A Bite of 'Sliced Bread' - by Rosemary Phillips
"Outside/Inside" was the kind of TV show (1973) that never lacked ideas for segments, but what we needed between those segments were shorts to act as segues. One suggested short was to feature doors and door knobs in an attempt to illustrate that we go in and out of doors every day without seeing them. Like many other things in life we just take them for granted.
I went with our still-photographer to shoot the necessary pictures of doors and doorknobs, commercial and residential, in an elite area around Bloor Street and the Yorkville area of Toronto. The pictures seemed a bit dull so we decided to throw in a little gag, drove down to co-host Alex Trebek's home, and after checking that he wasn't in, took a close-up picture of his front door.
When the slides were processed I put them in order on the light table in the office then went over to the CBC library on Jarvis Street to find a sound track suitable for the feeling of walking around a neighbourhood. The record library was an amazing place to visit, a treasure-trove of spotless recordings of everything from sounds of the wind and trains, to the strains of ancient music and the latest rock and roll.
As was usual, I asked for help from the librarian who came up with the perfect solution, a lively piece of music with a lifting and quick tempo. I then sent the slides and record, along with instructions, over to telecine in the main transmission building on Jarvis Street in preparation for insertion during Sunday's show.
Alex had previously expressed an interest in trying items that would be a little outrageous so we didn't think we'd be out of line with our little joke. Co-host Ray Staples was queued with an appropriate comment which was not typed into the script. We had no idea how Alex might react, so we waited in suspense and watched the TV monitor as the images of doors and door knobs flashed by then stopped at a lonely looking unkempt white door covered with city grime.
"Alex, I wonder who's door that is?" asked Ray on air.
"I don't know," replied Alex. "It looks like the door to an outhouse."
There was a slight pause followed by chuckles from around the studio.
"Alex, that's YOUR door," said Ray.
If Alex was shocked or surprised he certainly didn't show it as he smiled, laughed and continued to introduce the next show segment.