November 26, 2020

The Editor Speaks: 25 Years ago

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25 Years ago , as Cayman27 was known then, televised the very first NCVO Telethon. In those days the NCVO Radiothon was broadcast separately from the Radio Cayman studios and finished one hour earlier at 11pm. It had different presenters and entertainment.

The very first Telethon was broadcast from CITN’s very small studios above off Godfrey Nixon Way in George Town.

The preventers were , Richard (Dick) Arch and myself. The producer was Pat Bynoe (now Bynoe-Clarke).

There was no place for a live band so the music was canned with the entertainers performing in a small area in front of the cameras.

It was about five years later when CITN acquired a live truck through WestStar that the venue moved outside and the new studios were built off Eastern Avenue.

The first outside venue was the ‘permanent’ tent in the greens outside the old Hyatt Hotel.

The larger studios had enabled us to place an “in house band” where other musicians could come in and play along with them or alone but the Hyatt tent meant the Telethon could incorporate dancers and other acts needing more space.

It was then I took over as producer and executed this job even after I had left the television station until Chuck and Barrie Quappe took the reins when I had to go to Scotland for six months. I never returned to the job.

Staging it at The Prospect Playhouse solved many headaches than at the various other locations, one being a pub/restaurant. They did supply some very good cooked meals for us!

I believe it was after four years the radio joined up with the television and became, as it is now, “The NCVO Radio/Telethon”. I was told the radio station were not getting very many calls so there was no point in doing it separately any more. That is the power of television.

And the one performer who has appeared in every Telethon is none other than my wife, Joan,

Twenty five times she has sat or stood and read one or two of her poems. This years she is going to do an encore performance of that very first one “Idle Thoughts of Yesteryear.”

It was also 25 years ago on September 10th CITN went on air and showed colour bars for three days before we were allowed to show CNN Headline News.

I was surprised there was no mention let alone a celebration of this piece of history Cayman27 has achieved.

I believe a great advertising/media publicity opportunity was badly missed.

A silver bullet should be presented instead.

25 years does deserve silver doesn’t it?

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  1. Chris Johnson says

    Colin the problem is that history is either not recognised in Cayman or substituted by non history..
    Many people who contributed to our islands are just forgotten about or glossed over. A classic example is Gerry Willcocks who brought in the first decompression chamber in 1972 with little or no assistance from the local scuba businesses. Finally in 2016, some 44 years later he was introduced to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.

    Another example is Larry Chomyn, past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman who created Meals on Wheels and got Rotary behind it. Yet the MOW website makes little or no reference of his drive and enthusiasm to get the project off the ground.

    You can look at other websites and history of their organizations fail to tell the real story.

    Very sad that the pioneers such as you and Joan cannot be properly recognized. No matter though, no reward is sort but the satisfaction in knowing you were both part of creating the local TV and the Prospect Theatre is comforting for you and all of us alike.

    By the way thanks for umpiring all those cricket matches when all your decisions were not always appreciated! As they say, gone but not forgotten.

    • Thank you Chris. I didn’t think anyone would remember all those Saturdays and Sundays I was there with my big hat on umpiring all those cricket matches for over four years. I did enjoy it except when a cricket ball was thrown at me because of one of those decisions and a broken bottle thrust into my face when I came off the field. That was why I quit. I complained to the Cricket Association and no action was taken.

  2. Chris Johnson says

    I remember a lot including when the captain of the West Bay team, being frustrated ripped up the coconut matting. Play was abandoned and the Village Greenies were awarded the points.
    To be fair I will not mention his name because we have all moved on.

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