|In Search Of ...|
|A.K.A. "A BOY AND HIS DOG"|
|BIOGRAPHIES for Wolf Dog (1958)|
|As we ponder the making of "Wolf Dog", we might put ourselves in the place of the Hollywood elder statesman, filmmaker Sam Newfield. He is widely celebrated as the "Most prolific feature film director of the American sound era".|
|One wonders if it was ultimately Newfield's decision to use Markdale's Paul Hutton as actor Tony Brown's screen double. Young Paul's similar height and frame allowed him to take Brown's marks, so the technicians could set up and stage scenes, possibly allowing the youthful actor crucial moments to rehearse and memorize lines. Probably in reward for his services, Paul was immortalized in a cameo appearance elsewhere in the movie.|
|Newfield had some 210 Hollywood feature films to his credit, as well as a dizzying array of short films and television shows. The "Wolf Dog" assignment had him assume the dual role of producer/director and marked his return to Canada, after directing TV episodes of "Hawkeye, The Last Of The Mohicans" (which starred uncredited "Wolf Dog" actor, John Hart) for Toronto-based Normandie Productions the previous year. Canada was as far as one can get from his hometown New York and 1950's era Markdale might have been the most distant point culturally he'd ventured to through his work.|
|"Wolf Dog" was allegedly the second-to-last feature project of his long and storied career, the first of a two-film contract with the Canadian counterpart of Regal Films and the assignment that brought him to the quiet Ontario village of Markdale. After filming here, the crew continued on to Fergus and Toronto.|
|What might he have thought about the throngs of starstruck folk who descended on the hub of Grey County, many of whom hoped to immortalize themselves as walk-thru extras? Had the village's rustic charm touched him, or was he itching to get to work on his career signoff piece, "Flaming Frontier"? Whether Newfield's experiences were good, bad, or indifferent, the magic legacy of Hollywood had an audience with this small Canadian village, engraving indelible memories that would last a lifetime.|
|Young Ron Wyvill was a bit awestruck. Until now, the tall dark man who was now signing his autograph in the Marigold Restaurant had been just a flicker on the silver screen. Humility had been no stranger to the man slated to play Jim Hughes in "Wolf Dog". Born in 1909 in Dearborn, Missouri, Jim Davis had his first taste of showbusiness as a circus tent-rigger. He also employed his strength as a construction laborer, but dreamed of making movies for a living. Davis worked his way to Hollywood in 1940 as a travelling salesman, occasionally auditioning for roles. He eventually worked his way into an MGM studios contract, following a screen test with Esther Williams.|
|After 8 years of minor roles, he co-starred with Bette Davis in "Winter Meeting." Though not related, MGM made much of the fact the stars shared the same name. "Wolf Dog" provided a rare cinematic starring role for Davis, as he spent most of the fifties in secondary roles as Western heavies. He also starred in two syndicated TV series that decade, "Stories Of The Century" and "Rescue 8", having made at least 200 guest star appearances in other programs.|
|Davis struggled in the sixties and would have to wait until 1978 to land the biggest role of his career: Jock Ewing of the prime-time soap "Dallas." He remained a key character in the series, until his tragic 1981 death following surgery. Like Allison Hayes, Davis' passing was shrouded in suspicion of due to allegations of medical malpractice. For years conflicting information existed for his cause of death. More recent research now indicates he died from complications of "multiple myeloma" (bone marrow cancer). His family is alleged to have filed a lawsuit against the caregivers. A sad end for a man who provided young Ron Wyvill a fleeting glimpse of glory.|
|It had to be the thrill of a lifetime for the late Mabel Douglas, wife of late Markdale businessman, Loren Douglas. She was hired as an on-location hairdresser for Allison Hayes, a Hollywood "B" starlet in the heady days of a career at it's apex. Allison had been cast as Ellen Hughes in the 1958 film "Wolf Dog" co-starring with Jim Davis, Austin Willis, John Hart and youth actor, Tony Brown. She was probably used to the adulation of filming on location, but one has to wonder how a female Hollywood celebrity on the rise could have reacted to the rustic crudeness of late-1950s Markdale.|
|Born Mary Jane Hayes in 1930, her stunning beauty in 1949 experimental local color television broadcasts led to her becoming Miss Washington, D.C. She later appeared with Milton Q. Ford in a one-hour TV program which regularly featured her practicing a personal hobby: dog training. She was soon discovered by Universal International, changed her name and agreed to a movie contract.|
|In 1958, the same year "Wolf Dog" was released, Allison appeared in the B sci-fi thriller "Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman." While she didn't realize it at the time, "Fifty-Foot Woman" was to be the defining moment of her cinematic tenure. Sadly, the remainder of Allison's career was spent in typical Hollywood movie-factory works.|
