ORAL SCHEER (1985 Inductee)

Oral Scheer was born in Madawaska, Ontario in 1917. His remote Ottawa valley home was in an area dominated by lumbering and the railroad that was the lifeline of the community. These influences had him singing Jimmie Rodgers train songs before completing public school. At the age of 15, he started a daily radio show at CKCO and, seven years later, moved the show to CBC.

"Oral Scheer, The Singing Balladeer" was broadcast from a studio in the Chateau Laurier Hotel with Lorne Greene as announcer. Byng Whittaker, another young announcer, convinced young Oral to use a band of classical entertainers, to be known as "The Western Five", and introduced them to the CBC Trans-Canada Network. Oral, with Cammie Howard and the Western Five, performed live from 1939 to 1956. The show was also carried in England by the BBC and throughout the United States by Columbia Broadcasting.

The Oral Scheer show began during the Depression, carried on through the Second World War, and was still popular through the years of the Korean conflict. At the suggestion of Cammie Howard, a tour of Korea was co-coordinated with the co-operation of the Canadian Army and Bradings Breweries. Following that highly successful excursion, a CBOT series was inaugurated which, once again, caused Oral’s popularity to rise to new heights.

During his career, Oral released a number of single records on the London label, including his signature song, "Three-fingered Bland", and appeared for two years as a featured act at the Canadian National Exhibition. When Oral was 40 years of age, The Western Five disbanded, and he took a regular day job and cut back on entertaining.

Oral Scheer, "The Singing Balladeer", passed away on October 29, 2004 at the age of 87.


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