“Forget yesterday, think about tomorrow, but live today. Thank you. Thank you.”
Wally Crouter – 92
As a radio broadcast of the day might be heard to say – “we interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post with a special memory.” When I was in grade school and into high school, the morning always started with the flick of a knob on the kitchen radio and the first voice that broke the silence was that of Wally Crouter. He was for fifty years (1946 – 1996), Toronto’s “morning man” on CFRB radio, and entire families like ours grew up listening to his warm conversation.
Considering the fact that I’ve never been known as a morning person that must have been something for Wally to make that kind of impression. Of course, in those childhood days, breakfast was still a ritual before you went anywhere, and the voice of this morning man was part of that experience; even if our own kitchen conversation was muted. Maybe that was because we really were listening to Wally – that storytelling, wit and honest banter was ours.
Over those same years, one of the segments of that show was the CFRB Sports Desk update with Bill Stephenson, sponsored by Beehive Corn Syrup. To this day, that product is a default taste for me as a toast topping when I’ve had it with the jam selection. I still have fond memories of my father, my brother and me sitting around the kitchen table listening to the Wally Crouter show and Bill’s hockey scores.
Some memories stick – thanks to the Beehive.
Wally said in an interview years ago, “about fifty percent of Toronto households tuned into that show, in an era where you only had three choices”. Even still as choices grew, fifty years as the radio morning man is quite a legacy. His longevity in radio can largely be credited to the fact that as the times changed, he related to people directly, as part of our extended family at a time of day when we were all in the same mode – waking up and on the way to our own little somewhere.
Hearing yesterday of Mr.Crouter’s passing at 92, it struck me again why listening to a voice on radio in particular has always captivated me. There are those mixed elements of anonymity and immediacy, combined with a sense of imagination; that you don’t really need to see the face, you can hear the story, know the world – simply through “the voice”. Wally Crouter had that voice. He loved what he did and there was never any question about it.