culture.

canadian icon red green: End of the Duck Tape Roll

You know him as the duck-tape wielding handyman. But his clever handyman ways maybe coming to an end.

Kristy O'Regan / 01 March 2019

If you have heard of Red Green, you will know that he is a handyman wielding duct tape as his secret weapon. He is simple, yet very wise underneath the comedic allure. Not everything he says/does is practical, but there are always lessons in common sense to be had. We need him more than ever now, with what is going on in the world. He is about to start touring North America with his This Could Be It tour and like his tagline says, “It might not be his last tour, BUT why take the chance?”

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Red Green is the leader of Possum Lodge, located at Possum Lake in Ontario, Canada. During his potential last stage tour that he is about to embark on, he will be holding “lodge meetings” all over Canada and the United States. Red will be featuring some new handyman projects (no doubt with the secret weapon of duct tape), advice to married gents and the younger generation and more with special guests of his nephew Harold and some of the other cast members. 

In Case You Were Unaware

Red Green is a fictional character!

The man behind the persona is none other than a man by the name of Steve Smith, who started the character 41 years ago.

“A guy named Red Fisher had a fishing show in Canada. He was super low key and boring. I created the character in 1978 as a parody of him. I did it as a two-minute bit on a tv show. I kept the same first name as him but changed the last name to Green. Now every stoplight is a promo.”

Despite the character being a work of genius fiction, Red Green is an iconic character in all North America because, “[i]t seems that my fans have a Red Green in their family and it’s a person they like to be around, so I benefit from the association. I don’t find any difference between Canadian and American audiences.  Red Green doesn’t talk politics. He’s as comfortable in Winnipeg as he is in Milwaukee,” says Smith.

The Red Green Show

Quando omni flunkus mortati” -Possum Lodge Motto

Translation: “When all else fails, play dead.”

I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.” -Man’s Prayer

The show featured Red, as lodge leader, giving advice, playing a word game with the other lodge members, handyman corner (featuring duct tape,) a black and white sketch of silly adventures with other characters narrated by Red, and other such antics, ending with the sound of the Possum calling the men to the lodge meeting where we hear the motto and man’s prayer.

The Red Green Show started in 1991 and went a full 15 seasons, ending in 2006. But why? “I ended it. There were a lot of factors but mainly I wanted to end on a high note,” says Smith. “It was unique and honest, and I think people could see we were having fun. “

No truer words can be said. It is a unique show, with many people who can relate to it because of how honest it is. For myself, my father introduced me to the show as a kid and I have always loved it. As I watch reruns of it on YouTube (where you can see all 300 episodes) I keep thinking to myself, “hi Dad.” The character reminds me of my own father, in the ways of loving Dodge cars, always tinkering away at some project or another, giving advice, his choice in attire, and the way he interacts with people.  I am sure I am not alone in this thought as well. Perhaps you have a family member or friend or co worker that reminds you of Red, or maybe one of the other kooky characters.

Did you know?

Did you know that Red Green is also a published writer? Yes, our beloved Red Green has taken pencil to paper and put his advice, and household projects (with hand drawn pictures) in the form of a few books.

He has 7 published books to date. Red Green Talks Cars: A Love Story 1997; The Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum Lodge 1997; How to Do Everything: (From the Man Who Should Know) 2010; The Green Red Green: Made Almost Entirely from Recycled Material 2012; Red Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Women 2013; The Woulda Shoulda Coulda Guide to Canadian Inventions 2017

In 2008, Steve Smith co-wrote “We’re All in This Together: Red Green, the Man Behind the Character and Visa Versa” with Mag Ruffman, as a Red Green autobiography of sorts.

When asked if he plans on writing more books in the future, as Red Green or himself, “No plans at this point. I started a blog as Steve Smith. I may do more of that,” says Smith.

The books are the icing on top of the Red Green cake, keeping with traditional Red Green fashion. What inspired the books? Smith answers, “writing has always been the core of my career. I was the Head Writer for all 300 episodes. I write the tour shows. If I didn’t write, I would never perform. Books were a natural.”

Achievements:

Steve Smith has been awarded and rewarded for his incredible skills of playing the great Red Green. He has won a Gemini award in 1998 for Best Performance in a Comedy Program or Series.

2005 proved to be a good year for Smith as The Red Green Show won an Earle Grey Award (the lifetime achievement award for television acting of the Canadian Screen Awards), and he himself was awarded the C.M. (Member of the Order of Canada), for his talents in Canadian Literature and Entertainment. Before you ask, no he did not dress as Red Green while receiving the ‘Order of Canada’, “but he sure helped.”

In the last ten or so years we have seen duct tape go from traditional shiny silver to whatever you can think of, from ‘bacon,’ to ‘Justin Beiber,’ to every color of the rainbow. Used in crafting projects such as duct tape wallets, roses, belts and the list could go on.

However, Smith and his alter ego Red Green have this to say, “I don’t see duct tape as a craft medium. It’s the Handyman’s Secret Weapon. Period.” Meaning you won’t see a YouTube Channel with Red Green showing you how to build things using duct tape, only as an adhesive, like it was created to be, on old episodes of The Red Green Show.

Fun Fact: Red Green was the official spokesperson for Scotch’s 3M Duct Tape who supplied the duct tape for the show from 2000-2006.

“If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

When asked which he prefers, Smith says, “No question. The stage show. The tv stuff was great and I worked with guys I really liked but there’s a pressure to survive and the ratings book is pretty impersonal.”

“I’ve always been able to make people laugh. I thought I wanted a career in music, but I learned that in life you have to play your aces and my ace was comedy.” We are very glad that Smith’s ace is comedy, as it has been a part of his winning deck his entire career.

Advice:

Red Green’s take on this generation, do they have any hope to survive? “Of course they do. The tough years are behind us. Imagine arriving in Canada in 1870. Those were tough times. It’s so much easier now. We know more and we have more resources,” says Red.

How about today’s technology, hindering or helpful? “No technology will ever override the fact that humans are social animals. Video games used to be solitary but now people play each other online. Technology is only harmful when it tries to defy human nature.”

Best piece of advice to give to teenagers, “treat everyone fairly and make sure they do the same to you.”

As Red always says after each advice segment, “Remember, I’m pulling for ya. We’re all in this together!”

Be sure to catch Red Green on tour in a city near you.

“On behalf of myself and Harold and the whole gang up here at Possum Lodge…keep your stick on the ice.”

BC tour dates:

Prince George, Sept. 26th

Chilliwack, Sept. 27th

Nanaimo, Sept. 28th

Victoria, Sept. 30th

Kelowna, Oct. 2nd

Tickets still available!

Visit: http://www.redgreen.com/ for a list of all his tour dates, antidotes, shop and more

Facebook: Red Green

Twitter: Red Green

Watch Full Episodes of The Red Green Show on the Official Red Green Channel on YouTube!

Kristy O'Regan / smltwnwriter@hotmail.com

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