King of Kensington
|King of Kensington|
|Created by||Perry Rosemond|
|Directed by||Ray Arsenault|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||111|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||CBC Television|
|Original release||September 25, 1975 –|
March 13, 1980
Al Waxman starred 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).
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. Larry then dated Tina (Rosemary Radcliffe) in the fourth season and Gwen Twining (Jayne Eastwood) in the fifth. At the same time, Larry sold the convenience store and took a new job with a youth community centre.
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 original series pilot starred Paul Hecht and Sandra O'Neill as Larry and Cathy King, although the series was recast with Waxman and Reid by the time the show went into production.
The series featured many Canadian actors as guest stars, including Andrea Martin, Mike Myers, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, Jeff Wincott and Mark Humphrey. The show was popular with viewers; prior to the start of the fourth season, one of the producers noted the show drew 1.5 to 1.8 million viewers weekly.
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 maintained a tight production schedule, with episodes sometimes airing just one week or less after they were filmed, so that topical jokes about current news stories could be incorporated into the scripts.
After King of Kensington ended in 1980, many of the producers went on to create the new CBC sitcom Hangin' In, while head writer Louis Del Grande went on to create and star in Seeing Things, and Waxman was cast in the American series Cagney & Lacey.
- Al Waxman as Larry King
- Helene Winston as Gladys King
- Fiona Reid as Cathy King (1975–1978)
- Ardon Bess as Nestor Best (1975–1978)
- Bob Vinci as Tony "Duke" Zarro (1975–1978)
- John J. Dee as Max (1975–1978)
- Jayne Eastwood as Gwen Twining (1978–1980)
- Peter Boretski as Jack Soble (1978–1980)
- Robert Haley as Ron Bacon (1978–1980)
- Rosemary Radcliffe as Tina (1978–1980)
- Linda Rennhofer as Dorothy (1978–1980)
Season 1 (1975–76)
|2||2||Hot Line Host||Oct-02-1975|
|3||3||Kensington Achievement Award||Oct-09-1975|
|4||4||The Tax Audit||Oct-23-1975|
|5||5||Save Old George||Oct-30-1975|
|8||8||The Lady Who Came to Dinner||Nov-20-1975|
|9||9||The Joy of Kensington (ft Andrea Martin)||Nov-27-1975|
|10||10||The Gambler (ft Saul Rubinek & Luba Goy)||Dec-04-1975|
|11||11||The Real Mrs. King||Dec-11-1975|
|12||12||Scout's Honour (ft Mike Myers)||Dec-18-1975|
|13||13||The Christmas Show||Dec-25-1975|
|14||14||The Detroit Story (ft Dave Thomas)||Jan-15-1976|
Season 2 (1976–77)
|1||19||Fertility for Two||Sep-21-1976|
|7||25||Gestalt of Kensington||Nov-16-1976|
|8||26||Welcome to Canada||Nov-23-1976|
|10||28||Duke's New Job||Dec-07-1976|
|11||29||Prisoner of Kensington||Dec-14-1976|
|13||31||The End of the World||Jan-04-1977|
|15||33||Gladys' Teddy Bear||Jan-18-1977|
|16||34||Bunny of Kensington||Jan-25-1977|
|17||35||Mary Theresa Is Missing||Feb-01-1977|
|19||37||The Central Tech Tiger||Feb-15-1977|
|23||41||The Quiz Show||Mar-15-1977|
|24||42||The Big Shot||Mar-22-1977|
Season 3 (1977–78)
|1||43||Cathy's New Career||Sep-25-1977|
|12||54||The Dance Studio||Dec-18-1977|
|22||64||The Blood of Kings||Mar-19-1978|
|23||65||Cathy's Last Stand||Mar-26-1978|
Season 4 (1978–79)
|1||66||King's First Date||Sep-28-1978|
|2||67||Summer of '56||Oct-05-1978|
|5||70||Words and Music||Oct-26-1978|
|11||76||A Xmas Story||Dec-21-1978|
|13||78||With This Ring||Jan-04-1979|
|15||80||Over the Hill||Jan-18-1979|
|16||81||Dear Aunt Martha||Jan-25-1979|
|17||82||The Best Man||Feb-01-1979|
|18||83||Hockey Night in Kensington||Feb-15-1979|
|20||85||Mr. King Goes to Ottawa||Mar-08-1979|
|21||86||White Lace Gloves||Mar-15-1979|
|22||87||The Fishing Trip||Mar-22-1979|
|23||88||Cyrano de Kensington||Mar-29-1979|
Season 5 (1979–80)
|1||89||King's Brave New World||Sep-13-1979|
|3||91||Life Begins at Forty||Sep-27-1979|
|4||92||The Hat Trick||Oct-04-1979|
|5||93||Home Is Where the Heartburn Is||Oct-11-1979|
|7||95||Born to Boogie||Nov-01-1979|
|8||96||The Double Date||Nov-08-1979|
|9||97||Masters and Johnson and King||Nov-15-1979|
|11||99||Pawn to King Four||Nov-29-1979|
|12||100||Down But Not Out||Dec-06-1979|
|14||102||The Total Woman||Jan-03-1980|
|15||103||Look Ma, No Cavities||Jan-10-1980|
|16||104||Sign of the Bull||Jan-17-1980|
|17||105||The Spirit of Joy||Jan-24-1980|
|18||106||Good News, Bad News||Jan-31-1980|
|19||107||War and Peace||Feb-07-1980|
|21||109||Green Eyed Monster||Feb-28-1980|
In the SCTV episode "CCCP1-Russian television", one of the fake TV programs infiltrating the network is Hey Giorgiy, about "everyone's favorite Cossack", intended as a Russian knockoff of King of Kensington.
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.
In the late 1990s, This Hour Has 22 Minutes featured a sketch detailing the making of a film version of King of Kensington. In the sketch, director Atom Egoyan (played by Greg Thomey), re-imagines the series as a surreal crime thriller, with Larry King as a serial killer instead of a convenience store owner.
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 CBC headquarters.
- Mary Jane Miller, Turn Up the Contrast: CBC Television Drama since 1952. UBC Press, 2011. ISBN 9780774843218. pp. 134-144.
- "King to be bachelor". Ottawa Citizen. 1978-01-25. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- Geoff Pevere and Greig Dymond, Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey. Pearson Canada, 1996. ISBN 9780132630887. p. 209.
- "Twitch City a weird look at television addiction; Former King of Kensington gets whacked tonight". Edmonton Journal, January 19, 1988.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2011-05-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)