Radisson (aka Tomahawk)

1957 | Canada

The first major dramatic series to be filmed in Canada, Radisson starred Jacques Godin as true-to-life Pierre-Esprit Radisson a French explorer and soldier of fortune who lived between 1636-1710. 

He arrived in Canada in 1651. His journals, first published as the Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson (1885), tells of his capture (1652-53) by the Iroquois. Another asserts that he made a trip to the West with his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart, sieur des Groseilliers (played by Rene Caron in the series). However, the journals are confusing, often leaving great doubt as to the location of places and the time of events. 

Perfect material, therefore, to be given the full Western adventure treatment. Written by John Lucarotti, Jean Desprez and Renee Normand the series premiered on French Stations on February 3, 1957 and told the continuing story of Radisson's journey up the Hudson during the 17th Century. Filmed on location at Ile Perrot on the St. Lawrence River, the series was the brainchild of Monica Clare, the CBC's national organiser of children's programming. It sold to the USA and Britain (where it first aired in 1959) but not before changing its title outside of Canada to Tomahawk.

Published on January 24th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.