|She suffered a broken rib from a horseback mishap during the filming of the feature film "Gunslinger," but recovered to do more movie and TV work in 1957. About this time, she was referred to a Dr. Bieler by actress Gloria Swanson. Bieler had prescribed Allison a calcium supplement, which was derived from old horse bones. The drug had serious side-effects which were later found to be caused by complications from lead-poisoning of these old bones. Apparently, the older the bones, the more lead-laced the supplement. It led to leukemia, ultimately the cause of her 1977 death. She was only 47 years old.|
|Besides "Wolf Dog", Allison had a pretty unique connection to Canada. She was cast in several episodes of the television show "Perry Mason" alongside good friend, Canadian actor Raymond Burr. She also made a guest-star appearance in TV's "Bat Masterson," a mythological old-west hero who may have been born in Quebec. Perhaps there are other stories that only Mabel's hairdressing chair could tell.|
|The distinguished Canadian actor was younger brother to the late J. Frank Willis, a pioneer of Canadian newscasting. Willis was a celebrated dramatic actor, but became best known as host of the CBC panel show "This Is The Law" in the seventies. His big break was to come from a starring role in a 1947 Canadian-made gem "The Bush Pilot". It did poorly at the box office, but put Willis' star into ascent. The James Bond classic "Goldfinger" was among his numerous Canadian and Hollywood feature film roles. Apparently Willis was originally slated to play the role of Felix Leiter, but had to settle for a lesser role. (The role was eventually won by another veteran Canadian actor, the late Cec Linder.) Austin's face became well known throughout the sixties, making guest appearances on many leading American TV series such as Mannix, The F.B.I., I Spy and The Rat Patrol.|
|Who knows what Willis encountered during his short soujourn to Markdale? One might suspect the handsome actor had offers from delectable young wannabe starlets for private auditions. Perhaps his best encounters surrounded the thrill of working with such Hollywood luminaries as John Hart, Jim Davis, Allison Hayes and/or director, Sam Newfield.|
|Willis retired to his native Nova Scotia and passed away in April of 2004. With the help of film historian Ernest Dick, he once did a "road show" in which he showed clips of his movies, then regaled audiences with recollections from them. They also worked at compiling a non-profit DVD version of his memoirs for educational purposes. He is sadly missed.|
|Possibly the most famous cast member in "Wolf Dog", John Hart never received an onscreen credit in the film. The California-born actor enjoyed a very prolific career that spanned over four decades. In Wolf Dog, Hart played the role of Krivak's henchman Andy Bates.|
|John has the rare distinction of being known as "The OTHER Lone Ranger", having been cast in that role in the late fifties. He replaced the late Clayton Moore for a year-and-a-half, when Moore left over a contract dispute. Undoubtedly, Hart's matinee idol good looks helped him land the role and he soon built his own modest following. Hardcore fans soon clamored for the return of Moore, however and John was unceremoniously ousted.|
|Not a quitter, John got himself cast in yet another starring role, this time for a syndicated TV show filmed in Toronto by Canada's Normandie Productions. Playing the role of Nat "Hawkeye" Cutler of "The Last Of The Mohicans", he appeared in this feature with Lon Chaney Jr. During this stint, John met prolific director Sam Newfield and fell in love with Canadian actress Beryl Braithwaite, whom he soon married. Chaney honoured John by being his best man.|
|As Hart matured and his Lone Ranger fame waned, he managed to work steadily throughout the sixties and seventies. He appeared as the Lone Ranger in TV episodes of "Happy Days" and "Greatest American Hero", as well as the role of a newspaper editor in the 1980s movie "Legend Of The Lone Ranger". (Anyone remember Klinton Spilsbury...?) He even reunited with Wolf Dog co-star Jim Davis for one episode in the prime-time soap, Dallas. It was to be Davis' last appearance on the show, as he soon became too ill to work. Henceforth, the Jock Ewing character was only heard from via letters from South America (Ironically, reference to "letters from South America" is also part of Wolf Dog's plot)! Hart appeared as a semi-regular on the primetime soap thereafter.|
|John (now age 86) and Beryl are alive and reportedly doing very well - still visiting Beryl's relatives in Ontario, Canada regularly each summer. There are many websites devoted to John on the net. One such site is here.|
|HOME BIOS RECOLLECTIONS LOBBY CARDS I
LOBBY CARDS II (Allison Tribute)
SUMMARY: THE SEARCH FOR "WOLF DOG"
CAST & CREW PLOT SUMMARY INTERVIEWS
OBSERVATIONS/QUESTIONS ABOUT MARKDALE
Success At Last Contact Us
"Parole, or no parole. You shoot that dog and I'll KILL ya!"
