Saturday, August 30, 2008


For those of you not from Newfoundland, this will not be a big deal. However, those of us who grew up in the 80s, the news that there will be a Wonderful Grand Band DVD set is a pretty big deal. It was a massively popular show in Newfoundland, featuring Greg Malone and Tommy Sexton (Who went on to do CODCO) doing the majority of the comedy and with Ron Hynes, Sandy Morris and the rest of the band doing music.

How big was the show? At its height, whenever an episode aired, something in excess of 70 per cent of the tv sets in Newfoundland were tuned in. When they released an album in 1982 Living in a Fog, it was only outsold by one record in Atlantic Canada that year. You might have heard of it - Michael Jackson's Thriller.

So yeah, they were gods in Newfoundland at that time. The biggest thing going.

So I'm thrilled that a DVD set will be coming out at some point in the future, presumably sometime next year.

However, I have a question. And not to get all Stephen Harper here on arts funding, but did the provincial government really need to give $10,000 towards the project? I mean, if it were a loan or they were becoming a business partner in the project, I'd understand. They'd get their money back. But this is a grant. So other than getting a "Thanks Danny" somewhere on the cover, they're not getting much for the investment.

I understand giving grants to projects where its important, but there's the risk that it won't make any money. But it's an arts project and they have an importance that goes beyond just dollars and cents. Or that by giving that money, a project that otherwise might not get off the ground will and it will have some economic impacts.

But this DVD set is going to make a fortune. I'm not exaggerating. I don't even know the complete costs of getting the transfers done, the packaging finished and the marketing completed. I don't know how much they're going to sell it for. But I know they're going to sell not thousands of copies, but tens of thousands of copies. Hell, hundreds of thousands of copies is not beyond the realm of possiblity. Lots and lots and lots of people are going to get this for Christmas or a birthday or what have you.

If there's every such a thing as a sure bet, that this DVD set is going to make money is one of them. So I don't really understand the province kicking in money. Bank loans? Investors willing to kick in the cash? Then again, arts funding has always been one of those things I haven't always completely understood. I'm not saying it's bad; I'm saying that sometimes the logic and reasoning can be a bit confusing.

Now, if the province wants to kick in money to get Secret Nation put out in an affordable DVD formation (the National Film Board doesn't have a copy for sale for home use, but does for schools, libraries and businesses. Oh, and it's $60. WTF?) I'd be all about that.

In the meantime, I'll be reserving my copy of the Wonderful Grand Band as soon as it comes out. Even with the government funding.

Last Five
1. Army dreamers - Kate Bush
2. What you did to my girl - The Pursuit of Happiness
3. Old time sake - Kathleen Edwards
4. Dragon - Tori Amos
5. Rude awakenings - Dropkick Murphys


SRD said...

woohoo! and here i thought i grew up in the matter....

Anonymous said...

I don;t suppose it will include the original, not terribly funny first season?

This is the one which includes, (among other material that has not aged well), the band doing a faux reggae song - in black face...

towniebastard said...

If I had to guess, they'd probably just pick and choose - do a "Best of WGB" sort of thing. I think there are something like 40 episodes of the show, and that's too many for one set. They could break it into two sets, but I suspect not.

Then again, I'm only guessing. Maybe they will do them all. But I had forgotten about that bit. Just because the show was mostly funny, doesn't mean they hit the mark all the time.