Chattaways on film

Chattaway is not exactly a very common name, so it’s always fun to see it flit across a movie or TV screen every now and then.

At school, I occasionally heard from sports buffs about a Chris Chataway who broke the 5,000 metre record back in 1954 — but my family was always notoriously bad at gym class, and anyway, he spells his name with only one “t”, so I always figured he didn’t count.

I happen to be a movie soundtrack buff, so it wasn’t long before I noticed the name Jay Chattaway listed as the composer for movies like Silver Bullet (1985) and Red Scorpion (1989); later, he became one of the regular composers for the various Star Trek shows, and if you Google my name, you will probably find a bunch of Star Trek sites. (It’s even worse if you run a search for my wife’s new married name — not that she, a librarian, does anything as public or Google-able, like writing, as I do — but anyway, Googling “Deanna Chattaway” will tend to produce a lot of pages featuring the words “Deanna Troi” and “Jay Chattaway”.) I believe my father actually got in touch with Jay some years ago, and there was some discussion of ways our family trees might connect, but it was all just speculation, as I recall.

Years ago, my sister Monica moved to Ontario and worked as an extra in a handful of programs, the only two of which I remember are the TV-movie The Women of Windsor (1992) and the big-screen movie Guilty as Sin (1993), in which she was one of the courtroom reporters — between her height and her long hair, I spotted her immediately just while watching the trailer! More recently, she was involved in the local indie music scene, and this led to a bit part in Blaine Thurier (of the New Pornographers)’s Male Fantasy (2004) as a musician who quits a band. So, now she has an IMDB page too.

I don’t have an IMDB page of my own yet, but I may get one some day, as I was interviewed for a documentary called The Big V last summer and I hear it’s pretty much finished; now it’s just a question of whether its producers will take it to festivals or go straight to TV, etc.

In the meantime, I have discovered that my parents were not the first people to invent the name “Peter Chattaway”. Apparently that was also the name of a character in an episode of an Australian TV show called The Contrabandits, which aired in November 1968, two years before I was born. (The chief inspector throughout this series was played by Denis Quilley, who I know as the prophet Samuel in King David and Simon Peter in A.D. Anno Domini, both of which were produced in 1985). The episode synopsis:

For many years Chattaway has evaded Customs duty on thousands of radio parts through a swindle involving a number of interlocking firms. The discovery of drugs brought in on a luxury yacht indicates that Chattaway is mixed up in drug running, and the Customs Special Branch uncover a trail which leads to transistor radio parts in cases which should contain machinery.

So I’m a drug smuggler! Won’t my parents be proud. 🙂

Since I’m half-Mennonite (my mother was a Sawatzky, her mother was a Derksen, etc.) and I was raised in a Menno milieu, it’s also fun to come across Mennonite names on the big screen, but it doesn’t happen very often — in fact, the only example I can think of is the “Ben Hildebrand” who gets killed by dinosaurs right near the beginning of Jurassic Park III. If you know of any others, by all means, let me know!

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  • trent

    “ut anyway, Googling “Deanna Chattaway” will tend to produce a lot of pages featuring the words “Deanna Troi” and “Jay Chattaway”.)”

    You can get around that by putting those quotations around the name, like you did above; “Deanna Chattaway”. That tells Google to search for those words in that exact order. In fact, if you do Google for that, the only listing you’ll find is this here blog; soon to be followed by this here blog comment.

  • Talk about narcissism…