-Jim Hughes (to Krivak in 1958 movie, Wolf Dog)
| Tony Brown, who played 11 year-old Paul Hughes in WOLF DOG, was born the son of veteran Willowdale, ON, Canada actor, Sydney Brown. While shooting WOLF DOG, Tony befriended a Markdale boy of the same age, Paul Hutton (...is it possible he inspired the naming of the character?). In any case, the two lads chummed around between takes and during downtime throughout the shooting of Markdale's First Movie. They were apparently also close in size and build, because Paul was often used as Tony's stand-in to set up specific shots. Two scenes in the alleyway between what is now Ken Bustin Pickles and Markdale Pharmacy come to mind as scenes Paul probably worked on. For his services, Paul was reportedly rewarded with a walk-thru scene elsewhere in WOLF DOG.
|Of all the principal actors in WOLF DOG, information on Tony Brown has proved the most difficult for me to get. I feel embarrassed to put so little here about him, but this is all I have come up with. In the Internet Database, the Tony Brown who appeared in WOLF DOG also appeared in a 1962 Italian film called "Anima Nera" starring Vittorio Nassman and Nadja Tiller. He may also have appeared in a 1989 Australian flick called "The Delinquents." My belief is that Tony eventually went into work behind the cameras and is still working today. He probably lives in and around the L.A. area. If anyone knows differently, please contact me A.S.A.P. at the below link.|
|TONY, if you are out there and stumble onto this site, please contact us at the below link. We'd LOVE to hear from you. Our site's visitors and in particular, Paul Hutton would love to know about your life and career since WOLF DOG. Such as it is, I have included what paltry findings about Tony I can offer in what follows...|
|All stories and text copyrighted property of Jeffrey R.P. Wilson - 2005|
| I found out the power in "Googling" a particular name one weekend in late January '06, when I did a web search on the name "Don Garrard," the actor who played bank robber Lee Trent in WOLF DOG and also guest starred in 5 episodes of LAST OF THE MOHICANS. In WOLF DOG, Trent was the brains of the two bad guys who holed up in the Hughes home and it was subtly implied that the desperate criminal was developing a 'thing' for Ellen.
My search turned up the fascinating information that Mr. Garrard achieved international reknown as a bass singer who starred in the Canadian Opera Company (COC) back in the 1960s. My research has also unveiled that Don is alive and living today in Kenilworth, South Africa. I have managed to make contact with Don through the publishers of his book "Anecdotage", with New Voice Publishing in South Africa. Read Don's recollections of WOLF DOG at THIS link.
|This was another name through which I discovered the power in "Googling". Masters was another of the WOLF DOG actors who appeared in episodes of LAST OF THE MOHICANS. In WOLF DOG, he plays Jed, the gas attendant that doesn't think Jim Hughes looks like a cattle rancher. Masters died in Toronto on May 24, 1961 at age 48, after working in the film "The Business Of Farming". His remains lie at the Glendale Memorial Gardens in Rexdale, Ontario.|
|Willowdale, Ontario's own Syd Brown was not only a solid character actor in Canadian movies and TV, but was father to Tony Brown, child star of WOLF DOG. The elder Brown was another veteran Canadian thespian Sam Newfield had worked with on LAST OF THE MOHICANS, whom he dragged off to central Grey County for the soon to be forgotten "B" movie. He plays the kindly Col. Byrneen on WOLF DOG.|
| Perhaps best known as one of the cast of characters who supported "Wayne and Shuster" for over 3 decades. The late Rubie got cast in clueless old goat roles in TV shows, TV commercials and movies, playing them to perfection. Another of the stable of fine actors Sam Newfield had worked with on LAST OF THE MOHICANS.
After a steady, albeit brief stint at MOHICANS, Rubie and fellow actor Don Cullen hitched up with Wayne and Shuster, who once even did a sketch satirizing the mid-1950s adventure TV show that was filmed near Pickering, Ontario. I understand they actually used one of the sets from the series, which was also produced in association with CBC. On WOLF DOG Les plays Sol Alcombs, the clueless old pharmacist who unwittingly whomps up a batch of coagulant for one of the bad guys.
|Paris appears briefly in WOLF DOG as Johnson, Jim Hughes' parole officer. As this scene was shot indoors, Paris probably never made the trip to make a location shoot in Markdale. He began to play bit roles in Canadian TV and cinema around this time and later made multiple appearances in the popular Canadian kid's television show, THE FOREST RANGERS.|