It's the Paul Taylor Program! is a Canadian children's television series that first aired locally in Ontario from 1981-1983. The series was first produced by CHEX-TV in Peterborough, Ontario, then by CBLT-TV in Toronto, Ontario; before being picked for its United States debut by the RKO Network in 1985. It was largely a youth-oriented program with musical performances as an integral part of every episode. The cast was made up of teenage and preteen actors, with some adult performers.
During the RKO Network run the series appealed to both Canadian and American audiences with it's popular culture references and humor.
Local television in Canada
It's the Paul Taylor Program! premiered on August 15, 1981 on CBC affiliate CHEX-TV in Peterborough, Ontario. Concert promoter Sjoerd Broekhuizen had created the series to showcase young talent, with a particular focus on local Greater Toronto Area child actors Barney Hartikainen Park and Jacek Fiedorowicz. The series gained high ratings, and in early 1982 a national network version, Does it Interest You?, was produced for the CBC. Both shows were cancelled in March 1983 due to "creative differences."
Two months later, Sjoerd then restarted production of It's the Paul Taylor Program! at CBC flagship CBLT-TV. Ratings were good for this run, but the series was cancelled again due to Jacek suffering a knee injury during the filming of a segment at Canada's Wonderland.
In September 1984, the RKO Network's childrens' programming head Lance Granholm met with producer Saul Vanetti, who had been sent to pitch some Canadian television shows from various production companies, none of which had impressed Granholm and a panel of television critics. One of the critics eventually asked Saul if he had "any interesting shows for kids that could be enjoyable for all ages". Saul left and "a few minutes later" came back with a S-VHS production viewing copy of the CHEX Paul Taylor episode "Who Else Knew I Could Jump?", asking Lance and the critics to "hold back any laughter." Lance enjoyed the episode, and most of the critics had positive remarks about it, so Lance greenlit It's the Paul Taylor Program! for production.
In February 1985, production of It's the Paul Taylor Program! resumed under S.B. Studios, Sjoerd Broekhuizen Presents Inc. and Les Entreprises Assayas Ltd. in the Toronto area, with RKO Television Studios and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation acting as production partners. The RKO/CBC series was originally taped at VTR Productions/Robert Lawrence Studios in Yorkville, Toronto, however the series later moved to the Durham Studios in Pickering, Ontario. In the United States, the RKO Network broadcast the series over its' stations and affiliates, while CBC Television once again aired the series in Canada. Trevor Ockerbloom Jr. and his company TOJ Media Music Ltd. composed the majority of the initial two seasons' songs, which were used in the show as either musical numbers or music videos. The show's music videos usually took about three to four days to make, and were choreographed along with the musical numbers by veteran choreographer Jessica H. B. Pollock. The songs were recorded in Montreal with the music videos taped in the Greater Toronto Area.
In mid-1986, auditions were held in Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago for new cast members. Robert Fauser, Christopher Michaels, Kyoko Nakaima, Eric Salmons, and George Palmerston joined the main cast. By then, Anita Kerr was added as the show's secondary composer, and the cast was flown to London to record several new songs for the series under Kerr's direction.
In 1987, Le Programme de Paul Taylor, the Québécois co-production of the series, began airing.
In 1988, a spin-off, It's the Mindy Taylor Program!, commenced production.
In the Summer of 1989, the cast toured with It's the Paul Taylor Concert!.
Original RKO/CBC Series
- Barney Hartikainen Park as Paul Taylor (1985-1995) (Signature Song: "Living with Energy")
- Jacek Fiedorowicz as Ray Taylor (1985-1995) (Signature Song: "Do It Your Way")
- Cynthia Jo Budinger as Mindy Taylor (1985-1987)
- Mindy Dawber as Mindy Taylor (1987-1992)
- Tessie Voss as Mindy Taylor (1992-1995)
- Tamitha Cunningham as Jolene Roth (1985-1995) (Signature Song: "Gonna Believe")
- Ken Hyde as Kevin Leyton (1985-1995) (Signature Song: "Flowing Through Me")
- Noël Qumaq as Noel Big Bull (1985-1995) (Signature Song: "Falcon Cry")
- Dennis Parrott as Dan Scully (1985-1995)
- Amanda Nathan as Amanda Scully (1985-1995)
- Kyoko Nakaima as Kyoko Fujimori (1987-1995)
- Eric Salmons as Axel Tuna (1987-1995)
- Robert Fauser as Robert Stockholm (1987-1995) (Signature Songs: "I Am Robert Stockholm" and "I Can't Escape Her")
- Chris Michaels as Christopher Johnston (1987-1995)
- George Palmerston as George La Haye (1987-1995)
- Pierre Balland as Hugo Ferdon (1988-1995)