“The Hoax”, Filmed in Perth

The Strange Case

of the Fanged Skull

Filmed in the town of Perth, Ontario, in 1955, this movie features many local people, in a tale of mystery and suspense.


Set in the town of Tayville, (Perth), the local museum (the Perth Library on Gore Street) finds itself the center of an intriguing drama when an ambitious young reporter causes a scandal over the authenticity of one of its prize exhibits, a human skull.

Gore Street – 1955, appears many times, filmed from various angles

Local businessman, Victor ‘Vic’ Lemeiux playing the role of Vic Edwards, the Editor of the ‘Tayville Times’, with Richard Lamb, playing Harry Raddall, the ambitious young Reporter

A local fundraising group tours the museum

Mr. Appleby, the Museum Curator, played by Clyde Bell, provides a guided tour of the museum

Harry Raddall, reporter, played by Richard Lamb, tells lovely librarian, Helen Tate, played by Joy Lindop (Cunningham), about his plan to sneak into the library late at night and photograph the museum’s fanged skull

The fundraising group concludes their tour with the curator

Reporter, Harry Raddall, played by Richard Lamb, sneaks into the Museum at night, under the cover of darkness…to photograph the skull

The shocking newspaper headlines are revealed at a fundraising meeting, “Skull With Fangs Declared a Hoax!”

A Town Council meeting is held at the Perth Town Hall to decide whether the museum will receive funding

Professor Goddard, played by Peter Hopkinson, examines the skull to establish authenticity

Is the skull real? Or is it a hoax?

“The Hoax”

This delightful short film, just over 28 minutes in length, is a wonderful glimpse into the past, with many scenes of Gore Street, Perth, Ontario, as it appeared in 1955.

The local cast of actors did a fine job in their roles, many with memorable performances.

This historic film short may be viewed in its entirety on the National Film Board’s website, and is a must-see for local history buffs, capturing scenes of the main street of Perth as they appeared in the mid-1950s.


View “The Hoax”

on the National Film Board site: https://www.nfb.ca/film/hoax/

(All Images are from: “The Hoax”, a movie by the National Film Board of Canada, produced in 1955.)

Director: William Davidson

Story and Screenplay:Norman Klenman

Photography: Robert Humble

Sound: Clifford Griffen

Editing: Douglas Robertson

Production: Nicholas Balla


Harry Raddall, Reporter: played by Richard Lamb

Helen Tate, Librarian: played by Joy Lindop (Cunningham)

Mr. Appleby, Curator: played by Clyde Bell

Professor Goddard: played by Peter Hopkinson

Mrs. Tate: played by Mrs. T.A. Rogers

Vic Edwards, Newspaper Editor, played by Victor ‘Vic’ Lemieux

Also featured in ‘The Hoax”:

Vince Lally, Jo Keays, Jack Finnegan, Edna Coutts, Mayor Scott Burchell, John Mather Town Clerk, Mr. ? Arbuthnot, Grace Grainger, Norm Turner, Mr. ? Sawdon, Mrs. ? Hamilton

(and many more)

Please comment below to help identify the local actors from the Perth area so they can be listed with the other members of the cast.

With thanks to the local cast and crew, and to the National Film Board of Canada, for capturing these moments in time, and preserving this special slice of history for the town of Perth, Ontario.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

Member, Association of Professional Genealogists

Member, Lanark County Genealogical Society

Author of 10 books: “Lanark County Christmas”, “Lanark County Comfort”, “Lanark County Collection”, “Lanark County Calling”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Connections”, “Lanark County Calendar”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Kid”, & “Recipes & Recollections” available at local stores or email: lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com


3 comments on ““The Hoax”, Filmed in Perth

  1. Jackie Wharton says:

    Hi Arlene,

    I just finished watching the Hoax. How did you know it existed? I’ve never heard anything about it. It’s surprising really to see something like that made in the 50s. It was nice to see the old cars, dress styles and the town.

    It was the girls’ luncheon today and there were 8 of us. I had the toasted shrimp sandwich with fries and the fries were not real hot but since I didn’t want to eat too many they were fine.

    We have appointments tomorrow morning at 9am for the flu shot. I could tell by the way she said 9am that I had better accept it if I wanted to get the flu shot. I was more interested in Sam getting it. The women I picked up at the seniors’ home said they got the vaccine booster last week and this week the flu shot. I wonder about them getting the two so close together. Boy, our bodies are going to be full of all kinds of stuff.

    I gave Carol your new book so will be interesting to get some feedback. She did say they were heading over to Point Roberts on the 8th and they will be there for a month. The way things stand they have to have a Covid test ($200 each) before they can come back into Canada. They haven’t been to their place over there since February 2020 so she said she has a lot of food to throw out. Everyone is hoping that they will soon drop the requirement for the Covid tests so we can go across the border for the day. I would like to order some art supplies as I was doing before and having it delivered to my mailbox in Blaine but won’t be doing that until they drop the requirement for the Covid test.

    It was interesting to me at lunch time that while we were waiting in a small line up to have our passport scanned a young guy came in behind me and just went and sat down with friends. I wondered if he was sneaking in. Of course, Carolyn and Lorraine were late and they just walked in as well but made a point of showing their passport when the server came.

    It is a rainy, windy day and I didn’t walk yesterday so am heading out now.

    I hope you had a good day.

    Love, Jackie

  2. Sarah Kirkham says:


    A friend forwarded me this movie as my Grandmother Edna Coutts is in it. She is one of the ladies in the committee. It was really cool to see her in the movie and see what Perth looked like back in the 50s

  3. Kathryn Stock says:

    Just got round to watching this today…what a hoot! My mom really loved that library so it was great fun to see how it would have looked in 1955. Thanks Arlene. PS was there still something you wanted me to look up for you in the Globe and Mail at the Toronto library? Just let me know if that is the case.


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