The Red Green Show

CBC (ended 2006)



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The Red Green Show

Show Summary

During his days of stage touring with his wife, and on the briefly-lived sketch comedy they performed him, Steve Smith created the rough draft for a character: The embodiment of the male ego. He named the character Red Green, after Canadian hunter and fisherman, Red Fisher, and usually appeared in a cluttered room, wearing a rubber duck on his hat, sitting on a picnic table, and speaking in a somewhat throaty voice. He would comment on countless stereotypical Canadian activities and incorporate them into the stereotypical male activities. The character proved popular with audiences. In 1991, CHCH, a television network in Hamilton, offered him an opportunity for a series. Smith decided to take the offer, but concluded that if this show flopped, he would leave television altogether (he had previous efforts, such as his role as the father of his real sons, "Me and Max", his sons Max and Dave playing themselves and Morag playing the wife/mother, as well as multiple roles; among them was Steve's character "Uncle Red). He collaborated with his friend, Rick Green, about it. They decided to make a show about "being outdoors", when it occurred to them Red Green was just such a character. With a little character fleshing and a backdrop, this show just might make it. Rick would direct, Steve would write, and they would both produce. And who would Rick play? A certain character he had performed on radio and television named Bill, a wacky, slapstick character, almost a living cartoon who never stopped talking. As a twist, on the show, his voice was almost never heard. He only appeared in black and white segments titled "Adventures with Bill." And his last name? In a moment of irony- Smith. The "plot" (or lack thereof) was that Red Green was the leader of Possum Lodge, a men-only resort where they could generally goof off and be themselves. They were veritable stereotypes, yet with a certain flair and charm, which added to their wit. Red was the only remotely sensible one, but perhaps not much more competent. He was a true craftsman, and had a portion called "Handyman Corner" where he would take ordinary objects and, with the help of power tools and duct tape, would turn them into a unique variation of something already established. Rarely did they work. He also had countless monolouges where he would talk to "all you middle-aged" viewers. Among the regular residents at the Lodge were Dalton Humphries (Bob Bainborough), the owner of "Humphries's Everything Store" and possessor of the worst marriage and family imaginable. Another was Winston Rothschild III (Jeff Lumbly), a friendly, inherited millionaire who ran a septic sewage sucking company. Mike Hamar (Wayne Robson) was the neurotic former criminal on parole, and Hap Shaunnesy (Gordon Pinsent) was the aging riverboat owner, who reminsced about wild, unbelievable adventures. Bob Stuyvesant (Bruce Hunter) was a golf-playing, multiply-married Natural Resources inspector, and Buzz Sherwood (Peter Wildman) was a wild pilot who was still a hippie. Garth Harble (Derek McGrath) was the local nature specialist, and Dougie Franklin (Ian Thomas) was the Southern American, owner of the world's largest trucks. There were also recurring roles, such as Aboriginal actor Graham Greene as explosives "expert" Edgar K.B. Montrose and Peter Keleghan as Ranger Gord, who started the series living in a fire-watch tower, deprived of human relationship. It was the general incompetence and helplessness of the overweight beer-drinkers that made up most of the humour, coupled with Red's dry wit. The show didn't originally have great ratings and was eventually cancelled after three seasons. Fortunately, however, Global picked it up in 1994, re-naming it "The New Red Green Show", raising the budget, and adding a new, completely unique star: Red's nephew, geeky city boy Harold, played by television star and Second City alumnus Patrick McKenna. He wore a large, guitar-like video device which he used to remotely control the cameras. Red generally traded barbs with Harold, but kept him because he needed his technological skills to produce the show. Harold was generally unliked by the other lodge members, and wasn't very attractive, either: He wore glasses and a retainer, had a nasal, high-pitched voice, and generally looked awkward. The Global run brought two elements to The New Red Green Show that proved valuable vehicles for McKenna's Harold character. One was the "Possum Lodge Word Game," a send-up of Bob Stewart's Pyramid, begun in 1995 and still in practice. Harold emceed as Red and a fellow lodge member competed for cheap prizes. (Usually Red gave the clues and people such as Dalton or Mike would make nowhere near the correct guess.) The shorter-lived fixture, first seen in 1996, was "Men Anonymous," in which lodge members talked of how they tried to act less like men. While "Men Anonymous" didn't last, Red and the others did hold on to that group's "Man's Prayer": I'm a man, But I can change If I have to, I guess. The 1996 season was notable as well for the absences of Edgar Montrose and Ranger Gord. (At the time, Peter Keleghan was starting The Newsroom for the CBC). Global aired "The New Red Green Show" until 1997, when the series was axed and sold to CBC for a hefty price. On CBC, its title was restored to "The Red Green Show" and many aspects of the original program were restored. One new element was Red's fix-it segment called "If It Ain't Broke, You're Not Trying," where lodge members would bring broken items and Red would usually apply duct tape somewhere. However, in the ensuing two years some drastic changes were made. Rick Green left to devote his time and energy to his cable-based sketch comedy/satire "History Bites" (in which Bainborough is a regular performer), Derek McGrath left to perform in "Doc" and Pat McKenna also departed to spend more playing the maniacal oppressor Marty Stephens on the Toronto stock market drama "Traders", and with them their characters vanished. Replacing Bill was ambitious youth Walter (Joel Harris), who wasn't quite as manic as Bill. His black-and-white bits introduced a gimmick rarely seen on "Adventures With Bill": Regular characters (besides Red) frequently appeared sharing Walter's escapades. Once McGrath parted paths with the show, a new animal control officer was needed. By the end of the 1998 season, Jerry Schaefer joined the cast as a more regular character than McGrath was, in the form of paranoid Ed Frid, who adapted Harble's gimmick of holding a wild animal in a bag, but instead of being ignorantly confident, he was constantly worried about them and would always make up a wild half-truth about their destructive abilities. Harold, however, who had found urban employment and moved to the city, would occasionally guest star, either visiting his beloved cousin or or vice versa (if Red were to visit Harold it would usually involve some legal or technological situation). That same year also featured Mike's Teen Talk and the first year for Ranger Gord's animated Educational Features. Things changed yet again for the 11th year of The New Red Green Show because Harold returned full time and has been a regular ever since. The show also finally saw a replacement for Glen Brackston as Dwight Cardif became the show's Marina Operator. The 13th Year saw a welcome surprise as Bill rejoined the show for six Adventure Segments. Another recent feature is Talking Animals with Ed Frid and the return of Ranger Gord's Animated Shorts for the 5th year. The New Red Green Show has been running on PBS since 1995, airing all the Global and CBC shows. Only in the highlight special "We Can't Help It, We're Men" did PBS audiences see clips of the CHCH days. "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together." "Keep your stick on the ice!"moreless

