Canal Famille, nostalgia without pink glasses
Simon Portelance (left) and Guy A. St-Cyr (right) are the authors of the book “Family Channel Generation”.
If you grew up in Quebec in the 90s, Canal Famille probably evokes fond memories. This is at least the case for Guy A. St-Cyr and Simon Portelance, the authors of Génération Canal Famille.
The book, published this week by Quebec America, is a true bible of the channel which produced 52 original youth programs, from 1998 to 2001. If it evokes of course nostalgia, it returns to these milestone years with sincerity, also raising the flaws of the children's station.
“It's not blind nostalgia,” says Simon, who is part of the comedy collective Les Piles-Poils. There are Canal Famille shows that did less well. Even in the shows that did well, there were weak points and we can tell.”
Back In Time  ;
The two authors, who were themselves children at the time of Canal Famille, did not want to pretend that everything was perfect. Fortunately, the vast majority of the 250 people interviewed for the book were on the same page.
Thus, by browsing the 350 pages of the book, we come across anecdotes that bear witness to this. Think of the cast of Chat Boume(1989-1991) who were dying of heat in the costumes, to the point where the prosthetics were coming off!
In this spirit of “realistic nostalgia », the authors and their contributors do not hesitate to admit that not all productions have had the same success as Radio Enfer or Les intrépides.
This is the case, for example, of the more or less forgotten show Livrofolie. “It was a literary program, recalls Guy A. St-Cyr. It may look dry, it may look very beige… and in bits, it is. For a child, it's a bit too adult, but it's too childish for an adult.”
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It's not just productions that have fallen into oblivion. If Canal Famille has helped to make Élyse Marquis, Christian Bégin, Bruno Blanchet and Claude Legault known, other personalities have since moved on and have been more difficult to trace.
No wonder, then, that Guy and Simon spent three years working on the book. Like researchers from Second chance, among others, they were able to find Liliane Karam from L'Îlot de Lili and Pierrette Boucher from Dis-moi Lou.
Very few people refused to participate in Génération Canal Famille. On the contrary, the authors of the book have been enthusiastically received by the artists and artisans of the channel.
“It was going back to basics, at a time when they still had to prove that they had their place, believes Simon Portelance. It was a really rich time for this generation of actors who learned everything about these shows.”
In fact, the personalities were so generous that Guy and Simon had to choose to keep quiet. some of the stories they told them. “The youth programs, it makes go in an extreme childish. It must be released,” says Guy A. St-Cyr.
It's nothing outrageous! But when you're on preschool shows, you don't want to destroy people's memories of them. With Radio Hell or In a galaxy, we can afford a little more salacious affairs.
Au beyond what the actors could do with puppets between two takes, the authors received unpublished confidences.
For example, Bruno Blanchet admitted to them that he felt inferior next to his Studio colleague, Guy Jodoin, who already had experience as an actor. “He confided in Guy Jodoin, who had never heard of it, recalls Simon. We were there! It was a truly fantastic moment that we had the chance to experience.”
Touching interviews, there were some for the two authors. This was the case with the comedians of Pin-Pon, who told them that they went to the hospital to visit a very young, sick fan who died shortly afterwards. “Being told stories like that, it's not just surprising, it's also overwhelming,” admits Guy A. St-Cyr, who also hosts the podcast On jase de films .
Investing in youth
It was by changing jobs to get to Canal Famille that Guy learned to count, while Simon had recurring nightmares because of Enfanforme. Today, they are both great consumers of Quebec culture and deplore the fact that the youngest will not have this same attachment.
“For 10 or 15 years, he there has been a big drop in the production of children's programs in Quebec. We can see that teenagers don't listen to Quebec productions and it's a vicious circle,” laments Simon Portelance, who believes, like his colleague, that we have to come up with bold proposals for children and teenagers. .
“If we neglect young people culturally, we cannot recover them later,” believes Guy A. St-Cyr. We have to dare jokes and themes that may be shocking for some adults, but that young people will appreciate. And the stars they will discover as children are actors who will evolve with them and whom they will want to follow, like we had Élyse Marquis, Christian Bégin, Claude Legault…»