"Jay Silverheels: The Man Beside The Mask" willpremiere in Canada on History Television, Wednesday, February 9 at 9 pm Eastern and Pacific time. This one hour biography tells the life story of Jay Silverheels, born Harry Smith, from his early years on the Six Nations Reserve in Brantford, Ontario, through his exciting sports careers through his days on the little and big screen. Best known for his role as the stoic Tonto in "The Lone Ranger" TV series from 1949 to 1956, Jay Silverheels in fact started out in the movies. His early bit parts put him on screen with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Shelley Winters, Tyrone Powers, Alan Ladd and other cinema greats. But by the 1950s, Silverheels was getting to be a known actor in his own right in they heyday of western films. The film also addresses 'the buckskin' curtain that Silverheels faced. Ironically, the fact that he looked 'Indian' helped start his career, but later Hollywood stereotyping stopped him from working outside the western genre. In later life, Jay Silverheels co-founded the innovative Indian Actors' Workshop in Los Angeles, and helped a new generation of actors get farther in the movie business than he ever dreamed.
Two of Jay Silverheel's children, his brothers, nieces, nephews and childhood friends help create an intimate portrait of the man who started life dreaming of being an athlete. Former "Lone Ranger" John Hart spins wonderful tales of life on the set of the early TV show, and Jay's acting proteges speak about the man who inspired them to become actors. And Clayton Moore's biographer, Frank Thompson, gives us a revealing glimpse into the world of 1950s TV and film.
"Jay Silverheels: The Man Beside The Mask" is a one hour TV documentary produced by Great North Productions in Edmonton, Albert, for History Television. The producers of the show are Patricia Phillips and Carrie Madu-Beley of Great North Productions. Maureen Marovitch and David Finch of Picture This Productions wrote and directed. Andrei Khabad was the director of photography and Jason Levy, the editor.
There is no U.S. air date confirmed at this time, but Jay Silverheels fans can order copies of the documentary directly from History Television through Viewer Services at 1-877 Viewer1 (1-877-843-9371) or directly through the History Television Boutique at http://www.historytelevision.ca.