King of Kensington

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King of Kensington
Created byPerry Rosemond
Directed byRay Arsenault
StarringAl Waxman
Fiona Reid
Helene Winston
Rosemary Radcliffe
Jayne Eastwood
Country of originCanada
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes111
Running time30 minutes
Original networkCBC Television
Original releaseSeptember 25, 1975 (1975-09-25) –
March 13, 1980 (1980-03-13)

King of Kensington is a Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.[1]


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.[1] At the same time, Larry sold the convenience store and took a new job with a youth community centre.[1]


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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[1]

The series was syndicated to some American stations during the height of its popularity.[1]

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)

Episode list[edit]

Season 1 (1975–76)[edit]

Ep Title Airdate
1 1 Variety Store Sep-25-1975
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
6 6 Where's Cathy? Nov-06-1975
7 7 Half-Way Home Nov-13-1975
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
15 15 Cathy's Hobby Jan-22-1976
16 16 Duke's Dilemma Jan-29-1976
17 17 Delma's Decision Feb-05-1976
18 18 Happy Anniversary Feb-12-1976

Season 2 (1976–77)[edit]

Ep Title Airdate
1 19 Fertility for Two Sep-21-1976
2 20 The Partners Sep-28-1976
3 21 The Checkup Oct-05-1976
4 22 The Dancer Oct-12-1976
5 23 Delma's Fur Oct-26-1976
6 24 The Reunion Nov-09-1976
7 25 Gestalt of Kensington Nov-16-1976
8 26 Welcome to Canada Nov-23-1976
9 27 The Friend Nov-30-1976
10 28 Duke's New Job Dec-07-1976
11 29 Prisoner of Kensington Dec-14-1976
12 30 The Holiday Dec-28-1976
13 31 The End of the World Jan-04-1977
14 32 The Lottery Jan-11-1977
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
18 36 Cathy's Parents Feb-08-1977
19 37 The Central Tech Tiger Feb-15-1977
20 38 The Crush Feb-22-1977
21 39 Tiny's Job Mar-01-1977
22 40 Gladys' Problem Mar-08-1977
23 41 The Quiz Show Mar-15-1977
24 42 The Big Shot Mar-22-1977

Season 3 (1977–78)[edit]

Ep Title Airdate
1 43 Cathy's New Career Sep-25-1977
2 44 The Comic Oct-09-1977
3 45 The Prom Oct-16-1977
4 46 The Hostage Oct-23-1977
5 47 The Boiler Oct-30-1977
6 48 Hotel Buffalo Nov-06-1977
7 49 The Photographer Nov-13-1977
8 50 The Teacher Nov-20-1977
9 51 The Move Nov-27-1977
10 52 Gladys' Restaurant Dec-04-1977
11 53 The Hero Dec-11-1977
12 54 The Dance Studio Dec-18-1977
13 55 The Suitor Jan-08-1978
14 56 The Hustler Jan-22-1978
15 57 The Wizard Jan-29-1978
16 58 Big Daddy Feb-05-1978
17 59 The Racehorse Feb-12-1978
18 60 The Dukedom Feb-19-1978
19 61 Las Vegas Feb-26-1978
20 62 Old Flame Mar-05-1978
21 63 King's Cousin Mar-12-1978
22 64 The Blood of Kings Mar-19-1978
23 65 Cathy's Last Stand Mar-26-1978

Season 4 (1978–79)[edit]

Ep Title Airdate
1 66 King's First Date Sep-28-1978
2 67 Summer of '56 Oct-05-1978
3 68 School Daze Oct-12-1978
4 69 The Invitation Oct-19-1978
5 70 Words and Music Oct-26-1978
6 71 Carol's Arrival Nov-02-1978
7 72 Double Standard Nov-09-1978
8 73 The Pursesnatcher Nov-16-1978
9 74 Third Party Dec-07-1978
10 75 Big Brother Dec-14-1978
11 76 A Xmas Story Dec-21-1978
12 77 The Houseguest Dec-28-1978
13 78 With This Ring Jan-04-1979
14 79 Guido's Job Jan-11-1979
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
19 84 True Confessions Feb-22-1979
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)[edit]

Ep Title Airdate
1 89 King's Brave New World Sep-13-1979
2 90 Diabolical Plots Sep-20-1979
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
6 94 The Rivals Oct-25-1979
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
10 98 The Bet Nov-22-1979
11 99 Pawn to King Four Nov-29-1979
12 100 Down But Not Out Dec-06-1979
13 101 Catch 23 Dec-20-1979
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
20 108 Counter Attack Feb-21-1980
21 109 Green Eyed Monster Feb-28-1980
22 110 Purple Passion Mar-06-1980
23 111 Movin' On Mar-13-1980


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.[4]

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.

Home release[edit]

On November 13, 2007, Morningstar Entertainment released King of Kensington – Season One on DVD in Region 1.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mary Jane Miller, Turn Up the Contrast: CBC Television Drama since 1952. UBC Press, 2011. ISBN 9780774843218. pp. 134-144.
  2. ^ "King to be bachelor". Ottawa Citizen. 1978-01-25. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  3. ^ Geoff Pevere and Greig Dymond, Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey. Pearson Canada, 1996. ISBN 9780132630887. p. 209.
  4. ^ "Twitch City a weird look at television addiction; Former King of Kensington gets whacked tonight". Edmonton Journal, January 19, 1988.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2011-05-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]