Proof that Quebec is indeed a country is that we have our own history of television, which has nothing to do with that of Canada (English). And what a story, undertaken almost seventy years ago! With our own authors, our own artists, our own directors and technicians, in short our own artisans, in whom we have recognized ourselves since the very beginnings of television in Quebec.
The teleromans, works of creation by local authors, have played a leading role in this recognition of the general public, the enormous ratings being proof. “For many viewers, these actors – Jean Coutu, Nicole Leblanc, Janine Sutto, Léo Ilial, Jean-Pierre Masson, Janette Bertrand, Amanda Alarie, Jean Besré, Jean Duceppe, Robert Gravel, Guylaine Tremblay, Guy Provost, Andrée Champagne and Rita Lafontaine – almost part of the family. ”
Some actors will pay the price for this too much popularity. Others like Andrée Lachapelle or Jean Gascon will make themselves known in the Sunday evening TV-theaters, with Beautiful sundays. Henri Bergeron and Bernard Derome, for their part, will long be identified as the voice of Radio-Canada.
Humor was also part of this great cultural recognition. ” The Little Life, A boy a girl and the Bye Bye are among the greatest television successes in Quebec. ”
Sport is not to be neglected and Hockey night has long been a staple on Saturday night with the voice of René Lecavalier and our popular heroes like Maurice Richard, Guy Carbonneau and Guy Lafleur. Not to mention the wrestling matches and Sunday afternoon bowling.
But it was not all entertainment, says the author, and seasoned journalists have made themselves known thanks to the small screen, such as René Lévesque, Pierre Nadeau, Aline Desjardins and Judith Jasmin, to name just these four names, in delivering to us week after week the main events of the national and international scene.
Moreover, barely four years after its creation, CBFT produces nearly 75% of its audiovisual content. “This means that the province of Quebec would rank third in the world in terms of program production from 1956.”
Four main dates should be remembered: September 6, 1952, the entry on the air of Radio-Canada (CBFT), the state channel in Montreal, two days before Toronto; February 19, 1961, the arrival of Télé-Métropole, which was called channel 10 at the time to distinguish it from channel 2 (Radio-Canada); 1972, Radio-Québec (now Télé-Québec) is inaugurated; 1986, the second private channel, Télé Quatre-Saisons, was created.
From 1952 to today, television has continued to transform technically, underlines the author, moving from black and white to color television, then to high definition, through cables and satellites, to large cameras. making way for lighter and more flexible equipment. Its content has diversified, with a range of specialty channels and 24-hour news networks 24 hours a day.
The historian has been able to recreate the atmosphere of the first moments of the birth of television in Montreal, where creators and technicians share the same excitement. It is simply thrilling. Even if the nostalgia is at the rendezvous, the youngest, who have not known this time, will be just as fulfilled. This story of our television reads like a beautiful adventure recorded in a scrapbook, filled with vintage photos and advertisements.