By Michael Roberts, Nick Place
An exploration of television year-by-year from 1956, reporting in time-capsule mode on celebrities and indicates as they occurred, from satisfied Hammond and Skippy to the reside telecast of the terrorist assault on New York's international alternate Centre.
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Extra info for 50 Years of Television in Australia
Hit Parade beauty Bernadette Russell raised eyebrows by taking the first genuine bubble bath in Victorian TV history, with Seven staff building a complete bathroom, with plumbing, in the studio for the occasion. At GTV-9, general manager Colin Bednall and senior producer Norm Spencer saw a bug-eyed kid from radio 3UZ reading donations on a Red Cross telethon. The kid seemed to have a spark, a strange charisma that, along with his lightning mouth, made him stand out. On something approaching a whim, Bednall and Spencer asked Graham Kennedy if he’d like to host a planned variety show, In Melbourne Tonight.
In the end, because of strong ticket sales, networks were able to televise many more events than they had expected. The result was a complete disruption to scheduled programming – but the audiences didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, letters flooded in to all three Melbourne stations from viewers expressing wonder and admiration at the clarity and scope of TV’s coverage. Even sponsors have been supportive, allowing programs they had funded to be moved to make way for Olympic coverage. Even before TV has arrived in this country, confectionery manufacturers have decided that Australians may like to eat chocolate while watching TV.
You have to remember that this was only 27 years after audiences had heard Al Jolson singing in The Jazz Singer and marvelled at sound being added to motion pictures at the theatre. In other words, iPods were a long way away. In 1956, there was no such thing as videotape. If you wanted to tape something, you had to point a 16 mm camera at a blue image of the TV screen received directly from the studio camera. Sound was recorded separately, and had to be matched to the video later. This is why there is no original footage of the day Australian television began.
50 Years of Television in Australia by Michael Roberts, Nick Place