A Farewell to Mike McCardell: The story about a shoe.

It was a story about a shoe.

My early exposure to Mike McCardell’s story-telling brilliance happened nearly 20 years ago when I was producing and anchoring the weekend news in Calgary. We always looked for something interesting on the network feed, and often prayed that Mike had done something that would resonate with our viewers in southern Alberta, as he often did.

And then we saw the story about the shoe.  One single shoe, abandoned in the middle of the road.

Mike asked the question I’m sure everyone asks when they see a single shoe in the middle of the street: “How did it get there?”

His rumination on this unsolvable riddle, and interviews with passers-by about their theories, was 2 minutes of brilliant television.  I will never forget it.

For the past 7 years, almost every night, I’ve watched as Mike turns the mundane into magic. Stories of love and loss, joy and heartbreak, of ordinary people sharing their extraordinary experiences, always handled with respect and compassion.  He’s become a good friend and I’m honoured by the respect he’s shown me since I arrived in 2006.

Mike McCardell’s reports have been an antidote to the often troubling news we’re obligated to show on a nightly basis.  After all, if we don’t know what’s wrong in the world, who’s going to do the work to make it right?  Mike’s brilliance was in deftly easing us out of the News Hour, gently closing the show with a tale that almost always had a moral implication.  There is no way to replace what Mike has given to the News Hour over the decades.   I will miss him and his nightly observations more than I can express in words.

However sudden Mike’s departure may seem, it is also a reminder that now more than ever, the television business is in a state of renewal and reinvention.  To be clear, Mike was not ready to leave.  He was under contract until the end of August, but when he was told his contract would not be renewed, he chose to leave early.  

Mike demanded no fanfare, no laudatory send-off, no on-air retrospective of his 40 years of service to this television station.  We all reluctantly obliged and will save those sentiments to share with him in a more intimate and personal setting in the near future.

And the News Hour will go on.  We’re mulling over a couple of options to consistently close our nightly news program in an informative and entertaining way.  Mike will never be replaced, but we believe we can come up with something that’s worthy of the timeslot and is perhaps the beginning of  a new tradition.

 

And even though I won’t see Mike’s work every night on the News Hour, I know he’s out there making his daily appeal to the Story Gods for inspiration.  I know I’ll read it or see it somewhere. Maybe he’ll even find an answer to the age-old question… “How DID that shoe get there?”

Good luck, Mike… we miss you!

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28 comments

  1. Charlene · · Reply

    His stories will sincerely be missed. He was like a bright light at the end of a news tunnel. If he goes elsewhere I will be sure to follow him.

  2. Alex Kingston · · Reply

    Well said Chris

  3. Chris, you must be one heck of a nice guy to get such praise from Mr. M (on his facebook page) His stories brought my Mom so much joy after she passed I watched them and have since shown my daughter who he was after all this “retirement” talk. I guess you could say Mike really has been a part of my family.

  4. sarich_universe@hotmail.com · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of Mike McCardell with us.
    It was truly a shock to have him leave Global. He made the News worth watching after the weather. (Not that I don’t like Squire, I’m just not that interested in sports unless I’m playing or watching.) I hope we all get to enjoy his magic stories for years to come.

  5. The end of another era – so much change around us. You will be missed Mike McCardell.

  6. damama55 · · Reply

    Chris, you are a true gentleman as well as a gentle man. Thank you for this wonderful blog concerning Mike.

  7. Author David Feldman once tried to answer the question about the shoe on the side of the road in one of his books too! I couldnt agree with you more, I really enjoyed Mikes stories. He seemed like such a kind, sincere, happy individual and you just can’t help but love people like that. Now reading your tribute to him I would have to add “humble” to that as well. You will be missed Mike!

  8. Thank you Chris for your heartfelt and respectful sentiments of an amazing man. Your words have touched my heart.

  9. Please edit….amazing “man”

  10. Randall · · Reply

    My prayer is that the question of the shoe never gets answered!

  11. Virginia Barteluk · · Reply

    We wish him all the best; he put his heart and soul into every story for his listeners/watchers! He will be missed.

  12. Tammy Corness · · Reply

    Thanks for sharing your memories of Mike. I’m really going to miss seeing his stories on the news every night and chatting with him at the telethon. A super great guy and an amazing storyteller!

  13. Well done Chris Gailus!

  14. Richard Rehsler · · Reply

    Thanks, Chris Gailus. I’m very happy to read your comments which I take it are personal but also on behalf of the entire Global crew. I actually understand that nothing is forever and changes are inevitable. The change that saw Mike McCardell’s contract not renewed was a heartbreaker for many. In true ‘news anchor fashion’ you summarized our feelings as well.

  15. The shoe story was my most memorable as well! Nice to see you blogging on wordpress too!

    1. Thanks Erin… still figuring it out, but so far so good!

  16. Darren Hudec · · Reply

    Very well written, Chris..

  17. Chris, I can’t thank you enough for your thoughts. It has been no secret how much Mike and I were compadres. I hope to see you et al again soon and please say hi to Jane.
    Dave

    1. Thanks Dave! Will do. I hope to taste some of your awesome BBQ soon! Cheers, C

  18. Karen Radford · · Reply

    Thanks Chris for expressing the feelings of all the viewer on Global. We miss Mike and wish him well in his new endeavors

  19. mary thomas · · Reply

    HIS PRESENCE WILL BE greatly MISSED … AN ICON IN HIS OWN RIGHT ……… an inspiration to say the least …. heavenly father protect n keep MR. MCCARDELL safe in your guiding light all the days of his life amen

  20. Nicely done Chris!

  21. Wow.I looked forward to Mike’s stories every night.Many times he brought tears of joy or sorrow.
    You will be missed by so many people.
    Good Luck in your future,

  22. I grew up on this man and was a refreshment of a daily life that not everything is bad in the world! Thanks for sharing, Chris!

  23. Nicola Romaniuk · · Reply

    My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Mike a couple of months ago and he gave us a tour through Global TV, thanks to Terry M. setting this up. We truly enjoyed our time with you Mike and will miss your stories, Warm Regards,NR

  24. Antonella · · Reply

    Very well said…) we will miss him!

  25. Mrs. J. Manning · · Reply

    Thank you sooooooo much for your commen ts about & for Mike We have never had the pleasure of meeting him but feel we know him from all his end of the news comments. He had a way of “making our day” Thanks to both of you!!!!!!!

  26. […] helped across the street, or the mystery of a lone shoe that his co-worker Chris Gailus recently WROTE all about his experience with Mike, as well as his departure from the […]

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