BY RICK PUSIAK
Sudbury has lost a broadcasting pioneer.
Basil Scully died on Monday. He was 85.
The native of Little Current was first heard on the radio in Sudbury. He made the jump to CKSO-TV when the first private television station in Canada signed on Oct. 25, 1953.
?Bas? was Sudbury?s first TV weatherman, a natural comedian with quick comebacks, an interesting sense of humour to say the least and a natural on-air presence.
Sadly Scully?s wife Dot (Dorothea) died in September. They had resided in the Lo-Ellen Park area for decades. Their home on Windle Drive was a favourite spot at Christmastime because the Scullys put up an elaborate outdoor display.
Scully?s long-time colleague Bill Kehoe, the first television news anchor in this city, was saddened to hear about Scully?s passing.
Scully was Kehoe?s best man at his wedding.
?Basil was a great practical joker,? recalled Kehoe, in a telephone interview from the Ottawa area.
?One of my favourite stories?we were conducting some kind of contest and people had to buy something from various stores and send a coupon in to the station.?
Entries poured in. Before the live on-air draw Scully asked Kehoe to get his fedora from a nearby office.
Ten tickets from the barrel were put into the hat and Scully drew one out, announcing with his own particular sense of humour that the winner was 6 7/8. A hat size. Corny, but it worked.
Scully had a short run at politics and ran as a PC candidate both federally and provincially. His political career was notable because ran against Lester B. Pearson in Algoma Riding in the 1958 federal election. The Liberal prime minister had been parachuted into the ?safe? Grit riding.
Scully ?was a sacrificial lamb,? recalled Kehoe.
?I said to him ?Basil, you haven?t got a hope in hell of beating Lester Pearson?. He said ?ah, you never know, I might get something out of it??I don?t know if he ever did ever get anything out of it, but he did pretty well against Pearson, who was a pretty popular prime minister.?
Kehoe said there are no characters on local television now like in the ?golden days? of the 1950s.
Scully ?represented another age,? said the former broadcaster. ?There were very few people as happy go lucky as he was. People have too many worries nowadays. Basil never seemed to have too many worries.?
Kehoe recalled that Scully wasn?t even afraid of TV news manager Wilf Woodill.
?We never knew if we had a job the next day, but Basil couldn?t care less,? said Kehoe.
Judy Erola also knows first hand what a character Scully was. In those early days of television in Sudbury she was weathergirl Judy Jacobson.
She had to be on her toes when Scully and her were on camera.
?His comeback was never more than two seconds after,? said the former federal cabinet minister and Nickel Belt MP. ?He didn?t have to think about it, it was right on his fingertips.?
Erola said they made the television rules up as they went along. Everything was live and there were jokes galore.
Erola remembers one night appearing with Scully on the weather set dressed in Indian costumes. It was the start of Indian summer.
?We had to come up with a gag a night and it was usually Bas?s inspiration I can assure you,? said Erola.
Scully did get his comeuppance one night for all the practical jokes he played on his colleagues.
During a live commercial promoting a new refrigerator with a water tap, staff replaced the H2O in the appliance with Tabasco sauce.
Scully wasn?t fazed ? at least while the camera was on.
?He took a sip and said ?wonderful?,? said Erola.
In 1965 Scully became the first director of northern programs at the Addiction Research Foundation.
Scully wrote an autobiography in 1992 called Barefoot Boy with Chique.
His is survived by two daughers Sheila Ethier and Brenda Laframboise, a sister, Joan Asselin, and four grandchildren, James, Alyson, Jonathan and Rosalyn.
Friends may visit at the Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home today (Wednesday) from 2 to 5 pm and 7 to 9 pm. Prayers will be held at 7:30 pm.
Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick?s Church on Walford Road Thursday at 10 am.