics such as "Gilligan's Island", "All In The Family", "WKRP in Cincinnati", "Star Trek", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost in Space", and (the less classic) "Land of the Giants". I popped together this little clip of bumpers, adverts, and promotions. There might be a Part Two...."

I will correct the recording period specified in my YouTube intro: it should read as "1992-93". The "Time Warp Television" framework programme started in the 1991-1992 television year with an offbeat host by the name of Nabu Perini (spelling?). Unfortunately for regular viewers, he, and his Elvis bust, left after Time Warp's premiere season. On the tape that I pulled the above clips from he is nowhere to be found doing his "streeter" thing. However, in one of the clips he can be seen walking ('behind' William Shatner) with a Super-8 movie camera.

Yes: Voyage, to the Bottom, of the Sea!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I Understand It's National Coffee Day


... I'm sipping a cup of Maxwell House "Instant".

Not bad....

Blu-ray: Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Directed by
Werner Herzog

Shout! Factory LLC

Monday, September 28, 2020

Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Death Affected Me

Minutes ago I learned, or was reminded, that Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada's 15th prime minister, father of our current leader, died twenty years ago today. I have a strong memory of how it affected me. For a few days I felt gloomy.

"Me, feeling a loss over the death of a politician?" I sure did.

I was just old enough to have understood "Trudeaumania". Though I was living in then West Germany in 1968, nodes of excitement tickled their way across the Atlantic, ending up on my schoolroom's "Current Affairs" board. I remember my teacher talking about him to the class. This was the year after Canada's 100th birthday, after Bobby Gimby serenaded us air force brats with the song "Ca-na-da". Prime Minister Trudeau would go on to be one of this great country's most controversial, and perhaps, authoritative, leaders. It could be argued that his brand of leadership was exactly what we needed in the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s.

In my need to brush up on PET and his terms as PM, a few years ago I read Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Nino Ricci's fine human biography, and found it to be fair, balanced, and in the end, a panegyric to a great man.

I'm feeling gloomy again....

A Forever Question: Motion Picture Production Titles

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Is a "Production Designer" anything like a "Production Director"?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Fun: The Education of Mike McManus

I was in my early teens when I joined broadcaster Michael McManus and his guests on the OECA (Ontario Educational Communications Authority) television network. Due to my young age at the time I may not have always understood all of the concepts put forth, but I did watch.

Kudos to TVO (TVOntario) for archiving these valuable shows. For the show embedded above, a 1977 interview with Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, "valuable" has new meaning....

McManus: But it seems, Doctor McLuhan, that this, this tribal world is not friendly.

McLuhan: Oh no. Tribal people, one of their main kinds of sport is (about) butchering each other. It's a full-time sport in tribal societies . . .

Village people aren't that much in love with each other . . .

Ordinary people find the need for violence as they lose their identities. So it's only the threat to people's identity that (makes them violent).

It's worth watching. Concepts put forth by Mr McLuhan ring true today. (The bell keeps ringing.)

We really lack quality interviewing like this on television today. An interviewer lets his guest talk. What a concept.

Picturing: Bird in the Bush

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Picturing: Plant Life

Book: From Caligari to Hitler (Kracauer)

From Caligari to Hitler
- A Psychological History of The German Film -

By Siegfried Kracauer

Princeton University Press 1947/1974

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Blu-ray: Die Nibelungen

Die Nibelungen
- Special Edition -

Directed by
Fritz Lang

Kino Lorber  2012

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I'm Anarkyvist: Star Wars TV Promo - ET - 1999


In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It.'s time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

"On June 11th of 1999 Entertainment Tonight aired this short promo, hosted by movie critic Leonard Maltin, on the then upcoming tv special From Star Wars to Star Wars: The Story of Industrial Light & Magic to be aired by the Fox network (which I did not tape)."

That ghastly vexatious disturbance in The Force, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, was but a few weeks old when the above special promo aired. I don't remember watching the special in question, but I'm sure Star Wars fans were cooking their VHS machines that night. ILM has long been at the forefront of special visual effects technology, and that's something I can admire. And Leonard Maltin's enthusiasm is always infectious.

Time's 100 Most Influential People (I Don't Know)

"Time Magazine releases its list of the 100 most influential people of 2020"

So blazed the Chyron.

Then ran a series of stills showing various celebrities, most of whom I've never heard of.

When I think of "influential people" I don't think of people known to the masses, but people I know: friends, or even acquaintances.

