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Reunion Dinner at the historic Romany Restaurant

Posted by ken On November - 28 - 2009

On Friday November 27th 2009, Keith Bales of the TVW Reunion planning committee organised an enjoyable post reunion dinner at the Romany Restaurant, on the corner of Lake and Aberdeen Streets in Northbridge.

Not only was it a celebratory dinner for the planning committee, entertainers, sponsors and wives, but also a number of past CEO’s, Managing Directors and General Managers of TVW, who have contributed or taken a keen interest in our WA TV History web project.

Those who attended were…

  • Sir James Cruthers’ biographer Mark Balnaves of Curtin University
  • Max and Betty Bostock
  • Bill and Judi McKenzie
  • Kevin and Joy Campbell
  • Jill and Jeff Glass
  • Keith, Ruby Bales and Glenys Nelson
  • Keith and Ann Mackenzie
  • Coralie Condon and Audrey Long
  • Gary Carvolth and Alyesha Anderson
  • John and Marisha Young
  • Gordon McColl
  • Ken and Sue McKay
  • Justin and Katherine Freind (Opera Singers)
  • Sharon and Grant Young (Stargate Actors Academy)
  • Anthony and Holly Yurisich (Olive Farm Wines)
  • Roland Ott (Nightcruiser Party Buses)
  • Russell Brown (Reunion Video producer Mintox Media)
  • Naureen Taylor (Reunion Photographer)

The gathering was kindly entertained by Justin and Katherine Friend, who were also valued guests on the evening. This soon came to the attention of the restaurant patrons, who too wished to enjoy their repertoire of classical and contemporary songs.

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Katherine and Justin Freind


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Joy Campbell, Audrey Long, Max Bostock, Naureen Taylor (standing) and Judi McKenzie


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Max Bostock, Naureen Taylor (standing), Judi McKenzie, Keith Bales and Bill McKenzie



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Keith Mackenzie, Glenys Nelson, Roland Otts and Russell Brown


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(seated) Jeff Glass, Gordon McColl, John Young and Alyesha Anderson


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John Young, Alyesha Anderson and Gary Carvolth


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Ann and Keith Mackenzie with Keith Bales


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Grant and Sharon Young with Kevin Campbell


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Joy Campbell, Audrey Long and Judi McKenzie


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Max Bostock, John Young, Betty Bostock and Coralie Condon


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Max and Betty Bostock, Bill McKenzie and Coralie Condon


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Naureen Taylor, Jeff and Jill Glass, Gordon McColl and Marisha Young


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Glenys Nelson, Ruby Bales, Roland Otts, Russell Brown with Justin and Katherine Freind


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Mark Balnaves with Anthony and Holly Yurisich

The venue for the dinner is steeped in history as one of Northbridge’s longest standing businesses. The ‘Romany’ operated out of 188 William Street for over sixty years. The four-brother Lenzarini family team owned the Romany for thirty years and it was in this period that it established its great reputation for excellent food and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It expanded from one room to four rooms under their ownership due to its great popularity and success. More than a decade ago, current owner Enzo Develter bought the restaurant. In 2006, the Romany relocated from its original location to a new venue at 105 Aberdeen street, taking the place of previous ‘Mamma Maria’s’ restaurant on the site of the former Re Store.

This historic information is courtesy of the Northbridge History Project, which is working with government, communities and individuals to collect the districts heritage in the form of oral histories, photographs, documents, film and other sources for public display on the world wide web at: www.northbridgehistory.wa.gov.au

NAUREEN TAYLOR’S PHOTO GALLERY

GORDON MCCOLL’S PHOTO GALLERY

TVW7 – 50 Years Reunion Commemorative DVD

Posted by ken On November - 26 - 2009

Re-live the magic of the TVW 50th Anniversary Reunion with

this special commemorative DVD produced by Mintox Media.

