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Joey Smallwood: Between Scoundrels and Saints

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At the mid-point of the 20th century, Joey Smallwood led Newfoundland into Confederation. For this act, he is both worshipped and reviled. This compelling biography explores the public and private sides of the man who held onto power for 23 years.

One of 13 children of an alcoholic father, Joey Smallwood dropped out of high school to try his hand at a number of business ventures--all of them unsuccessful. As an impoverished child, he vowed to become a world leader and would later resolve to push Newfoundland out of poverty--and into history.

Rare archival footage, readings from his journals and candid interviews document his journey from firebrand socialist in New York to journalist and crusading labour organizer back home. Defeated in 1971, Smallwood spent his retirement working on an encyclopedia of Newfoundland, to ensure that history didn't forget him. In 1991, "the little fellow from Gambo" died at age 90.

First aired on CBC's Life & Times, this documentary reveals Smallwood's roller-coaster ride of victory and defeat, tears and elation. The story of a man gone but certainly not forgotten!

1999, 43 min 53 s