Charles and the Charles River

I suppose the first entry on this “I Am What I Play” blog should have coincided with the first official day of shooting.  We confess that we have already shot some days with David Marsden in Toronto.  I’m not sure if we count the day back in March when Marsden was inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcasting Hall of Fame (  We were there with our camera but at the time, the budget for our film wasn’t even finalized – we just knew we had to capture this event anyway.  So, it didn’t really have that “official first day” vibe to it.  So was the official start of shooting the first interview day with Marsden last month?   Our DOP, David Cain ( expressed surprise that I had scheduled 3 hours for the interview.  “I’ve never shot an interview that lasted longer than an hour.  Three hours is a long interview!”  The sound man concurred.  I explained that our subjects are rock radio DJ’s.  They know how to talk.

Among many claims to fame, Marsden is best known as the creator of modern rock station CFNY.  We spent 3 hours with him on a September afternoon and only just got to the point where he is about to join CFNY!  I rest my case.  We also have shot an evening at Marsden’s radio station, 94.9 The Rock, where he hosts The Marsden Theatre, every Saturday and Sunday evening (  We will schedule more with David in November and we shall blog in detail about the magic of Marsden.

But some might say that the real shooting begins when you leave the comforts of your hometown and hit the road – or, in this case, the airport, U.S. visas and carnet in hand.  We spent a week in Boston (aka Bah-ston) October 9-16 and explored the life of one of our four guys – the legendary Charles Laquidara (WBCN).   He was charming and a fine storyteller, weaving tales of a struggling actor in Hollywood making it big on Boston radio, complete with several false firings and a couple years of cocaine-induced inactivity.  Also met the unforgettable Oedipus, former WBCN Program Director, and the man who hosted the first punk rock radio show in America.

Attempts to land an interview with the enigmatic Peter Wolf of J Geils Band proved unsuccessful.  In the late 60’s, Wolf had been the overnight DJ on WBCN before leaving to pursue J Geils full-time.  In came Charles Laquidara who eventually moved to mornings, where he would remain until 1996 when he completed a smooth segue to sister station WZLX in order to make way for Howard Stern on WBCN.

With the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, Woody Allen served as the inspiration in that shooting was always wrapped up in time to watch the games (Woody shuts down production early on New York Knicks game days).  Cold Sam Adams on tap of course!  This director was therefore less than enthusiastic when pressured to rise at 5:00 am one morning so that our esteemed cinematographer could be at the ready on the Cambridge side of the Charles River in order to secure his money shot time lapse of the sun coming up over the pristine buildings of downtown Boston.  In retrospect, I’m of course glad Mr Cain pushed for this.  Laquidara was after all a morning man.

I feel like we finally got a sense of Boston – the city that, according to Laquidara, requires three GPS’s to navigate.  We settled for one $100 purchase at Radio Shack on Day 2, making our Production Manager, David Jermyn, a happy man.  Breakfasts at Buddy’s; Beers at The End of the World.  A little city and radio history in between.  Back in Toronto now.  Seattle and Pat O’Day await in December.   But more updates to come between now and then!

Former WBCN morning man Charles Laquidara (“The Big Mattress”) and Director Roger King “on the set”.

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