I may be inspired by certain "celebrities", but, even then, I'm more inspired by people most folk have never heard of.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ringo Starr on Perspective

"I don't talk about myself in the third person, and I laugh at people who do."

And we're laughing with you, sir.

Ringo Starr on the United States of America

"So this is America. They must be out of their minds."


Monday, September 21, 2020

The Emmy's Creeky

I just learned that the CBC series Schitt's Creek cleaned up at last night's Emmy Awards. Was the competition poor this year? The Ceeb broadcast the series on weekday evenings last year, so I was able to catch up with newer shows after ditching it during its first year.

Actors gesticulating like characters in a Hal Roach short in 2020 instead of 1930, is cringeworthy.

DVD: The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno
- Special Edition -

Directed by
John Guillerman

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment  2005

A Forever Question: In a Jar

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. One can get someone out of a jam, but can one get someone out of a marmalade?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday Fun: "Why Did I Buy This?"

I bought the Space: 1999 Complete Series Blu-ray set in July of last year; and have watched just one episode, which I did last night: "A Matter of Life and Death"

Even it were a matter of life and death, I might have to be forced to watch more of this series. The good news is the wrapping is off the set....

I'm being somewhat facetious as there are a few good episodes. A few.

Space: 1999 premiered when I was a young teen, but even then I knew something was off. Buying this BD set, perhaps, was a simple case of me trying to force myself back to my youth.

John Turner (1929 - 2020)

Canadian Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Lester Pearson, Jean Chrétien.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Picturing: Toronto Drain Assembly

We Cannot Go Faster Than Light?


Sorry. Some tachyons escaped me.

I fired up my BBC Radio 2 this morning and saw this headline on the main page:

This video explains why we cannot go faster than light


Friday, September 18, 2020

Blu-ray: Face-Off


Directed by
George McCowan

Video Services Corp.  2011

New Blogger Dashboard Feature

When I uploaded my two posts yesterday they listed as "Wednesday", even though, and I did have to check to make sure I wasn't floating on a time warp, it was Thursday.

So....when one composes or assembles a blog post for future uploading, it gets tagged as that day and date.

That's what I call a refinement.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Book: The Elements of Screenwriting (Blacker)

The Elements of Screenwriting
- A Guide for Film and Television Writing -

Irwin R. Blacker

Collier Books  1986

Blu-ray: Born in Flames

Born in Flames

Directed by
Lizzie Borden

First Run Features

DVD: True Stories

True Stories

Directed by
David Byrne

The Criterion Collection  2018

I'm Anarkyvist: WNED - Station I.D. & Sign-off - 1993

In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It.'s time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

"From 1993. Buffalo PBS affiliate WNED's station/network logo with voice-over describing its technical and broadcast details."

For many denizens of southern Ontario (Canada), WNED, Buffalo's PBS affiliate, is a go-to television station. That Public Broadcasting Service station introduced me to Monty Python's Flying Circus (in 1974), a great public service as far as I'm concerned, and allowed me to drop in on the good Doctor even though I had more or less abandoned Doctor Who by the early 1980s.

As a fellow film-grad friend said to me years ago: "You want to donate money to them."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

CD: Walton - Battle of Britain Suite (Marriner)

Battle of Britain Suite
- Sir William Walton's film music Vol. 2 -

Sir Neville Marriner Conducts
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Chandos Records Ltd  1990

CD: Battle of Britain (Goodwin & Walton)

Battle of Britain
- Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack -

Music Composed and Conducted by
Ron Goodwin

"Battle in the Air" Composed by
Sir William Walton

Battle of Britain Day 1990 in 2020

The poster said all I had to know. On September 15, 1990, there would be a celebration to remember on the River Thames. That of "Battle of Britain Day, 1990". This history buff did not plan my trip to coincide with the event, but I was in London, England, and would be around to attend the fireworks.

I stood among a large crowd on the river's south bank, metres upstream from Tower Bridge. The sky darkened, the vintage searchlights fired up, probing and irradiating a low cloud ceiling. All that was missing was the drone of unseen Heinkel, Dornier, and Junkers aircraft. The Blitz was terrible for London's denizens throughout the summer of 1940, so nobody was celebrating the act of war, but the repelling of invaders....German "Luftwaffe" bombers. (Since there had been no definitive and crippling blows to the Royal Air Force, necessary if Unternehmen Seelöwe [Operation Sea Lion], the invasion of England, was to have any chance of succeeding, Adolf Hitler lost interest and turned his attention to the east.)

