Read All About It had two series. This show aired on TVO, TV Ontario, TVOntario. I have seen it on WAM! netowrk in the US as well.
In Series One the majority of time was fighting off Deneedon.
Some images from Episode 1 Series 1
The first visit to the Coach House - already being watched
Someone needs HELP!
The trio familiarize themselves with the Coach House
Uncle Dereks' MESSAGE!
The problems are only beginning
In Series Two various missions took place - one to help General Brock fight during the War of 1812, one to fight the Book Destroyer and of course Duneedon showed his ugly face again too!
The cast from Series Two
Michael Dwyer played Alex. He was added to the characters in Series 2. He moved into Herbertville.
Chris Anderson played by David Craig Collard. He was
in series one and two. Had a heck of a time getting back to Earth in series
In real life, he has recently written for the TV show "The Family Guy" and did some directing on the TV Show Night Heat.
Lynne Davis played by Lydia Zajc.
Samantha Nikos played by Stacey Arnold.
Emperor Tritan of Trialviron
Theta and Otto. One or the other of
these would constantly breakdown - causing great delays in the making of the
show. Lydia Zajc was cool enough to e-mail me and tell me this.
Another was to communicate between 'current-day' and to wherever the characters travelled was via the communicator machine dubbed the 'two-way'
Each show would start off with an overview as to what happened in the previous episode.
Various clips from the show.
The location of these pictures is the Coachhouse - it was owned by Chris' Uncle.
This is where the gang produced the "Herbertville Chronicle", a local newspaper
The Mayor of Herbertville was Don Eden
The two-way (thanks to HT for the vid cap)
Here's a picture of the Read All About It book - VERY RARE (Thanks to Bill for the scan)!
And some scans from the book (thanks to HT)
Here is a link to someone who liked
Here is a link to an edition of the
Here is some additional information provided by Warren Kellior (Sepcail Effects Man)
Im Warren Keillor from Toronto. I worked on the series for four years contracting to supply the special effects for the scenes where something weird or unusual was needed. I designed both Otto and Theta the Robots and built them along with the mechanisms for the secret panels in my studio. Then we contracted to operate them on set for four years. I shot the scene of the space station in my studio(the exterior) and the destruction of the planet space station with the kids inside which I have never seen, but was told it looked good. Jeremy Pollack was great to work with as well as Chris Adney the art director who I think was one of Canadas best Art Directors ever. Check out the coach house. Who wouldnt want it? That was a great set and the drawings were superb. Design services run owned by John Holms built the sets. They did a fine job! I have a web site www.keillorfilm.com It is too bad that I dont have any documentation other than I have heard a credit listing. Normally, one gets footage, but there was just so much and at that time I didnt have a three quarter inch machine to play it back. TVO is going through hard times and has become a bum protecting bureaucracy . The politicians in Ontario have been doing things in lock step with the big biz interests south of the border. Too bad!
In cleaning out a storage garage I did find one of Ottos copper eyes used all those years. Remember they went up and down when he got excited. They were remote controlled off camera along with all Thetas controls on a common control panel with speed and direction controls for doors forward and reverse and lights and eyes. Otto had the elevator mechanism and sliding counter top panels that could be controlled both with speed and direction. It could be pretty challenging for the operators. Since the people were from my studio they could always fix any little adjustments necessary on set. I have read reports that they were unreliable. It simply was not true. Wally Teska would have had me up at three in the morning if anything was amiss. We were not in the union as they did not have a special effects category at that time. I didnt get grumpy calls from Wally either. The source of that rumour was likely the IBM typewriter service man who was tickled to be paid to come to a film shoot instead of some government office with hundreds of typewriters as far as he could see. The IBM Selectric was the first kind of computer assisted typewriter with a tiny little memory of a few words. Back then it was hot stuff for a readout that could be caught on video. Whoooooooow! They were simple times. I am sorry that TVO didnt see fit to credit John Bailey, Rachel Rotenberg and Mark Patten who did the bulk of the robot operating on set. I just came in to do the weird and strange things, pyrotechnics, break-a-ways and models.
