Thursday, December 22, 2016
I Remember Gordie Tapp
What a thrill it was meeting Gordie Tapp on the set of the CBC TV series The Tommy Hunter in 1972.
My dad was an original fan when Tapp was headlining Main Street Jamboree out of radio station CHML in beautiful, downtown Hamilton.
'"When I told Gordie he laughed and said 'Your dad has great taste, son!'"
After Hamilton stardom he moved over to CBC-TV and nine seasons of the live country series Country Hoedown.
Two youngsters Tapp mentored on CBC-TV were Tommy Junter and Tommy Common.
As Tapp told me "When CBC had to chose one for a new hourlong variety series Hunter was chosen although Common was better looking and had the greater voice. Tommy Hunter was chosen because of his great personality and the way he connected with TV viewers."
Tapp then ventured south to co-star for CBS in a new country music series Hee Haw.
"It was number one in ratings but CBS cancelled it after two seasons (in 1971). It then went on for 20 more years in syndication. CBS cancelled all those corn pone series like Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres and Jim Nabors.
"Sure the show was pure corn. We'd tape a full series in a couple of weeks working nonstop in Nashville TV studios. Then the blackout sketches, comedy routines and songs would be pieced together in the editing suites.
Two great Canadian producers Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth were the creators and our cast included Buck Owens, Roy Clark and such staples as Junior Samples, Jeannine Riley, Minnie Pearl and even Barbi Benton."
Tapp wasn't the only Canadian present: Don Harron was also onboard as Charlie Farquarhson.
That day on the CBC set I noticed how pleasant Tapp was --he blended right in and never asked for special favors because of his star status. The crews even laughed at his bad jokes.
And Hee Haw finally faded in 1992 but I'm sure somewhere out there somebody is watching the boxed DVD set even as I write this.
As For Tapp he retired to his farm in North Burlington although he made TV commercials for Ultrasonic Beds and tub thumped for the March of Dimes and Ester Seals Society.
'I can only report that he completely lived up to his image as one of country music's ace gentlemen.