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    • RIp Don Harron (aka Charlie Farquharson and Red Green)

      Thanks for your many memorable quotes, jokes and laughs thru out the years.
    • I don't get this show.

      I have watched this show before and I have to say I will never watch it again. I don't understand why people think this show is funny. I like to laugh as much as anyone, but this show just doesn't click. Maybe it works for others who have an odd sense of humor or a complicated one, but not me. I think all of his bits are boring and they seem to be targeting an older, drunken audience. One thing positive that I have to say is that it does do a good job of making me tired. It makes for a good sleeping pill. Thank you.moreless
    • bring it back!

      old guns, old cars, rocket fuel, garages, what do these things have in common? they have all been featured or destroyed on the red green show. ah the red green show. that's what TV was ment to be. it dosn't air much anymore, even on PBS. but that dosn't stop me from buying every DVD i see availible online. for those of you who are more into more current stuff, you know ipods, high tech stuff. well, you can see that kind of stuff blown up! cool huh? and if you see something you like, get out of the house and build it! oh sure, it might blow up your neighbors house or maybe even your neighbors. but who cares! watch the show and built something like a man! (or whatever YOU are)moreless
    • Steve Smith on stage

      Steve, My family and I enjoyed your performance Saturday at the KVCR show. It evokes an undoubtedly unoriginal thought: Why not sell The Wit and Wisdom to HBO? It would only need a few minor tweaks and a bit of opening exposition regarding The Red Green Show. Good luck with such a project. Lord knows, we need all the laughter we can get, especially since we've lost George Carlin.

      It was a pleasure to meet you. I was enjoying your book – and will again when I get it back from my wife Joanne.

      Best to you John C. La Monte Los Angelesmoreless
    • One of the all time best classic sitcoms ever. All others should bow in reverence to the wisdom that is The Red Green Show.

      This is truly one of the most entertaining, humorous, and just all-around well done shows of all time. Just Red's use of duct tape as the ultimate fix-all is something most guys can relate with. Finally, someone shows it the respect such a miracle of modern science deserves. The whole cast of characters are all very well done. This is one that appeals to any man...Canuck or not. Every guy needs a 'opposum lodge' to retreat to when the world gets to be a bit much...How the creed start? " I am a man, and I'm sorry...." This is a must have and I am most pleased to a stumbled upon it. If your a man that can fix it, make it better, or have an idea...this is a show you will truly appreciate as the gem that it is. Yes, Red, I am a man.....moreless

    More Info About This Show




    cultural phenomenon, gender roles, hilarious host, buddies and gal pals, long running show