Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Merrill Denison not only contributed to the emergence of indigenous Canadian drama for the stage but also was involved in the establishment of radio as a medium for drama. On the invitation of the radio department of the Canadian National Railways, Denison wrote a series of radio dramas based on incidents from Canadian history, which were broadcast as the Romance of Canada series in the winter of 1930-1931. He produced a similar series for American radio, entitled Great Moments in History, broadcast during 1932 and 1933. He continued to write original radio dramas and adaptations until 1944. Denison’s historical writing also took the form of company biographies, histories of large corporations that were more than mere self-serving eulogies or lists of directors. The first of these was Harvest Triumphant (1948), about Massey-Harris Company, the farm equipment manufacturer. He also wrote about Canada’s largest brewery in The Barley and the Stream: The Molson Story (1955) and about the Royal Bank, in Canada’s First Bank: A History of the Bank of Montreal (1966-1967). Denison’s major prose works are Boobs in the Woods (1927), a series of comic anecdotes about tourists and residents of the backwoods of Ontario, and Klondike Mike (1943), a biography of the Yukon Gold Rush prospector Michael Ambrose Mahoney. Both books have been praised as essentially accurate accounts freed from the restrictions of factual documentation. Denison also regularly contributed both fiction and nonfiction to newspapers and magazines. His collected papers are housed at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.