Featuring keynote entertainers Johnny Young and The Strangers, this fabulous keepsake also includes the arrival of the Nightcruiser party buses, entertainers from Stargate Actor’s Academy, and guest performers Jeff Phillips, Robbie Snowden and Justin and Katherine Freind.

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On of course the stars of the show… YOU!

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This exclusive record of the event is your opportunity to treasure an afternoon of laughter, surprises, tears and hugs!

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SEE the magic,

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HEAR the music,

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ENJOY the impressively short speeches,

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And WATCH the addresses by Rolf Harris, Kerry Stokes and present TVW General Manager Ray Wardrop.

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It’s all on record about YOU, for YOU and ONLY $25 including postage and GST.

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There are TWO ways to order a copy:

Post a cheque for $25 (x number of copies required) to:

Mintox Media

5A Hunston Street

Balcatta WA 6021

* Please include your name and address in the envelope so we know where to send it.

OR

Email russell.brown@mintoxmedia.com.au , stating your name, address and how many copies you require, and we will reply with Online Banking details for you to deposit the relevant amount.


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www.mintoxmedia.com.au

ABN: 99 174 848 257

Phone (+61) 08 9344 5958   Mobile  0407 081 895
Email  russell.brown@mintoxmedia.com.au
Web www.mintoxmedia.com.au
Address  5A Hunston St, Balcatta WA 6021

Tribute to Jack Wong Sue

Posted by ken On November - 16 - 2009

Most of you may already have heard but for those who worked at Channel 9 in the old days, you will be saddened to hear of the passing (today) of JACK WONG SUE.     Jack was known as the Host of the Channel 9 program called Down Under.


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The following has been passed to me by Bruce Dargie:

Decorated Australian war hero Jack Wong Sue has died in a Perth hospice, aged 84.

Jack Sue was a member of the Z-Force unit, the predecessor to the SAS, during World War II.

He served behind enemy lines in Borneo for six months when he was a 19-year-old.

There he witnessed the Sandakan prisoner of war camp. Only six of 2,000 Australians returned from the camp alive.

Mr Sue was awarded the Army’s Distinguished Conduct Medal and the United States Submarine Combat Insignia.

He wrote several books about his experiences in the war.


Regards June Holmes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Wong_Sue

Jack Wong Sue, OAM, DCM, JP also known as Jack Sue, was born 12 September 1925 and died in a Perth hospice, 16 November 2009 (aged 84). Wong was a prominent Chinese Australian from Perth, Western Australia. Wong Sue served behind enemy lines in Borneo as a member of Z Force (also known as Z Special Unit), during World War II.

After the war, Wong Sue became a prominent businessman, with a diving store. He was also an author and had worked as a guide for tours of Borneo. Wong Sue was also a musician and performed with bands in Perth for about 60 years.


http://www.pacificwrecks.com/reviews/blood.html


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by Jack Wong Sue, 2001
ISBN 0-646-41656-1







8 Years with 7 in the 60’s by Brian Harrison-Lever

Posted by ken On November - 16 - 2009

EIGHT YEARS WITH SEVEN IN THE SIXTIES

Brian Harrison-Lever


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Brian Harrison-Lever with Carolyn Tannock (nee Noble)


After returning from a 4 year working holiday in the UK in 1963 I made an application for a job as a Set Designer with Perth’s new, commercial television station, TVW Channel Seven. I was interviewed by the then Station Manager Brian Treasure. He read through my references noting that I had previously worked as an Instructor in Mountaineering, Art and Theatre Design at the Westmorland Experimental School, Brathay Hall. He gave me a friendly smile and said:

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Brian Treasure in 1963

“You’re a bit of an artist I see, can’t give you a job at the moment as a set designer but if you’d like to be a cameraman for a while – same thing really, making pictures, we can probably let you have a go a designing sets later on”!


Well that’s how it all started really in television for me, being “a bit of an artist”.


