In Search Of ...

     Hallelujah! I have had the opportunity to view the film WOLF DOG at last, thanks to the generosity of my good friend and colleague Jack Randall Earles!

     Having finally viewed this rare piece of local cinematic history, I have had many of my previous questions answered about the film. However, it has raised many NEW questions about this nearly 50 year-old movie, which may may, or may not ever be answered!

     For a better frame of reference of what is to follow here, be sure to see the photos at my "ABOUT MARKDALE" link! First off, you'll see Markdale's Toronto Street North, circa 1957! There is a great deal familar about this scene. Much of how it was portrayed in the opening scene of WOLF DOG is similar to the same scene in 2004. I noted Elmer Allen's gas station across from the Gospel Workers Church at Cavan Street East. Today, the SHELL belongs to Allan Thompson and across the street stands the place of worship for the local Church of the Nazarene congregation.

     Much is different, too. I noted the tunnelling maples at the north and south ends of highway#10, Markdale. When I was a small boy, one of my earliest memories of Markdale was entering and exiting town through these fascinating tunnels of maple trees! This changed shortly afterward, when many of the trees died and had to be removed.
    Markdale's old firehall was another familiar sight, but it has undergone significant renovation since that blistering day in August '57. What was no more than a shelter for the firetruck back then was walled up sometime in the sixties, or seventies and is now the Chamber of Commerce information booth. Clearly visible on the south wall of this "firetruck-port" was an enormous "NO PARKING" sign. It was almost as big as the gorgeous Allan Hilgendorf mural which graces the same wall today.

     In the spot now occupied by Leeson's PRO Hardware, there was a garage/gas station...the name on the big oval sign is almost illegible in the version I watched (possibly Imperial Oil), but I bet someone out there clearly remembers their affiliation. Next, one can see a business where the ScotiaBank now stands, then a brick home with a lovely veranda to the firehall's immediate north. I believe this building, which my father told me belonged to owners by the name of "McKechnie", was torn down in the late eighties, or early nineties.

     Let's continue with the '50 Ford Woody along the street further to another landmark. Right where you would now find the Markdale Standard office, was a gas station! This was a business owned by the late F.T. Hill and was affiliated to the White Rose petroleum company in 1957. This quickly followed by the appearance of a jeep driving through the village's main corner and parking on the wrong side of the street (which while illegal, was done regularly at this time) in front of F.T. Hill's Dept. Store, which was demolished in the seventies.
  Another observation I had was about Paul Hughes' forced 'visit' to Sol Alcombs drugstore. Incidentally, Sol is played by veteran Canadian character actor Les Rubie, who was a regular on the Wayne & Shuster comedy specials and is best remembered for a popular 1980s TV commercial for REZ wood protection ("...gits right intuh the wood and ...*BANG*.... STICKS there!" "Use REZ wood protection, I told 'em! But THEY wouldn't listen...and whar are they now?").

     Inside the store, we see a young girl and middleaged woman shopping. I haven't identified them yet. Some boys run past the door to see the dogfight. I recently found out one of them was Don Wyvill. I would appreciate knowing the identities of as many of the others witnessing both dogfight scenes as possible.
1, Was the "Alcombs Drugstore" scene shot in Markdale and if so, where? Answer: Yes, it was! Orchard's drugstore, on Main St.

2. Were the barn and log toolshed shown early in the picture situated on the Roy Brown farm?
Answer: No. Filmed on the Holland Centre, Ontario farm of Alex Dunseith, a pro wrestler/movie stuntman.

3. The same winding stretch of road appeared several times in the film. Was this the Holland-Euphrasia townline?
Answer: No. It was the East Back Line Holland Township road frontage of the aforementioned Dunseith farm, which was once owned by Mel Hanna.

4. Who is the "suit" with the gun in the poster at left and where/when/WHY did he show up in the movie?
Just made for a nice poster, I guess....

5. Why are a U.S. Marshall and a Sheriff in a movie about "The Great North Country"?
Probably because this was a western and this was going to be seen in the U.S.A. All westerns feature a marshal.

6. Why did American lawmen drive up to the Hughes' farm in a '49, or '50 model Mercury, which was never built in the U.S.?
Another example of an all-Canadian influence on Americana.

7. Was the scene where Paul almost drowns and is saved by Dog filmed near Massie, ON?
Answer: Probably not. The water scenes were probably filmed near Fergus, Ontario.

8. Does anyone recall "WOLF DOG" being screened at Beavercrest Public School for "Markdale Old Home Week" back in the early 1970s?
Answer: Nope. Never happened!

"All dogs like to kill till they know better, but with you its worse!"
-Paul Hughes to his young wolf-pup in WOLF DOG

LOBBY CARDS II  (Allison Tribute)
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All stories and text copyrighted property of Jeffrey R.P. Wilson - 2005