Career in Television
Through his acting connections, Yost learned that CBC was looking for quiz show panelist. Yost auditioned and, through the 1960s, appeared intermittently on the CBC as a panelist on shows such as Live a Borrowed Life, The Superior Sex and Flashback. In the late 1960s he created and hosted Yost CBC's Passport to Adventure, featuring classic movie serials, and also assisted in the founding of the Metropolitan Educational Television Authority (META).
He joined the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (later TVOntario) in the early 1970s as a manager and, in 1974, was assisting with the establishment of its regional councils, when he was told OECA had acquired the broadcast rights to three Ingmar Bergmann films and was asked if he had any ideas on how the station could air them in an educational context. Yost packaged the shows as Three Films in Search of God adding educational content in the form of interviews, introductions, and discussions thus creating the model for what became Saturday Night at the Movies, which became the channel's longest-running, and one of its most popular shows. Yost also developed Magic Shadows, which showed classic serials in half-hour early evening installments with introductions providing background and interesting details by Yost, the movie review show Rough Cuts, Talking Film and The Moviemakers.
The format of Saturday Night at the Movies was that of two movies, separated by in-depth interviews conducted by Yost. In the early years the interviews were with local film experts, but the show's producers took the opportunity to interview visiting actors when they had engagements in Toronto. As the show grew in popularity, funds were found to send Yost and a crew to Hollywood to arrange interviews with film personalities. The library includes interviews with the stars of classic films, character actors, directors, screen-writers, composers, film-editors, special-effects people, and sometimes even their children.
Some regular viewers started to plan their Saturday nights so that they could catch just the interview section if they had already seen that night's films. When Yost retired from TVOntario in 1999, a copy of the library of interviews was donated to the Motion Picture Academy.
His son, Graham Yost, is a screenwriter whose most famous credit was the hit 1994 film Speed. Speed was the final movie Yost hosted before retiring from Saturday Night at the Movies in 1999.
Yost wrote four books: Magic Moments from the Movies, Secret of the Lost Empire, Billy and the Bubbleship (also known as Mad Queen of Mordra) and White Shadows.
Read more about this topic: Elwy Yost
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