Les belles histoires des pays d’en haut
On October 8, 1956, the first episode of Les Belles histoires des pays d’en haut was broadcast. Already a resounding success on the radio, this series would enable its thousands of fans to put a face on those colourful characters. The dialogue writer was Claude-Henri Grignon, the author of the novel Un homme et son péché, published for the first time on December 15, 1933.
This Quebec novel tells the story of the life of Séraphin Poudrier who, on his sparse property in the Laurentians, leads a double life as a farmer and a moneylender. He lords over both the barely surviving lowly settlers and the cash-strapped bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, he treats his wife Donalda only a tad better than his farm animals. Séraphin Poudrier perfectly personifies the miser in all of Quebec literature.
The first episode starred Jean-Pierre Masson (Séraphin Poudrier), Hector Charland (his father Évangéliste Poudrier), Paul Desmarteaux (Curate Labelle), Andrée Champagne (Donalda), Gabriel Gascon (Alexis Labranche), Honoré Mercier (Pierre Boucher) and Paul Dupuis (Arthur Buies). The series would be televised for 14 seasons, from 1956 to 1970. The last program was broadcast on May 25, 1970. A grand total of 495 programs were produced. Today, only 74 episodes remain, of which 14 are 30-minute black and white episodes and 60 others are 60-minutes long and in colour.
A part of the series was rebroadcast on Sundays at 16:00 from September 8, 2002 to May 31, 2003.
The main roles were played by: Jean-Pierre Masson (Séraphin), Andrée Champagne (Donalda), Paul Desmarteaux (Curate Labelle), Guy Provost (Alexis Labranche), Pierre Daigneault (Father Ovide), Yvon Leroux (Bidou), Camille Ducharme (Notary Lepotiron) and René Caron (Todore Bouchonneau). The directors were Bruno Paradis, Fernand Quirion and Yvon Trudel.
Written by Yvon Chouinard - January, 2006