COACH HOUSE Chris visits a house he will eventually
inherit and meets two mysterious robots. Together they discover an outrageous
CHAPTER 02: THE STRANGER The three friends say they are using the house to publish a newspaper; The Hebertville Chronicle. Suddenly Samantha and Lynne find themselves wheeling through space.
CHAPTER 03: PROBLEM PIT Samantha and Lynne meet Duneedon and become trapped in the Problem Pit
CHAPTER 04: ACCIDENTAL VISITOR The Queen of Hearts tumbles out of the transporter by mistake and Chris discovers her identity in the library.
CHAPTER 05: THE FIRST EDITION An unknown intruder tries to prevent publication of the Chronicle.
CHAPTER 06: THE STOLEN MESSAGE Chris and Samantha intercept a message from Duneedon ordering the Chronicle stopped.
CHAPTER 07: STRANGE DISCOVERIES Lynne discovers that the Mayor of Herbertville is none other than Duneedon himself.
CHAPTER 08: 'TIS MAGIC Merlin the Magician uses his magic powers to send Chris and Lynne to Trialviron.
CHAPTER 09: RHYME TIME In Trialviron, Chris and Lynne meet the poet, Doctor Crystal Couplet, who helps them reach the Place of Change.
CHAPTER 10: THE PLACE OF CHANGE After Lynne and Chris escape from Trialviron, they help Sam with the second edition of the Chronicle.
CHAPTER 11: VOICES IN THE PARK Lynne interviews a company of actors. An oldtimer, Mr. Walker, tells her about a mysterious house five decades ago. (Lynne spends much time NOT delivering papers in this episode)
CHAPTER 12: AN EVIL PIRATE The transporter suddenly produces an irate Captain Hook, who creates a few tense moments for the kids.
CHAPTER 13: SEEK AND SPEAK Lynne writes a speech to help preserve King's Park. Sam and Chris are trapped in an old factory by Duneedon and his agents.
CHAPTER 14: CLOSER TO THE TRUTH Lynne finds out about the mysterious Manor House fire. Sam and Chris find a document the evil Duneedon forged to grab control of the city park.
CHAPTER 15: TIME FOR ACTION The three friends put together a new edition of the paper and Lynne gives her speech to save the park.
CHAPTER 16: TO THE RESCUE Chris sends a message that he's trapped on Trialviron. The genie from Aladdin's lamp transports Sam and Lynne to the Shifting Sands
CHAPTER 17: PICTURE IN YOUR MIND Doctor Couplet helps send Sam and Lynne to the Planet of Maze.
CHAPTER 18: THE PLANET OF MAZE Lynne and Sam help Chris and his uncle escape from the Planet of Maze by answering riddling questions.
CHAPTER 19: SPECIAL EDITION - The police round up Duneedon's agents. A special edition of the Chronicle exposes the conspiracy.
CHAPTER 20: THE SHOWDOWN When Duneedon tries to destroy Otto and Theta and trap Lynne and Sam, he is outfoxed and sent on a one-way trip to Trialviron.
Here are the majority of credits from Series One:
Duneedon/Mayor Don Eden- Sean Hewitt
Uncle Derek - James Irving
Ann Blake - Barbara Wheeldon
Black Gloves - Peter Parker
Black Gloves - Dan Ross
Duncan O'Reagan - Arch McDonnell
Queen of Hearts - Luba Goy
Mr. Walker - Chris Palmer
Merlin - John Dee
Crystal Couplet - Kay Hawtrey
Barry - George Buta
Jim - Robert Yacknin
Captain Hook - Gordon Masten
Genie - Grant Cowan
Narrator - William Osler
Mistress Maze Voice - Angela Fusco
Mistress Maze - Judy Shapiro
Agent Nine - Ken Camroux
Theta's Voice - Angela Fusco
Writer - Clive Endersby
Music - Eric Robertson
Set Design - Chris Adeney
Graphics - Keillor Film Industries, Joyce Cosby, Susan Tsang
Animation - Trickett Productions Limited
Special Effects - Keillor Film Industries
Props - M. Yano-Shuttleworth, Ann Beeton, Bill Ives
Wardrobe - Ethel Clinert, Juul Haalmeyer, Jan Humphrey
Technical Director - Jim Anderson
Lighing Director - Alf Hunter
Audio Record & Mix - Paul Simpson, George Claridge
Videotape Editor - Bob Baker
Film Camera/Lighting - Ken Post
Film Sound - Stuart French, Ian Blackford
Educational Supervisors - Ruth Vernon, Jennifer Harvey
Production Manager - Wally Teska
Production Assistants - Ellie Joliat, Diane Darlington
Producer - Director - Jeremy Pollock
01: ANNIVERSARY The Herbertville Chronicle
celebrates its first anniversary and the group is introduced to the "two-way"
communication device (Team gets a crossword, note they never finish it)
CHAPTER 02: BACK IN TIME Chris and Sam find an old chart at the spot where the mysterious boy dematerialized and send a picture of it back to Lynne, who begins researching clues.
