We wish everyone the very best for the festive season and take this opportunity to reflect on a number of events that made 2013 memorable. There were happy occasions when veterans of the Western Australian broadcasting, radio and cinema fraternity could mingle. One such venue has been provided by the Australian Museum of Motion Picture and Television (AMMPT), who not only collect the equipment and memorabilia, but also provide a friendly environment for social contact. The team at WA TV History maintain a close association, whilst also being busy over the previous year researching our history and telling the stories.
Sadly, there has been the passing of a number of old friends, as there has been the passing of analogue PAL TV technology in Australia. There are many wonderful memories that go back over the last half century before digital, widescreen, multichannel and high definition.
Those who witnessed the beginning of television can also remember an earlier period when cinema was king. It was time when radio serials were popular, which required us to listen intently and use our imaginations to conjure up the pictures. As children, little did we anticipate just how far technology would take us. Now the children of today are experiencing a world of mobile entertainment. What a change from standing in a queue to see a movie or standing in a red telephone box, placing a penny in the slot for three minutes of conversation. The few public telephones left now get vandalised with cut cords, jammed coin slots and decorated with graffiti. Not that this did not happen back then, but the red telephone boxes were more plentiful.
Whilst on the subject of reminiscing. We prepared a video that begins with cinema nostalgia, quickly tracing film from the silent era to the present. It then provides a small sample of home grown Australian comedy from the sound movie era, then through the classics of analogue television. This includes Graham Kennedy, Paul Hogan, Norman Gunston, Max Gillies, Sir Les Patterson and Dickie Knee.
More than 100 years of moving pictures
This was prepared for the November 20th, 2013, AMMPT Sundowner for members targeted at television and cinema veterans.
Presentations were given by noted people within the performing arts industries. There was Ivan King, the curator at the WA Museum of Performing Arts, who himself is a noted thespian and historian.
David Hawkes spoke about the television industry. David is a veteran of radio and television in three states and the founding head of the broadcast department of the WA Academy of Performing Arts.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Television and radio News veteran Terry Spence.
The November 20th Sundowner was also attended by a number of special guests, as the following photos shows. To the left is former TVW managing director Kevin Campbell AM.
Under Kevin’s watch TVW Enterprises was associated with many production. Kevin was also a chairman of ScreenWest and a number of other bodies, including the Lotteries Commission, which has provided much valued funding not only to charities but also many community endeavours such as AMMPT. To the right can be seen the Justice of the Supreme Court of WA, John McKechnie, with his wife Beth, who is a member of AMMPT. Justice McKechnie previously served as the State’s first Director of Public Prosecutions.
AMMPT Western Region President John Fuhrmann welcomed guests at the November 20th Sundowner.
AMMPT’s multitalented Western Region president John Fuhrmann, was not only a noted sporting administrator, but earlier a footy referee and cinema organist. John has an interest (with Ray Clements) in two mighty Wurlitzer organs, that possess all the bells and whistles. One is installed at his home and another at the Karrinyup Community Centre. Most of this instrument came from the former Metro Theatre (1938-1973) in William Street Perth. Prior to it being the Metro, the organ was used in the Regent Theatre (1927-1938), which was located on the same site. A theatre that started life as the Queen’s Hall (1899-1927). Though all these entertainment venues are now gone, the Queen’s Building still exists on the corner of William and Murray Streets in the same architectural style as the original hall.
Members of the AMMPT executive were also present. National president Ross McDonald, who was there at the earliest days at TVW-7 and later operated Taimac (which provided production facilities and serviced the racing, pacing and greyhound industries with on-course TV, public address and the photo finish).
Then there was Western Region vice president Ian Stimson, a television and cinema veteran, Secretary Peter Foyster, who has built an outdoor cinema on his property in the hills, his wife Agnes is the Treasurer, Film Librarian Keith Rutherford (who has a home studio and theatre), veteran cinematographer Peter Goodall, then projectionists George Robinson and Bill Gaynor. Cygnet projectionist and Classic Movies Series programmer Jillian Carlson was interstate at the time.
(most photos of this event are courtesy of Peter)
The cinema fraternity was represented by Roy Mudge (City Theatres, Hoyts, Ace Cinemas, Coastal Cinemas and Rank Organisation), Colin Nicholas (Metro, Greater Union), George and Jane Robinson (Cygnet), Simon Robinson (Luna on SX-Freo, Piccadilly, Luna Leederville, Omni Theatre at City West, Paradiso), Peter Savill (Greater Union, Ace), Barry Goldman (Cygnet, Windsor and Liberty), Lynn Huxtable (Metro, Lido Cottesloe), Ian Stimson (South West Pictures) and Frank Worthington (Ace, FOX and MGM).
