Bill Bellman - Host Almanac CBUT Vancouver 1950s; co-founder with Jack Stark CHQM/CHQM-FM Vancouver 1959/60; President CHQM Vancouver to 1973; host Some of Those Days CBC-TV Vancouver 1961-65; interviewer Lively Arts CBC-TV Vancouver
Program: Some Of Those Days CBC TV
This nostalgia series combined song, music, and archival photographs and newsreel footage to evoke periods between the turn of the century and 1945. Each program in the 196l series marked out a chronological block of two or three years from the end of World War I through the years of the Depression to the end of World War II. The host from 1961 to 1965 was Bill Bellman. The program also featured Barney Potts, who took Bellman's place as host and narrator for the final season.
Personality: Bill Bellman listed as working at
CBU radio and TV 1954
Program: Almanac CBC TV
Bill Bellman Television show anchor - Almanac with Miller and Fortune
Bill Bellman (CBC News Personality) adopted the format of KABL in San Francisco and opened Vancouver's CHQM -- AM & FM simulcast of beautiful music... it was this unique format aimed at the upscale market that helped to drive sales of FM radio – David Bray October 2002
AWAY BACK then, when the purchase of a 12-inch black-and-white television set was a risk venture, they seemed an oddly-matched trio as they sat in their canvas-backed chairs under the hard, hot lights, clipboards clenched tightly in their manicured fingers.
The sandy-haired one in the middle (caring viewers worried about his weight) would open the show with a voice that boomed like the low bells in a cathedral tower. That was Bill Bellman.
The little dark-haired guy was pure Ivy League, suave; dark suits with narrow lapels, skinny ties, perfect teeth, and shy smile - an early sex symbol. That was Alan Millar.
The guy with the logger's build and the woolly shirts had a generous honker that gave the impression he always had a head cold. It was a problem for an up-beat weather man. But when Bob Fortune squeaked his chalk on the $25 upright blackboard that was his only prop, all Vancouver winced.
That was the pioneer cast of Vancouver's first big-league current affairs television show, Almanac, which ran for six years on the CBC in the early 1950s.
It debuted two years after CBC Vancouver opened its operation in 1953 in that warren of offices and studios on West Georgia. Every one in town who could wiggle a set of rabbit-ears watched Almanac because the only alternative was Channel 12, The Lone Ranger, Porky Pig and Ding-Dong circus.
In retrospect, Almanac now seems comically soft. It was a current affairs show and if your garden produced a beet that looked like Peter Lorre, which was current enough for five minutes on Almanac. It was just three guys talking about Vancouver. And they did it live, 30 minutes a night, five nights a week.
I met them all over the years, Bellman during his thunderous proxy fights over ownership of CHQM and CKVU; Millar on social occasions; Fortune when, during a brief stint as a cityside reporter, I had to phone him daily and write a pithy Page 1 weather story under his byline.
Len Lauk, retired now as the regional director of CBC Vancouver, got his first producing job with Almanac in 1955. He said yesterday, "There's absolutely no question that Almanac was the first big-league television show in Vancouver. It wasn't the hard-edged show that the 7 O’clock Show became a few years later, when furrowed-brow television became the vogue. The chemistry between the three guys was perfect. Bellman was the perfect anchor, Millar was the charmer, and besides, the weather, Fortune was doing ecology features before the word was coined.
"And it was live television, with all the tension of going live. We brought two camels on the live set one night, one from the Shrine Circus, one from a game farm. I don't remember why we did it, but I'll never forget what happened. These camels were starved for affection and they fell passionately in love with each other right on camera. They tore up the set, destroyed it."
Television evolved, grew up, some say. Almanac was replaced and forgotten by most. We're bombarded with television signals, but nobody does the quaint programming Almanac did when the medium was young. Which may be a pity.
Fortune packed away his squeaky chalk and retired to pursue his outdoors interests.
Bellman left the CBC and mortgaged his home to found a new concept in radio broadcasting, the "good-music" station, CHQM. In addition to pioneering the FM market in Vancouver, QM was unique in that it didn't give a damn about the teenage market and it was curiously selective in the commercials it aired. Bellman explained his taste code as "deodorant commercials, yes, but deodorant commercials that explain the reason why, never." Bellman retired from broadcasting a rich man. Recently he donated $1 million for the construction of a First Nations Longhouse on the UBC campus.
Millar, the perfectly groomed charmer, moved east in 1960 where he completed a 40-year career as interviewer, host and lyrics writer. Sadly, he died in June at 62. His wife, the singer Terry Dale, tells me, "After 33 years of marriage, I can only say I have been truly blessed. We had a great life together and he was a most loving and devoted father."
Three guys on a stark CBC set who left a vivid mark.
Denny Boyd Vancouver Sun
Bill Bellman and Art Phillips – two main founders of the electors action movement (TEAM)
I do not say that because what is done in television - it can be done in the theater or on the stage is wrong. I say that my particular affinity for the medium is to make it an electronic one and to use this particular medium for its own intrinsic value and approach. But I don't put it above-nor do I put it below-other forms of comedy. This happens to be mine.
~Ernie Kovacs, in "Interview with Ernie Kovacs"
"The Lively Arts" CBC-TV (Canada) airdate 10-31-61
interviewer is Bill Bellman
The First Nations House of Learning Long House at UBC (Larry McFarland Architects Ltd.) opened. This $4.57 million development, much influenced by the architecture of a long house, would win the Governor General’s Award in 1994. Wrote Harold Kalman: “Well-established West Coast materials—cedar and glass—are extensively used, including the use of very large dressed logs. A waterfall screens a retaining wall facing the West Mall. Built near an historic arboretum, it provides a focus for the activities of various native Indian programs. Users include First Nations House, First Nations Law, First Nations Library, First Nations Health Care and NITEP (see separate listing). Major donors were William and June Bellman, Jack Bell and James and Ilse Wallace.”