King of Kensington

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King of Kensington
Format Sitcom
Starring Al Waxman
Fiona Reid
Helene Winston
Rosemary Radcliffe
Jayne Eastwood
Country of origin Canada
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 111
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CBC Television
Original run September 25, 1975 – March 13, 1980

King of Kensington is a Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.

The show starred Al Waxman as Larry King, a convenience store owner in Toronto's Kensington Market who was known for helping friends and neighbours solve problems. His multicultural group of friends consisted of Nestor Best (Ardon Bess), Max (John J. Dee), and Tony "Duke" Zarro (Bob Vinci), who hung around regularly to the perennial disapproval of King's mother Gladys (Helene Winston).

The show was popular with viewers; prior to the start of the fourth season one of the producers noted that show drew 1.5 to 1.8 million viewers weekly.[1]

For the first three seasons, Fiona Reid played his wife Cathy. At the end of the third season, Reid decided to leave the series, so Larry and Cathy divorced. The show never fully recovered its stride or chemistry as Larry pursued other relationships, most notably with Gwen Twining (Jayne Eastwood) in the final season.

The show's gentle but politically conscious humour is seen by some critics as a Canadian version of the topical Norman Lear sitcoms of the 1970s, such as All in the Family and Maude. The series was syndicated to some American stations during the height of its popularity, including WTTG in Washington, D.C.

The show was created by Perry Rosemond, who also produced the first season. Other producers included Jack Humphrey (1976–1980) and Joe Partington (1978–1980).

The series featured many Canadian actors as guest stars, including Mike Myers, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Jeff Wincott, and Mark Humphrey.

After King of Kensington ended in 1980, head writer Louis Del Grande went on to create and star in Seeing Things, and Waxman was cast in the American series Cagney & Lacey.

Tributes[edit]

In the first episode of the 1990s television series Twitch City, also set in Kensington, the character Nathan (played by Daniel MacIvor) was sent to prison for killing a homeless man with a can of cat food. The producers of Twitch City cast Al Waxman in the role of the murder victim, as a symbolic wink to King of Kensington, although they claimed that they did not intend for the character to be seen as Larry King himself.

Following Waxman's death on January 18, 2001, a memorial to him was erected in Kensington Market.

In one episode of the Canadian comedy program Puppets Who Kill, the character Bill steals Al Waxman's preserved brain from the CBC headquarters.

DVD release[edit]

On November 13, 2007, Morningstar Entertainment released Season 1 on DVD in Region 1.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "King to be bachelor". Ottawa Citizen. 1978-01-25. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/King-Kensington-Season-1/8344

External links[edit]