Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Entertainment & Performing Arts

Backstage Vancouver

A Century of Entertainment Legends

by (author) Greg Potter & Red Robinson

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Nov 2004
Entertainment & Performing Arts, Rock, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2004
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


They are all legendary entertainers who made stops in Vancouver, BC, leaving flakes of stardust behind. A wonderful horde of showbiz lore has accumulated over the decades but has been jealously guarded by industry insiders. For example, Coquitlam's Steelhead Lodge, a secluded fishing retreat, was frequented by the likes of Clark Gable and Kim Novak, whose surnames grace street signs in the neighbourhood to this day. Celebrated stage and screen star Sarah Bernhardt also came for the fishing, while African-American opera singer Marian Anderson loved attending hockey games. Comedians Jack Benny and Dick Martin met their future wives in Vancouver, and swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn met his maker. As Canada's first rock 'n' roll DJ, Red Robinson was a spirited and essential fixture of Vancouver's golden age of entertainment, meeting and befriending an all-star lineup of the twentieth century's top performers, and amassing a brilliant collection of photographs along the way. Backstage Vancouver collects these rarely seen photographs for the first time, and presents them in a breathtaking pictorial hardcover.

About the authors

Author and award-winning writer Greg Potter has covered pop culture since 1988 for publications including the Vancouver Sun, the Georgia Straight, the Vancouver Courier, Vancouver Magazine and TV Week. His first book, 1999's Hand Me Down World: The Canadian Pop-Rock Paradox, was a slapstick look at the evolution of the Canadian music industry. He plays guitar for folk-rockers Downland.

Greg Potter's profile page

Red Robinson was instrumental in introducing Canada to rock 'n' roll, starting out in high school as a disc jockey for CJOR radio in Vancouver. He later worked for CKWX, KGW-Television in Portland, Oregon, as well as C-ISL and C-FUN, becoming a wildly popular celebrity in his own right and a true Vancouver icon. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997. He lives in Langley, British Columbia.

Red Robinson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A fantastic book... Rare photographs are featured from various archives and personal collections that can't be found in any other books. An absorbing read, Backstage Vancouver captures the memorabilia and nostalgia of an era, a city, and the people who were there. With past acts like The Beatles and Louis Armstrong, to present day pop stars like Bryan Adams and Nickelback, it covers the entire spectrum of legends who got their start in Vancouver or merely passed through on their way to astounding stardom. Backstage Vancouver is a joy to read."
-Chelsea Green, The Nexus

The Nexus

"For less than a round of cocktails, Backstage Vancouver delivers many of the choice stories we ink-stained wretches have been gossiping about for decades. Potter spans an entertainment arc that encompasses everything from the city's first opera house to Ben Affleck's recent encounter with local strippers. Along the way, he touches on topics that range from Errol Flynn's final curtain call at the city morgue to the shameful fact that Louis Armstrong was once refused a room at the Hotel Vancouver. Whipping so much diverse information into shape is a daunting task ... this is an admirably smooth and well researched read. ... takes a double-barrelled approach to our rich cultural history, allowing locally based treasures like Robinson, Hugh Pickett, and Dal Richards to comment on their experiences with visiting celebrities. Who can resist Red reminiscing about taking Buddy Holly to the White Spot? Or Les Wiseman, that legendary chronicler of Vancouver's punk-rock scene, remembering an appearance by Iggy Pop at the Pender Ballroom? Not me."
-John Lekich, The Georgia Straight

Georgia Staight

"[Backstage Vancouver] is a charming book by authors who know this city well, and have done nothing less than a service to the Lower Mainland for their chronicle of our cultural life. There's no book like this, and it's long overdue. The pictures are absolutely a gem, and the stories are riveting and fascinating not only to Lower Mainlanders but by those outside."
-Joseph Planta, The Commentary (Top Ten Books of 2004 feature)

The Commentary