Canadian Pantomimes

One of my favourite memories from childhood is watching theatrical pantomimes on television. In the 80’s, store there were two Canadian pantomimes (fractured fairy-tales) that were filmed for tv: The Cinderella Gang, and and The Magic of Aladdin. Both were headlined by Karen Kain and Ross Petty and starred some amazing Canadian talent (including, Jeff Hyslop from Today’s Special; Denis Simpson from Polka Dot Door; Bruno Gerussi from the Beachcombers).

In the 90’s, Ross Petty resurrected the pantomimes and mounts one every year at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. I was privileged to attend Robin Hood, which was later filmed for tv.

I love The Cinderella Gang because it is the only panto where Ross Petty plays the “good” guy. In all subsequent theatrical pantos, Ross Petty plays the villain. He does a fabulous job as a villain, and relishes the “boos” from the audience, but I really like him as the good guy.

The Magic of Aladdin has an amazing energy, due in large part to the talents of Jeff Hyslop.

And Robin Hood is fantastic because it pairs Karen Kain and Frank Augustyn (both ballet dancers), and it has some of the best music of all the pantos.

I had all three of these taped off tv onto VHS, and for the past several years, my husband and I have scoured all avenues, trying to get DVD copies of these performances. We emailed Bravo and CTV. No luck. We even emailed Ross Petty Productions and there is no DVD release expected of these fabulous Canadian gems.

So our family Christmas present this year was to have all three videos converted to DVD. And I have to say, the quality is much higher than I expected. I thought that there would be a loss in the conversion, but there isn’t.

If there are any die-hard fans out there who are desperately searching for these gems, email me (cdntheologianscholar {{at}} mac {{dot}} com) and we can talk about “sharing” these DVDs.

  • Louise S.

    Both my kids [now adults] grew up on the Magic of Aladdin and the VHS tape is scratchy and skips and I went through pretty much what you did including the Jeff Hyslop & Gerussi fan clubs all to no avail. Can I please get a DVD copy of this pantomime? Please get back to me at above email address. thank you, Louise S.

  • Caroline

    I’d LOVE copies!
    Did you say you were sharing the address of where to get them or…?

  • Sheryl

    I emailed your address directly but just to be on the safe side…I would love to have copies too.

  • Shar0823

    My brother and I are DYING for Cinderella Gang, and Magic of Aladdin. I would love to talk to you about sharing.

  • Kimberly Radomsky

    I would love to get a copy of these if you can get back to me. I have looked everywhere!

  • patwagar

    Did you folks ever find a copy? I have been looking for years.