A special showing of Spaceman on CBC TV Friday, Feb. 8 tells the story of Duncan’s Granger Taylor.
Viewers can watch the doc from noon Feb. 8 at www.cbc.ca/watch and see it on CBC at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT.
So, what actually happened to Taylor 38 years ago?
He left a note for family and friends on Nov. 29, 1980, telling them he was boarding a spaceship, but no one has seen or heard from him since then.
Jennifer Horvath, executive producer for Alibi Entertainment, said last week, “We’re really happy with the way the documentary has turned out.
Alibi Entertainment, based in Toronto, has a development department.
“Basically, their job is to look for cool stories. One of them came upon a piece that was on vice.com about Granger and did a little looking around and realized it had never been covered on TV before. So, from there we did some preliminary research and put together a proposal and CBC accepted it,” she said.
Once they got that done, “there was a lot of reaching out to the local community for people who might have stories they might want to share, either about Granger or about Duncan in general. And people who had old photographs or old newspaper clippings were really helpful. We actually got a few of those we used in the film.
“And we also got in touch with the family of course and wanted to make sure we had their support and participation in the film. Our primary concern was they wanted to be able to talk about him: Granger had been this really important person and feel like he would be accurately represented. That would be our goal.”
They came out to the Cowichan Valley and sat down with the family.
“We came out to Duncan twice: once in early September and once in October. We interviewed quite a number of the family members. It was a large blended family. I think there were eight siblings including Granger. We interviewed four or five of them, as well as people who had been friends with Granger growing up, some younger guys who really felt he had been a mentor to them. Overall, we had really great access to the people who knew Granger personally. We were also able to get the full police and coroner’s report, which I don’t know if anyone had every looked at in their entirety before.
The Taylor family generally “were extremely gracious to us. They were extremely generous with their time and also with access to the family home and to their personal archives. So we were really able to hear the story from them. It was interesting being in the family home, where Granger’s room has really been kept the same as it was. You really got a sense of the man, being in the place. If we hadn’t been able to do that, it would have been different, for sure.”
There’s lots of interest about the documentary locally in the Valley, she said. There are lots of people who remember the family or remember the story.
“That’s another thing, too. We’re talking about something that happened almost 40 years ago, and people’s remembrance of what were significant moments tends to shift over time. So we got, as we expected, some slightly different versions of the story. It was really interesting. We didn’t set out to prove one theory or another. We were more interested in the story of the person, and I think what you get at the end is how important he was to the people in his life.”
Some in the Cowichan Valley even believe Taylor is somewhere in space.
“That was another thing that was so interesting to us. That area is considered a UFO hotbed in some circles. There were a number of other stories we heard about in that area. If it did happen, that is the place where it would happen.”
Taylor is an intriguing person. He had an interest in space but he was also very skilled in mechanics.
Research for the show includes information that Taylor built a pseudo space ship in his back yard out of scrap metal. He would hang out in it and wonder how aliens would power their ships.
Stories in the news kept interest high.
A Times Colonist story on March 18, 1985 by Derek Sedenius starts with drama: “The silver spaceship sits on metal pillars under the trees at Jim and Grace Taylor’s farm near Duncan. Its aluminum-plate ramp door is ajar and broken — the Taylors suspect from children playing — but inside, the large old sofa, pot-bellied stove, and plywood sleeping ledge are much the way their son, Granger, left them…”
Taylor often talked of aliens and spaceships and before leaving, he tacked a note to his father’s bedroom door.
His father found it when he came home from work the afternoon of Nov. 29, 1980, according to the Times Colonist story by Sedenius.
“Dear Mother and Father,” [the note] said. ‘I have gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship, as re-occurring dreams assured a 42-month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possessions to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help. Love, Granger.'”
After the 42 months were up, according to Sedenius, “the Taylors left the back door unlocked that night just in case he showed up. But he never did.”
As part of Alibi’s research for their documentary, they discovered that the last time anyone saw Taylor, he was having supper at Bob’s Grill on the Trans Canada Highway in Duncan, where he was a regular.