CHAPTER 03: GENERAL BROCK When General Brock finds Sam and Chris in his room, he has a hard time believing they are from the future and are not American spies. Once convinced, he offers to help them.
CHAPTER 04: JOURNEY TO QUEENSTON Sam and Chris meet an Indian named John Norton, who leads them towards Queenston and then leaves them in the care of his compatriot, Laura Secord.
CHAPTER 05: DEATH AT DAWN Sam and Chris finally manage to save the young stranger, and the three time-travellers narrowly escape being caught in the War of 1812.
CHAPTER 06: A PLEA FOR HELP After learning what their names mean from Otto and Theta, they hear a voice calling for help from the pages of Cinderella. They magically disappear into Book World to attempt a rescue.
CHAPTER 07: WHERE VILLAINS ROAM In their search for the Book Destroyer, Lynne and Alex must deal with both the "Mirror on the Wall" and the wicked queen from Snow White.
CHAPTER 08: 'TIS MAGIC Merlin the Magician uses his magic powers to send Chris and Lynne to Trialviron.
CHAPTER 09: THE BOOK DESTROYER The Book Destroyer traps Lynne and Alex in her mine and says they must help her erase all villains from books.
CHAPTER 10: PROBLEMS Chris and Samantha work on an advertisement to rent her house. Samantha is distressed and touchy at having to leave Herbertville.
CHAPTER 11: THE FINAL DAY Sam and Rita become fast friends and Sam promises to write from Victoria about her new experiences.
CHAPTER 12: A NEW BEGINNING Rita surprises Sam with the news that she is writing a book based on Sam's move to Victoria.
CHAPTER 13: MANY DIFFERENT STORIES Chris comes back from the library with a copy of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew". Lynne and Alex help him devise a fantastic story for Rita.
CHAPTER 14: THE REMARKABLE MR. WETHERBY Just when Chris and Lynne think they are having a dull summer, an unusual visitor turns up at the Coach House. It is the ghost of Mr. Wetherby.
CHAPTER 15: ONE GHOST TOO MANY Chris and Lynne are having a hard time coping with Mr. Wetherby's strict supervision. They research the former principal's likes and dislikes and embark on a scheme to get rid of him.
CHAPTER 16: THE FORCE Chris, Alex and Lynne are reading a letter from Sam when they receive an urgent message from Trialviron.
CHAPTER 17: CHOICES After realizing they are the only ones who can save the people of Trialviron, Lynne, Alex, and Chris set two conditions before agreeing to help.
CHAPTER 18: THE AMBASSADORS Alex and Chris arrive on the planer Trivia and discover a strange tunnel (some great pyro in this episode)
CHAPTER 19: TRAPPED Alex and Chris work hard to get everyone off Trialviron, then discover that Duneedon has tricked them(more great pyro).
CHAPTER 20: FINAL MOMENTS It looks as if Chris, Alex, and Lynne will vanish with the rest of Trialviron unless someone shows up to help them. An unexpected visitor arrives at the Coach House, and Otto and Theta print out instructions to save their friends.(Fire and explosions galore!)
