GETTING MORE TALE #738: Mike and Bob’s Cross-Kitchener Adventure
September 29, 1990.
Mike and Bob rented a video camera at Steve’s TV. That afternoon, they began filming (full title) Mike and Bob’s Excellent Cross-Kitchener Adventure Part II. They recruited amateur film maker (and Mike’s sister) Kathryn (Cujo 3: Revenge of the Schnauzer) to tape their adventure. The result has, 29 years later, finally been edited down by Mike into a proper director’s cut.
It started with us and an idea. We wanted to show off our home town to our friends living elsewhere in Ontario. The best way to do that was with a video.
Bob and I spent the afternoon driving around Kitchener in his Dodge Daytona, with Kathryn on camera, tunes blasting. Bryan Adams, Northern Pikes, Barney Bentall, Grapes of Wrath and…Wilson Phillips…. Wilson Phillips? Driver picks the tunes. That’s always been the rule. For once, I’m proud to say I didn’t have my license yet. It means I can’t claim to have picked Wilson Phillips!
Downtown Kitchener is familiar, but completely transformed today. In our film, we captured both Sam the Record Man and Dr. Disc, just down the street from one another. Neither exist anymore. Dutch Boy, the old movie theatres, stores and restaurants disappeared years ago but at least we got them on tape.
We stopped by Grand River Collegiate Institute, so you can see what it looked like (on the outside) almost 30 years ago. Stanley Park Mall, before complete renovation, is another filming location. Back then, “JohnnyCash” machines were some of the first popular bank ATMs. Today, younger people often don’t believe me they were real. They were real, and here’s one in our movie! Off to Pioneer Sports World, which today is a nothing more than a shopping plaza with restaurants and outlet stores. In 1990, it had a water park, mini-golf, driving range, video arcade, and go-karts. All of this is gone now, but preserved in our little movie.
The old McDonalds on Victoria Street was torn down long ago, but we were recording when we stopped for fries. Our order came to $5.38 total. Kathryn couldn’t resist taking a break from the camera and heading into the McDonalds Play Place. It was always a sad time when you realized you were too big for the Play Place. Looks like for Kathryn, that day may have been September 29, 1990.*
For personal history, I’m glad to find my old bedroom still preserved on film. There it is, my old stereo. My tiny record collection! About 15 to 20 LPs in there? My old posters. A decent model tank diorama. My old Judas Priest shirt, the first rock shirt I ever owned. Another shirt discovered in this movie did not survive. Oh, and there’s the cutest (but grumpiest Schnauzer in history), Crystal Belle.
We also visited Kitchener’s most controversial landmark: “Aphoria”, a worm-shaped piece of art in front of the old courthouse. We certainly made our feelings about the monument known in our film. My position hasn’t changed much since.
Admittedly, we didn’t put much effort into making Mike and Bob’s Cross-Kitchener Adventure at the time. We only had the camera for a day. It’s what our old film teacher Mrs. Beckman would have called “just some kids goofing off.” True, but maybe with 30 years’ time, that has some value now. We didn’t script anything; we had no way of editing it, so there didn’t seem much point. We had to just film everything in sequence and what we had on tape was what we got. Before transferring it to digital, the movie was an hour long, and completely unwatchable to anyone but us. I’ve since sunk several hours into Mike and Bob’s Cross-Kitchener Adventure, and I think I may have salvaged it. At 32 minutes, this is more like what we would have done at the time if we had a way to edit tape.
If you’ve read this far, I’m not going to beg you to watch Mike and Bob’s Cross-Kitchener Adventure. Old friends that remember those days will not want to miss it. Most won’t care. Whichever category you fall in, I recorded an audio commentary track to go with it (which helps a lot). Choose which version to watch from the videos below. Or watch both!
* The date was determined thanks to the film. I had an old Hit Parader calendar and I mention that it was Alex Skolnick from Testament’s birthday. That made it September 29, 1990. This jives with the colour of the leaves and my own memory of the day.