Backstage Vancouver: A Century of Entertainment Legends


190 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-55017-334-0
DDC 791'.092'20971133





Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


The live entertainment scene in Vancouver dates back more than a
century, to the opening of the first opera house shortly after the city
was incorporated in 1886. It and later theatres were on the vaudeville
touring circuits of the best-known and most eccentric international
stars for decades. When vaudeville gave way to movies, legendary
promoters Ivan Ackery and Hugh Pickett continued to bring screen stars,
world-class musicians, and other well-known performers to town for the
entertainment of Vancouver’s growing population.

Radio DJ Red Robinson, who is credited with introducing rock ’n’
roll to Canada, has spent 50 years in close association with the
household names of the popular music world, and he has the photos and
anecdotes to prove it. He and writer Greg Potter produced this lavishly
illustrated history to draw attention to Vancouver’s rich
entertainment heritage, hoping that the value of its stories and
memorabilia will be recognized and preserved before they are lost.

The book includes a vast amount of historical detail about the bands
and performers Red met over the years, as well as colourful
reminiscences—his own and those of others in the show biz
industry—that give not-always-flattering glimpses into the real
personalities of larger-than-life entertainers.

The roughly chronological organization of the material highlights
styles and trends well as they come and go, but makes the detailed index
essential for locating information about any particular individual.


Potter, Greg, and Red Robinson., “Backstage Vancouver: A Century of Entertainment Legends,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 2, 2023,