Thursday, December 6, 2012

Win. From the pen of Pin.

To say Winston Rekert (1949-2012) had a big life before he met me is a self-centered way to start this remembrance, but the times I worked with Win altered the tone for what has become my life.

In fact, he was one of the first cultural touchstones I identified in my early years in Canada. Before I knew what all the fuss was with this Wayne Gretzky guy, I was ardent about Adderley.

Win's charismatic presence and sense of humor overcame the limitations of a nascent local television industry and made him cool enough to want to emulate. Canadian, yet still, more.

When I met Win in that hotel audition-room I remember being star-struck, but felt little pressure. Odd to say, but I felt as though it was he who knew me 'cos I watched his show.
As it happened, this was a threshold to my personal reinvention.

Neon Rider legend has it that it was Win who ammended my character, conceptually, from a Latino named "Chico" to a Jamaican called "Pin." I will always applaud that foresight.

What other show would encourage my Jamaican accent, hand me a cricket bat, dress me in black with a Lion Of Judah emblazoned on my back, run me against Ben Johnson and let me grow dreadlocks on TV over five seasons?

(Bizarre perhaps, but I been lookin' fi anadda gig like dat since.)

I didn't see too much of the hype-side that Win loved - never even sat in the Ferrari or the Lincoln, but I did know his fatherly, and dedicated, thoughtfulness. There were many hours spent in a defunct North Vancouver gym with Win and trainer Dave, learning how to improve myself through physical effort.

Win moved seamlessly from stage to screen to directing, to teaching - passionate as ever, this was the role in which I most recently saw him. His class was enacting a Neon Rider theme and I went along for the day. I happily recall that this exists somewhere on video. Maybe we did get our sequel after all.

His longtime brother and symbiotic crony, Danny Virtue, says Win gave half the people in Vancouver's film industry their start. If you consider the intangible "ripple effect," I'd say Danny makes a very conservative estimation.

Winston Rekert had a big life after I last saw him too, and by all accounts he had battled his cancer nobly and bravely.

 He was most definitely loved and his legacy liveth.

1 comment :

  1. (Second attempt, apologies if this comes through twice)

    I was on IMDB tonight searching for Antoinette Bower and it was then that I saw the news of Mr Reckert's passing. I don't know how I missed it 5 months ago but I am seriously in tears here!

    I will always love Neon Rider for the great actors and characters that it introduced me to, especially my beloved Pin Mon, later to become Apophis Mon! The idea that it could have been so different were it not for Mr Reckert's idea blows my mind...I cannot imagine Neon Rider without Pin!

    RIP Winston Reckert, and to Peter, my sincere condolences on your loss.

    Jeanine (Irish Neon Rider and your number one fan...ah, Wolf Cons!)


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