Appendix D: – Canadian Radio, Some Background
Broadcasts for 18 years, from 1946 through 1964. Pattison began writing the series when she lived near Winnipeg. She and her husband later moved to Saskatoon, where she continued to write for the series (still produced in Winnipeg). The Jacksons were the Prairie regional farm family on the noon farm broadcasts. The dual purpose of The Jacksons was to offer serialized dramatizations which provided farming information and to reflect experiences of farming families in several regions of Canada. Pattison noted that the serials were eventually dropped from the farm broadcasts because of the shortening of the time allowed for the farm broadcasts and the expense of producing the serial drama itself. The show demanded 10 minutes of script, five days a week, for 18 years (Pattison, interview). This alone would make her one of the most prolific writers ever to grace the prairie. But Pattison also wrote plays for the CBC’s regional and national networks. For example, her sci-fi inspired Destination Earth, which played as
part of Prairie Playhouse on the CBC Eastern Network in 1952, and her 1955 play Gold is Where You Find It, which aired on the Trans-Canada Network’s Summerfallow.
Eventually, Canadian radio drama’s Golden Age ended and television finally took over as the dominant medium for drama. Radio drama on the CBC has continued, but has lost the prominence it held before television. Loss of budgets, talent and audiences to television and a resurgence of live theatre in most regions of the country added up to less attention being paid to radio drama in general.96
96 Saskatchewan radio did continue to hear dramatic exchanges over the airwaves. The combination of telephone lines and radio transmitters combined in the 1950s to create the “the open line show – which reportedly premiered in Canada at CKOM (‘The Hart Line’)”; thus “The void caused by formal drama moving from radio to television was being partially filled by programs which had all of the elements of drama but which didn’t go by that name” (Schmalz 100).