If anyone thinks my brief visit to Hollywood last Wednesday happened as a holiday junket, think again. The CBC film and radio crew put me through my paces in front of the camera and microphone, accumulating B-roll footage of me walking, talking as well as sleeping on the plane with drool coming out of my mouth. But this isn’t about me, it’s about Victor Jory and his connection to Dawson as a native son where he was born in 1902. Until his death 25 years ago he enjoyed a great career as an actor in Hollywood films and on the stage. Some of his work includes Gone with the Wind, Papillion, and the Miracle Worker, to name just a few of his films. Usually cast as a villain, you would certainly recognize him when you saw his rugged countenance.
As an outsider with a brief superficial view, I have to say I love Hollywood. Filled with youthful energy and excitement with plenty of evidence of young talent looking for the Holy Grail; to them I say, better to be in L.A. locking horns than sitting at home dreaming about making it.
Last Wednesday morning the CBC documentary crew was invited to interview Delia Salvi, an actress who knew Victor Jory and could shed some light on his life. Wisdom, beauty and grace would be the way to describe Miss Salvi. She was incredible and had us completely enchanted by her elegance and wit. She is an actress who teaches stage direction at UCLA as a professor there. We were invited into her beautiful but modest home in one of the original neighborhoods of West Hollywood where she has lived for a long time. Let me put it this way, we were in the presence of the real deal!
From a municipal point of view she said that their City Hall government was one of the best in the L.A. area.
The great Delia Salvi
Later that day we were scheduled to meet with Victor Jory’s namesake, his grandson who moved to Los Angeles a few years ago after finishing film school in New York – nothing like keeping the dynasty alive. The idea was to film and record me meeting Victor at Victor Jory’s star on the walk of fame on Hollywood Boulevard, which we did while spectators milled about because they thought I was Stephen King. First thing at the L.A. airport a lady ran up to me in the lobby demanding an autograph for her husband because he loves my work so much, I would have played along but was too tired, she did look at me askance as she walked away thinking Stephen King may have just blown her off.
Me (trying to suck my belly in) and Victor Jory
What a relief that Victor Jory Jr. is a terrific guy! I think we really hit it off, he was very patient with us while we took several takes of us ‘finding’ Jory’s star and our initial impressions. We got to visit a bit later on so I could try and paint a picture of Dawson for Victor and he in turn described his knowledge of his grandfather. CBC’s Dave King had his tape rolling the entire time. Young Victor is definitely Dawson material, we need to find a way to have him visit either at Film Fest time or Music Festival. He seemed very curious about ‘Dodge’ and was pleased to receive a bag of swag containing trinkets and souvenirs that Joy at the office put together for me to present.
Wayne filming Dave asking passersby about Victor Jory
Wayne Vallevand had his heavy camera permanently attached to his shoulder the whole time grabbing shots wherever possible. He spotted a diner called The Yukon Mining Company, so we stopped and he had me do a few walk-bys of me coming out of and going into the restaurant. Dave King was no better, his tape recorder was going all the time. But it’s all good, Al Foster and crew got tons of material for the upcoming TV and radio docs about Dawson’s long lost son, well worth the trip. We left Dave in Hollywood for his interview on the following day with the world’s oldest actor Charles Lane – 102 years old! Then Dave’s off to Salt Lake City to interview Victor Jory’s daughter and his son Jon in Seattle, both of whom are very distinguished in the world of theatre.
Dave and Wayne in the Hollywood Hills.
Okay, my head is spinning but I’m glad to be back home with a new council meeting staring me in the face this Tuesday. I have to thank council for endorsing this journey and thanks also to the Yukon Film Commission for chipping in. I was able to distribute their very professional looking promotional materials that were given me to hand out to people in the industry.
I’m sure that the resulting documentaries that Dave, Al, Wayne and crew will produce can only bode well for Dawson.
Dave King and Al Foster planning their next move.