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I watched "The Friendly Giant" as a young boy, and sometimes when I was
older, I watched it out of reminiscence, and because I appreciated the
and calm gentleness of the program. Most of today's programs are so
fast-paced and are far from educational, even children's programs. This
program helped me develop a like for reading and for music. The pipe and
harp theme song "Early One Morning" still sticks in my
Bob Homme, who passed away on May 2, 2000, created one of the finest preschool programs ever, and certainly, along with Mr. Dressup, the finest in Canada. By reading a book, playing the pipe, harp (played by the late John Duncan) and talking about simple, but important things with Rusty and Jerome, children had 15 minutes of quiet where they learned things important to them, at their own pace.
Before the gentle Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, before the frenzied, loud, noisy muppets of Sesame Street, there was The Friendly Giant. Mr. Homme's show appeared on Chicago's Window to the World WTTW and was broadcast somewhere between The Totem Club, What's New, and the Story Teller starring Val Bentin. The soft music, the little set, the quietness of the show was somehow haunting to watch and a little sad to behold in comparison with the other children shows on the air at that time.
Finding information about the Canadian children's icon The Friendly
Giant is very difficult. Apparently there is some reason why the old TV
series cannot be released on DVD. Now three generations are deprived of
the wonderful nostalgia of a kinder gentler era in Children's TV. That
simple armchair was a source of comfort to countless kids in Canada and
the US. But, alas, that comfort is gone.
Thankfully, Grant D Fairley has done a masterful job in the 2007 release of "Look Up - Way Up." This is an authorized biography of Friendly based on Grant's personal taped interviews with Bob Homme. You can even hear his voice again at www.thefriendlygiant.info. This is as close as it will ever come to a sequel.
I was in the Czech Republic last month, and my host took me out to Karlstejn Castle, built by Charles IV of Bohemia, who became the Holy Roman Emperor, it was on the top of a ridge over a deep river valley, for its defensive value. As soon as I got through the gate, my mind clicked on with the recorder, accompanied by a gentle harp, playing "Early One Morning" Fact is, you had to "Look up, Wa-a-ay up" to see the castle, and once inside, there was not a lot of furniture left, maybe three chairs and a fireplace, one was big enough for two kids to curl up in and then you could put a rocking chair in the middle. (Can anyone remember the entire quote? Why hasn't it been added here?) I did look over the turrets for giraffes - even whistled for them. Just waited for someone to say "And there's that boot." It is a beautiful place to tour, but it will always be made more memorable by the connection my mind made back to my childhood and some of its warmest memories.
As a child in Detroit, Michigan, I had many favorite CBC television shows,
and this was one of them--along with Mr. Dress-up, Chez Helene, etc.
There was just something so gently magical about it, even though Rusty the Rooster really scaried me at first. I always dreamt that he was hiding under my bed waiting to peck at my feet! Anyhow, a great show. I'd love to see some of it again.
Look up. WAY UP! At the stroke of 10:15 am from coast to coast on the CBC for better than 27 years, this meant that "The Friendly Giant" was about to start. Its theme, "Early One Morning," was written as a nostalgic ballad for the slow pace of Britain prior to the Industrial Revolution. Similarly, in an age of fast food, faster cars, and life in the fast lane, "The Friendly Giant" proved to be an escape from the ratrace of real life. It gave children a chance to "curl up in an armchair" as the Friendly Giant's guests in his castle. Along with Rusty the rooster and Jerome the giraffe, "Friendly" entertained youngsters with children's stories, songs, and music. In addition, the show implicitly taught youngsters that not every giant was a scary monster who ground bones to make their bread. After all, the Friendly Giant was a kind and gentle character. Bob Homme, who died earlier this year, certainly left his legacy with thousands of kids across Canada.
I always enjoyed Rusty the Rooster(from the BookBag), the musical Raccoons( it's been a while...) and the Giraffe too. This was a basic, well done, nicely paced and smart kids' show; from the Mr Rogers school of thought. No they don't make'em like this anymore; it's sad that they don't. Def. a classic.
A definitive children's show. Charming, calming, full of stories and music. Very little out there now matches it for quality. So why isn't this showing in reruns? There is an entire channel dedicated 24 hours to children's programming, and CBC itself still has children's programming in the morning. No one can tell me that Friendly Giant reruns aren't better than most of what's available now for kids. I know my kids would watch.And personally, I would gladly listen to Bob Homme rather than the shrill bleating of Dora, or the macabre nightmare of Magic Castle. Try watching the late night programming of a 24 hour kids' channel like Treehouse, and then explain why this bizarre dreck is being produced, when The Friendly Giant would surely cost a network next to nothing.
Great part of my childhood too! Something that makes us Canadians - Friendly Giant, Chez Helene and other common kids experiences. Enjoyed reading new biography of Bob Homme - The Friendly Giant - called - no surprise here - Look Up - Way Up. The Palantir Publishing website also has some audio clips of interviews with Bob. So neat to hear his stories. Takes me back to preschool again! Cocoa and cinnamon toast. I was one of the ones who liked the big arm chair for those who like to curl up. My favourite opening scene was when Friendly started in a farm yard. Then it was always so great to see his boot then the castle and then the drawbridge come down. I wish they were out on DVD.
The Friendly Giant was one of my favorite shows. I loved the
introduction music & Giant's INVITATION to come into the castle to
listen to stories and chat with his friends, Rusty Rooster & Jerome
Giraffee. I felt like I was in the castle sitting with them in one of
the "comfy" chairs seen at the beginning.
I lived in NJ & was only able to see it when visiting my grandparents in VT. I have now learned it's b/c it was a Canadian station not received in NJ. The show was something I looked forward to seeing & couldn't wait to get to Nana's house. I am thankful for the memories & wish to see it again.
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