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"Look up, look waaaay up..."
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In case you missed the reference, "Look up, look waaaay up" comes from the popular Canadian children's television program "The Friendly Giant" staring Robert Homme.

Starting in 1958, The Friendly Giant debuted on the University of Madison, Wisconsin's WHA-TV, made available to Educational TV stations all over the United States. Five years later, the fifteen-minute show moved to the Canadian Broadcast Network but continued to be offered in the US.

Robert Homme starred as the Friendly Giant, and like Paul Tripp, Homme wrote his own shows as well. The Giant hangs out with his friends Jerome the Giraffe and Rusty the Rooster (both hand puppets) - meant to mimic the behavior of children. Jerome is the rebellious, know-it-all kid and Rusty (who lives in a bookbag) is the inquisitive, younger child.

Each episode starts with the Giant (who lives in a castle on a farm with tiny doll house antiques), saying "Once upon a time, not long ago and not far away...". There was a running plotline that gets explored through conversation or by the Giant reading books to the kids at home. There was rarely a point of view put across - "What is important is for them (the children) to see that we adults enjoy learning." Homme declared in 1969.

Homme was serious in his attempts to reach children with new concepts, his was a go-slow, gentle approach. "Witness how they repeat and repeat things and play records over and over again. They like repetition." Home said about children, "I think the whole world is preoccupied by the concept of change. But there are a lot of things that had better not change. And one of them is the concept of clarity and coherence."

Robert Homme died May 2, 2000 of cancer at his home in Grafton. He was 81. The Friendly Giant ran on CBC TV for 27 years, from September 1958 until March 1985, then continued in reruns.

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