B.C. movie time capsule: 7

Miscellaneous films & sources

Published: Jan 01 2014, 01:01:am

Prepared for Chuck Davis and The Vancouver Book — August,  1975

[PART 7: Miscellany & Sources]


FOLLOWING THE SECOND World War, a Vancouver actor and entrepreneur named Jack Ammon noted that an extensive network of 16-millimetre movie houses existed, and that this network covered all of North America. Thinking that this would be the way to realize Vancouver's evergreen hope for a movie industry, he founded North American Productions to make features for this market. Its projects included:
DOPE ON THE SLOPES (comedy, colour, 1946): p./d. Jack Bowdery (Jack Ammon); l.p. Fran Dowie. This slapstick skiing comedy is the first recorded instance of a movie being made in colour in Vancouver.

THE CHANGELING PRINCESS (fantasy, colour, 1946):  p. Jack Bowdery (Ammon); w. Glenn Hjeldmason; ph. Andy Anderson; d. Harry Hargreaves; l.p. Carol Thomas, Ray Mawhinney, Alice (Alicia) Ammon, Ruby Chamberlain, Frank Vyvian. A child
princess (Thomas), threatened by a malicious witch (Chamberlain), is sent to live with a kindly cottage keeper (Ammon) and her son (Mawhinney). Filmed in Stanley Park,

RENEGADE GOLD (western, colour, 1947): p. Jack Bowdery (Ammon); l.p. Frank Kean, Karen Porthoff, Johnathan McKinnon, Eric Vale. Fiddle-playing bandit (Kean) beguiles the citizens of a frontier mining town. He falls in love with a bargirl (Porthoff) and together they escape with a fortune. Filmed near Hope, B.C. Also known as THE BANDIT OF TEXAS BAR and THE SAGA OF BILLY NORTH.

    Despite the local enthusiasm to produce films, the 16-mm market collapsed and its theatre network was dismantled shortly after the Second World War. The above titles have been excluded from the earlier lists of B.C. and Vancouver features because all were less than one hour in length.

    Also excluded from the main chronology are two full-length features made more than 20 years later by Vancouver director Jack McCallum. These are:

TRAVELIN' LIGHT (music-documentary,  colour, 1971): d. Jack McCallum; ph. Osmond Borradaile; l.p. Waylon Jennings, Buddy Knox, Audie Murphy, Hillous Butrum, Archie Campbell, Chaparral Bros., Roy Clark, Hank Cochran, Sonny Curtis, George Hamilton IV, Hank Snow, Nudie, Red Steagall.
        Followed by . . .
SING A COUNTRY SONG (music-documentary, colour, 1973): d. Jack McCallum; l.p. Sonny Curtis, Billy Joe Shaver, Red Steagall, Ben Peters, Blake Emmons, Andrea Willis, Duane Eddy, Tex Rltter.
    Both films are concert-cum-interview documentaries focusing on the world of country and western music. Though conceived and financed locally, they have the distinction of having been made on U.S. locations, including Los Angeles and Nashville.

    And, finally:

INSIDE THE REFLECTION (music-drama, 1973): p./d. Tom Braidwood; w. Jeremy Long; ph. B.J. Clayden; l.p. Eric Petersen, John Gray, Susie Payne, Helen Bouvier, Lisa Knott, Larry Lillo, Ed Astley, Sarah Warren. A sight and sound impression based on the life of Vaslav Nijinsky (Petersen), the classical Russian ballet dancer. With a running time of 50 minutes, it just misses qualifying as a full feature.

 THE ABOVE INFORMATION was gleaned from published sources and personal interviews. Foremost among the published sources was Canadian film archivist Peter Morris's Canadian Feature Films, a two-volume index covering the years 1913-1963 (published by Ottawa's Canadian Film Institute).
    The British Film Institute's Monthly Film Bulletin and the American Film Institute's Catalog provided valuable supplementary information, as did New Canadian Film, a publication of La Cinematheque Quebecolse.
    Personal recollection, my own home files, the Pacific Press Library, the Victoria Press Library and Vancouver Public Library clipping files were primary sources for more recent information. I am especially indebted to Variety correspondent Jack Ammon, who opened his personal files to me.
    I am indebted in another way to the Vancouver Sun's longtime film critic Les Wedman. I have read his column regularly since becoming his colleague and competitor in February, 1972. I was constantly grateful for his conscientious, thorough reporting while reading him retroactively In the preparation of this article.

The above is Part 7 of a seven-part restoration of a Vancouver Book article by Michael Walsh originally published in 1976. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: The Vancouver Book, published in 1976, devoted four pages (408-411) to Vancouver Films, the shortened version of this article that included only the titles shot in and around the city. The story, of course, had only just begun. By 1997, and the publication of The Greater Vancouver Book, Vancouver had become the second largest film production centre in North America. A new article — Movies Made in Greater Vancouver — and new approach was required. Eight pages (and a smaller typeface) were needed to update the story. The 20 parts of that article were posted to Reeling Back during 2015 and 2016.

MORE SOURCES – Shortly after the publication of The Vancouver Book, the British Columbia Provincial Museum issued the 381-page Motion Picture Production in British Columbia: 1898-1940 (1979) by Colin Browne. An invaluable resource, it was followed in 1986 by the Provincial Archives publication British Columbia on Film 1941-1965, by Dennis Duffy.

B.C. Feature Films — Part 1 [Introduction; the Silents]; Part 2 [Outside Vancouver, 1932-38]; Part 3 [Outside Vancouver, 1942-75]; Part 4 [Vancouver, 1932-68]; Part 5 [Vancouver, 1969-71]; Part 6 [Vancouver, 1972-75]; Part 7, [Miscellany & Sources].