One of trademarks of Nickelodeon, the children television network, is green slime. Does anyone remember why?
It all started with a little show called “You Can’t Do That on Television.” The program started in 1979 for a Canadian television station but was picked up by Nickelodeon in 1981. It ran on the network till 1994. Whenever anyone during the show said the words “I don’t know” a bucket of green goo would pour over their head. It soon became a popular skit and was a staple on the children’s program. So slime was born.
I enjoyed watching the show not for the slime but for the sense of humor that was in all the skits. “You Can’t Do That on Television” reminded me of a kid’s version of Monty Python at times.
It was not just the comedy writing but the actors who were in the cast of regulars on the show. One of the adult cast members was Les Lye who played everything from a tyrannical schoolteacher to a bumbling football coach. It is Les Lye who has taken his Final Taxi.
Many may remember Lye’s most popular character Ross, the studio director, who gave bad advice to the child actors. He had a trademark clipboard and studio headset and was featured on the show’s opening credits. Another character was the dirty and disgusting burger chef named Barth whose catch phrase was “I heard that!”
Lye started working in television in 1958 and moved to children’s programming in 1961. His show “Uncle Willy and Floyd” lasted for 22 years on Canadian TV. It was there that he met a young actress and singer who he would bring back later on “You Can’t Do That on Television”, Alanis Morissette.
In 2003, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema. Les Lye was 84.
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