Dave Thomas, the man who made “take off, eh!” part of our national lexicon, will be honoured for his contribution to film and television in Alberta.
Thomas was a writer and actor with the seminal sketch-comedy show SCTV, when it was based in Edmonton throughout the early ‘80s. On Wednesday, the Alberta Media Production Industries Association announced that the highlight of its 40th-anniversary celebration will be a Special Achievement Award for Thomas.
The Ontario-born SCTV alumnus will be honoured as part of the “Rosies,” AMPIA’s annual awards ceremony, May 25 at the Winspear Centre.
"He is one of my personal heroes. I'm very excited," said AMPIA executive director Bill Evans on Wednesday, as the list of nominees was released.
AMPIA received 683 entries for this year's awards, up 10 per cent over last year's awards cycle, said Evans. "That's a positive sign of growth for our industry."
Evans said that many Albertans in the film industry who moved to British Columbia for work are now returning to this province, which is spurring on an increase in the number of Alberta productions. The revitalized Film Alberta Studios, located on Allard Way, has been another driver in growth.
The news that Thomas is being feted by AMPIA is special to the people here at Avenue. In 2012, Avenue began a push to build an SCTV monument in Edmonton, to honour a wonderful period of creativity in the city. While the cast members weren’t from Edmonton, they did some of their best work here — from the beer-guzzling hosers, the McKenzie Brothers, played by Thomas and Rick Moranis, to the suave Johnny LaRue, the creation of the late John Candy. SCTV was broadcast on NBC, bringing Edmonton to a massive North American audience.
Avenue is working with a group of dedicated Edmontonians with the goal of bringing the monument project from dream to reality. We meet regularly. While the push for the monument hasn’t been in the news over the last few months, we have been diligently working behind the scenes.