|In Search Of ...|
|A.K.A. "A BOY AND HIS DOG"|
|Interviews - Don Garrard, Canadian bass singer/actor|
| I have decided that the internet is the most wonderful invention in the world! Why you may ask? I ran a search on the name "Don Garrard" on Google.com and discovered that this actor who appeared as one of the villains in WOLF DOG, is still alive, well and abiding in Kenilworth, South Africa!! And so much more I learned about him! A native Canadian, Don is a world reknowned bass singer, who has thrilled audiences around the globe in opera and concert. A far cry from his brief stints in WOLF DOG, FLAMING FRONTIER and LAST OF THE MOHICANS. In these, he didn't sing a single note. Thus it was a surprise...no....a shock to discover this talent had been on CBC-TV and radio for decades before I came to know who he was. How much we see, but how little we really absorb.
I contacted Don through the South African publishing house "NEW VOICES" website (Thanks publisher Barbara Mueller) and he wrote me the following airmail letter dated February 1, 2006.
|Dear Jeff Wilson,
Barbara Mueller has kindly passed onto me your email and I am only too delighted to oblige (with this response). Sorry that I am not on the web as yet, but my memories of those days are very clear and I have recorded them in detail in my autobiography, which I hope to publish within the year. The book ("Anecdotage" by Don Garrard) I have just published is about my Opera/Concert career and consists of musical limericks.
Now, as to the films you mention: i.e. "WOLF DOG," where Juan Root and I played the bad guys. I recall a very strong scene between me and the young boy (child actor Tony Brown), for which I worked overtime on the scripts; a very sexy leading lady (Allison Hayes) and a big shoot out at the end. I've got the odd still from the shoot and the bogus newspaper headlining our escapades. I also managed to see it in a crummy little theatre in New Jersey, while I was working briefly in New York. There were only four other guys in the theatre and I was not that well pleased by my contribution. I can't remember the lead's names, but I think he ended up in "DALLAS", correct? (Correct! The late Jim Davis, AKA Jock Ewing)
As for MOHICANS, its unfortunate we were paid a "one off" fee, since they kept repeating those episodes for years and the royalties would have been nice. I did about five of these, mostly small parts on location near Pickering and the Company built a fort. The worst one was when I played Chief Grey Wolf and and we had to do a fight scene with John Hart, who was bigger and a lot stronger than me. I was also half-naked (with breeches and a headdress) and it was October!! Of course, I got thrown around a lot, over logs, etc, and lost in the end. The next morning, I couldn't get out of bed and had to get treatment for my back, but whiskey did help!!
Apart from that, the most horrifying thing was seeing Lon Chaney coming out of his trailer at 6:30 in the morning, after a heavy night. Now THERE was a sight!
By far, the most fun I had was doing the other feature in which I played Bruce Bennett's Irish sergeant in "FLAMING FRONTIER". I really had a ball doing that. I had a great horse called "Pigeon" (because that's how he stood) and I used to ride him around the hills in the mornings while the crew were setting up. Then the director, Sam (Newfield) - one of the funniest men I knew - would get on the megaphone and yell "Where the hell is that damn kid?" and I would have to hightail it back to the set.
Oddly, there's a fellow named Steve Jensen from Cedar Falls, Iowa, who also emailed Barbara about me. He's set up a website for John Hart from LAST OF THE MOHICANS and is trying to organize some sort of memorial marker in Pickering. His email is email@example.com.
Maybe I can get Barbara to scan some of those stills and send you some. I hope this helps your project and I can probably dig up more, if you like. I'm age 76 now.
Would you be good enough to spread the word among any of your classical music friends about my book and new song CD? Thanks and all the best for now.
| Note: the scene Don mentions above, involving he and Tony Brown, was chosen by editor Philip Lubert and depicted in the Rogers-TV newspiece on WOLF DOG back in the summer of 2005.
Also, a scene featuring the first appearance of Don and Juan Root in the movie is also part of the Rogers piece. Don Garrard appears in LAST OF THE MOHICANS a number of times, with his name spelled a variety of different ways: Donald Gerard, Don Garrad and Don Gerrald among these.
|A winter shot of the former Dunseith farm home. The "shoot-out" in WOLF DOG occurred here that Mr. Garrard reminisces about in his above letter.|
|The proposed LAST OF THE MOHICANS memorial marker by Steve Jensen that Don refers to is actually a combined effort by Mr. Jensen (who is webmaster for the JOHN HART fansite) and Mr. Clay Self (webmaster for the FOREST RANGERS and ADVENTURES IN RAINBOW COUNTRY fansites). Its now nearing the 50th anniversary of the MOHICANS program being filmed on the lot near Concession #3 and Valley Farm Road, in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. See Clay and Steve's website devoted to the Pickering Plaque Project at this link. I believe this to be a great idea and encourage anyone interested to email the Town of Pickering with a request for this commemorative plaque. The more names, the more clout. Personally, I'd like to see the Village of Markdale have something similar for the filming of WOLF DOG. If you feel this way too, please email me at the "Contact Us" link on the bottom of this page.|
|Thanks Mr. Garrard for your kind indulgence in passing along these priceless anecdotes to us! I hope the site's regular visitors will show their appreciation by purchasing Don's present CD and his autobiography as soon as it is released by New Voices Publishing. ~Jeff Wilson|
|WOLF BITES: "Hughes, there's gonna be some shootin'...maybe some killing"
(Lee Trent to Jim Hughes)
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|All stories and text are copyrighted property of Jeffrey R.P. Wilson - 2005|