Return to Magazine Features

6th Annual
Secrets of The City
by Shawn Blore
illustrations by Tomio Nitto

(First published in Vancouver, November 1998)

Infamous Visitors

Moving Violations

Bad Addresses


Tunnel Visions

Screen Gems

Quiz: Welcome to Genericville

Well, not entirely. In fact, some of these are among the worst films ever made - something the local media celebrities involved with them would like to forget.


David Duke's cult classic.

There's no hard and fast rule stipulating that when Vancouver media figures are connected to a film it has to be a bad film. Much Music host Terry David Mulligan had a small role in McCabe and Mrs. Miller, an early '70s classic, and BCTV anchor Pamela Martin appeared as a reporter in the decent 1988 Jodie Foster vehicle The Accused. Meanwhile, back in 1973, veteran film and TV executive Darryl Duke directed a film called Payday that, although obscure today, appeared that year on many 10-best lists and has been credited with inspiring Robert Altman's thematically similar Nashville.

Pamela Martin (right) in The Accused.

So it's not mandatory that the films be dismal - just depressingly normal. Take CFUN host Pia Shandel's first foray into film, 1968's The Plastic Mile, which in a 1978 review was granted half a star. Even Shandel minces no words in describing how bad it was, though she notes it attracted notoriety at the time after the provincial censor banned it. Why the kerfuffle? Pause. Nervous laugh. "There was a scene in which I had an orgasm," explains Shandel, "and perhaps it was too enthusiastic."

Among he cast of The Plastic Mile: Beverlee Miller (now Gray), Jace Van der Veen and Pia Shandel.

Or consider the thriller Dead Wrong, which was produced by BCTV news anchor and VP Tony Parsons (and which featured, among other local lights, Toni Onley). Parsons says he is pained to even think of the movie today. And what about High Stakes, the 1986 thriller with local journalistic legend Jack Webster. In 1992 it was included on a list of the worst movies ever made in Vancouver.

Interestingly, local actor Jackson Davies has a connection to all three, including starring roles in Dead Wrong and High Stakes. He wasn't around for The Plastic Mile, but swears he once did a sex scene with Shandel - he just can't remember where.

What? You didn't catch Coquitlam actor Brian Arnold in an Addams Family episode (crazed building inspector) or Wrongfully Accused (reporter)? Then no doubt you've heard him nail his best-known line, done for BC Tel: "The number you have reached is not in service."

Think of the residuals.

The exact location of the Hunger Hut will and must remain a closely guarded secret - suffice it to say only that it is somewhere on Vancouver's east side. Dining at this most exclusive of establishments is by invitation only, and these are extended primarily to folk from the film and music businesses. Prices are extremely reasonable, and the food is said to be extraordinarily good - the proprietor, who hails from Winnipeg, was once the personal chef to the band Green Day.

David Duchovny never really apologized for his comments that he wanted to move away from a place "where it rained like 400 inches a day." Or did he? In season five of the X-Files, filmed shortly after Duchovny's remark, an episode called "Schizogeny" has Scully asserting that a body found buried in mud may have got there by slipping into a mud trap concocted by the victim's stepson following heavy rains. To which Mulder replies, "That's some rainstorm." Scully: "They say it rained 400 inches a day." Mulder: "Now that sounds like an exaggeration, don't you think?"