Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"And That's the Kinda Day it's Been"

Tomorrow Sept 1. will mark the end of a broadcast era in Canadian Television as the words "and that's the kinda day it's been" is spoken for the final time when "Canada's most trusted" News Anchor signs off of the CTV National News Desk. Yes Lloyd Robertson is stepping down at age 77.

Some of my first recollections of Mr. Robertson were when I was just a boy watching the CBC National News. I remember his coverage and commentary of several of the "moon shots of the 1960's and 70's. His presentation was part of the reason I became interested in News and Current Affairs television.

Lloyd is to Canada what Walter Cronkite was to our American cousins. A trusted voice, a solid journalist, if Lloyd told us about it on our nightly National News then it must matter and it must be important.

I had the privilege to meet Mr. Robertson several times during my own Television Career and had the honour to work on a couple of special projects with him. I aways found him to be a classy fellow that was never too big to give thanks to his crew. Lloyd only needed to meet you once, and you were forever embedded into his razor sharp mind.

My encounters with him were always friendly, he always had a story to tell and enjoyed hearing your story. Each time he would always remind me of how he worked with my Aunt in the National News Room many years ago and would regale me with how she came by her news room nic name- Strides.
It aways brought a smile to my face.

I, like most Canadians will miss you Lloyd, and although you will be still working on some special projects, not having that familiar voice proclaim "Thats the kinda day it's been" every night will take some getting used to. Happy trails Lloyd, happy trails and thank you.

Broadcast Legend- Canada's Most Trusted Newsman- Lloyd Robertson with me at the wrap party for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games- and yes he regaled me with the "Strides" story on that occasion again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Believe Part 1-

This is a story about family, keeping the faith, and the Olympic Torch Relay.

I had entered all of the contests to become a Torch Bearer, but was unsuccessful. One of the places I had applied to run was in my home Province of New Brunswick. As the month of November was coming to a close it was to pass through my home town. It would have been nice to have been selected to run there, but fate would have other plans and purposes for me.

Murman rolling the camera during a Torch Stop at CFB Comox,  on Vancouver Island

I had just got back from Vancouver Island after the opening 4 days of the the Olympic Torch Relay. I had taken many pictures of the events, the places, the Torch Runners, our crew and the Flame itself during that time. As I reviewed the hundreds of files, it brought back all of the emotion and joy, that many who came out to watch, experienced. I just knew at that time that this relay and this bright orange flame would ignite a country.

The orange glow that ignited a nation

This was also about the time that the CTV Olympic promotional machine was in full swing with the "Believe" campaign. "Do you Believe?" Remember those segments throughout the CTV and Broadcast Consortium lineup? They had been running for about a year or more before the actual opening date of the 2010 Games, their message to the country was infectious.

The Relay by now was in Canada's far North with the Caravan team going into many small places. The Flame was headed to Canada's East Coast and would zig zag across the country back to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremony in February. Over twelve thousand torch runners would eventually carry the Flame. They would come from all walks of Canadian life. And for one glorious Olympic moment they would be Rock Stars to whomever they would pass with Flame held high, for all to experience.

It was on one late November Friday when I received an email message that my Aunt Susanne would be a Torch Runner in our home town of Saint John, NB. She and my Uncle would be making the trip there from Toronto and many Boyce family members would be making the trip from other far away parts as well. My Bro was coming up from New Jersey, Uncles and cousins over from Halifax and the rest of the family who were still living in Saint John would be there as well. Wow, would I ever like to be there with everyone. But here it was late on a Friday, Susanne's leg of the Run was on the next Tuesday and with Christmas coming, money being short and a list of other things including my current assignments- all conspiring to prevent me from getting on a plane.

I called my mother, who also lives in Vancouver, and we both lamented how it would be nice to be able to get up and just go. We both understood it's pretty much out of the realm of possibility for us. At the end of the conversation I accepted that fact and I would have to settle to be there only in spirit.
That was until my very good friend Jazz, who at that time was sitting at the work station beside me, said that he could not help over hear my phone conversation and set me on a different thought process.

"Dude, this is a once in a lifetime, you gotta take your mom and go" he said.
"Jazz, I am in the middle of an expensive divorce, money is very tight" I said.
Then he said something so incredible, so moving, it brought me to near tears.
"Murman, you've got to go, I'll help if you need it. Believe!" he said

It was then, at that moment that I discovered two things: One- just what an incredible friend I have and -Two- that this was too important a family moment to miss.
I thanked him for his generous offer but declined. Determined now by his words of encouragement, I managed to get the funding together by some sort of magic calculator and got onto the computer to begin and see if I could get flights back to New Brunswick leaving that Monday in less than 3 days!

I went into my ND's office to plead to get three days off to make the trip. She agreed. And I was off to the races.
I again got onto the computer and began to work out the details, two seats from Vancouver to Moncton NB was the best I could get. Leaving on the Monday morning Vancouver time, arriving just before midnight in Moncton. The plan then was to rent a car drive to Saint John, power snooze, get up early and see Susanne run at 9:30ish Tuesday morning Atlantic Time.

Next- call Mom, surprise her with the news that she should pack a camera and a carry on. That she and her first born, were going to be on a plane in two days. As I spoke to her, I insisted that she tell NO-ONE back east that we were coming. I figured that this should be a surprise and maintaining radio silence is the only way to accomplish this.
Mom was very keen.

In a blink of an eye, Monday morning had arrived. I packed very light.  as we arrived at YVR, Mom told me that she had booked a room for us at the Hilton. She knew that would be the place that Susanne and Uncle Brendon, brother Dan, and as it turns out, all of the out of town kin folk were staying there too.

"Passengers are reminded that in case of emergency or sudden loss of cabin pressure,,,,,,,,"
We both now in our seats, a big sigh of relief from me and Mom looks over at me and with a smile and says to me,

"All we had to do was "Believe"."