Cucumber – Canadian TV Show
After mentioning TVO in my last TV feature about Doctor Snuggles, I immediately knew I had to write (and do some more research) on another show I usually watched on that channel: Cucumber! TVO, or TV Ontario here in Ontario, Canada was usually on channel 2 in most places.
I think it’s only fitting to do another obscure Canadian show because, for those of you who aren’t Canadian, we are celebrating our country’s 150th birthday this Saturday! The timing seems right!
Cucumber actually stands for Children’s Underground Club of United Moose and Beaver for Enthusiastic Reporters if you can actually get your head around that. It was created and filmed in the 70s in Ontario by TVO and then re-aired in the early 80s (when I began to watch it).
In the show, two characters named Moose and Beaver were amateur journalists investigating (and educating the viewer on) many topics relating to science, math, language, and history. There was also a lot of song and dance as well to help make that learning catchy!
Moose and Beaver were played by Alex Laurier and Nikki Tilroe respectively (source: Wikipedia). Sorry for the blurry pics below – it’s poor YouTube screen capture quality.
After listening to the intro song again for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I couldn’t believe how much it sounded like a song Canadian rock band, The Sheepdogs, would write. I should really tweet them and suggest they cover it for shits and giggles.
According to www.rickstv.com, the show lasted two seasons from 1974-75 or 1975-1976. I couldn’t tell you how many episodes were produced as I can’t find the information anywhere.
As well, according to the that website,
“When you sent off a letter to Cucumber, there was a chance they would send you a badge (with moose and beaver on it) and a membership letter with your name on it and a Cucumber letterhead. Both the badge and the membership letter were green.”
If you sent in art, they’d show it on the air and mention your name, too. I’m not sure why I never tried as I liked to draw quite a bit when I was a kid.
I don’t really remember too many of plots or episodes to tell you the truth. I do remember an episode where Moose and Beaver had detective hats on. There was an episode where Martin Short on the show and you can find the episode online. According to the RicksTV site and Wikipedia, John Candy and a young Jeff Healy also were featured on the program! That’s Canadian goodness right there!
This is another one of those shows that seems to be sitting in poor quality YouTube-only hell. I have no idea who has the master tapes or if they even exist. I wonder if TVO would ever consider starting to remaster their own programming to release it digitally if a tangible release would be too pricey.
I’ve included a clip below with the intro so you can get the theme song stuck in your head – from there, you’ll be able to see other videos of the full episode with Martin Short.
Here’s to a great piece of Canadian TV that seems to be fading away (while you cheers with a great Canadian craft beer – no commercial swill, people). Don’t worry, Cucumber, I’ll keep your memory alive!
Last note: in the description of the video, the host of the video says this show was created by Clive Vanderburgh, who also created Today’s Special – a show I’ll be looking at down the road. I should do some research on that guy!
If anyone has more insight they’d like to share about the show or clearer shots, please give me a shout.