Stationbreak Magazine

Compiled by Ken Gibson for July 1st, 2018.
(with technical assistance from Bill Morris.)


Excerpts from AULD ACQUAINTANCES by Peggy Oldfield. 1998.

Jackson Davies

Many people wonder how a TV series about a Greek emigrant, an indigenous kid and a borderline psychopath fighting over stray logs could last 19 years and be seen all over the world. The answer of course is simple  … Canadian Government propaganda (or as it is known now Brand Enhancement). Now, through the Freedom of Information Act, we can finally know the truth.

Chapter 132.

How The Beachcombers TV series was used in 1978 to try to convince the USSR and the United States that Canada had a nuclear submarine program and had the ability to launch a nuclear arsenal.

The Beachcomber episode “Pax” number 7709 was broadcast in May 1978. Two weeks before on April 23, the former USSR performed a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk. This followed the Soviet satellite Kosmos 954 crashing in the Northwest Territories. The United States wanted Canada to react or they would, so Canada had to push back and our government’s answer was once more, The Beachcombers and the episode Pax.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau, was the Prime Minister at the time, yes the same Trudeau who, baby Justin in arms, had secret meetings in B.C in 1972, on the private yacht Norsal, that some would say steered the political direction of The Beachcombers. It was the same Norsal, that in a few months would play an important role in the first Beachcomber episode, and yes, the same Norsal that sank under suspicious circumstances in Dec 1990, ten days after the final episode of the series was broadcast.

Obviously the only way to get respect from the U.S. and the Soviets was to make them think you were going to respond with nuclear weapons.  Even though we didn’t have any, the Canadian government wanted them to think that we not only had a nuclear submarine but it also had nuclear weapons. It wasn't a secret that The Beachcombers had a large audience south of the U.S./ Canadian border, and, like all foreign programming, it was being monitored by the CIA and the Russians. As not to draw attention to the plot, the series was said to be over budget and the answer was a show where only Nick (Bruno Gerussi) appeared on screen along with three voice over actors, one location and limited movement. The show started off with one of a series of eight UFO sightings Nick saw during the series. This was also a set up for UFO shows to come as the Canadian government was conditioning the audience on how the government would explain that phenomenon.

(See The End of the World  Part One #8406, and, surprisingly because I guess it didn’t end, Part Two #8407)
Photo 1 even though there were no photographs allowed to be taken, two were taken.  I can’t tell you by who but his initials were Rob Keeling. For security reasons I can’t name the crew members but you can fill in the blanks.

The show starred number 477 Canada's nuclear, or, as we called them in the 70's, Atomic submarine. The onboard computer called PAX, Canada’s answer to HAL, believed the UFO was a U.S. attack and. while getting into position to respond, was grounded off Gibsons. This would let the CIA know that we could and would respond to American aggression with fire and fury, and not be weak and dishonest. OK maybe we were being a tad dishonest with a plywood submarine.

There is symbolism throughout the episode, withNick (Canada?) getting caught with his pants down, and PAX having information about every citizen and especially foreigners who were considered security risks.  The U.S. was playing the part of  the enemy in these war games which Canada hadn't won in 20 years. The ship that won those games in 1958 was the St. Laurent, the first modern warship built in Canada. That we were building warships also didn't please the Americans as they didn't want competition in building destroyers or planes (remember the Avro Aero?) and in 1978 they considered Canada to be a security risk, even though the St. Laurent did track a Cuban bound Soviet task force in 1969 that was passing through Canadian waters.

Even though the PAX (the computer) wanted to surrender (think Phoenix pay system ) and let the U.S. win as always, Nick refused to take orders from a computer and in true Beachcombers style used good old Canadian ingenuity that saved the day. Who would have thought that logs could float a nuclear submarine and help Canada win the propaganda and the war games!

There were some production problems: the submarine almost sank twice (just a bit of irony there)

(Photo 2 shows The Beachcomber crew desperately trying to save PAX from flipping over and sinking)

Some thought that there was an American sympathizer on the crew who had tried to sabotage the shoot, but that was never proven. 

The Director of this episode, Anthony Perris, is credited with only one other show, an episode of The Littlest Hobo, titled The Defector ... and then he seemed to disappear from the industry, returned to South Africa and is writing books on acting.

