Stopwatch and Listen

Stopwatch and Listen is a Canadian comedy television series which aired on CBC Television in 1952.

Stopwatch and Listen
StarringSam Aaron
Barbara Hamilton
Alfie Scopp
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes5
ProducerRoss McLean
Running time30 minutes
Original networkCBC Television
Original release12 September (1952-09-12) –
10 October 1952 (1952-10-10)


This mockumentary series was based on a 1951 programme on CBC Radio's Trans-Canada Network. All aspects of the production were managed by producer Ross McLean. He chose a theme such as feature films or telephones six weeks prior to airdate then conducted rehearsals on the resulting scripts four weeks later. This culminated in a live broadcast of that episode.[1]

Stopwatch and Listen was one of CBC's very first regular TV series, debuting the week the TV network went on the air. It not a success, with Peter Gzowski opining "it may well have been the most catastrophic flop in CBC history and which left the air in a flurry of bad taste." (The final broadcast, which like all episodes in this series was broadcast live, apparently included some ad-libs that were considered to be off-colour by 1952 standards.)[2] A contemporary review by Alex Barris after the first broadcast noted that the show suffered from "poor timing - on the part of the producer", but praised cast members Sam Aaron and Barbara Hamilton.[3] A few weeks later, Gordon Sinclair of The Toronto Star reported Stopwatch and Listen was cancelled "because it was so unfunny...[and] was replaced by a concert last night."[4]

Producer Ross McLean later wrote that the show was "nothing but a trauma".[5]


This half-hour series debut was broadcast on Fridays at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) from 12 September to 10 October 1952. Its time slot was filled by CBC Concert after this.[6]


  1. ^ Rutherford, Paul (1990). When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952–1967. University of Toronto Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8020-5830-2.
  2. ^ "ROSS McLEAN the TV star you never see | Maclean's | JANUARY 16, 1960".
  3. ^ Barris, Alex (16 September 1952). "On the Screen". The Globe and Mail. p. 11.
  4. ^ Sinclair, Gordon (18 October 1952). "Radio and Television". The Toronto Star. p. 15.
  5. ^ "C.B.C. Times - Vol 14 - No 4 - 22-28 Jan 1961". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 1961.
  6. ^ Barris, Alex (24 October 1952). "On the Screen". The Globe and Mail. p. 8.

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