Odds & Sods

The sweet smell of success...
July 1, 2000

The sweet smell of success

Ron Mann of Toronto-based Sphinx Productions nearly saw his dream of a hometown showing of his film Grass go up in smoke.

The Ontario Film Review Board ruled to ban the feature doc – which chronicles the government’s criminalization of marijuana – based on one scene in which monkeys are shown smoking pot.

The prim-and-proper provincial organization claimed the filmmaker had violated regulations by abusing animals in the making of the film.

As it turns out, the scene is archival footage shot in 1970 by the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S. Upon appeal, the ofrb decided to overturn its original decision. (Wonder what made them relax?)

To catch a thief

Imagine you’ve just stolen a stash of antique goodies, and you want to know what it’s all worth. Then you hear that the Antiques Roadshow is going to be in town…

A brazen burglar in Middlesbrough, U.K., used that very logic and managed to get away scott-free, according to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Dressed as a ‘natty gent’ and wielding a virtual treasure trove of loot, the robber slipped in, got his items appraised – including a Victorian sweets basket valued at US$1,500 – and slipped out again.

The show’s producers only became aware of the mysterious thief that had been in their midst after local papers printed a police appeal for help in tracking down $30,500 worth of stolen antiques from a neighboring town.

The looter did run into one bit of hard luck – his items weren’t interesting enough to earn him a spot on the show.

Times were different then…

A Canadian couple who had their hearts set on spending a year living their version of the good life – as homesteaders on Pioneer Quest: A Year in the Real West (in the style of London-based Wall to Wall Production’s 1900 House) – have to remain in the world of modern conveniences instead.

According to a Canadian Press report, husband and wife team Pat and Tom Ziolkosky withdrew from the reality show – which will air on Canada’s Life Network and History Television – after Tom was charged by police with sexual assault. The alleged victim came forward the week the series was set to launch.

The show’s execs claim they did extensive background checks and psychological evaluations before selecting the candidates for the show. Another couple has been picked to take the Ziolkoskys’ place, and alongside one other lucky pair, will live off the land – pioneer-style – for the next 365 days. The grand prize for sticking it out is CDN$100,000 (US$68,000) – and sadly that’s not in yesteryear dollars.

Dare to bare it all

A new syndie strip called House Calls, set to debut in the fall, is taking voyeuristic TV to the next level – inside people’s minds. Produced by San Francisco-based Chris-Craft/United Television in association with Jonathan Goodson Productions in Hollywood, each episode features psychiatrist Irvin Wolkoff going into someone’s home to help them confront a personal crisis. Buena Vista Television has cleared the show in more than 75% of the U.S.

And for those who are only comfortable revealing their physical selves, USA Broadcasting is producing a new game show called Strip Poker. Each team of players must answer trivia questions; for each wrong answer, players remove a piece of clothing. Of course, most viewers will only watch it for the trivia.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.