A long-running (195885) early morning children's show on CBC television. Originally started as a radio program in Madison, Wisconsin in 1953. It ran for 15 minutes every weekday at 10:15 am for nearly 30 years. Despite its American origins, and American-born host, the series is considered a Canadian cultural icon.
The show had three main characters: the Giant (played by Bob Homme), and two puppets, Rusty the rooster who lived in a sack on the giant's wall and Jerome the giraffe who came by the castle's window (both voiced and operated by Rod Coneybeare). The Giant told stories and played music for his visitors, the children watching the show at home, "curled up in an armchair".
The show's theme song (a gentle rendition of the traditional English folk tune "Early One Morning", played on harp and recorder) is very recognizable to most Canadians who grew up before 1985.
This show provides examples of:
- Bag of Holding: Rusty's home.
- Cool Old Guy: Aside from everything else, Bob Homme was a talented jazz musician and there were some concert-based episodes where he and his off-screen jazz combo (played on screen by some puppet cats) would really swing.
- Feet-First Introduction: Each episode opened with the Giant talking as the camera panned across a model village before stopping at one of his boots, prompting him to tell his young viewers, "Now, look up... waaaaay up!" followed by a pan up to his face.
- Gentle Giant: The eponymous Friendly Giant is a paradigm of the type.
- Halloween Episode: One of a handful of complete episodes available online is one of these from 1979.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Forget the fact that "Early One Morning" is considered one of the most famous compositions in Western culture, dating back to the 18th century. For Canadians who grew up between the 1950s and the 1980s, it's the theme song from The Friendly Giant, full stop.
- No Name Given: The Giant, although he was addressed as "Friendly" by the other characters.
- Sound-to-Screen Adaptation: It started as a radio program in Wisconsin.