Rod Coneybeare has had a long and distinguished career in Canadian broadcasting as an actor, producer, commentator, critic and writer. For twenty-six years he created and acted the beloved characters Rusty and Jerome of The Friendly Giant on CBC-TV. Rod started out in his teens as a radio announcer and disc jockey at various Ontario radio stations – an experience that inspired The Last Happy Year.
The Last Happy Year
The year is 1949. The veterans are home from the war; Bing Crosby is king of the crooners; the swing bands of Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey play on radios in every living room; Foster Hewitt is the star of sports broadcasting; and would-be announcers try to imitate the mellifluous tones of their idol, Lorne Greene. Everyone knows that television is just a fad. Radio is where the future lies, and ambitious young kids working in tiny radio stations in small towns dream of the day they will be summoned to the dazzling studios of the CBC.
Eighteen-year-old Melanie, determined to succeed in her first job, arrives at CSOM Radio where she encounters homely, talented Ross, who yearns to sell the radio dramas he writes as much as he longs to lose his virginity; handsome Errol Flynn lookalike Stewart, irresistible to women; obnoxious Bert, the sports announcer, and a galaxy of other fascinating characters.
Hilariously funny, poignantly sad, achingly nostalgic, this wonderful novel evokes the atmosphere of a more innocent time, recreating the pleasures and pains of being young – when success, fame and riches are just around the corner, sex is an amazing discovery and life stretches ahead full of golden promise.
But an ironic twist of fate shatters the idyllic days of youth, and only the most tenacious and talented will succeed, when the last happy year comes to a sudden and unexpected end.