Friday, September 13, 2013

Finally Red Green Listened To Me

So there I was in Steve Smith's dressing room talking to the talented comic about the last ever episode of The Red Green show.
Let's see now that would be in the spring of 2006.
"We've been through a lot together," smith said.
And boy was he right.
I first met him and his talented wife Morag when they were starring in the successful CHCH-TV series Smith And Smith.
It was 1979 and I was still the youngish TV critic at the Hamilton Spectator.
The next year I defected to The Toronto Star as TV critic but I still journeyed back to Hamilton to interview the Smiths who kept at it until 1985.
People don't realize it but Steve then wrote exactly one episode of Check It Out titled imaginatively enough "Dog Day After Dark".
Then came the series Me And Max. The wonderful CHCH veteran director Larry Schnur was there, I remember, and Morag was there as well as Max Smith and David C. Smith.
I can't remember why this only lasted one season but next up came Smith & Smith's Comedy Mill.
I loved that one, went on the Hamilton set several times.
The cast for this sketch comedy was marvelous: Peter Keleghan, Linda Kash, Mag Ruffman.
Schnur directed again but it only lasted two seasons as far as I can recall.
All this was a mere prelude to the incredible success Smith enjoyed as Red Green on The Red Green Show.
The Red Green Show started on CHCH before that station faltered.
Then it was shipped to London's CFPL station where it actually ran on Global.
Then Comedy picked it up. Finally CBC relented and it ended its spectacular run of 197 episodes.
And then the day came when I talked to Steve in his dressing room.
And I suggested he keep the Red Green character going through a one man show. He could travel with the set, I suggested. And I predicted Smith would pack them in wherever he played.
But he said no. He was ending the program because at the time he said he was beginning to hate the curmudgeon he had created.
But something has changed and Smith is now taking my advice.
Why now? I have an idea he simply got tired of being retired.
Also, Red is a character who is still popular thanks to the perpetual reruns. And Smith even has a new Red Green book titled Red Green's Beginner's Guides To Everything.
I remember after the first season I'd chatted to Smith and he was amazed at the fame of his show. He had figured he'd have a longer run with Comedy Mill but that one somehow never took off.
Anyway the Red Green tour: How To Do Everything starts February 14 in St. Catherine's and then proceeds across the nation.
I was at the taping of the final Red Green show sitting in the bleechers with an old friend. Sitting next to us were a couple who had driven all night from Michigan.
So I'd propose Smith add some U.S. tour dates as soon as possible.

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