In Loving Memory of Gordon Tootoosis

Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our dear friend Gordon Tootoosis, who just yesterday passed away. Gordon was a beautiful man with a generous heart. Our cast, crew and production team will miss his giving nature and tireless support of Wapos Bay. Gordon’s presence filled the world of Wapos Bay with magic, his voice and his spirit made us feel a part of something larger than a television program, in short he created magic around him that we are proud to share with children and families around the world.

Gordon was with Wapos Bay from the beginning playing the character Mushom.  The production team always looked forward to his recording sessions.  The animators embodied his mannerism that were captured within the audio. Gordon’s guidance was instrumental in crafting our Mushom character.

He was acclaimed for his commitment to preserving his culture and to telling his people’s stories. Gordon ensured this would happen when he would come in a second time to record his Mushom character in the Cree language. He was very happy to provide this as it was at the top of his mind for his own grandchildren and great grandchildren. Gordon offered encouragement, support and training to our young aspiring Aboriginal actors on Wapos Bay. His contributions to the Aboriginal community, as well as to the cultural community in Canada, cannot be measured.

Hiy, hiy Gordon.

Here are a couple of our favourite clips of Gordon as Mushom:

Dennis Jackson on his Canada AM gig

The idea of a national news program (Canada AM) covering a national native organization’s election (Assembly of Sovereign Indian Federations A.S.I.F.) struck me as funny and at the same time, why not? While the national news does cover the Assembly of First Nations (A.F.N.) election results, I thought it would be unique and some room for comedy if the news anchors were physically there at the elections themselves. In an early draft, they were written as reporter #1 and reporter #2. As a fan of the show, I rewrote the opening to have the Canada AM reporters, Beverly Thomson, Seamus O’Regan, Jeff Hutcheson and Marci Ien. We then contacted the producers of Canada AM, sent them a script and requested their participation in voicing their own characters for our animated children’s program. It was an incredible honor when they accepted and we recorded them at the CTV studios when we were in Toronto for the Gemini awards, which we also won for best writing!

Melanie and myself were star struck when we first met all four of them on November 2nd, 2010. We went through a quick table reading before the actual recording so that they can familiarize themselves with the dialogue and I can answer any questions they may have. We all had a lot of laughs during the recording as everyone was cracking jokes and laughing at the bloopers. During one of Jeff Hutcheson’s takes, I said, “That was good, we’ll just get another take for safety”, after which Jeff replied jokingly, “Oh okay, that must be director talk for, that sucked.” I couldn’t stop laughing. They were very professional and made our visit a lot of fun and humorous. We also received a tour of the CTV studios, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We have recently animated some of their scenes and I can’t wait until the Canada AM crew can watch their animated performances!

Here are a few photos from that day…