Pierre Berton was a Canadian journalist, author and opinionated television personality. Known for his probing histories and strong nationalism, he was much loved by Canadian television audiences. He wrote dozens of books including histories, anthologies, autobiographical works, and a historical adventure series for young adults. He appeared regularly on television providing his commentary on issues in the news, particularly on The Pierre Berton Hour and as a regular panelist on The Front Page Challenge. From 1962 to 1973, he hosted The Pierre Berton Show, interviewing artists, actors and other popular public figures.
It’s not surprising that Jim would have made the trip up to Toronto to appear on Berton’s program. Starting with the taping of Hey, Cinderella! in 1968, Jim would spend much time in that city making television programs. This was especially true in the years surrounding his Berton appearance. After Cinderella, he made The Frog Prince in 1971 and The Muppet Musician of Bremen the following year, all in Robert Lawrence Productions’ Toronto studios. These shows marked a major step in Jim’s career and gave him exposure to Canadian audiences. They embraced Jim’s work and were the first to watch his 1977 special Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and Toronto was home to Fraggle Rock’s production in the 1980s.