It took many people to put this show together, here are the credits from Series Two:
Rod Closs - The Soldier
David Schurmann - Sir Isaac Brock
Dave MacKenzie - Jenkins
Dan Glenney, Chris Loff, Mark Mascarin (Sylvia Scott), Susan Alderman - Fort Personnel
Graham Greene - John Norton
Samantha Langevin - Laura Secord
George Howse - The Soldier
Edwina Follows - Book Destroyer's Voice
Angela Fusco - Cinderella's Voice
Michael James - The Mirror
Joyce Gordon - Evil Queen
Don McQuarrie - The Wolf
A. Frank Ruffo - Dracula
Robert Windsor - Rip Van Winkles
Edwina Follows - The Book Destroyer
Susan Mitchell - Rita Zakowski
Desmond Scott - Mr. Ernest Wetherby
Malika Mendez - Librarian
Kay Hawtrey - Crystal Couplet
Jack Armstrong - Emperor Tritan
William Osler - Narrator
Music: Eric Robertson
Recorded & Mixed at: Manta Sound by Hayward Parrott
Set Design: Chris Adeney
Graphics: Tom Pilsworth, Joyce Cosby, Maxine Cowan, Pat Cupples, Susan Tsang
Special Effects: Keillor Film Industries
"Otto" Programmer - Stella Etherington
Props: Nadia Salnick, M. Yano-Shuttleworth
Wardrobe: Ethel Glinert, Janine Mather-Dean, Lorraine Cramp
Make-up: Diane Rowe
Technical Director: Jim Anderson
Lighting Director: Alf Hunter
Lighting Assistant: Ken Luxmore
Studio Director: Peter Newman
Cameras: Roger Lauzon, Ted Hart, Vic Newman, John Dynes, Ian Wahn
Video: Denis Paul, Mario Resnik
Film Editor: Kevin Townshend
Stagehands: Brian Potts, Peter Roy, David Beswick
Talent Co-ordinator: George Bourne
Writer: Clive Endersby
Maintenance: Bernt Neuffer
Sound Recording: David Joliat
Audio Record: Gunars Snikvalds
Sound Mix: Tom Hidderley
Audio: David Joliat, Maarten Heilbron
VTR Recording: Bob Gilchrist, Joe Diffa
Videotape Editor: Hank Mol
Film Camera/Lighting: Bob Brooks
Lighting Assistant: Ken Luxmore
Studio Director: Peter Newman
Education Supervisor: Ruth Vernon, Jennifer Harvey
Production Manager: Wally Teska, Michelle Maurice
Production Assistant: Ellie Joliat
Producer/Director: Jeremy Pollock
Special Thanks to
Heritage Hill Farms
Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Staff and Personnel of Upper Canada College Norval, Ontario
Mr. J. Babcock Niagara-on-the-Lake
DOWNLOAD EPISODES HERE:
INTERVIEW WITH SERIES WRITER CLIVE ENDERSBY:
Here are the answer to your questions. It's very gratifying that something you did so many years ago still resonates.
I would like to start off by thanking you for taking time out to answer some questions and would also like to thank you for writing two wonderfully enjoyable programs. Programs that are still being watched and enjoyed by so many to this very day. Do you realize how much you helped shaped a generation of current day adults - not only with Read All About it, but also with Polka Dot Door.
CLIVE ANSWER: You're welcome. For someone soon facing retirement, complements are always music to the ears. At that time I was very proud of Read All About It. Although in my early thirties, I had only recently switched my career from acting to writing and the show was a great boost to me personally. I was also lucky enough to go to a few schools and see the students react to it and, more than any other show I worked on, it impressed on me the importance of promoting education in an entertaining way.
Polka Dot Door was just fun. It had a formula and once you mastered it the scripts were pretty easy to write. For three years, I had the honour of being inside the Polkaroo costume in Toronto's Daffodil Parade for Cancer. And to see the adoring looks of the kids as they waved at their hero is a very fond memory.
I don't know if you ever saw Today's Special which was the show I worked on for TVO after 'Read All About It'. I think that was another show that people still remember fondly.
I was lucky to start my writing career at a time when TVOntario was into improving the quality of 'educational television' which had been pretty dry and teacherish. It was an exciting time to be in the business.
Did you ever write a third part to the series Read All About it? If so, can you tell me a bit about it, as well, why did it never get produced?