Music blazed from sparking loudspeakers as fireworks of all colours and stripes rose streaking from a barge anchored to the sparkling waters before us. For many Brits here, this sight and sound must have been emotional. I too was feeling it: Composer Ron Goodwin's magnificent themes for the films Battle of Britain and 633 Squadron were the perfect accompaniment, and helped lift us all up high. (Aces High!)

That event was the 50th anniversary of the great battles fought in the skies over England. Now we're at 80.

Book: The Battle of Britain (Bickers)

The Battle of Britain
- The Greatest Battle in the History of Air Warfare -

Richard Townshend Bickers

Salamander Books Ltd  1999

Monday, September 14, 2020

DVD: Battle of Britain

Battle of Britain

Directed by
Guy Hamilton

United Artists  1969

A Forever Question: Corners of the Mind

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. How can there be 'four corners of the world' when a sphere has no corners?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Book: Canadian Dreams (Posner)

Canadian Dreams
- The Making and Marketing of Independent Films -

Michael Posner

Douglas & McIntyre Ltd  1993

Friday, September 11, 2020

My Mate, Marmite

Anyone reading this whose mother was/is British will probably know about Marmite....through reputation or ingestion.

Not too many things can snap me back to my childhood faster than a bottle of that yeast extract. I can still picture it sitting on the kitchen shelf, and can still smell it. ("Gross" is the word probably most associated here.) Of course, our sense of smell is the strongest 'memory' trigger.

For the last couple of days I've been thinking about Marmite. Now I've decided to buy a bottle. I have to be absolutely sure, since one's memory can be faulty.

It is said that Marmite is an acquired taste.

I'll let you know....

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I'm Anarkyvist: Speakers Corner Promo - Citytv - 1997

In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It.'s time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

It began from the booth at the northwest corner of Queen and John here in Toronto....

Speakers Corner ran on Citytv stations from 1990 to 2008. What started out as a simple concept allowing people to speak their minds on editorial issues, quickly turned into something bigger and more. For one Canadian dollar coin (the Loonie), one could do their thing for television for a maximum of two minutes. Anything went, even if some segments could not be aired due to some lewd behavior. Some actors and musicians who made appearances: Harrison Ford; Mike Myers; the Barenaked Ladies; and Madonna.

Occasionally I saw the interstitials and watched the half-hour version of Speakers Corner.

Now I see a social document.

54 Years Ago, Yesterday....

... 54 years ago, three days ago, if one is speaking of Canada and its CTV television network.
Star Trek, no "Star Trek TOS".

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

RCAF/CAF C-130 Hercules

Some images take us way back. The photo above, which I grabbed from Wikipedia, flew me to my "brat" youth. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules has served the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Air Force for decades. In my day, the "Herc" was painted in the livery illustrated above, which only help feed the pangs of nostalgia.

The route of CFB Lahr to Gatwick Airport, and back again, was my trip; my "flip".

Monday, September 7, 2020

A Forever Question: A Matter of Balance

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Why is there too often an inverse relationship between how hard a person works and remuneration?

Dimitri Tiomkin on Winning Another Oscar

"Lady and gentlemen, because I working in this town for twenty-five years, I like to make some kind of appreciation to very important factor what make me successful to lots of my colleagues in this town. I’d like to thank Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Mozart, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov. Thank you."

I know squat about the Oscars, but years ago I read that Mr Tiomkin holds (as of that date) the record for garnering the biggest laugh from an Oscar acceptance speech. It is funny.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

An Interview with RCAF Pilot Larry Byrne

Canadair CC-106 "Yukon" transport aircraft of the RCAF.

Minutes ago I posted a repeat of a piece I uploaded in 2018. Yesterday a chap whose father flew as aircrew on "Yukes" contacted me after stumbling upon my writings about that transport aircraft. Here is similarly-themed article I posted in 2016....

As I've mentioned on this blog before, my father was a career serviceman in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) and, from 1968, after "Unification" had taken place, the Canadian Armed Forces. As a "dependent", or "brat", I was whisked about when I was growing up: RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec; RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia; RCAF Station (called "Canadian Forces Base", after 1968) Baden-Soellingen, West Germany; and finally, CFB Borden, Ontario.

