Two days after the ’72 Summit Series celebrations, Canada was introduced to a quirky little television show that was shot in Gibson, BC and would go on to be the longest running drama in Canadian history. The Beachcombers was a low concept show with a cast full of interesting characters that we know as Bruno, Relic, Molly and Constable John.
Jackson Davies who played Constable John is presently writing a book in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the show. “Imagine going down to LA and pitching a show about a guy who picks up logs. I’m pretty sure I know what their reaction would be,” Davies jokes.
Constable John became a fixture on the show in 1975.”It was kind of strange”, when asked about how he was cast for the show. “I was playing policeman #2 and didn’t have any lines. After the shoot, they asked me if I could grow a moustache and what my clothing size was. I said, sure I can grow a moustache and I’m 42 tall. They smiled and I got the part. RCMP uniforms were very expensive, but that’s what they had, a 42 tall. So you could say I fit the bill in more ways then one.”
“Looking back to the ’72 Series and the beginning of the show, it was kind of cool to be Canadian. The show took place in a small Canadian town and people latched on to the show and its quirky characters,” Davies comments. “People were nervous about the show doing well, because it was up against US shows on Sunday including the Sonny & Cher show.”
“I followed the Summit Series pretty closely. I couldn’t go to the fourth game which was played in Vancouver because I was in a stage show at the time. That was the game when the fans booed and I can recall Phil Esposito being interviewed after the game. The fact that the fans were booing was a little embarrassing,” he shared.
“For the final game, I was in my apartment, which was about a block from Stanley Park in Vancouver. I had an audition that day with a US company who didn’t get it, that this wasn’t the day to have auditions. I saw as much as I could on TV, then I ran out of the apartment and into my car so I could hear the last few minutes of the third period on the radio. I remember turning on Granville Street and Henderson scored the famous goal! All the cars started beeping their horns. It was like a collective roar of the city which felt like it had grown bigger. I was in such a good mood that I didn’t care if I got the part for the audition. We were all a little upset that they didn’t have a TV set up.”
Today, Davies teaches at the Faculty of Film and Theatre at Capilano College and occasionally performs in Theatre.
“The truth is, when you start a TV show, you have no idea whether people will like it. It’s not like theatre when you get immediate feedback. Everyone thought it may go 5 years at the most. No one could have predicted that the Beachcombers would be enjoyed by multiple generations.”