There has always been a discussion if the original producer, Philip Keatley, and the stars of the series, Bruno Gerussi and Robert Clothier, were part of the conspiracy to help destabilize the US government and promote Canadians values. I’m not going to comment on that but they all had offers to leave Canada and work in the States, but refused. Bruno had close ties to the NDP and Robert was a decorated WW2 RCAF bomber pilot. They and Philip were very proud Canadians.

The conflict between the lead characters could also be examined:  Nick, his indigenous partner Jesse and their boat, the slow but strong and determined  Persephone,* (the Greek God of Spring and also Queen of the Underworld) mirror Canada.  Sure we may not be the fastest or flashiest but our ingenuity, strength and fair play will always win in the end.  Relic is pushy, dishonest, and unscrupulous with his loud, flashy and obnoxious jet boat, so American it didn't even need a name.

Notes on PAX 1978
Aired May 7, 1978
Written by Merv Campone
Directed Anthony Perris
Starring Bruno Gerussi
Skipper: Terry Kelly
Number one:
Merv Campone
PAX: Not listed (for security reasons)

Canada has never had a Nuclear Submarine.  Canada withdrew three of the four nuclear-capable weapons systems by 1972, the same year The Beachcombers went on the air. The single system retained the Air-2 Genie delivered 1.5 kiloton of force, and was designed to strike enemy aircraft as opposed to ground targets, and may not qualify as a weapon of mass destruction given its limited yield.   Canada has not officially maintained and possessed weapon of mass destruction since 1984

 Jackson Davies (born 17 March 1950) is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his role as RCMP Constable John Constable in the television series The Beachcombers which he reprised in the TV movies The New Beachcombers (2002) and A Beachcombers Christmas (2004). Originally from Wetaskiwin, Alberta and now living in Vancouver, BC, he has acted in over 160 stage shows in most of the major theatres in Canada. He has appeared in over 300 TV shows and been in 30 TV movies and feature films.
Jackson is the vice president of the Union of BC Performers / ACTRA, the past vice chair of the BC Arts Council and a faculty member in both the Performing Arts and Motion Picture Arts programs at Capilano University. He is an Honorary Sergeant of the RCMP, a rarely bestowed designation. The picture above is from the 90's when he went undercover for the RCMP to help stop mullet smuggling!

The Book:  BRUNO AND THE BEACH  The Beachcombers at 40.
Written by co-creator Marc Strange and series actor Jackson Davies with a foreword by Michael J. Fox, this book offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of those who gathered at Molly's Reach in Gibsons, B.C. and shaped a national pastime.  The remarkable saga of The Beachcombers - or "Beach"- would never have unfolded without the show's larger-than-life star, Bruno Gerussi (Nick Adonidas). His passionate battles to keep the show on air for nearly twenty years were as dramatic as anything that occurred on camera.

 Remember the Beachcomber Party for the Bruno Gerussi Anniversary Fund 20 years ago?  Check below in Auld Acquaintances for details.

                             ITEMS FROM STATIONBREAK JULY - SEPTEMBER 1998.