In early1963 Studio One had recently been commissioned – with a new cyclorama and ground-row and, a brand new technical toy, the “Vinten Camera Crane”.


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Vinten Camera Crane


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Studio One Lighting Grid designed by Pat Cahill



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Original Studio One Control Room with lighting on the left, Technical Director’s console in the middle and Vision Mixer on the right

There were also other innovations to marvel at like Electronically Controlled Lighting Bars and new lightweight, plastic “cans” ( headsets) for the king-size PYE studio cameras. At that time I hadn’t an inkling what all this jargon actually meant but I learned quickly. You were thrown in the deep end in those days.


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PYE 4.5 inch Black & White Image Orthicon Camera

The studio camera-crew was Phil Booth, Alan Richards, & Russell Sage with a young Murray Kelso as a junior; I became the fourth cameraman with my baptism of fire on Camera 1. up on the mezzanine floor, for the production extravaganza “Invitation to the Dance”. I was so well trained by then that when Brian Williams, directing at the time, asked me, through my “cans”, to “rack to your 35mm lens Camera 1.” I had to run around the front of the camera to read what it said on the lenses!


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Studio One showing part of audience seating with mezzanine floor above the curtains on the right hand side. This ran the length of the studio and was above the audience entry passageway.

The usual turret lens complement on a studio camera included, 35mm, 2 inch, 3 inch, 6 inch and a “long” 8 or 12 inch. Why only one was measured in metric was a puzzle? We did have a couple of mechanical zoom lenses. One, the Varatol, had a crank winder, and the other, I can’t remember the name, had a kind of “push-pull” and twist for focus, mechanism? These “zooms” were generally used only on the smaller, older, PYE cameras, reserved by then, 1963, for Outside Broadcast programmes – we did lots of those!


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An older 3 inch Image Orthicon PYE camera fitted with a Varatol zoom lens and mounted on the OB camera pram

Weekend “World of Football”, I remember it well. On one Grand Final Day we had the usual static camera positions around the ground plus the mobile “pram” with me sitting astride it. This was our “secret weapon”, our one-upmanship against the ABC and I think by then Channel nine OB crews. As the football teams lined up for the opening run out on to the field, three of our technical crew dragged me, on the pram and many metres of cable, out into the middle of the oval to get the “Entry of the Gladiators” shot from the front. We got it and we also appeared with our Channel Seven logos plainly visible, on the other stations opening pictures. They were outraged. We were still running and dragging the camera and pram off the pitch after the game had started! I think John O’Callaghan was the genius behind this escapade. There were many others.

The Voyager Disaster, when a RAN cruiser was rammed by the aircraft carrier Melbourne made headlines around the world. Seven had an OB crew out at Perth air-port on the night that the WA survivors returned home. We had one camera set-up for interviews in the airport lobby and upstairs on the out-door balcony, Gary Carvolth and me, with my camera set-up on a static tri-pod, to show and comment on the plane landing and taxiing up to the terminal building. Just as the aircraft touched down the picture on my viewfinder packed up. All I had was two pin-points of light, the wing lights, to go by. We were on-air, live and Garry was a few metres from me looking at a monitor, so he had no idea that I had problems. I could just see the picture on his monitor (my picture) some two and a half metres to my right. OB monitors in those days were tiny and notoriously “snowy” and soft focus, plus Gary kept standing in front of it – speaking into a live microphone, so I couldn’t say a word. I was fully zoomed in using the previously mentioned, push-pull zoom lens!

After an OB, I often smoked a couple of cigarettes in those days!

There were plenty of outside broadcasts that went off smoothly enough but one other that made headlines around Australia and well worth a mention here was the Normie Rowe Concert from the Capitol Theatre. Max Bostock has mentioned this in his entertaining, recently recorded video recollections with Richard Ashton and Gordon McColl.


