AN INTERVIEW WITH ANNE BUTLER

Although Strange Paradise had a regular ensemble cast, in a number of episodes the show employed other actors. Often these were small roles, lasting for an episode or two, and usually employed actors from the Ottawa area. Most of the time, these actors went uncredited, so their names are lost to those watching the show today.

However, in some cases, research into Strange Paradise allows us to put names to the faces we see on the program. During our research we at Strangeparadise.net have discovered the names of several uncredited actors, and we present the first of them here, in the form of a very brief interview with actress Anne Butler.

Ms. Butler was born in 1936 and studied at the London School of Dramatic Art. Her varied career has encompassed film, television, radio and theater roles, mostly in Canada, but in other areas as well. Notable television roles included a stint on the popular Canadian TV series King of Kensington, in which she played the character of Helen, and several TV movies including The Golden Honeymoon and A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

In the theater, she has played leads or featured roles in Athol Fugard's A Lesson From Aloes, Shakespeare's Othello, Henry Beissel's Inook and the Sun, and the musical, Anne of Green Gables. Ms. Butler has also directed, including the musicals Frankenstein, The Sound of Music, Oliver, The Wizard of Oz, Jack The Ripper and Annie.

Outside of her acting work, Ms. Butler has been the vice-president of Canadian Actors Equity and on the board of directors of the Cabaret and Musical Theatre Alliance. She was also chairman of the Theatre Arts Ball for 14 years, a fund-raising and charity event for the Actors Fund of Canada for destitute and sick performers. She is also a speech, drama and musical comedy teacher, and speech defects coach for adults and children.

In Strange Paradise, Ms. Butler appeared in episodes 75 and 76 of the Desmond Hall storyline, playing the small but important role of Mrs. Pruitt, mother of later character Agatha Pruitt who, along with her husband, was a member of the local coven of witches determined to convert Holly Marshall for use as a weapon against Jean Paul Desmond.

 
Although the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Pruitt appeared again in the series (specifically in episode 94), they were played by completely different actors, and so Ms. Butler's involvement with the program wound up being limited to just two episodes.

Strangeparadise.net recently had the chance to speak with the still very busy and active Ms. Butler and ask her about her brief but important role on Strange Paradise


StrangeParadiseNet: Thank you for taking a moment to speak with us about what must be no more than a tiny footnote in your career. You mentioned you recalled being in Strange Paradise. Do you remember anything about who contacted you about the role?

Anne Butler: Herb Roland [one of Strange Paradise’s directors] contacted me. I had worked with him previously on the stage. He was directing this particular episode [episode 75] and he asked me if I would play a part. 

SPN: Do you recall any specifics about what Herb asked you to do?

AB: Not really, no. He [Herb Roland] just called me for the part and said he needed me. I was available and so I decided to do it.
SPN: You eventually appeared in two episodes of the show, in scenes that continued on from one another. Do you recall if you recorded all of your scenes in one day or were you there longer?

AB:
I don’t recall how long I was there but I do believe it was longer than a day 
SPN: Although your role was small, you actually played a somewhat important part, given that you were setting a chain of events in motion to kill the main character on the show! Do you recall being told any background on what you would be doing?

AB: I do remember I was there for a séance, but I don’t recall being told anything specific about my part. 

SPN: Do you remember anyone else that you worked with during your time on the program?

AB: Yes, I do remember that one of the other characters [Waldo] during the séance was played by Ed MacNamara, who was Peg [Ada Thaxton] Dixon’s ex-husband!

SPN: You might be interested to know that your character was brought back in a later episode, but was played by a completely different actress!

AB: I had no idea! To me it was just doing a favor for my friend Herb Roland.

SPN: Well, thank you again Ms. Butler for sharing some of your memories with us.

AB: You’re quite welcome!




Selected Photos

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Episode 75

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Episode 75

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Episode 75

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Episode 76

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Episode 76

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