John Smith is the longest running crew member of the Beachcombers which shooting spanned from 1971 to 1989. That was just the starting point for Smith’s film career as he went on to produce 21 Jump Street and work as the Executive Producer for the SGU Stargate Series. Smith spoke about his Beachcomber and ’72 Summit Series memories.
“Back in ’71, I was 23 years old and owned all the boats that were used in the show. It was an opportunity to make money, so I drove the boats and rented them out for the show because nobody else could drive them,” Smith joked.
“We began filming in July, all the way through till Christmas. Nobody had shot on water before, so it was kind of a new thing for everyone. There was a lot of trial and error and it felt like forever to shoot an episode. The editing of all the episodes started in January ’72 and continued all through ’72 leading up to the first episode on Sunday, October 2nd, 2 days after the Henderson goal.”
“I remember Bruno Gerussi (lead actor) had rented a house and a bunch of us including the Production Managers and Director watched the final game of the ’72 Series at the house. Growing up, I was a huge Boston Bruin and Bobby Orr fan. When Henderson scored, there was a huge celebration, we all went nuts!”
“In some ways, the stars were aligned for the Beachcombers show. Today, you have hundreds of channels. Back then, we essentially had 2 channels and grew up on Hockey Night in Canada and the Beachcombers.”
“The Beachcombers played a important role for Canadian film and certainly for BC. Everybody in the film industry went thru the Beachcombers until the late 70’s. “A number of people came from Toronto, as back then we didn’t have enough people. The people on that set really became the foundation of the Canadian film industry,”Smith reflected.