Robert Just, an avid listener, recalls the maritime farm family that was part of the farm broadcast for so many years.

“”After they gave the farm weather and market prices and so forth, the person hosting the farm broadcast would then say: ‘Let’s drop in on our friends at Sunnybrae, the Gillans.’ As the organ was playing the usual theme music, the announcer in the studio would narrate a bit of the script.

“Now, in the early years, for the first six years or so, Norman Creighton and Kay Hill wrote the scripts. Norman Creighton was a very prominent Nova Scotian folklorist, and he was able to get a lot of stories about historical events, a lot of them having to do with the ocean. And then, in 1950, Jean Pell wrote the scripts for the remaining run of the series until the early ‘70’s. All of those 7,000 scripts that she wrote are preserved at the McRae Library at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro.

”James L. Robertson, who was a newspaper columnist with a soft Scottish accent, played Angus Gillan, the father. Baz Russell, who was a prominent disc jockey and orchestra musician in the area for a number of years, played Rob Gillan, the son. I don’t recall who played Rob Gillan when he was a young child.


Abby Lane was a very prominent Halifax broadcaster in those days, and she later became an alderman. She played Mrs. Gillan, whose first name I can’t remember.

“In the early days, when Norman Creighton and Kay Hill wrote the script, … this would have been back in about 1944 when radio station CBH opened in the United Service building on Sackville Street), Don Tremain played Eddy, who was the office boy at the local mill. He was written out of the script after a while, so that he could join the RCMP, and he was on a patrol boat shortly after he graduated from high school, before he joined the CBC announcer staff.

“Then you had Bill Fulton, who was an expert at playing the older, grandfather-type guys. He played the Gillans’ neighbour, Mr. Weatherby. He used to say to Angus Gillan: ‘If you wanta make any money at farmin’ you’ve gotta be willin’ to try somethin’, even if the neighbours say you’re nuts.’

“Another character in the story was old Mrs. Preedy. There was an episode one day where Rob Gillan was on his way home after buying a bunch of books by Ernest Hemingway for his mother. Old Mrs. Preedy hitched a ride with him on his tractor, and she asked: ‘Now, how did your mother ever get involved with this Ernest Hemingway character?’ Rob had to remind her that Hemingway was a famous author who was now dead.

The Gillans also had a hired hand named Peter, but I don’t recall who played him.”