Percy Saltzman, Canada’s first TV weatherman died in Toronto on Monday at the age of 91.
When I was living in Toronto in the late 50’s and going to technical school TV was live. What you saw was what you got – no taping. If a mistake was made in front of the cameras you carried on and lived with it.
Saltzman became more than just the CBC weatherman, although that job made him at least a local celebrity. He also moved into the area of doing interviews of celebrities etc.
One interview has always stuck with me although for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the singer he was interviewing.
Percy always wore horn rim glasses on camera He and the singer were sitting side by side on stools doing a very casual interview, no fancy props or anything. She reached over and hooked her finger through his glass frames and asked him why he was wearing the glasses when there were no lenses in them. Percy looked slightly embarrassed and said that the powers that be thought it made him look more intellectual or something. And the interview carried on.
It was just another fun moment in live TV.
Speaking of that era, I also remember watching a little half hour show on CBC in Toronto featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Davis must have been playing a club or appearing somewhere in the area and he did the complete show on his own. As I recall, pretty much a bare stage and he sang, danced and even did the commercials. I don’t recall anyone else being on the stage. It was a one-shot deal. I thought it was great, but at the time never realized how truly unique that performance was. It would have never been taped. Pity.