From Scott Stewardson: "The CBC Vancouver Sports Softball Club's Annual Report. Our season ended with the Sunset Softball League Final Tournament and the Rally at Robinson's Team Barbecue. The weather and spirit were fantastic for both events. The team was well represented with 20 players and our score keeper Pearl Hurst. We all witnessed Hall of Fame softball moments such as Dave Tonner's horizontal catch, Greg Schofield's blazing speed, Scott Stewardson's towering hit and Rita Marshall's exacting stop at second base. Fans could not stop talking about Chris Robinson's on base percentage, Rhonda Stewardson's Texas League hits, Rob Markley's full extended swing and Gary Prendergast's strong arm. The other teams were frustrated by Bob Glumac's change up, Brad Marshall's fine drives, Dave Hurst's sure hands and Carey Murphy's pitch selection. The next morning's papers reported on Clive Bottomley's accurate arms, Bill Waterlout's aggressive base running, Cheryl Moore's slugging percentage and Amanda Pfeiffer's sure grip on the bat. As we were driving home, one of the radio stations could not believe Norma Imagawa's hustle, Joe Lorenzo's baseball sense and Harold Dupuis' commitment ... he finished the game despite back injury. Kim Dutchak, Alison Vansacker and Lawrence Wright were deeply missed but played a great regular season for the club. The most valuable players as selected by members of the opposing teams were Bob Glumac and Cheryl Moore. Congratulations to them both."
From Heather Dundas: "1998 CBC Golf Tourney a Hit! Thank you all for your contributions and efforts in making this year's golf tournament a great sucvcess. The Men's Champion score 72 was hit by Ross McKay, Women's Champion was Liliane Brunet with a 77, Men's Low Net winner, which is a handicapped score, was Andrew Newell (AFM) and the Women's Low Net was Linda Earl with a 73. The Longest Drive - Men - was won by Randy Raimondo, the Longest Drive - Women - was won by Cathy Newall (AFM). After a great buffet dinner at Newlands Club House, plus prizes and trophies, we continued upstairs to the lounge where Lou Normandeau and his group had us all up dancing tlll midnight. See you all next year!"
Bon chance to Kevin Evans, now Vice President for Government Affairs for the Retail Council of Canada. Au revoir to Tom Winstanley who is being transferred to Toronto. Scott Stewardson takes on supervision of TV Technical Maintenance and TV Operations. Welcome back Tom Sloan, returning to staff in TV Master Control. Also to Kimberley Dutchak who is now with Sales slotting commercials in programs for at least 6 months. She replaces Dwayne Noseworthy who has returned to St. John. Kudos to Gloria Macarenko whose coverage on the National of the Swissair plane disaster off Peggy's Cove was picked up and broadcast by CNN. Taking the CEP/CBC Union training course "on course" at the CWA Training Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario, in August were Joe Cranswick (lighting course), Bob Glumac( fibre optics), Ron Taylor (VJ course), new reporter Duncan McCue (journalism) , Michael Ho (JAVA - computers) and Peter Dobo (director course). Liz Hughes, Doug Rushton's other half, was a trainer for the Media Management course. Peter Dobo and Brad Marshall have been directing the 6pm News while Ken Stewart was away on holidays. Exotic holidays: Kate Wells back with glowing reports about Thailand. Likewise Peter Layton from two months in Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa. Linda (Cheng) and Harold Dupuis are driving around France. Michael Ho recently returned from Malaysia. Welcome to Catherine Gage who is replacing Derek Gardner as Operations Manager for Broadcast One. From Derek: "Why did I leave? I loved 60% of the TV News operations job. Fixing problems, helping people, organizing - that part was great. The number crunching, and there was lots of it, was something I'm not good at, I didn't enjoy it and I wasn't doing it well. Time for me to practise what I preach - if you don't enjoy a job and you're not doing it well, you shouldn't be doing it. So this is me now "not doing it." I had great support from people in Radio, ProFac and Scheduling. My peers and supervisers never let me down, they were always there before I got in over my head. And of course my co-workers in Broadcast One, a wonderful bunch of caring journalists and technicians who, despite a shrunken budget and in the country's most competitive market, keep producing some of Canada's best journalism. It was a great experience, please don't take my name off the phone list. I'd like to come back!""


CBC Radio started in 1936 and CBC Television in 1952. Even if you haven't been around that long, you might enjoy this look into the Corporate Memory Vault and try your hand at this CBC Nostalgia Quiz.

1. Name the regular series that was set in "South Central Southern Saskatchewan."
2. Which show started with a knock on the door and a voice asking "Who's there?"
3. Name the Vancouver-based show which featured songs from the London music halls and the Great White Way.
4. Name the popular dramatic series which changed its name every year.
5. Whose wartime CBC Newscasts earned him the title "The Voice of Doom?"

1. Name the live TV drama which starred James Doohan who later became Scotty on "Star Trek."
2. Which Vancouver-based series gave Chief Dan George his first TV exposure?
3. The cancellation of these two CBC-TV shows caused questions to be asked in the House of Commons.
4. Name the actor who played Louis Riel, Romeo, a Greek log salvager and hosted a TV cooking show.
5. In 1976, CBC Vancouver debuted a disastrous talkshow for the network. What was it called and who was the host?

The correct answers may be found further down.