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The now demolished Capitol Theatre was at the river end of William Street in Perth

The public were getting used to a little “excitement” at Rock n Roll concerts by the mid 1960s but this was Perth where things didn’t usually get out of hand and, a private security company had been hired by the concert organisers just in case anything untoward did occur. As the concert progressed the audience left their seats and pressed hard up against the stage. What happened next is open to interpretation. I know what I saw but describing the specific incident in detail here, even after more than 30 years could be controversial and would serve no useful purpose. It’s enough to say something happened that triggered mayhem, and as the saying goes, “It was on for young and old” with girls climbing onto the stage two and three at a time. The security guards appeared to lose control of the stage completely, and, girls were literally thrown back out into the audience, (I’m not saying or even hinting at who was doing the throwing?) Everyone in the audience then left their seats, screaming and yelling as fights started in the auditorium – there were also punch-ups on the stage.


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Isn’t it wonderful he kicked me too!

At about the time, when things started to get really interesting for television, we had a major technical problem. Two out of our three cameras packed up! I was on camera 3 on the right-hand side of the balcony and seemed to have the only camera still operating. I could see things happening all over the theatre but could only get one thing at a time. I decided to concentrate on the happenings on stage as due to the absolute chaos and deafening noise coming from everywhere I couldn’t hear the director in the OB van

This incident and the negative publicity it generated inevitably lead to litigation, possibly between the concert organisers and the security company, though after more than 30 years I can’t be sure now who was suing whom? I believe the video recordings we did manage to get were used as evidence in court.

My first Set Design for the TVW was for one of the stations more extrovert producers, Mike Brand. He was making a musical insert for an Easter Special, for Coralie Condon’s morning show “Televisit”. We might have had a choir or perhaps it was a solo singing artist – can’t remember which now, but I do remember the set. It was a simple, cut-out “crown of thorns”, about two and a half metres in diameter hung on nylon thread in front of the cyclorama.

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Producer/Director/Studio Supervisor Mike Brand was a fitness and health fanatic with amazing strength. He was also a former wrestler and film industry pioneer who later became a restaurateur and actor.

Soon after that, set design and painting became my priority occupation for a number of years. We did a lot of regular live programmes in those days – children’s shows, daytime “who’s of interest in town” ladies programmes. Richard Ashton’s “Today” with Lloyd Lawson interviewing invited, gloved and hatted lady guests, little fingers extended, at morning tea with cream buns. The floor-crew, begrudged every on-camera mouthful as it meant less cream buns for us once the programme was over.

There was “Club Seventeen” on Saturday, World of Sport on Sunday, the regular live variety show “In Perth Tonight” on Monday, lots of sets and themes for this one. Plus the occasional extravaganzas like “The Good Oil”.


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Mansion Set used for The Good Oil

Studio sets for that show included the re creation both exterior and interior, of a part of the Perth Stock Exchange. When I went into the city to sketch and photograph the building it was daunting to see the scale…… the actual façade was several times the height of the roof of Studio One. We had to scale it down and make it possible to fly out when we needed to get to the interiors.


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Director Max Bostock surveys the Stock Exchange set in Studio One for The Good Oil

In those early halcyon days of the sixties budgets for sets and costumes didn’t exist. Well perhaps they did really, but for some reason known only to “Supply”, the designer wasn’t allowed to know what it was. It became a game of, design the set, cost it, then cut it back by 25%. Cardboard, acrylic paint plus a few of lengths of Indonesian soft-wood, were cut, carved, folded, bent and slapped-on with paint-brush and roller to create Children’s Fantasy Worlds, Teenage Discos and anything in-between. For “posh” shows we might get to use a bit of ply-wood and the ever popular “glitter dust”. For the winter scene in the Nutcracker Suite ballet we used bags full of cigarette paper off-cuts for the snow, sprinkled down from several positions in the lighting grid. The effect was very realistic. A minor problem was that it continued to be realistic for months afterwards as the slightest draft from the air-conditioning would dislodge forgotten little snowflakes from the lighting bars, during commercial takes or other studio recording events, when snowfall was a tad inappropriate!

