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November 24, 2020 10:11 am  #1

Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?

I occasionally read the obits in the Toronto Star on Saturdays. Not sure why, but I find people's life stories kind of interesting. (And it's amazing how many of them were either school teachers or worked for Bell Canada back in the day.)

This past weekend, I came across a notice about the passing of a woman named Claire Kent. There was nothing different about her, until I came to this part:

"Born in the west she came to Toronto, to pursue a career starting with a morning radio show on CKEY in the early 50's. It was at a time when women were not on the radio and it became the highest rating daytime show in Toronto, " The Jay and Ginger Show."

She was on air obviously before my time and I wonder about that "highest rated" part, although CKEY was a big player in Toronto radio in the old days. But she also apparently did a TV show. 

"In the mid 1960's to 70's, Claire developed another career in television and hosted "The Claire Olsen Show". It involved her interviewing Hollywood Stars and famous people of that era. She proved an expert as a female interviewer and loved the travel that was involved with it."

That was more in line with my era, but I have no memory at all of this show. Does anyone know who ran it or when? 

Either way, my condolences to her family and friends. It's never easy to lose a loved one.   

Claire Kent obit


November 24, 2020 10:47 am  #2

Re: Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?

I don't remember her either, but I found the following info about her retirement in a 1986 Jim Bawden column that will be of interest.

Jim Bawden Toronto Star.Toronto Star; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]22 Oct 1986: H1.

* Signing Off: Claire Olsen, CKVR's breezy Showbiz interviewer, says she's had it with talking. After almost 40 years in radio and TV she's retiring. For now anyway.

"I'm old enough!" she says with a laugh. "Maybe I shouldn't admit it. But I go back to Andrew Allan days on radio. Then there was CKEY for nine years starting in 1947. Ray And Ginger was the show." Olsen played Ginger, a pert housewife.

Her CKVR show was syndicated, a fair money-earner for the station. But a decision to move it to CITY-TV studios "would have meant too much of a hassle. Frankly, I really didn't like talking to people like Matt Dillon. With Rob Lowe, so beautiful, he resented having to turn off a football game on the TV to do our interview."

Her strangest interview? "Mel Gibson. The makeup girl was so excited at having to do him. But she didn't recognize this frail, rather short young man who was very, very nervous."

Olsen was roasted last night courtesy of friendly rival Brian Linehan who says "We've been together for 15 years on the road from London to Los Angeles." Olsen admits, "I've had a few offers. If one's attractive, who knows?"


November 24, 2020 10:55 am  #3

Re: Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?


November 24, 2020 11:01 am  #4

Re: Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?

And here's an excerpt from one of her shows.


November 24, 2020 11:10 am  #5

Re: Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?

Great detective work Lorne. Not sure I would have found all this. So she was with CKVR, which in those days, I couldn't get from my location. That may be why I never heard of her. Looks like she had a pretty good career. I love the stuff about why she refused to go to City TV!

     Thread Starter

November 25, 2020 12:13 am  #6

Re: Does Anyone Remember This Toronto Broadcaster?

I have never heard of Claire Kent, but I do remember the "Jay and Ginger" show on CKEY. It was on from 9AM to 10AM. I started listening to CKEY in the fall of 1957 and would flip between it and CHUM. I don't remember when Jay and Ginger disappeared. Maybe sometime in 1958, and certainly by the time CKEY went from The Sensational Sixty to the Fabulous Forty in the spring of 1959.