In 1925, an Australian born to Irish parents stopped in Vancouver on his journey eastward. Michael Aloysius (Earle) Kelly got a job at the Daily Province where he later became a night editor.
Kelly had been with the Intelligence Corps of the Australian Army and had worked as a journalist in several Commonwealth countries.
The Province had its own radio station, CKDC, and in 1929 a 17-year tradition began when Kelly's distinctive, booming voice sounded over the airwaves and wished everyone a 'good evening'. This newscaster would later work with CNRV and CKWX and he became a news legend east to Alberta and Saskatchewan with the help of the CRBC network. Kelly also became well known to the south in places like Washington, Oregon and California.
However, Kelly wanted to be anonymous and therefore was known as Mr. Good Evening. The intro for his fifteen-minute broadcast was simply, 'the nightly news service of the Vancouver Province'. He would stand for his entire broadcast and even though he may have had numerous news items to report and Kelly's delivery was slow and articulate, yet he always managed to time it just right and wrap it up in time.
Earle Kelly was a tall, good-looking man. He was a bachelor who was over six feet tall and lived at an exclusive businessman's club on the waterfront. On Saturday nights, Kelly would deliver the broadcast dressed impeccably in evening dress. His white mustache would be bristling and his hair would be slicked back. He must made quite the figure whether he was broadcasting, playing a strenuous game of tennis or dancing in white tie tails at the Commodore Ballroom downtown.
When Kelly broadcast he would use the editorial 'we' or 'us' and naturally that ended up seeping into his everyday speech as well. Every night he would wish the elderly a good night but only if they were over ninety years old or had been married fifty years or more. He would end his broadcast with the message: “Wish all our listeners, on land, on the water, in the air, in the woods, in the mines, in lighthouses, and especially (a salute to different groups each evening), a restful evening. Good night.”
One night he decided to wish the 'Ladies of the Evening' a special good night. As you can well imagine this brought a bit of controversy from some listeners.
'Canada's first personality broadcaster' passed away on April 14, 1946 at the Tranquille Sanatorium in Kamloops. He was sixty six.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Earle Kelly, Gordon Lansdell, Mr. Good Evening, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, British Columbia