Due to lack of funds for costumes the Channel Seven Dancers often performed in black leotards and tights. On several occasions after discussion with Kevin Johnston and Danni Harford I did my best for them by making something wearable out of light-weight corrugated card. One time we produced a ballet insert for “In Perth Tonight” using the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s theme music from “Dr Who”. For the set we hired a number of 2 metre square cyclone-wire frames. The girls danced in the usual black leotards and tights wearing cardboard helmets I had made up that afternoon. The effect of the silver, tubular frames, the helmeted figures, and the clever choreography, against blacks, with oblique lighting, was surreal – and we did it all for a very few dollars. How the girls managed to see where they were going with those helmets on bless ‘em I’ll never know.


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Back row L to R: Jennifer Hayden, Karen Obbs, Danni Harford, Janet Ladner.

Front row L to R: Adrienne O’Meara, Gay Chandler, Clarice Page.

At about this time, Management, or perhaps more correctly the then “big boss” Jim Cruthers asked staff generally to come up with ideas for a revamp of the canteen. In those days it was quite small but there was opportunity to extend the eating area by taking out the existing wall on the right and making use of the space under the verandah. I did some perspective drawings showing how this could look and submitted them. Somebody up there liked what I’d done as a couple of weeks later I found myself in charge of the Graphics Department!

We had no Design Department as such in the 1960s, my desk and drawing board was more or less it. For a while I was squeezed into a corner of the production office. Later I shared the graphic art studio with Geoff Pratt and Sandra Lucas and shortly afterwards the new graphics artist, Helen Harrison. Graphics was then moved into a smaller room so I was back in the production office for a while. When the new more spacious Graphic Art Studio was commissioned I was back in with Geoff and Helen again, so when my promotion came I was no stranger to the workings of the Graphics Department.


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Brian Lever in 1968


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Helen Harrison 1n 1968

Computers in those days consisted of rooms full of mysterious technology, NASA had a few, and there might have been the odd one or two heavily guarded in the vaults of some of the bigger Australian banks. Computer graphics were still a long time into the future; we did almost everything by hand. The big innovation was Lettraset, letters on sheets that could be transferred onto artwork. These sheets were expensive so for news caption superimposition we used the “Hot Press Machine”. This contraption was the cutting edge, titling technology of the time! It looked like a combination of an over-sized toasted sandwich-maker and a one armed bandit. The process consisted of using a heated metal plate, brass type and, dry ink on a plastic backing. One would place a black caption-card on the sliding base-plate, cut off an appropriately sized strip of ink, set up the letters face down on the ink, slide the base-plate under the press, pull down hard on the lever lowering the heated top-plate, and bingo, one caption, ready for the news-cast. Fingers were often burned from lifting the hot type of the card too quickly.

We had an interesting range of card colours: there was black and a more black black, grey and another darker grey and a light blue that broadcast as grey anyway, so I don’t remember why we had light blue? Lettraset came for television in black and white, hot press ink came in black and white, and our Tamma opaque paint came in black and white.

Much of the work for the graphics designers consisted of white on black caption supers. These could be for programme credits, news captions or commercials.

Our department in those days also produced a lot of illustrated programme promotion graphics. We would be given a list of scheduled films or drama series and little else other than a brief couple of lines of plot description. If we were lucky there might also be a couple of poor quality black and white promotional photos of the stars. Quite often there was nothing much at all so we had to try to come up with a background illustration based only on the title. Mostly in cases like this we erred on the side of safety by using just the title on a textured background, particularly when we were only given a half hour or so to knock something up. Some of these bland efforts attracted criticism but generally the standard of the work that came out of that studio was remarkable considering the time limitations.