In the summer of 1966, which I remember very well, too well, my next door neighbour, and best friend, told me with great enthusiasm, "we're going to Winnipeg!". He was bloody excited! I remember feeling a little down, partially because I'd be losing a good friend. I needn't have worried; days or weeks later my dad came home from work with the news that we were going to West Germany. That was exciting news for me. Bloody exciting! Not long after that, in October, I boarded a "Yukon" (or "Yuke") at RCAF Station Trenton for what would be a thirteen hour flight to RCAF Station Lahr, West Germany -- which is where 437 Transport Squadron flew to in order to deliver service people and their families.

(I should note that not all former 'brats' have fond memories of being the offspring of a military father -- and/or mother -- who was frequently "posted" to another location. In my time this would happen every four years or so. It has been said that it's stressful to move around constantly in your childhood, but I never had a problem with that; it was an exciting time. After all, being a 'brat' was the only life I knew. Also, you tended to follow each other around. One guy I remember, Mike White, I knew in West Germany and was eventually re-teamed with him back in Ontario.)

Let's time travel forward to the summer of 2005: While enjoying a beer on a patio here in Toronto I was sideswiped by a flood of memories, helped no doubt by the alcohol, of the Canadair CC-106 "Yukon". To make a long story short here I ended up researching and writing a piece on the "Yuke" and its crews. (I will post something in the near future on the issue.)

One person I interviewed, in this case via telephone, was former "Yukon" pilot Larry Byrne. He was very pleasant and generous in recounting his memories of his time flying with the RCAF, and with American Airlines.

Here is Part One. I will follow up soon with the remainder of the interview:

Simon St. Laurent: When did you join the (RCAF) and when did you start flying Yukons in particular?

Larry Byrne: I joined the service in the summer of '52 and I commenced flying Yukons on January the 4th, of ’62. It was ten years later.

SS: Were you a captain?

LB: Well, everyone starts out as a first officer… so when I started flying the Yukon, of course, I went to the OTU (Operational Training Unit). As I remember, I think we were Course 1 on the Yukon. There were other people who had gone to the company and got, had their training and those were the guys who instructed us. You used to go through the OTU and then you’d fly as a first officer until your turn comes up for captain. And then you’d go back to the school again and go through with the tests, etc., and a check ride… and you’re flying as captain.

SS: Did you like flying the aircraft? Was it a pleasure to fly or was it a handful?

LB: Oh no, I enjoyed the airplane very much. It was a unique airplane at the time and I certainly enjoyed it. I can’t speak for other people but I liked the airplane a lot.

SS: Based on the Bristol Britannia, of course… new engines…

LB: We used to start out… it was interesting because, when we fly across the Atlantic at that time, about the only aircraft flying across the Atlantic were mostly pistons… and they were at lower altitude. We’d start out of Trenton at about 17 to 18 thousand feet, something like that, and then we could get a cruise climb that... there was so little traffic we could actually get… you couldn’t do it today. But we used to get a cruise climb and we’d wind up over Europe at, you know, 31/32 thousand feet.

SS: The Britannia was a revolutionary aircraft in that way having turbines but it was just a little late as they say because the jets were right around the corner.

LB: That’s right, the same thing, of course, applied to the Yukon. The jets were coming and then… but at the time it was a very unique airplane.

SS: How did you feel about Canada adopting the Yukon and not going with the (Boeing) 707, which was actually the transport version, was actually coming out on the market or had been. Did you feel that was a good decision or you don’t really care? You just...

LB: Ah, frankly, no, I don’t care. I mean I flew the 707 when I got with American Airlines… fine airplane… several different models of it and, like I said, it was a fine airplane but at the time I never thought about Canada even considering buying the jet instead of the Yukon. After all, the Yukon was Canadian built too, you know…

SS: Yeah, it was built apparently, as I found out, because it was a bit of a work program because there was lack of work (at Canadair), and the government thought, 'okay, well we’ll just make an aircraft'. So that’s how the Yukon came to be and, of course, the commercial version; the CL-44. Of course, that’s not a concern of yours…

LB: Like I said, from my viewpoint that would have something to do with whether what airplane we should buy. If you got an airplane that'll do the job and it's built in Canada then I would say that’s the one were gonna buy.

SS: One concern that I know that David Adamson had... he was responsible because he was the squadron commander, wasn’t he? He was concerned about just the compatibility, because he said the problem with the Yukon, for instance, if it flew to some weird destination (and there was a need for a new or replacement part) there was not a commonality in parts…

LB: No, that is true. You were kinda stuck in a way because there just weren’t any around. I had an incident in Cyprus one time when we blew a couple of tires, and we wound up… they flew us in from an airbase on the south end, side of the island. They actually flew us in a couple of Britannia tires, which were too light for our airplane, but we put ’em on and they said that they would be good for a couple of landings. And all we had to do is get back to (RCAF Station) Marville (France), where we had tires of our own. As an instance, you know it was a problem if you got stuck some place in the boonies... you were stuck.

