Elk Point's Movie Star
How many of our newer residents know that Elk Point was once the home of a Hollywood movie star? His name was Vernon Gray, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Art Raham. Mr. Raham was our C.N.R. station agent during the late 1940's and early 1950's.Vernon attended school in Elk Point during the late 1940's. His main interest was in "acting" and while he attended high school he took part in many drama club plays. Upon his graduation from high school he moved to the United States where he enrolled in various drama schools. His main desire was to become an actor. Upon finishing his drama course, he appeared in numerous T.V. commercials, however he had a difficult time breaking into American movies.
About 1952 he moved to England where he hoped he would have better luck. He changed his name to Vernon Gray and with further training he managed.to pick up a few minor roles with the J. Arthur Rank Film Studios in London, England. This studio was the major film producing company in England. Finally, Vernon got a starting role in a movie called "A Day to Remember". It was a love story sprinkled with comedy. This movie played in the local theater in Elk Point on June 2nd and 3rd, 1954. The day prior to the showing of this film he sent a telegram from London, England dated June 1st. The telegram was addressed to the folks at home, care of the Arrow Theater, Elk Point and read: Just heard A Day to Remember is showing on the 2nd and 3rd of June and wanted to take the opportunity of saying hello and hope you will like my first venture into the film world Stop. Only wish I could be there at the same time. Signed Vernon. Those who knew Vernon will agree he was a very handsome young man. He strongly resembled the Hollywood actor Tyrone Power.
When Vernon was attending high school in Elk Point he was an usher in my theater. Little did, I ever dream he would appear on my screen -at a. later date. Gray made two or three more movies with the English studios and they too were played before sellout crowds in Elk Point. Finally he got his chance in America with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Hollywood. He had a strong supporting role in the move "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" where he played the part of Captain Surtees Cook. This movie was made in Hollywood in 1956.
Vernon appeared in many other Television commercials as well as a few supporting roles in other American movies. He returned for a visit to Elk Point in 1959 or thereabouts. He was in attendance when Dr. F.G. Miller laid the corner stone of the United Church Hall. He was a very refined gentleman, one who was easy to talk to, fame didn't go to his head, he still knew everyone in town and he enjoyed his visit while in Elk Point.
A year or so after his return to the United States, I later learned he was involved in a serious automobile accident and was hospitalized for a lengthy period. In the meanwhile his parents had retired and left Elk Point and no one was able to find out if this accident ended his movie career or not. I received a Christmas card from him about two years later but nothing was mentioned of his accident or of his career. I still have in my possession some advertising material which was used by the various film companies to promote his movies and find them interesting to review from time to time.