An example of the problems that can occur when the artist has only the title for a programme to work from, happened some years later when I was working at the ABC. A request came in for a promo graphic for a show entitled “The Primates” The artist, (not me thank goodness), hand-lettered the title together with a beautiful illustration of a family of monkeys. The show when it went to-air turned out to be a documentary on the Catholic Church.

A number of the bigger advertising agencies employed their own graphics designers. The work they produced was more often than not of an excellent standard. We would run into problems when they used a wax based adhesive for attaching photographs to their caption cards. This kind of sticking agent was fine for newspaper advertising paste-ups but not suitable for television work under hot lights. Producing “graphics only” commercials could be done in two ways – the first and most expensive would involve a studio and a number of cameras shooting the graphics on graphic stands.


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Graphic Stand in Studio to the right of Camera 2

The cheaper way was using the “caption scanners” in telecine. There were big problems here if the wax-type adhesive had been used for mounting photos. The scanners would get very hot and melt the wax and as the camera in the scanner sat below the artwork, the pictures would slowly peel off and land on the camera lens – not a good look for your commercial. Despite each agency and our sales staff being supplied with specifications for graphics produced off site, occasionally, we would still have work come in where the dreaded wax adhesive had been used. Though the artwork looking very professional we would have to reject it for use in the caption scanners and be forced to make the commercial in the studio, costing considerably more. There would be indignant backlash from clients to agencies – agencies to our sales staff – then inevitably, sales staff to the team in graphics.

In the early days sometimes the clients themselves would insist on producing their own artwork! A certain electrical store in Subiaco came up with what they considered to be an outstanding selling gimmick, “Elmer the talking Elephant”. He was the creation of the then store owner, who like me was also “a bit of an artist”, or so he had been told by his family. His artwork was usually in pencil and crayons, painstakingly if rather unsteadily produced on cardboard from the inside of cornflakes packages. And we put them to air! The store owner would want to stand in the studio next to the graphics-stand, bouncing the graphic in time with Elmers voice on the pre-recorded audio. Animation he believed! The floor-manager did talk him out of that and Elmer eventually died of natural causes.

In late 1970 Helen Harrison and I were married. We resigned from TVW in early 1971 to join a group of people travelling to Europe, overland by bus from Nepal. Though that was the beginning of another interesting phase in my life, I remember the eight years I spent working for TVW Channel Seven with great affection. We were a family, a band of brothers and sisters loyal to each other and learning in an exciting “hands on” way about an industry that was still in its infancy in Australia. Fortunately our viewing audience was also still learning and we got away with it.


Brian Harrison-Lever

Launceston Tasmania

November 2009


BRIAN’S GALLERY

  

HELEN’S GALLERY

  






A message from Rolf Harris

Posted by ken On November - 14 - 2009

In 2006, it was the 50th anniversary of television in Australia. The Australian Museum of Motion Picture Technology (AMMPT) commemorated this occasion with two events. The first was an exhibition in the undercroft of the Perth Town Hall in October 2006, and the second, a reunion for Perth television stations with TVW7, ABW2 and STW9 being represented. Rolf Harris kindly recorded a 15 minute message for replay at this reunion, which was held at the Italian Club in November 2006.

Rolf Harris Celebrates 50 years of TV

The following notes are drawn from Rolf’s address, with additional comments to emphasise the historical relevance to those who were not a part of it.

Rolf explained that John D. Brown came across from the United States to work at TVW in an advisory capacity, where he went through the protocol explaining how it all worked. Everyone referred to John, when they didn’t know what they were doing.

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John D. Brown was an early Channel Seven program director and presentation coordinator

The two cameramen were Gordon McColl and Dick Ashton when we first started. Steve Lumsdaine was on lights, and he went on to marry the lovely Elena Giugliarelli. They’re apart now.


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Steve and Elena Lumsdaine


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Gordon McColl, Rolf Harris and Richard Ashton

Rolf painted a picture of John D. Brown instructing Ross Cusack on vision switching on the old Studio Two vision mixer. There was a bit of conjecture as to whether it was Gordon McColl or Ross he had depicted, but the consensus view of Brian Williams, Darcy Farrell and Richard Ashton was that the likeness represented Ross, rather than Gordy.

