Halcyon Summers in Egmont, BCFriday, April 28, 2017
The summer of 1980 has been an unforgettable one for me. It all has to do with the fact that for about a month a BC judge struck down the law that made it mandatory for motorcyclists (and any passenger) to wear a helmet.
In that summer a pilot in a de Havilland Beaver (float plane) would pick me up on Friday evenings in Coal Harbour in Vancouver. He would fly me up the Sunshine Coast to a place called Egmont. The CBC was doing a series called Ritter’s Cove (primarily for the German and British market) that featured the Beaver that picked me up:
Karl Ritter (Hans Caninenberg) is an aging pilot whose licence was revoked after failing to complete a medical test. He employs Kate Ashcroft (Susan Hogan) to fly his aircraft, in order to continue his transport company. Episodes highlighted the gender and generation gaps between Ritter and Ashcroft. Other primary series characters included Robert (Dale Walters) and Arnie (Craig Kelly).
Ritter's Cove was cancelled after one season. It was once considered to be a potential replacement for The Beachcombers, a CBC Television adventure series which ran from 1972 to 1990.
The CBC had hired me to shoot stills during the summer weekends.
The first time I went I was put into a nearby motel and the young AD (Mike Rosati) snickered when he told me to have a good sleep. This was standard procedure for first-day visitors to Ritter’s Cove. My room was next to the room of a staging fellow who had the nickname “Animal”. It seems he had a very active and noisy sex life. And, no I did not sleep well.
It was at Ritter’s Cove that I discovered the big difference between a TV variety show and what CBC called drama. For variety shows they used multiple cameras (the era of videotape) that even included a huge crane. For drama only one camera was used, usually an Arriflex film camera. So every take involved shooting the actors from the front then from the side and perhaps even a third point of view. For me it was a revelation.
The principal cameraman was the bearded Peter McClennan. He became my friend as most other cameramen of the CBC because I seemed to have an until then unknown talent of staying out of the way and not making clicking noises at the wrong time that might ruin the sound on an important take. McClennan had a stunning focus puller called Ruth Fellows. McClennan had a beautiful BMW motorcycle. During the lunch break the three of us would hop on his motorcycle (no helmets) to go skinny dipping in a nearby clear and cold lake.
I have no memory as to who took which picture.
Food at lunch was especially good and getting back on warm Sunday evenings with the usual sunset in Coal Harbour was special. And specifically one time in particular. I wrote about it here.