Cinema manager Roy Mudge is the gentleman in the striped red and grey T shirt. Roy had the misfortune to be stuck showing My Fair Lady for its record breaking seasons at the Royal, Piccadilly and Fremantle cinemas. He is a much valued wealth of information on the cinema industry and has kept a remarkable collection of photos which trace the history of cinemas in Perth and Fremantle. Next to Roy is AMMPT member Clive Woodward a noted collector, who is standing next to former TVW Program Manager Graeme Plummer, who has a remarkable collection of Hollywood memorabilia.
The team responsible for the AMMPT Classics of the Silver Screen at the Cygnet Cinema were also present. Peter and Agnes Foyster, Tony Smith and Gerry Voutsinas. Historian Jack Honniball and committee members with wives Bill and Joan Gaynor (New Oxford), Keith and Jann Rutherford.
ABC veterans included John Banner, Graham Boyd (also of STW), Ross Haimes, Allan Hullett (former Director of Engineering), Peter Hunt, Warren Jascobs, Kevin Lang, Kim Lesouef (also of STW), Dick Maloney, Dave Melvin, David Medowcroft, Sheraton Dee (also of STW), Alan Thomas, Andy McWhirter (also TVW and STW) and Bruno Zambotti.
ABW2 veterans Warren Jacobs, Bruno Zambotti (a former Director of Engineering), Allen Thomas, Dave Melvin (who was also one of the Technical Training Department) and Sheridan Dee (who also worked at STW9).
Seven veterans included Bob Blkiston, Kevin Campbell, Peter and Kerry Dunn (also of STW), Hillary Everard, Bob Finkle (also of STW), Jill Glass, Bob Goodall (also of STW), Peter Goodall (also of ABC), Dene Irvin, Lydell Jobson, Yvonne Joynt, Marion Leyer (also of TEN), Steve Lowe, Keith Mackenzie, Don Martin, Gordon McColl, Ken McKay (also of ABC), Bill Meacham, Luise Nelthorpe, Margaret O’Brien, Tim O’Dea, Jan O’Mara, Graeme Plummer, John Quicke, Jo Rainsford, Andrew Round (also STW), Phil Salinger, Lindsay Smith, Janine Vidot, Geoff Waldock (also STW and TEN), Tiffany Webster (also STW and TEN), Kathy Wilson and Frank Worthington.
Nine veterans not mentioned so far included Russ Cunneen, Barbara Jorgensen, Robert Penno (also TVW), Denis Robinson and Terry Spence.
Many of the TVW girls social group were present, which was greatly appreciated.
On the night a number of the present and former Seven Perth ladies in attendance, included… Hilary Everard, Jill Glass, Lyndell Jobson, Yvonne Joynt, Marion Leyer, Jenny Nelson, Luise Nelthorpe, Margaret O’Brien, Jan O’Mara, Jo Rainford, Janine Vidot, Tiffany Webster, and Kathy Wilson.
Many of these ladies were present at the last TVW Girls Picnic held on the Matilda Bay Foreshore on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Also present were Anne and Keith Mackenzie, Marion Leyer and Margaret O’Brien, who was Max Bostock’s secretary 1978 – 1981. Margaret came all the way from Brisbane with Bill Meacham and his wife Margaret.
A sad note is that former TVW senior News and documentary cameraman Bill Meacham passed away on January 1st, 2014. As Seven’s Janine Vidot reports, “Oh no. That is so sad. I had a lovely chat with Bill in November at the reunion and had sent him an email but not heard back. So very sad to hear of his passing. He was a lovely man.“
Inaugural TVW News Editor Darcy Farrell sent the following sentiments, “Very sad news. He was showing signs of recovery about ten days ago and last Tuesday I left a message for Margaret and when I didn’t hear back I feared the worst.“
Here are a couple of images that veteran News cameraman Peter Goodall kindly took at the AMMPT Sundowner on November 20th, 2013.
They are but tiny fragments of larger photos… fortunately Peter’s camera has very high resolution to enable blow-ups.
We shall provide a tribute to Bill in the very near future which will cover highlights of his long career in the industry.
Meanwhile we wish everyone the very best for 2014. There will be some notable birthdays in the coming months which we anticipate reporting on.