By Debra Downey, Senior Editor
One of the longest running and most-loved shows in Canadian television history returns to the airwaves next month.
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, CHCH has reprised Tiny Talent Time. The show debuted in 1957 and was a fixture among families for 35 years. It’s been gone for more than two decades, but the fan favourite has definitely not been forgotten.
Jennifer Howe, Tiny Talent Time’s supervising producer, said the popular show is back, ready to return viewers to the refreshing era of tap-dancing tots and pint-sized magicians all sharing their developing talents — just for the fun of it.
An Ancaster resident and freelance producer, Howe got involved with Tiny Talent Time last fall.
“It (Tiny Talent Time) always had this energy about it, and bringing it back seemed like a positive project to jump on board with,” said Howe.
The first thing she did after signing on for the project was meet for two hours of coffee and conversation with Steve Dunn, creator and producer/director of the original show.
“I wanted to be sure I respected his vision,” said Howe. “The community has strong ties to it, and I wanted to ensure I captured everyone’s imagination in the new show...it’s really all about the kids.”
The original Tiny Talent Time was hosted through its entire run by Canadian performer Bill Lawrence, who bantered with performers before and after each act. The 2014 version features Jason Agnew, host of the YTV kids show Splatalot, and Morning Live’s Jaclyn Colville, whom Howe describes as “a come-to-life princess” that most of the performers adored.
More than 500 young people between the ages of four and 12 auditioned for Tiny Talent Time through an online process. Seventy-two acts were selected to participate, among them a Canadian champion baton twirler, children whose talents range from Ukrainian traditional dancing to hip hop, a Rubik’s Cube whiz, magicians and singers who present a variety of styles from Broadway and pop. Show creator Dunn, now in his 80s, has a special spot in one of the episodes, singing with some of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
CHCH airs 12, 30-minute weekly episodes of Tiny Talent Time beginning Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. with encore presentations on Sundays.
Howe hopes viewers will enjoy the show as much as she loved producing it.
“I took Steve’s and Bill’s comments to heart, and I hope viewers are as impressed by the kids as I was, not only by their talent but by the courage it took to get up there.”