MAC BEATTIE (1981 Inductee)

John McNab (Mac) Beattie was born in his beloved Ottawa Valley, and grew up with two loves in his life - music and hockey. As a hockey player, he proved his talents in the Ottawa area and traveled to British Columbia to star, in goal, for the Nanaimo Clippers. Only the Second World War and Mac’s overseas service kept him from a career in the National Hockey League.

In the early thirties, Mac and three friends - Gaetan Fairfield, Mervyn Leitch and Harold Mosley, formed the first Melodiers, with Mac on the soon to be familiar washboard. Returning to the Arnprior area after the war and a short stint in the Yukon, the Melodiers were revived. The emergence of radio coincided with Mac’s ever-increasing popularity. Their Saturday radio show on CHOV Pembroke was closely followed by a quick trip to Lake Dore for sellout performances at Sunny Dale Acres. Friday evenings included a weekly jamboree at the Pembroke Memorial Center. The Melodiers moved from CHOV to CFRA and then CKOY in Ottawa and, at one time, their performances included a weekly schedule of Tuesday and Thursday noon hour shows on CKOY, and Tuesday suppertime at CJET in Smiths Falls.

The forty-station CBC Dominion Network hosted a live Melodiers show for five years. This was followed by more than a dozen appearances on Don Messer’s Jubilee TV show. Television then became their platform. A 13-week "Haylofter" series on CJOH-TV in Ottawa was followed by 26 weeks on Cross Canada Barn dance broadcast on the full CTV network and five years of success on CHOV-TV Pembroke.

The Melodiers provided opportunities for many of the Valley’s most talented musicians. These included Garnie Scheel, Reg Hill, Al Utronki, Bob Whitney, Jim Mayhew and many, many more.

Mac Beattie was the first member to be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame.


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