Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WEATHERMAN PERCY SALTZMAN DEAD


Well, the first TV weatherman in the history of Canada, and arguably the greatest, died the other day. Percy Saltzman was 91.

He was the first person you saw on the CBC and did the weather for years, and also was the first host of a CTV show that I'm familiar with---- Canada AM. Those were the days when you relied on local news and these morning shows for the weather fix. These days you can tune in to the Weather Network, or in the US the Weather Channel. Or you can tune in to these all-news channels and get more than your fix, including live hurricane and storm coverage from the likes of the Anderson Coopers of the world.

He also set the stage for the "personality weatherman" in this country. We would eventually get Dave Devall, Harold Hosein, and Michael Kuss in Toronto, and the late great Bill Matheson up in Edmonton, and all these various other weathercasters all over the country. Who can forget Greg Barnsley in Saskatoon with CFQC, a personal favorite. We eventually got to see female weathercasters eventually, like Susan Hay over at Global.

I used to see these old black-and-white reels of Saltzman tossing his chalk in the air all the time when he was on TV. Fun stuff. Interesting that he passed away at a time when the weather has been, ahem, a little too crazy for people. Southern Ontario finally got hit by a big ice storm on the weekend, ruining the unusually mild winter people were having. Cars went in the ditch everywhere, and the storm actually killed a lot of people. Storms also continue to wreak havoc on the USA. A big snowstorm hit Texas, and today I find out LA, of all places, is covered in snow.

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