SS: Exactly, where obviously with the jets there was a little more commonality because more and more…

LB: You see there weren’t a lot of jets flying around at that time… I mean… the airplane was a little ahead of that… at least if my memory serves me right, the jets didn’t come along till after… or later. Let me put it another way… later on.

SS: We’ll talk in more positive terms, one thing I understand is pilots I’ve talked to are just amazed at the almost squeaky clean record the machine had for just serviceability and everything and, of course, no lives being lost and…

LB: No, and it was amazingly reliable. If I had anything that I didn’t like about the airplane was the fact that we had a heater in the tail and there was something that bothered me all the time about lighting a fire back in your tail (laughs)…

SS: Was it an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) or something?

LB: No it was a heater for deicing the empennage (tail) at the back… and like I said it always made me kinda nervous (laughs)…

SS: But so you’re the same you never had any scares at 20/30 thousand feet or anything?

LB: No… no, I had nothing. I’ll tell you, Simon, I’ve been blessed in all my flying… all my 40 odd years I never had anything… really… serious.

SS: That’s great to hear.

LB: Some of my friends, my best friends and they’re very, very good pilots… geez every time they turn around it seemed to me they were losing an engine (laughs)… or something was going wrong (laughs), but I was just very well, I was just absolutely blessed.

SS: So let me understand, Larry, when you left the RCAF, and as you said in an e-mail, they were polishing a desk for you…

LB: Yeah, that’s what was gonna happen…

SS: At what phase was that where you… you were finished your tour with Yukons, or?…

LB: Well I had already finished my tour on the squadron, I was then transferred to the OTU and I was instructing on the Yukon… and I guess I could look and get you the exact dates if that’s necessary but I… as I remember I spent around a year, maybe a year and a half, at the OTU and then my transfer was coming through. They told me that I was going to Ottawa to 'Personnel'… and I just didn’t want to do it.

SS: You know if I flew myself, no way…

LB: Well, you know, if I thought that I was going to become a general or a staff officer or something… of some importance it would have been different, but I was a flight lieutenant and I was obviously, to my mind, was not going anywhere. And so some personal things entered into it and I... I decided I was going to kick over the traces as it were and I applied to several of the airlines and American called me and said 'come on down'… and it was a good move for me.

SS: Now, of course, if you had have stayed with the (RCAF) at that point… the conversion over to 707s… that actually hadn’t happened with you. So when you went to American Airlines, they trained you on 707s?

LB: Oh, yeah. Well I started out on the Electra…

SS: The Lockheed Electra?

LB: Yeah, everybody starts at the bottom… and so you go in and I went to school and I became an engineer on the Electra. And I flew that for six or eight months and then I went to first officer school on the BAC111, and flew the BAC, and then I flew the 727, and then I flew the 707, and I flew the 747, and the DC-10…

SS: What did you think about the DC-10?

LB: Oh I loved the DC-10, it was a nice airplane.

SS: I’m old enough to remember the big accidents there.

LB: Oh yeah… well you know, in fact the aircraft... the first officer on that trip in Chicago when the engine came off… he was a classmate of mine. So and when I finished the DC-10 I flew a long time as a first officer. At the airlines you move with a very strict seniority system, and when I finished the DC-10 I went to captains' school on the 727. And then I flew out of the left seat in the 727, and then the 767, and then I wound up on the (Airbus) A300 – 600 model, the two man airplane… and that’s what I retired on.

SS: So when did you retire, Larry?

LB: Let’s see, in ah, July. I left a little bit early because the stock market was up, so July ’92... thirteen years. With the airlines, of course, you might well know that when you’re sixty they throw you out and that’s it. But I didn’t have to go until October, till my birthday, but , you know, circumstances in the stock market, and my retirement was based on some of it... was based on the stock market. So I decided to jump out ahead of time, and you’d take a small penalty but that’s all. And that’s when I left. And then I bought myself a Cessna 310 and I flew it for four or five years and I finally sold it a few years ago.

SS: So, do you fly recreationally at all?

LB: Yeah, that’s my… my wife and I flew the 310 back and forth across the country (the USA) a couple of times, if guess. It was kinda fun flying around.