The Bruno Gerussi Bursary Fund was created with the consent of the Gerussi family to continue Bruno's legacy of helping young people advance their acting careers and specifically to provide bursaries to BC students in need of financial assistance while attending the National Theatre School of Canada. The Bursary committee includes some familiar CBC names; Joe Batista, Jackson Davies, Daryl Duke, Diana Filer, John Juliani and Donna Logan. The Committee is sponsoring a "Beachcomber Party" at the Bayshore Inn and all proceeds will go to Bruno's Fund. Dinner will feature menu items from Bruno's favourite recipes and stars of the evening will include Jim Byrnes, Jackson Davies, Vicki Gabereau, Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen and other guest artists. Otto and Barbara Lowy are on a Vancouver-London-Rome flight where they picked up a cruise ship for two weeks of travel around the Mediterranean and stops at the Black Sea resorts of Yalta and Odessa. Hope he remembered to ask for the low-fat caviar! Mike O'Neill, Joe Cranswick, Ray Renning, Judi Grindlay, Mike and Peggy Oldfield were on hand at the Vancouver Rowing Club's salmon barbeque to wish Tom Houston smooth sailing for the long journey on his yacht down the coast to the Baja Peninsula. Prior to their '98 Telethon, Patsy and Gordon Gill are spending a week in Mauii and three weeks in Melbourne, Australia. Saltspring resident Marv Coulthard after 40 years has bought the toy of his dreams ... a Morgan! He's busy building a garage for that and his '76 Ford van which is undergoing its 4th repaint job and retrofit. As a follow-up to holidays in England, Greece and Turkey, Ken Gibson is headed for three weeks in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Congratulations to Al Berardo and wife Rita who are on a four month tour of Italy in celebration of their 25th Wedding Anniversary. Movie News: You'll see Michael Bolton's credit as Production Designer for Leslie Nielson's latest caper "Wrongfully Accused." John Willett is Production Designer for the current film "Halloween H20." His past credits include Art Director for "The Firm" and " Mississippi Burning." Doug Higgins is Production Designer on the space adventure "Max Q." Shirley Cole is Floor Manager for two VTV series The Jim Byrnes Show and Dreamseekers, currently being shot at CBC on weekends. Bob Akester was recently re-appointed to the Board of Governors of the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Al and Barbara Vitols have decided to make Vancouver Island their home, choosing Sidney as the place to put down roots. Although Toronto was home for some years, Mike Morgan and his wife Dawn have contentedly settled back here in French Creek between Parksville and Qualicum on Vancouver Island. Bob and Audrey Service became grandparents for the first time when daughter Joanne gave birth to an 8lbs 13oz boy, John Allan Service, to be called Jack by his family. Judi Grindlay and husband Sandy are having a relaxing summer ripping out floors, walls and ceilings among other things in their North Vancouver home. Tom Robinson did a tour of wine country through the Napa Valley to California. Hopefully the vintage bubbly wasn't served at room temperature which was 113 degrees Fahrenheit!
Ta ta for now and be talkin' to you in the next issue.

"Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."
"Her staff would follow her anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity."
"I would not allow this employee to breed."
"This associate is not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won't be."
"Works well when under constant supervision and cornered lke a rat in the trap."
"When she opens her mouth, it seems rhat this is only to change whatever foot was previously there."
"He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
"This lady has delusions of adequacy."
"This person sets low personal standards and then constantly fails to achieve them."
"This employee should go far and the sooner the better."
"This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."


1. "Jake and the Kid" starring John Drainie.
2. The Happy Gang.
3. "From Leicester Square to Broadway" with Eric Vale as The Old Stager.
4. Andrew Allen's "Stage" series which always bore the number of the current year in its title. Thus, you had Stage '51, Stage '52, Stage '53, etc.
5. Lorne Greene, who later became Pa Cartwright on "Bonanza."

1. Arthur Haley's "Flight into Danger" on the series General Motors Presents. The plot about a flight crew poisoned by tainted food was later spoofed in the film "Airplane."
2. "Cariboo Country."
3. "This Hour Has Seven Days" and "Don Messer's Jubilee."
4. Bruno Gerussi.
5. "90 Minutes Live" hosted by Peter Gzowski.