Eclipse 1979 remembered

In 1979 I was the director of the Manitoba Planetarium. Some friends believed that one of the reasons that I took that job was because I knew that on February 26 the Path of Totality of a solar eclipse included the City of Winnipeg. Previously, I’d traveled to see four eclipses. That very chilly morning, with Bill Guest, I was the co-host of CBC’s live coverage of the event. It has been decades since I’ve seen that program. I was pleased to find that it has been uploaded to YouTube. (The features that cut away from the program have been edited out.)

Edited on 2015 Oct 13 to add: Only this year, CBC posted this interview with Solar Magic producer, Earl Barnholden, and the broadcast co-host, Robert Ballantyne: VIDEO From the CBC archives: ‘The great eclipse’ of the sun, 1979


5 Responses to “Eclipse 1979 remembered”

  1. 1 Randy Attwood January 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm


    Great to see this online. I think you did a great job. I love the split screen at totality in Winnipeg – with the drivers turning on their headlights and nonchalantly continuing to drive!
    I tried to get a copy of this from CBC to include in a ’80s cable tv program on eclipses – they wanted $1100 for a one-time showing. When I was interviewed on CBC Newsworld for the 1990 eclipse I told them to pull it out and we used it!
    I obtained a copy in ’94 from a fellow RASC member. I had not seen the show – we had been in Gimli for the eclipse.
    I must admit I as surprised by the editorial decision to cut to the high school band playing the theme to 2001 JUST BEFORE totality! Yikes!
    I hosted a live program for the ’94 annular – we were right in front of the McLaughlin Planetarium. These programs were recently posted to the RASC You Tube Channel
    Hope all is well

    • 2 Robert January 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Randy, thanks for commenting. I appreciate ‘Rick OnTheDrums’ for posting that video on Youtube. At one time I had a good quality Beta tape of the event, but it has vanished in my many moves since 1979. The actual program was longer, but the video inserts are missing. I was delighted to see the interview with Earl Barnholden, the producer of that show (link at the bottom of the article). When you compare the quality of the CBC production with the coverage in the USA, I think Earl and the crew of Canadians did a fantastic job. I wish you could see the original video recordings of totality — I recall that the images were excellent. The next Great Total Eclipse in North America is August 21, 2017. Have you staked out an observing station for that event? I plan to reconnoiter locations in Oregon and maybe Idaho this summer.

  2. 3 Rob April 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I “took the day off school” to see it live outside and on CBWT with one of my 2 sisters. I know this isn’t the place to say this, but we could tell Bill was out of time while his guest (or co-host) over-answered a question. Bill was looking nervous and when the answer was over, Bill sighed a big relieved “thank you very much!!” My sister and I looked at each, both jaws dropping. 🙂 When CBWT re-ran this later that afternoon, we noticed the “thank you very much!!” was edited out! It wouldn’t be until years later when I saw this on Youtube and was happy to see it again, but knew that it was the edited version.

  3. 4 Rick May 3, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Robert I have the entire program unedited on DVD if you want a copy. Let me know.

  1. 1 Winnipeg Total Solar Eclipse February 26, 1979 | Salish Sea Trackback on June 13, 2014 at 6:19 am

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