Tribute to ‘The Boys’ Wayne & Shuster

(L-R) Johnny Wayne & Frank Shuster

(L-R) Johnny Wayne & Frank Shuster

by alan gordon

They called them The Boys in the halls of the CBC. Wayne and Shuster were in their 60’s but still they were called The Boys. And for years The Boys turned out four hours a year of highly produced, tightly written wonderfully funny comedy specials and they were popular.

Their CBC Sunday Night specials drew the same numbers (I wonder if they were the same people) as Stanley Cup finals…and this was when the Leafs were in the finals!

Now they had a deal at CBC that the entire world of Television Comedy envied. They had final cut.
Suggestions could be made, but they were suggestions only, heard but not necessarily followed. And let’s not forget their talent. Looking at the material today, one gasps at the literacy, production values and just plain funniness of it all with full sentences!

Inconceivable… today!

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) has compiled a wonderful program that, in Norman Campbell and Fletcher Markle’s superb Telescope profile, shows the boys as the thoughtful, playful professionals they were.

This was proven when one conversed with either of them or, if you were lucky, both of them their gentle humour and wily wisdom in the ways of show business always informed and enlightened the conversation. I must say that I had that privilege on more then one occasion.

The best of videos that Frank made with Trevor Evans of their best sketches are generally marvellous, with the Gentle Stranger being extraordinary, and the Shakespearean Baseball Sketch still being one of the best of its genre ever to appear on any screen.

While, as Simone Signoret used to say, Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!, these few hours spent with the world class Canadian comics Wayne and Shuster make a damn convincing case for it.

– Alan has been writing, acting, directing and producing in all media for over 40 years even before his roles in Ivan Reitman’s Foxy Lady & Cannibal Girls

– Please view link to listen to interview w/ Alan Gordon

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