Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies - R.I.P.

If it’s news it’s news to me. TV Ontario’s long running Saturday Night at the Movies is no more. And has been no more since the end of August. In fact it was a full year ago that TVO announced the long-running program was being cancelled as of this past March with reruns lasting until August. So that explains why, on a couple of bored Saturday nights, bereft of decent movies to watch – and before I subscribed to Netflix - I couldn't find TVO's traditional double bill. How could this be for such an institution? TVO spokeswoman Laura Hughes says the decision to end the show was because of reduced funding. But it was also due “to direct our resources to digital innovation in children's educational media and current affairs.” SNAM, as its known at the network, first aired in 1974 and viewers of a certain age (ahem) might remember jovial Elwy Yost (pictured), who was a kind of kid in a candy shop when it came to all things cinema, a movie enthusiast often in charming awe of the parade of Hollywood celebrities he interviewed. His first film shown? Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly. Yost retired in 1999 (he died in 2011)  and was replaced by several hosts in the intervening years and for more than the last decade by Thom Ernst, a Toronto-based film critic and playwright. Believe it or not, according to Wikipedia, SNAM was the longest non-news or sports program in Canadian history. The latest re-emphasis on education at TVO follows an earlier push by the network in the same direction. That was in the late 90s. But SNAM survived because the program was outsourced to York University’s film studies department. It’s really too bad this venerable show had to come to an end because it provided one of the few TV outlets for independent, foreign and Hollywood classics. But with the growth of other exclusively movie channels and Netflix it’s easy to see why management discontinued what might have not been the most relevant programming. Still, poor Elwy must be turning in his grave.

No comments:

Post a Comment