|Facts and Filming Locations|
|"The Forest Rangers" began on tv with 5 minute segments each week on the children's show "Razzle Dazzle", which later Rex Hagon and Susan Conway would go on to host with Trudy Young. It was the first show in Canadian-made history to sell out all its programs, and it quickly replaced "The Woody Woodpecker Show" on the CBC.
Maxine Samuels had sold the show to Los Angeles' biggest network, KLTA, and others in New York (not to mention the other 40-plus countries worldwide who were interested in running the show on their own stations).
Some of the most interesting factoids concerning the show and its characters have to do with good old Joe Two Rivers. Michael Zenon portrayed this Metis-Ojibway guide who was a key ingredient in the show's success.
To prove his incredible acting abilities one need not look past his performance on the show. You would swear that he really was a native with his dark complexion, and that accent. The truth is Michael was born in the Ukraine and came to Canada with his family in 1948. He had been separated from them while stuck in Nazi Germany during WW2.
After leaving high school in Toronto he wandered around working as an oil driller, miner, trucker, bulldozer operator and finally as a depth sounder and dynamiter on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
He was always interested in acting and in 1961 he received the best actor award in the Dominion Drama Festival. He then appeared in all major CBC tv shows, films and other stage productions. It was around this time that his hobby of racing Porsche cars came about, and he joined various racing clubs.
On "The Forest Rangers" he actually wore a $300 black wig to cover up his dark blonde hair. His doeskin jacket was authentic though, and was made to fit him especially by Chief Floating Cloud of the Brantford, Ont. Reserve.
Michael also had to be taught the tricks of the backwoods by real Natives or members of the Dept. of Lands and Forests. An Ojibway named Isaac Beaulieu often came out to Kleinburg to teach him and the junior rangers how to set bear traps, how to send smoke signals and how to track and mark a trail so others could follow.
The Rangers received a lot of fan mail in the 1960's- most of which came from children of foreign lands who wanted to meet them, and wanted to join their club if they ever made it to Canada. One letter came to Mr. Zenon which stated that he was "far better looking than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and that he had better be careful going over those rapids in case he didn't make it over one day."
After his acting career he went on to become an assistant director in many films including "Police Academy" and Hollywood's "Urban Legends: 2000." Most of the "Forest Rangers" cast and crew stayed in the film business after the show finished its run. Quite often you would see the rangers pop up on another tv show produced a few years later in 1969 called "Adventures in Rainbow Country"- Susan Conway, Rex Hagon, Michael Zenon, Ralph Endersby, Gordon Pinsent, George Allan and Leslie Barringer among them. Graydon Gould had a spot in the blockbuster movie "Mission Impossible" starring Tom Cruise.
Many of the actors who appeared on the show only a handful of times are apparently still owed residual cheques (ie. Trudy Young, Mathew Ferguson, and the Estate of Eric Cryderman, to name a few). Contact www.actra.com for more info.
For years- prior to my building this site- I was looking for filming locations used on the show besides Kleinburg. Here are some examples of scene locations in question:
1-Where exactly was the pond on which Ms. Apple's marina stood ?
2-This next one is located up further north in the Canadian Shield somewhere. It's the rapids that Joe Two Rivers and Mr. Harleybone ran in two different fall episodes. Where are the rapids and on what river?
3-Where were the winter episodes such as: Hole in the Ice, Santa McLeod, Deadly Friend, The Gunshot and The Dream filmed? I can tell they were all filmed at this same location up north because the scenery is the similar in these 5 episodes.
4- Where was the hilly treed lake used in the 1st season when Joe is out fishing in the canoe?
5- Where was the square red fire tower located?
Thanks to Ralph Endersby, Michael Zenon, Susan Conway and David McFadyen who helped answer these questions for me. Here are the answers:
1- The pond was a man-made pond on a bend in the river right on the lot. The pond no longer exists. I am told that in the winter of 1965 the late winter ice flows caused excessive damage to the marina. I assume this may be why the pond was filled back in, since it doesn't appear on any map.
2- The rapids was located at Whitney, Ont on the Madawaska River.
3- The scripts called for snowy terrain and the Kleinburg Studios had late winter flooding problems, so the crew stayed at the Muskoka Sands Inn on Lake Muskoka to get the footage needed. According to David McFadyen, the shows art director, it snowed so bad for a week that they had to get permission to build indoor sets right beside the Inn's indoor pool.
4- Michael Zenon recalls this being on Mary Lake north of King City at the old monastery there.
5- Mr. Zenon climbed this tower in the winter of 1965 in the freezing cold, about 70 feet up. He's got guts. I tried to climb a similar tower in the fall and got scared just being up 20 feet, and I came back down. Unfortunately Michael couldn't recall this one location, but by building my "Ontario's Fire Towers" site I was able to locate the tower in North Bay. To see a photo of it go to my Tv Land page.
|This is the studio sound stage north of Kleinburg where the indoor scenes were filmed on set.|
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|Production of the Forest Rangers|
|Photos from the Show|
|The ASP Production crew set up for a scene shoot on the lot where Indian River's village set was located.|
|The crew at work looking up the main street of Indian River while Gordon Pinsent smiles for the camera. He stands in front of the RCMP office.|
|Barbara Hamilton as Ms. Aggie Apple poses in front of Indian River's local garage.|
|To see a group of photos I took on the studio lot in Kleinburg and some of the other locations in Ontario that were used click here.|