To be continued....

Canadair CC-106 Yukon of the RCAF/CAF

Yesterday I received a pleasant message from a gent whose father flew as navigator on Yukons. He had "stumbled" upon the following article I posted in 2018....

Ten years ago I wrote an article about the Canadair CC-106 "Yukon" transport aircraft -- a machine I flew on as a child -- and its service with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). My target publication was Air Force Magazine. The book's editor was very helpful, providing parameters and reviewing my initial submission.

After receiving vital assistance from the Public Relations Officer at DND (Department of National Defence) Headquarters in obtaining initial contacts, I interviewed many people who flew the Yukon, or were aircrew. In pursuit of the story I travelled to CFB Trenton and held a group interview at the RCAF Museum.

It has to be noted that 437 Squadron, main operator of the Yukon, was completely uncooperative. One of my helpful inside contacts eventually had to admit to me, "Simon, forget it". Wonderful.

Unfortunately my piece was "killed" before possible publication by Air Force Magazine after David Adamson, Squadron Commander of 437 Squadron during the majority of the Yukon's tenure, and someone I interviewed via telephone, decided to write an article on the machine himself. I, understandably, was grounded. (Adamson, like everybody I interviewed, without exception, was very pleasant and more than willing in contributing to my research.)

I have no plans to upload my entire "Yukon Crews" piece, but I thought I would post a few paragraphs. Enjoy!


The Canadair “North Star” flew with RCAF Air Transport Command for a number of years. This aircraft was essentially an upgraded Douglas DC-4 powered by Rolls Royce “Merlin” engines and it was a workhorse providing movement of people and cargo. Nearing the end of its service life in the late 1950s there were discussions as to what direction to take to replace the aging, and non-pressurized, North Star. The Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 jets were now beginning to enter civilian service, with cargo versions also hitting the market, but there was some pressure to have a Canadian company undertake development of a new transport aircraft. These details are beyond the scope of this article so I’ll cut to the chase: Canadair developed the Yukon by modifying the four-engine Bristol “Britannia” airframe and matching it to a new powerplant, the Rolls Royce "Tyne 2" (which was still under development at that time).

The first flight of a Yukon was made on November 15, 1959. Deliveries to 412 Squadron (VIP) began in mid-summer 1961. Veteran pilot Bill Cars explains the process of training pilots on the Yukon: “All the pilots that were selected to fly on the Yukon were all sent to Cartierville (Quebec) and we took the ground-school. Five of us were checked out by Canadair's test pilots. I was checked out by Scotty McLean, one of Canadair’s test pilots. As soon as we had been checked out then we came back down here (Trenton) with a couple of airplanes and checked out the rest of the guys . . . one guy ran OTU (Operational Training Unit) and three would work for him. I was going back up to 412 Squadron but we took all the rest of them and converted them on these airplanes." Once the pilots were converted onto the Yukon, then began an involved trial period. Cars elaborates: "We'd go on simulated trips, raising and lowering the landing gear five or six times, flaps five or six times, and so on. This was done to simulate multiple trips. We did a few long range trips here in Trenton. We took a couple of crews and flew over to Pisa, then from Pisa down to Leopoldville, and back up to Pisa and back home again just to see how it worked on long range trips. We took turns sleeping on the airplane and that kind of stuff. It was interesting work. It kept us going that summer."

Canadair completed twelve Yukons for the RCAF: Two aircraft went to 412 'VIP' Squadron and the balance to (reactivated) 437 Squadron.

However, the Rolls Royce Tyne 2 engines were to be troublesome for some time along with many teething problems with the Yukon itself, which only served to hinder the model from getting up to speed and providing regular service for the air force. Pilot James Lynch, who was to become the Squadron's Chief Safety Officer, remembers: “We had a couple of interesting things with the Yukon during the trial days. We had a case where Wing Commander Roly Lloyd (Commanding Officer of the training and development stage before the Squadron was formed) was coming back from a long-range flight and as they were approaching Montreal they had problems where they couldn't disengaged the 'auto pilot'. They tried to control the airplane and the ailerons wouldn't move at all. So the only way the aircraft could be maneuvered was rudder or powered back and forth. And they had no idea on Earth what had happened. The elevators were fine too. So they were able to jockey getting the airplane down with the reductions in power and rudder and so on." Once the Yukon had landed safely an inspection was undertaken and the culprit revealed. A large water tank located in the belly of the aircraft was used for various purposes, including providing drinking water. The tank's heater, needed for obvious reasons, failed on this flight and the liquid contents froze. Unfortunately some water had bled from its container and ran down and over the Yukon's control system. As Lynch explains, "The torque tubes got coated in ice; they couldn't turn. As it turned out, when they got to the lower altitudes to land, the things freed up and they were able to land the airplane fine".

