Swackhammer, James

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Swackhammer, James

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James Albert Swackhammer (ca 1913-1983), script writer and film director, was born in Hamilton, Ont., the son of Albert Edward Swackhammer and Maria Isabella Swackhammer (née Edmonds). At an early age he was a gold miner, professional hunter, and trapper. At the age of 19, after a stint at the University of Toronto, he studied dramatics at the Pasadena Playhouse.

In 1935 he acted in radio dramas, and was a member of a little stock company in San Francisco. A year later he entered the production field of motion pictures in Hollywood and then was an associate producer at a Chicago theatre. In 1939 he was employed by the scenario department of Warner Bros. in London, England and was a member of BBC Dramatic department. He appeared in two films: In Night Invader and This Was Paris. He joined the Canadian military in 1940 and became a public relations member of the RCAF producing films for the Canadian government.

At end of war he was employed by Gaumont Films in Britain as a writer and director and went to Africa in June 1946 for four years as part of a three-man film unit making documentary films. He also worked for several other independent British film companies. Returning to Canada in December 1950, he established James Swackhammer Productions Limited in Hamilton at the beginning of 1952. He apparently made a few more films in association with the National Film Board for the Canadian Government Travel Bureau, including a documentary about the Trenton Steel Works in Nova Scotia. Swackhammer was married to Vivienne C. Walker and had a son named Christopher. He died on 28 October 1983.


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