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Elizabeth Black (nee Cater)

Posted by ken On May - 24 - 2009


Elizabeth Cater & Gary Carvolth.jpg
Elizabeth Cater and Gary Carvolth co-hosting Club 7 Teen in 1962

Elizabeth Cater and Carolyn Noble have been friends since childhood. Talk about 6 degrees of separation. The early women presenters at Channel Seven, Barbara Robinson, Kath Lavan, Pam Leuba, Carolyn and Elizabeth all had a connection. They either knew each other at school, were friends, or lived within close proximity of each other.

Elizabeth was a full time librarian, attending classes, playing squash and pedaling her bike to the beach, until TVW’s Televisit hostess, Sandra McNab, encouraged her to audition for a new teenage program in March 1962. Initially three girls were selected, Sandra Thompson, Elizabeth Jamieson and Elizabeth Cater. Then for one week each, like a public audition, the young ladies co-hosted the new show with Gary Carvolth. Elizabeth proved to be the popular choice, and continued in the presenting role. Elizabeth relates that, “Brian Treasure and Max Bostock were both there when I auditioned and I then saw Brian and Sir James (Cruthers) to confirm my appointment”, as Club 7 Teen hostess with Gary Carvolth on Saturdays, from 1962 till mid 1963. With the period interrupted by Christmas breaks.

It was only the November before that Elizabeth was in school uniform, so with the transition to television, she had to think about wearing something different each week. It was a quandary knowing what to wear, as something may look gorgeous, but then she had to consider what it would look like on TV. Anything with black or white, or with horizontal stripes, or with a big, heavy pattern was not suitable.

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The Twist was all the rage in 1962, as demonstrated by Elizabeth and Gary

Elizabeth explains the routine, “We arrived at the Studio on Saturday at 1.30 pm, and rehearsed all afternoon, and went live to air at 5 pm on most occasions (the show ran for half an hour). Gary and I would then introduce the Johnny O’Keefe show and take a break while it ran. We would then come back and wrap it up and sign off, which was about 6.30pm.”

The “Johnny O’Keefe Show” ran from 1961 to 1962, then was renamed “Sing Sing Sing”, which aired from February 1963 to October 1965.

The TVW studio in those days was very small and the set involved a few little bar tables and chairs. Elizabeth exlains that, “It was an interesting time when television was in its infancy and some of the people who appeared on Club 7 Teen went on to greater things, like Helen Mathews. We had the Gilkison Dancers on the show every week and Small’s Chocolates were the Sponsors. Audrey Barnaby did everyone’s makeup and I have photos of Gary Carvolth’s 21st birthday party. Gary went on holidays (for 8 weeks) and I did a few shows with Murray Rose, following the Empire Games.”

21st Birthday kiss from Elizabeth & Audrey.jpg
21st Birthday kisses for Gary from both Elizabeth and Audrey Barnaby

Max Bostock was the producer and director of the show and spent much time auditioning local talent. Most applicants came from pop vocalists and a few instrumentalists. Many were auditioning for professional work for the first time, and not all were suited to a teenage show. A twelve year old auditioned as a Rolf Harris impersonator, and was more suited to Children’s Channel Seven, whilst ballad and musical comedy singers were more suited to the Today or Televisit programs.

The higher public profile brought with it both greater recognition, and the common problem of reporting inaccuracies, as Elizabeth explains, “I had a cocker spaniel called Cruster. The dog’s mother was named Brandy and my Father made Brandy Crusters so he named the dog Cruster. So the TV Week magazine wrote this article saying I have this problem with alcohol. Well I thought that was a bit off.” It was not only the teenagers who were watching Elizabeth on TV, “Because I was working at the Claremont Library, the primary school children would say, ‘You’re on Club 7 Teen. Can I have your autograph?'”

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Elizabeth with her pet spaniel named Cruster

After Club 7 Teen, Elizabeth went on to work in the research department at the West Australian, before going to England. On her return, she married John Black.

Elizabeth said, “I married John in 1965 & went to live in Esperance for 3 years. John managed the Family company Frank Manford Pty Ltd. While we were there our son James was born. We returned to Perth in March 1968 by which time Brambles had bought out Frank Manford & John continued to work for them going on to become General Manager for Western Australia & Northern Territory. When he retired 10 years ago he had been with them for 38 years!!”

“Our daughter Katrina was born in 1968.”

“James is married with 4 children. He is a Radiologist with SKG.”

“Katrina is married with 3 children. She was a Chartered Accountant before she had children. Katrina & her Family are currently living in Melbourne.”

“I spend my time playing golf and bridge and enjoy looking after the Grandchildren and traveling. We have a house at Eagle Bay, so we spend time there whenever we can.”

Elizabeth Cater Photo Gallery

One Response to “Elizabeth Black (nee Cater)”

  1. Gus Loh says:

    Mr Fong Yang See of Singapore is looking for his friend John Black.

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