Jack Maitland, then 437 Squadron Commander and pilot, found the process of getting the Yukon into a regular routine to be very trying: “We had a difficult first eighteen months just keeping them serviceable." Many of the early problems afflicting the Yukon were due to the Rolls Royce Tyne 2 engines. Maitland gives credit to the aircraft mechanics for getting hours out of the Tynes.

Once it was clear that the Yukon had successfully made the transition to full flying status Air Transport Command could do its job. Maitland adds dryly, “we started flying it in the summer of ’61 so by about Christmas of 1962, nearly eighteen months, we were able to more or less able to depart on time. Not always, but…." According to Maitland, the first official flight of a Yukon took place on January 2, 1962 (from Trenton to Marville) so there were many months of “official flying” before a degree of serviceability was obtained.

Pilot Jack Maitland poses with his "Yuke" in Moscow.


Operational flying accumulates many hours for the air crews concerned, and most of these hours would be quite uneventful. Naturally, with all these trips over the years there are bound to be stories, funny ones and otherwise. To start, and due to the intrinsic nature of the Yukon which would typically be loaded with heavy cargoes, there are a few stories of the Yukon's nose going up, and not due to any takeoff procedure. Larry Byrne remembers one such story: “East Pakistan had a typhoon go through so we flew some girders for electrical towers and a bunch of blankets and stuff and that was our load. We picked them up from Trenton. My mom and dad lived in Lachine [Quebec] and I went over to their place for lunch while they were loading the airplane. My dad drove me back to the airport at Dorval; I couldn't see the tail of the airplane over the AMU [Aviation Maintenance Unit] and I said to my dad, 'oh my God, they've left without me!' So we drove around the corner of the thing and there was the Yukon sitting on its tail. They had loaded the stuff in through the side loader and they intended to push it forward. And they put this one set of girders on there and down she went. The thing that saved the airplane was they had a big wooden tie-down box in the back of the airplane and when the girders slid back they hit the box instead of hitting the pressure hull of the airplane and so they put a bridle on the front of the airplane and then slowly offloaded then lowered the thing and reloaded it properly. The only thing that was damaged was the seal on the door; and so we flew it back to Trenton and they changed the seal and the next day we were on our way to East Pakistan, and that was my check-ride. The captain was on that was Bill Cars.“

Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a frequent flier on 412 Squadron Yukons. He is also credited, by some, with helping dismantle the Canadian Armed Forces; the fallout, of course, is felt to this day. Burke opines: “(but) ironically he was probably one of the easiest persons to fly anywhere as a passenger, he really was.  He just did not have any use for a military." (Author’s note: Pardon me while I go and paint some machine guns onto my lawnmower.) Bill Cars remembers flying Trudeau out one night: “He stood up in the cockpit for the takeoff but it was night and there were lights all around….soon as the Yukon went out and because there was this weird climb he just went to the back.”

One thing that was obvious to me was the fact that the individuals I interviewed all had fond memories about flying on the Yukon – and a lot of fun was apparent in the rapport displayed during the group interview I did as part of my research in CFB Trenton. This really showed when I thought I would ask a seemingly innocent question –  one brought on after hearing of some of the trips to a few 'hot-spots'. My question came out as: “Were you guys ever armed?” This elicited an immediate reaction from [Navigator] Bob Burke: “We had security people. My god, I wouldn't give these guys guns!”  [Flight Engineer] Bernie Hazleton chimes in with, “It's bad enough giving them a screwdriver”.

[Pilot] Doug Scott remembers the final days, “the Yukon retired on the second of April, ’71, and I retired on the ninth of April. They threw me out at the same time as the Yukon”. [Pilot] Paul Aubin transferred to the new Boeing machines when they came into service: “Going to the 707 was an ego trip but the Yukon was a great airplane, to think back….it was a wonderful experience.”

[Pilot and 437 Squadron Commander] David Adamson negotiated the purchase of the Boeing 707 which came into service with the air force in 1970 and completely replaced the Yukon the following year. Adamson found the Yukon to be “a bit of a challenge to fly” -- he admitted to me that he was always happy to get back on the ground but is very proud of the aircraft's safety record. No Yukon was ever involved in any serious accident.

