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"LIS" 2002 Obituary


LISHMAN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-11-28 published
Filmmaker produced animal magic
Canadian wildlife photographer set new standards for nature films kept beavers in his home
By Bill GLADSTONE Special to The Globe and Mail Thursday, November 28, 2002 Page R13
Bill CARRICK, a Toronto-area naturalist and wildlife photographer who coaxed beavers, ducks, fish, geese, polar bears and other animals into acting naturally in front of the camera, has died after an accidental fall on the rural property he rented in suburban Toronto. He was 81 years old.
An award-winning nature cinematographer whose short National Film Board of Canada production World in a Marsh (1956) set standards for nature films and was televised around the world, Mr. CARRICK became known as a skilled animal wrangler who could tame, train and otherwise prepare a wide range of species for work in film and television.
To many, the slight, unassuming naturalist seemed more at home around animals than with people; he literally made them part of his family. He proved a doting parent to generations of geese who followed him around as though he was their father, and at various times took polar bear cubs, beavers and other animals into his home.
He was the first to discover that geese that had lost the migratory instinct could be trained to fly south in autumn alongside an ultralight aircraft, a phenomenon that inspired the popular 1995 movie Fly Away Home.
Limber and energetic even as an octogenarian, he had been planning to retire to write his memoirs. He was dismantling a film set in his big barn-sized studio when he fell from a lighting grid on Oct. 2. He died five days later.
Author Farley MOWAT, who met him through a birdwatching club in the late 1940s, still expresses regret that a lack of funding prevented him from joining the tundra adventure that was the basis of his celebrated book, People of the Deer.
"I thought then, and I think now, that he was one of the most significant people in the business of wildlife photography, and continued to be throughout his life," Mr. MOWAT said.
Born in Toronto in 1920, Mr. CARRICK grew up near the city's Monarch Park, where he went birdwatching; he also belonged to a camera club. He attended Northern Vocational School, trained as a machinist as his father had done, and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at 19.
Stationed in Newfoundland, he was part of a party sent to salvage a wrecked plane in Labrador. Marooned for nine days because of high seas, they survived on a diet of jack rabbits. While in the air force he trained as a pilot but never got to fly, and designed a bomb hoist for aircraft that remained in long use.
Resuming civilian life, he studied biology at the University of Toronto for a year, then took a job as a photographer for Ducks Unlimited in Manitoba. In 1949, he filmed the pheasant hunt on Ontario's Pelee Island for a television show. Its huge success prompted its sponsor, Carling Breweries, to commission him to make more films on sporting subjects.
Other prize assignments followed, including several waterfowl documentaries for Ducks Unlimited and a series on the Birds of Canada for the National Film Board of Canada. White Wilderness,a prestigious Disney production shot on northern Hudson Bay, brought him into close contact with polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and narwhals.
"His main strength was that he was very innovative and he used the camera extremely well," said Michael SPENCER, a retired National Film Board of Canada producer. "His extraordinary patience was one of the most amazing things about him. He would sit for hours in a blind . . . waiting for a bird to return to its nest. You can't direct that kind of action, you have to wait for it to happen."
For World in a Marsh, he built an underwater housing for the camera and used the wheels and handle of an old gramophone to roll it along a track from a boat to the water. Sound engineers ventured into the marsh on rafts to record bird songs and other noises, which was then considered a pioneering technique.
Although Mr. CARRICK always strove for authenticity on the screen, he once took part in an elaborate fakery that depicted lemmings committing mass suicide, a fiction that was at one time passed off as a natural spectacle.
Since the production was based in southern Alberta, far from the lemming's Arctic habitat, the team had only a few dozen of the furry rodents at their disposal. To magnify the numbers, the crew filmed the animals pouring forth in profusion as they ran along a large circular track; then showed them disappearing beyond a sharp rise to create the illusion that they were rushing over a cliff. For a parting shot, the handlers dumped some dead lemmings into the water and showed them bobbing pathetically below a cliff, apparently drifting out to sea. The deception worked brilliantly.
"It was all fiction," Mr. CARRICK told friend Oliver BERTIN in "Everyone always believed he engineered that scene. It was one of those myths that becomes perpetuated," said Mr. BERTIN, who is a Globe and Mail reporter. "Bill was there during filming, and probably had a part in it, but he became more uncomfortable about it as the years went by."
In the early 1970s, he and his wife brought a bevy of young beavers into their home for a proposed movie about the legendary Canadian outdoorsman Grey Owl. Not surprisingly, their toothy house guests chewed the kitchen woodwork to bits. From then on, he always kept a supply of Canada's favourite mascot on hand: His beaver shows were in great demand, especially on Canada Day. When Grey Owl was made in 1998, he supplied the baby beavers that appeared in scenes with actor Pierce BROSNAN.
He had equally cordial relations with geese. Knowing that newly hatched goslings form a bond of dependency with the first living creature they encounter, he imprinted generations of geese upon himself. Then he rigged up a wind tunnel so that geese could be photographed in apparent soaring flight from only inches away.
After the birds had become acclimatized to engine noise, he trained them to fly behind his speedboat on Ontario's Lake Scugog, which, in turn, led to the realization that they could be trained to fly with an ultralight aircraft. Bill LISHMAN, an Ontario environmentalist and ultralight pilot, later escorted several gaggles from Canada to wintering grounds in the southern United States, as highlighted in Fly Away Home. Mr. CARRICK, who also flew an ultralight, supplied the geese and was an integral consultant during the film's production.
Over the past decade he had attempted to apply the same induced-migration technique to trumpeter swans, but the province effectively clipped his wings by cancelling his permit to keep waterfowl on his property. He soon regained the permit and continued to work on efforts to restore the the sandhill crane and the trumpeter swan into areas of their former habitat in Southern Ontario.
From 1963 to 1972, he designed and managed the Cortwright Waterfowl Park in Guelph, Ont., and later helped organize the African compounds of the Metro Toronto Zoo. He also worked on several Imax productions and provided footage for shows such as the Audubon Wildlife Theatre and Lorne Greene's New Wilderness. His cinematic awards include a 1960 American Film Festival Blue Ribbon Award for World in a Marsh.
He was married in 1954 to Mary HEARST, a biologist who worked closely with him. They separated 20 years ago, but she resumed helping him with his animals about six years ago. He also leaves son James, daughter Jean Jess and sisters Bernice and Beverley.
William Henesey CARRICK, naturalist and wildlife photographer born Nov. 14, 1920, in Toronto; died Oct. 7, 2002, Toronto.

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LISINSKI o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2002-12-28 published
GUTHRIE, Joseph Horace -- Peacefully at the Credit Valley Hospital on Thursday, December 26, 2002 at the age of 85. Beloved husband of the late Elma. Loving father of Nancy and her husband Robert LISINSKI of Flamborough. Dear grandfather of Shawn (Sarah) and Stacy (Matt). Dear brother of Richard. He will be sadly missed by his family and Friends. A funeral service will be held in the chapel of Skinner and Middlebrook Ltd., 128 Lakeshore Rd. E. (1 block west of Hurontario St.) Mississauga (Parking off Ann St.) on Saturday, December 28, 2002 at 1: 30 p.m. Visitation 1 hour prior to the service. Interment Saint John's Dixie Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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LISSACK o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2002-12-20 published
LISSACK, John G. -- In loving memory. Wonderful memories woven in gold, this is a picture I tenderly hold. Deep in my heart a memory is kept, to love, to cherish and to never forget. You are deeply missed. -- With all my love, your wife, Patricia

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