King of Kensington
|King of Kensington|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||111|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||CBC Television|
|Original release||September 25, 1975 – March 13, 1980|
The show starred Al Waxman as Larry King, a convenience store owner in Toronto's Kensington Market who was known for helping friends and neighbours solve problems. His multicultural group of friends consisted of Nestor Best (Ardon Bess), Max (John J. Dee), and Tony "Duke" Zarro (Bob Vinci), who hung around regularly to the perennial disapproval of King's mother Gladys (Helene Winston).
The show was popular with viewers; prior to the start of the fourth season one of the producers noted that show drew 1.5 to 1.8 million viewers weekly.
For the first three seasons, Fiona Reid played his wife Cathy. At the end of the third season, Reid decided to leave the series, so Larry and Cathy divorced. Larry then pursued other relationships, most notably with Gwen Twining (Jayne Eastwood) in the final season.
The show's gentle but politically conscious humour is seen by some critics as a Canadian version of the topical Norman Lear sitcoms of the 1970s, such as All in the Family and Maude. The series was syndicated to some American stations during the height of its popularity, including WTTG in Washington, D.C.
After King of Kensington ended in 1980, many of the producers went on to create the new CBC sitcom Hangin' In, while head writer Louis Del Grande went on to create and star in Seeing Things, and Waxman was cast in the American series Cagney & Lacey.
In the SCTV episode "CCCP1-Russian television", one of the fake TV programs infiltrating the network is Hey Giorgiy, about "everyone's favorite Cossack", intended as a Russian knockoff of King of Kensington.
In the first episode of the 1990s television series Twitch City, also set in Kensington, the character Nathan (played by Daniel MacIvor) was sent to prison for killing a homeless man with a can of cat food. The producers of Twitch City cast Al Waxman in the role of the murder victim, as a symbolic wink to King of Kensington, although they claimed that they did not intend for the character to be seen as Larry King himself.
In the late 1990s, This Hour Has 22 Minutes featured a sketch detailing the making of a film version of King of Kensington. In the sketch, director Atom Egoyan (played by Greg Thomey), re-imagines the series as a surreal crime thriller, with Larry King as a serial killer instead of a convenience store owner.
Following Waxman's death on January 18, 2001, a memorial to him was erected in Kensington Market.
In one episode of the Canadian comedy program Puppets Who Kill, the character Bill steals Al Waxman's preserved brain from the CBC headquarters.
- "King to be bachelor". Ottawa Citizen. 1978-01-25. Retrieved 9 April 2011.