Adventures In Rainbow Country TV Series (Some Mining Themed Episodes: 1970-1971)

Adventures in Rainbow Country – From the Winnipeg Free Press, Sep 19, 1970.

The rugged beauty of Canada’s north country is truly captured for the first time on television in Adventures in Rainbow Country, a new 26-week color film series, centring on the life and escapades of a 14-year-old boy growing up amid the splendor and the challenge of the land around northern Lake Huron, Ont. It begins on CBC television, Sept. 20.

Filmed entirely on location — there is not a single studio sequence — Adventures in Rainbow Country features a large cast of exclusively Canadian actors. Through a unique co-production enterprise, the 30-minute films will be seen on the English television network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; in a dubbed version on the CBC’s French network; and will bring a vivid picture of the real Canadian outdoors to television audiences in Britain, Australia, Germany and a number of other countries.

Starring in Rainbow Country are Stephen Cottier, 15, as Billy Williams (Stephen was chosen from among several hundred boys auditioned); Lois Maxwell as his mother, Nancy and Susan Conway, 17, as Billy’s sister Hannah, Buckley Petawabano, 19, as Billy’s Indian friend Pete Gawa, Wally Koster as Dennis Mogubgub, a daring bush pilot Albert Millaire as Roger Lemieux, a photographerwriter covering the north, and Alan Mills as Dougal MacGregor, an expert Great Lakes tugboat skipper.

The series is produced by Manitou Productions, Ltd., a newly-formed Canadian organization, with the CBC, ABC Television Films Ltd., and the Australian Broadcasting Commission as co-partners financing the project.

In story material, Rainbow Country exploits its magnificent, locale, the dynamic forces that are opening Canada’s north to new people and enterprises, and the legends and lore of the Ojibway Indian people of the Whitefish River tribe on whose magnificent land the series has been filmed Specific shows centre on Billy and his friend shooting rapids on the trail followed by the early voyageur explorers; skydiving; the rescue of Billy from a night of fear lost in the bush; and the plight of a sailor from an oppressed country who jumps his ship and steals Dougal’s tug.

Young Star Jobless – (Canadian Press) as published in the Winnipeg Free Press, Jun 9, 1971

Stephen Cottier dropped out of school to pursue an acting career, received thousands of fan letters is a star in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television series Rainbow Country, but now is out of work and unable to bring himself to return to school.

Stephen was signed at the age of 15 to play the lead role in the CBC program which was dropped this year.

At 17, he now has no prospects for, work in television- “if I were a producer and had a part for a 17-year old I wouldn’t hire Stephen Cottier,” he says candidly.

“I wasn’t a very good actor, but I think I wasn’t given a chance,” he says of his role in Rainbow Country. He can’t understand why the CBC or CTV, the other Canadian television network, do not want to produce another Rainbow Country.

“It has been a great success, not only in Canada but internationally.”

It was well ranked on Canadian television ratings. As well, it is still a big hit in several European countries where Stephen finds himself given star status. Readers of the German television magazine Bravo voted him their No. 8 male performer. Only two of the big-name United States stars, Michael Cole of Mod Squad and Roy Thinnes of The Psychiatrists, were ahead of him.

He gets full-page magazine layouts in Germany, he says, but never in Canada.

“All I have to show is 26 shows of pure nothing.”

He’s in a quandary now because he fears that returning to school would be a return to an inferior station in life.

“When I was acting, I worked with adults and was treated as an adult. If I was to go back to school, I’d instantly have to go back to being lower than an adult, and saying ‘Sir.’ ”

He thinks of school in terms of a class system. “Going back into Grade 11 at 17, the kids would class me as a dropout, and thus lower class. School would mean changing the whole gearing system of my mind.”

He made an abortive attempt last year to return to the education system. His parents sent him to a drama school in England, but he left, unable to stand the concentration on stage rather than film techniques and despising “the turgid air of conservatism” in England.

Ironically, he believes his salvation, at least insofar as acting is concerned, may lie there.

He plans to go to England when the Rainbow Country series is shown there, in hopes that it will open doors to him.

“Here, you work once and you never work again, but there they like to keep their actors in the country. And they give you a lot more coverage, publicity.

“If I don’t get any work this summer or any way of learning something, then I’ll change the whole thing and do something else.”

If the television producers don’t like his acting, he can take solace in the fact that many young girls admire his blonde-haired, blue-eyed good looks.

Literally thousands of letters, most in schoolgirl English, are sent to him.

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