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Gordon McColl in 1959

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Rolf’s painting of Ross Cusack and John D. Brown

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Not unlike this early photo of Ross Cusack and Darcy Farrell taken by Gordon McColl at the same desk

John D. Brown and Rolf wrote the words to “Six White Boomers” together, but sadly Rolf has lost touch with him.

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Alex Stewart was TVW’s chief audio operator who trained many of the early audio operators before going on to be the Chief Engineer of BTW3 in Bunbury

Rolf remembers recording “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” with the Rhythm Spinners, who opted for a fee rather than a percentage of the sales, not expecting it to be an outstanding success.

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Rhythm Spinners

Colin Gorey was the recordist that day, and still has a Rolf autographed 45 rpm copy of the disc among his memorabilia.

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Colin Gorey at the controls of the Audio Mixing Unit for Studio 2 – the facilities used to record ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’

Rolf autographed the label, adding the words, “To Col Thanks for a good job done! Rolf.”

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Colin was only pondering the other day what to do with it, should anything happen to him.


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Colin Gorey with the first pressing of ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Sport’ to come out of the box

Rolf also remembers Beverly Gledhill, who directed the opening night program for TVW on Friday October 16, 1959. Penny Hoes was the script assistant. He also gave mention to Jean Hunsley, Coralie Condon, Darcy Farrell, Bill Smeed, Carolyn Noble, Lloyd Lawson and Harry Butler, with whom Rolf presented the popular Australian Broadcasting Corporation television series Rolf’s Walkabout (1970), directed by Alan Bateman.

In his autobiography Rolf Harris recalls the writing of Sun Arise:

Another song from that time was ‘Sun Arise’ which was inspired by the Aboriginal music that Harry Butler had introduced to me. (pp. 159-160)

Harry Butler and I wrote Sun Arise together, trying to capture the magic of Aboriginal music by reproducing the repetition of lyrics and music that make it so mesmerizing.

The lyrics of the song came from a story Harry told me about Aboriginal beliefs. Some tribes see the sun as a goddess. Each time she wakes in the morning, her skirts of light gradually cover more and more of the land, bringing back warmth and light to the air. (p. 161)

- Rolf Harris, Can You Tell Me What It Is Yet? London, Bantam Press, 2001

Rolf also recalled working with the loveable larrikin Frankie Davidson, whose motto is “If you ain’t laughin’ you ain’t liven’”. Frankie was introduced to Perth television by Max Bostock, who he worked with in the mid-fifties, when he was a regular featured vocalist at the Ziegfeld Palais Ball Room in Melbourne.


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Rolf Harris and Frankie Davidson singing ‘A couple of Swells”

Vin Walsh was also there as Seven’s first weather man, a retired meteorology officer from the RAAF. He drew up the weatherboards from details supplied from the Bureau of Meteorology, as in those days there were no computer generated graphics.


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TVW’s first weatherman Vin Walsh

Phillip Edgley was an early newsreader and host of TVW’s first variety show called Spotlight. He came from the well known Edgley theatrical family, whose young brother Michael took over the business and brought such renowned attractions as London’s Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Marcel Marceau, Torvill and Dean, the Moscow Circus and many more to our shores, and Australian audiences.


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Brian Card, Phillip Edgley, Dianne Briggs and Frankie Davidson on ‘Spotlight’

Not to forget Brian Williams who directed such early series as ‘Tuesday Date’ and ‘Saturday Showtime’ before creating a number of memorable specials such as ‘Do You Remember’, ‘Songs of the Wars’, ‘Invitation to the Dance’, ‘The Nutcracker’, ‘Baptism of Fire’ and ‘Bradman’ to mention a few of the many shows Brian was responsible for.

