Rothesay native working on Mr. Dressup documentary


Children’s tv icon Mr. Dressup is returning to the display screen subsequent yr, together with Casey and Finnegan, and lots of the people who labored behind the scenes on the beloved program, which aired in Canada from 1967 to 1996.

“This is gonna really feel like an enormous heat hug,” mentioned Mark Bishop, a Toronto producer and Rothesay native working on a documentary concerning the present for Prime Video and CBC.

“There’s simply a lot love and heat,” mentioned Bishop, a co-founder of marblemedia, one of many firms working on the mission.

“It actually is an unbelievable, particular story.”

The feature-length movie will rejoice the lifetime of Ernie Coombs, mentioned Bishop, who describes Coombs as “a very outstanding particular person who actually had such an affect on generations of Canadians.”

Mr. Dressup impressed many individuals to be themselves and be form, mentioned Bishop, along with his “energy of positivity.”

“I need folks to rejoice and really feel that love and kindness and move it on to the world the best way Ernie would do,” he mentioned.

“To share the kindness, to share the love, to be inventive, to be your self. All of these nice values that we grew up with. Let’s make sure that we maintain on to them and move them on.

“As Canadians we ought to be happy with that. It is part of our historical past.” 

Besides starring in additional than 4,000 episodes of the present, Coombs toured the nation many occasions and met numerous followers, younger and outdated.

But one factor folks might not find out about him, mentioned Bishop, and that the documentary will discover, was his friendship with one other well-known kids’s entertainer.

Mark Bishop mentioned Fred Rogers was the most effective man at Ernie Coombs’ marriage ceremony. (CBC Still Photo Collection – Robert Ragsdale )

“Fred Rogers was the most effective man at Ernie’s marriage ceremony, was the godfather to Ernie’s children. I imply, they actually had a phenomenal bond.” 

The two of them have been additionally good associates with one other fashionable kids’s entertainer of the day, Fred Penner, who would generally seem on Mr. Dressup to play music.

“They all had this glorious friendship,” mentioned Bishop. “They actually supported each other.”

Music was a very necessary a part of the present, mentioned Bishop, and it was performed stay throughout each 25-minute episode.

“They needed to play that music each single time and hope that they did not play a improper observe.”

The soundtrack will embody a brand new model of the theme track, he mentioned.

The documentary will even embody “never-before-seen” archival footage, in accordance with Prime Video, in addition to contemporary interviews being filmed this fall with present contributors equivalent to puppeteers, members of the Coombs household and “notable Canadians.”

“I do not suppose they’ve ever realized the affect that they’d on Canadians,” mentioned Bishop.

Coombs died in 2001.

His members of the family suppose he’d “be so tickled by this,” Bishop mentioned.

Mr. Dressup with Casey and Finnegan in 1974. Ernie Coombs starred in additional than 4,000 episodes of the present. (CBC Still Photo Collection/Paul Smith)

This is a narrative Bishop has needed to inform “for a very very long time.” 

Meeting Coombs at a Woolco retailer document signing in Saint John was a formative moment for him when he was five-and-a-half years outdated.

“My mother tells the story that mainly your entire means residence I used to be asking questions. How did Mr costume up get from the TV? And is there no TV present at the moment? How are they doing it?”

“My eyes have been lit up. I used to be like, wait a second. There’s an trade in tv. People make TV exhibits. I ought to discover out about that.”

From there his journey went from making residence motion pictures with a digicam rented from the grocery retailer, to working with the KV Players novice theatre group, working a TV manufacturing summer season camp for teenagers and beginning a deejay/sound enterprise.

He met Coombs once more when he got here to offer a visitor lecture at Toronto Metropolitan University (previously often called Ryerson), the place Bishop was learning tv manufacturing.

“He was precisely the identical great individual,” mentioned Bishop.

“It did not matter that the cameras have been off.”

Coombs instructed him he had fond reminiscences of good folks he’d met on the East Coast.

Mark Bishop, a Toronto producer and Rothesay native, is working on a documentary about Mr. Dressup for Prime Video and CBC. (David Leyes/Courtesy of marblemedia)

Bishop mentioned he obtained one other look behind the scenes at making tv on the former CHSJ tv station in Saint John through the Empty Stocking Fund telethon.

After he moved to Toronto for varsity, he volunteered at CBC and labored on the Rita MacNeil present.

He co-founded marblemedia in 2001.

One of their first hits was This is Daniel Cook, a present a few seven-year-old boy who has adventures and learns about new issues, equivalent to taekwondo or the YMCA, in each six-minute episode.

It ran on the TreeHouse and Disney networks and has been distributed to greater than 85 international locations in 14 languages.

They additionally did an out of doors competitors sequence known as Splatalot, that bought all over the world.

These days, one among their most profitable exhibits is a Netflix sequence on glass blowing known as Blown Away, now in its third season.

But the one Bishop says he is “most happy with,” is Race Against the Tide, as a result of it was filmed in New Brunswick.

The Mr. Dressup documentary is predicted to launch on Amazon Prime Video sooner or later subsequent yr, he mentioned, and can later air on CBC Television.


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