National Treasure #76: Not-Quite-Instant Replay

“Where’s our reprise?” we shouted, and my father’s American guest looked both confused and alarmed.

It was sometime in the 196os and we were watching some sporting event – likely baseball, in our house, but I don’t remember.  As a call was disputed on the field, we hollered for the replay – “reprise” in French, just because. 

In 1955, George Retzlaff, then producer of Hockey Night in Canada, experimented with a near-instant-replay technique using the technology he had available.  I figure that this pioneering effort is worthy of notice:  having the idea and proving its use in sports broadcasting was the big step, the rest was fine-tuning.

I note this innovation today, as the 2017 World Junior Championship begins.  After all, what would TV hockey be without the reprise, instant or not-quite-instant?


You know how on long flights they remind you of where the emergency exits are, partway through the flight?  Given that we’re halfway through this series, I thought I’d do something similar.

This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.

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2 Comments

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2 Responses to National Treasure #76: Not-Quite-Instant Replay

  1. JimTaylor

    As I noted in my Christmas day column — promotion plug there — surely that’s the difference between reality and virtual reality — reality (i.e., life) has no rewind button, no instant replays. What’s done is done. The closest we come to a replay is talking about it afterwards…. and for some people, talking about it endlessly. Hmm, perhaps trapped in a feedback loop, like “Groundhog Day”?
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson

      Jim T – I think this column is a closer fit, but in any event, I take your point. As an Australian tour guide told us, although she certainly hoped we’d see Uluru lit up by the sunset, there were no guarantees. “This isn’t television,” she concluded.