Cast and Crew
Played characters: Count Frightenstein, Bwana Clyde, Gorilla, Grizelda, Librarian, Maharishi, Oracle, Pet Vet, Singing Soldier, Wolfman
Bio from liner notes of “Canada Observed”, 1967
One of Canada's top all-round performers, and the son of a vaudeville family, Billy started regular television appearances on the CBC network… MORE »
One of Canada's top all-round performers, and the son of a vaudeville family, Billy started regular television appearances on the CBC network, on such shows as "The Barris Beat" and "Hit Parade", and then went on to form his own group, the highly successful Billy Van Four. They performed on several TV shows including "Hit Parade", "Parade", etc. He and the group appeared in Canada, the United States, and Europe. He is also known as a talented comedian through his exposure on "Nightcap" and through his appearances on the show he was asked to do the Colt 45 commercials, which are seen both in Canada and the United States. He also MC'd the C.N.E. Grandstand show in 1966. Billy has been the mainstay comic on "Nightcap" since its inception four years ago, and he has played such roles as "The Flying Evangelist", "The Patient", "Doctor Carson" of Flemington Park, "Batman's Robin" and nearly every politician in Parliament! He has had many offers from South of the Border, but prefers to remain in Canada. This is his first comedy recording. LESS «
Bio from “CBC Alternative Canadian Walk of Fame Inductee: Billy Van” by Andrew Clark, March 23, 2005
Born Billy Van Evera in Toronto in 1934, by age 12, "Billy Van" and his four brothers were touring North America as a singing act… MORE »
Born Billy Van Evera in Toronto in 1934, by age 12, "Billy Van" and his four brothers were touring North America as a singing act, and by the 1960s he was on his way to becoming one of Canadaís best-loved comedians. Van first gained national attention as a fixture on the 1960s CBC TV series Nightcap
, a late-night show known for its irreverent satire, low budget and puerile humour. A chameleon who flipped effortlessly from character to character, he was the showís comedic fulcrum. While Wayne and Shusterís "literate slapstick" was restrained, Vanís parodies were wild and brash. He set the prototype for Canadian sketch comedy in the 1970s — broad, over-the-top and painfully accurate.
While Van beefed up such Yankee Doodle series as The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, and starred with Jack Duffy and Dinah Christie on the CHCH series Party Game, he never found the big fame that subsequent Canadian comedians such as John Candy and Dan Aykroyd won. In part, this was a result of timing. Billy Vanís comedy was ahead of the curve. Nightcapís satire and spontaneity were precursors to Saturday Night Live. His work on Frightenstein lampooning pop culture (hippies, horror movies and music) foreshadowed the parody that made SCTV a hit. When Mike Myers was inducted into that other Canadian Walk of Fame, he credited Van, among others, for helping shape his comedy.
Billy Van died in 2003, in Toronto, after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 68. Vanís last screen performance was as "Les" the trainer in the 1995 hockey movie Net Worth. A fitting final role for an actor who performed comedy the way the great ones play hockey — with heart, passion and a hell of a lot of talent. LESS «
Played character: Igor
- “He drove a Volkswagon Beetle! The clutch was so destroyed, he had a rope attached to it in order to pull the pedal back up.” — John Bradford, 1998
- “My boss at my first summer job was picked up by Igor while hitchhiking to Toronto. In a Volkswagen Beetle, no less.” — David A. Smith, 1999
- Deceased, 1974, shortly after an unsuccessful surgical operation to help his obesity problem.
Played character: Himself
- Numerous credits, check listing at the IMDB.
- Deceased, 1993
PROFESSOR JULIUS SUMNER MILLER
Played character: Himself
Played characters: Gronk, Harvey Wallbanger, Grammer Slammer Bammer
- Puppeteer and broadcaster.
- Retired, living in Cambridge, Ontario.
Played character: Midget Count
- Played Tiny Russell on the sitcom The King of Kensington, CBC, 1977.
- Briefly seen in the early John Candy movie “Find the Lady (1976)” — he appears near the end of the film, walks out of a door in a funhouse, kicks a man in the shin, and goes back into the funhouse.
- Numerous credits, in radio, television, and theatre
- Presently producing and starring in the nostalgic musical and dance theatre revue The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.
Played character: Superhippy
- Is now a successful real estate marketing executive in Toronto.