THREE DEGREES OF SEPARATION: HONOURING HARVEY ATKIN, PAUL SOLES AND MORLEY TORGOV
This year’s Canadian archival series focuses on writer Morley Torgov as well as actors Harvey Atkin and Paul Soles and their depictions of the Jewish experience in Canadian film and TV.
The series kicks off with The Making of a President, 1944. This CBC TV drama based on a short story taken from Morley Torgov’s award-winning memoir, A Good Place to Come From, features Soles and Atkin, alongside Melvyn Douglas and Nehemiah Persoff.
Although he is best known for his voice talents as ‘Hermey’ in the beloved Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and ‘Spiderman’ in the 1967 animated TV series, Paul Soles has exhibited both a versatility and charm in numerous Canadian film and TV productions, and served as a longtime talk-show host for the CBC, in a career that now spans over 60 years. This series will showcase a range of his work from sketch comedy and improv (Ligging About, My 90-Year-Old Roommate) to more developed characters (Falling Over Backwards and Mortimer Griffin and Shalinsky). To view some of his rarely-screened comedy work, as well as his award-winning role in My 90-Year-Old Roommate, check out the special curated screening, Take 90: A Paul Soles Comedy Programme.
Harvey Atkin is a local icon best known as ‘Morty,’ the camp director in Meatballs as well as ‘staff sergeant captain Ronald Coleman’ on Cagney And Lacey. Here’s an opportunity to appreciate how the late-actor expressed his connection with his Yiddish roots and other ethnic minorities. The programme entitled, Harvey Atkin’s Toronto allows us to view an episode of Citytv’s rarely-screened Toronto Trilogy entitled Neighbours, as well as other diverse short pieces, and memorable commercial appearances that made him a fixture of the city and the Jewish community. He also appears in a touching and funny role in the coming-of-age drama Today I am a Fountain Pen, based on a story by Morley Torgov.
A practicing lawyer since the mid-Fifties, Morley Torgov is also an award-winning writer, who brought to life stories about Jewish communities in small-town Ontario with humour, warmth and a critical eye. He won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for his memoir A Good Place to Come From (1974) and The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick (1982). In 2015, he was awarded the Order of Canada for his “contribution to Canadian humour.” Today, at age 90, he is still a prolific author, with a successful series of crime novels. Although the film and TV adaptations of his stories were done by other writers (such as Conrad Bromberg, Israel Horovitz and Phil Savath), here is a chance to see how his sensibility was transferred to the screen.