[Pilot] James Lynch sums up his feelings on the Yukon: “The aircraft was definitely a well designed aircraft. It was a very, very nice aircraft to fly. It really was a beautiful aircraft."

The Yukon and its implementation was a memorable chapter in Canadian aviation, certainly Canadian military aviation. It was an aircraft developed and flown to fulfill a requirement laid out by our armed forces and it performed admirably – as several people in this article have noted.  Unfortunately, because so few units were produced, coupled with the fact that Canadians seem to have a hard time 'caring' about most of what we do, especially regarding our military and the many successful and historically relevant exploits therein, this aircraft is destined to be all but forgotten by all but the most die-hard enthusiasts. 

For those of us who had the pleasure or honour of flying on her as either flight crew or passenger, it was a memorable chapter. To me, the Yukon was a beautiful aircraft.


As I stated at the beginning of the piece, I interviewed many people involved with the CC-106 "Yukon". They are:

Jack O. Maitland, Pilot and 437 Squadron Commander (Telephone)
David R. Adamson, Pilot and 437 Squadron Commander (Telephone)
Bill Cars, Pilot, Major Ret'd (In person, and Telephone)
James Lynch, Pilot (In Person)
Doug Scott, Pilot, Captain Ret'd (In Person)
Paul Aubin, Pilot, Major Ret'd (In Person)
Larry Byrne, Pilot (Telephone)
Bernie “Shorty” Hazelton, Flight Engineer, Chief WO Ret'd (In Person)
Geoff Brogden, Flight Engineer, Ret'd (In Person)
Bob Burke, Navigator, Captain Ret'd (In Person, and Telephone)
Don Bengert, Navigator, Major Ret'd (In Person)
Phyliss Sproul Gravelle, Flight Attendant, Master Corporal Ret'd (In Person)
Georgina “Andy” Andreanopolis, Flight Attendant, WO Ret'd (In Person)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Athot a Day: Give Me Up, Baby, One More Time

My radio station while I work is BBC Radio 2. For some reason they've been giving a certain old hit song high rotation. No matter who the show presenter (host) is, there's that bloody song. Oh, I don't like "Never Gonna Give You Up", the chart-topper from the summer of 1987.

I did not take to that dance-a-single then, but now I think of the Rick Astley hit as a ghastly rubbished bit.

Thirty-three years has not been kind. And that voice!

On a more pleasant note: For years I wondered if Rick Astley was any relation to British composer Edwin Astley. He's not.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Fascinating: Hand Soap Bars

No, they're not two dinosaur teeth, but bars of greatly depleted hand soap. The purpose of this post is to show how bars in my kitchen and bathroom sinks expire at about the same rate. (They began their duties at the same time.)

For trivia hounds: left, kitchen; right, bathroom.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

I'm Anarkyvist: NBC Today on Jerry Goldsmith 1990

In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It's time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

Last week I premiered my "Anarkyvist" postings with a 1983 story on my favourite film scorer, Jerry Goldsmith. The video was a NBC Today segment done on the composer by that show's "man in Hollywood", Jim Brown, a fan. Today, culled from a Today show from 1990, is another filing from Brown on a theme.

Goldsmith wrote so many terrific scores between 1983 and 1990. Here we see him recording music for Star Trek: The Final Frontier and The Russia House, demonstrating a versatility which became his trademark.

Seeing this story now reminds me that the general state of film scoring has long been pathetic.

Final note: Are there guys like Jim Brown still working for the television networks? These pieces I grabbed a long time ago! A most sobering thought in more ways than one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

See You Soon, At Any Rate

Something I heard a lot today: "September already. This year is going so fast."

No argument from me. I join in on the chorus.

Earlier in the year I sang-out: "See you, in September."

Perhaps my tenses would have more correctly read as: "Saw you, in September."

The Return of the FarCons

Like many who check out Twitter on a daily basis, I've noticed the anger in tweets from those on the far-right. The language is too much sometimes. Anybody they don't agree with is an "idiot".

The multitude of videos taken at peaceful protests in the U.S. reveal that police forces have been contaminated by right-wing extremists. Of course, this has been noted many times. Too readily these "officers" fire tear gas at non-hostile crowds that have done nothing to provoke such aggressive action.

And there are those angry types who feel they must confront peaceful demonstrators.

The FarCons.

Post Script: I wrote this piece earlier in the year, but forgot to post it. So much has happened since then which only reaffirms the above.