CLIVE ANSWER: No. There never was a third part to the series. I was asked to write a short paperback novel that roughly covered the events in part one. The publishing company, Methuen (now defunct), planned to sell it through the various stations that ran the show. Unfortunately, TVOntario discovered that the rules governing educational channels forbid any advertising on the air. Thus the public was only aware of its availability if they read TVO's 'program' magazine - aimed at teachers. There was an initial run of 6,000 (I think) which were the results of teachers buying for school libraries. It has been out of print for many years. I have a couple of copies left that I'm saving for my nearest and dearest.
Never having written a novel, it took me three months to write, whereas I could write a script for a TV episode in a few days. But all the people I worked with were terribly impressed - as if a book proved I was a real writer.
Did you write the Teachers Guide for the series, or did that get done by someone else?
CLIVE ANSWER: Someone else. I can't give you a name because my old papers and stuff are in storage as I'm on the move again. It was an 'in-house' effort that I think was written by someone on TVO's staff who had the educational qualifications necessary to produce a document that was aimed at teachers. (I certainly didn't have those qualifications - I quit school after grade 9 and went to England to pursue my career as an actor - and only turned to writing after I came back to Canada and could no longer 'act' kid and teenage roles.)
Who currently has the rights to the Read All About It series, as well as Polka Dot Door? Do you know if there are any plans to have an official DVD release of either program?
CLIVE ANSWER: TVOntario (in Toronto) has the rights to both - as television shows. Unfortunately, as far as I know there are no plans to do anything with them. Due to special 'educational' arrangements (ie: lower fees) that channels like TVOntario had with the various unions (Writers, actors, directors, musicians) renewals of clearance rights and royalties had to be paid in advance for a set number of years --- rather than an after-payment of a percentage of sales as is normal for commercial programs.
Because of the cutbacks (or lack of growth) in funding for these types of stations, they cannot afford to renew these clearances 'up front' which would decimate their program budgets in any one year. Both TVO and the various union members would dearly love to switch these contracts to a 'percentage of a sales' system but the law is the law and neither side can change an existing contract without agreement from all who signed it. In a series like 'Today's Special, for example, that means contacting 400 people, many who have either moved (some to other countries) or died. (For example - DVD's did not exist in those days, there are no provisions for them.) The task is just too overwhelming for networks and unions to take on.
It's unfortunate because TVOntario has so many wonderful children's programs from that era which are now sitting on a shelf gathering dust because of an agreement which, at the time, allowed the shows to be produced - but hamper any use of them in the present day.
How different was your initial vision for Read All About it, to what was actually produced? Did Otto and Theta match what you expected them to look like?
CLIVE ANSWER: When I was hired for READ ALL ABOUT IT there were already three or four scripts written by someone else. But those scripts weren't achieving the hopes that everyone had for the series. No one's fault. Development of a series is always a hit and miss proposition as there are so many elements --- and in educational series even more so because you are merging 'drama and learning' and striking a balance is terrible hard to achieve.
So my first task was to take the good elements of the work that had been done and start again. Thus, even though all the scripts were mine - the initial concept of the coach house, the three kids, Otto and Theta, the missing Uncle, bringing in book characters and a villain called Duneedon already existed in some form or other. With those, I created the story and wrote the scripts that went out on the air.
So I cannot claim 'original creation' of the series - only molding or guiding the elements that existed and creating more so it all became a cohesive whole. (This is very common in the television business - somebody 'in-house' comes up with enough of an idea to get a green light and that releases the money to hire professional writer/s to turn that idea into a reality.)
I imagine there is no one person who can be credited with conceiving the basic elements of READ ALL ABOUT IT but rather, the elements came from a series of meetings of staff members and educational consultants working for TVO at that time.
As far as your secondary question - Otto and Theta were already designed (but not built) when I came on board so it wasn't a case of 'expectations' they already existed. I was, however, surprised at the overall technical and dramatic quality of Read All About It and for that I give credit to Ruth Vernon (Head of the Children's Department) and Jeremy Pollack (Director). They went above and beyond what was 'acceptable' at that time to make the show the best it could have been. As imaginary budgets have no bounds, it's very easy for a writer's mind to see every moment done to perfection and they are usually disappointed by the reality. But READ ALL ABOUT IT came as close as one could get.
Thank you once again for your time and for writing some very cool programs when I was growing up.
And thank you for keeping up an interest in shows that so many people who sincerely believed in good television for children, worked so hard to produce.