Clive Court began his PR career in London’s Fleet Street as assistant to the Publicity manager of a major daily newspaper. He was responsible for the promotion of the Children’s I-SPY Book series which was recently revived in the UK. In the late 50s, he also launched the famous Michelin Travel Guides into the UK market. He soon moved to television and was responsible for the launching promotion of Get Ahead which eventually became known as Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank in the US). Before leaving the UK in 1962, Clive worked for Granada Television on the promotion of Coronation Street during its first year of production.
In 1962, he set out on a four-year tour of the major English-speaking countries to study broadcasting and communications. In Australia, he worked for Rupert Murdoch as promotion manager of TV Week magazine which was the third largest magazine–and New Idea which was the third best selling women’s magazine. In New Zealand he worked for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation in radio and public Relations. He also produced TV commercials, wrote and co-produced A History of Mystery–their first hour-long TV magic special. Before leaving, he also founded the New Zealand TV Workshop (a public access creative group) and introduced the New Zealand National Television Awards in 1964.
His work in New Zealand led to an opportunity to study broadcasting and journalism in the United States. By 1972, he received a master’s degree in Television from Syracuse University and joined WNED-TV in Buffalo, as publicity manager. A year later he moved to Toronto to become promotion manager of the CBC’s two English Radio Networks where he worked on the promotion of The Royal Canadian Air Farce and the CBCs total coverage of the 1976 Olympics (for which he received his first CPRS award).
In 1978, Clive took an absence from the CBC to head up Canada’s first PR degree program at Mount St. Vincent University. Following a variety of public and private sector PR consulting roles, he eventually returned to teaching at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where he developed their public relations program. He retired in 2003. In his last nine years of full time teaching, Kwantlen’s PR students won 25 percent of the annual graduation awards among 20,000 students in 90 academic programs.
Following, his time at MSVU, he accepted a challenge from CRTC Chair John Meisel to come up with an incentive to encourage Canadian TV Production. Clive came up with the concept of a $30 million investment program for private sector TV production–specifically drama, variety, and children’s programs. Government funding added an additional $5 million for administrative costs and launched the initiative in 1983 as the Canadian Program Development Fund which included the CFDC and became Telefilm Canada. For at least a decade it made a huge improvement to Canadian TV and still exists today.
In retirement, he has gone back to his first love as an entertainer and he presents after-dinner mentalism as The Fun-da-Mentalist—who involves his audience in quirky magical mind mysteries. He also takes time to promote fellow Canadian magicians including Canada’s world champion Juliana Chen…and more recently helping Winnipeg’s Darcy Oake.
Photo caption: Clive Court receives a Life Membership from CPRS Toronto Board member, Gabe Mederos.