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Max Bostock and Brian Williams

Rolf went on to describe his “Oliver Polip the Octopus” character, who featured on Children’s Channel Seven.

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Rolf draws Oliver Polip

After leaving Seven, Rolf went on to achieve much greater things and was recognised many times for his considerable achievements.

  • Rolf hosted a successful variety TV series in Canada, which was a second home to Harris during the 1960s. During this period, Rolf also created one of his most famous roles, Jake the Peg.
  • As a vocalist his hits have included Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Sun Arise, Six White Boomers, Two Little Boys and more recently Stairway to Heaven.
  • He was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1968 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1977 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the performing arts.
  • He was awarded the A.M. (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 1989 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to the community as an entertainer.
  • He made several television appearances in which he would paint pictures on large boards in an apparently slapdash manner, with the odd nonsense song thrown in, but with detailed results. These led to a string of TV series based on his artistic ability, notably Rolf Harris’s Cartoon Time in the 1980s and Rolf’s Cartoon Club in the early 1990s, which ran for six series.
  • In 1995 Rolf began presenting Animal Hospital on BBC ONE. The show attracts a large audience and won the National Television Awards Most Popular Factual Entertainment Show in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000.
  • Spin off series have included Animal Hospital Down Under and Animal Hospital from Oz, screened to coincide with the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • Rolf also presented Rolf’s Amazing World of Animals for BBC ONE.
  • In 2000 he received an honorary membership from the Royal Society of British Artists, joining a distinguished list that includes Sir Winston Churchill and James McNeil Whistler.
  • He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to entertainment, to charity, and to community.
  • He was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to entertainment in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
  • He painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. It was documented on BBC 1’s The Queen, by Rolf.
  • In July 2008 Rolf was inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Awards) Hall of Fame and in December 2008 he presented the Annual Lecture on Portraiture at the official opening of the new National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. In the same month, he starred in a sell-out season at the Sydney Opera House Playhouse Theatre.

TVW Reunion Photos courtesy of Annette Purvis

Posted by ken On November - 11 - 2009

Back in the 1970’s, Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) was a young performer on STARS OF THE FUTURE, a national half hour children’s variety program which received Logie Awards in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976. Annette also appeared during the MISS WEST COASTS, TELETHONS and sang the theme to FAT CAT’S FUN SHOW.

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Annette Purvis, Lynne Wholley and Rhonda Thunder – Stars of the Future reunite
Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Lynn Wholley – Entertainer/Secretary 1973-1978
Rhonda Thunder (nee James) – Entertainer/Production 1970-1977


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Lynne Wholley was a popular and talented performer who is shown here with Percy Penguin


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Rhonda Thunder, Annette Purvis, Marion Leyer and Karen Beckett

Rhonda Thunder (nee James) – Entertainer/Production 1970-1977
Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Marion Leyer (nee Greiling) – Production 1960-1985
Karen Beckett (nee Beckett) – Performer 1972-1975

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Karen Beckett appeared on Stars of the Future

Later Annette worked in the Publicity Dept with KAY SUNNERS and DON ROWE, as Annette reports, “My years as part of the TVW 7/Ix family were some of the happiest times in my life. I was fortunate enough to work in front and behind the camera when TVW made an abundance of wonderful local programmes. I owe everything to Marion Leyer and Brian Smith for giving me a wonderful musical career filled with amazing memories. Then being lucky enough to work in Publicity with the “Stunning” Kay Sunners and the “laugh a minute” Don Rowe… Those were the days…”


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Jeff Thomas, Kay Sunners and Susan Dewer

Jeff Thomas – Floor Manager 1971-2000
Kay Linton-Mann (nee Sunners) – Publicity 1974-1977
Suzanne Dewar – Group Colour/Operations/Production/Telethon 1974-1981


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Luise Borsje, Kay Sunners and Barbara Brown

Luise Nelthorpe (nee Borsje) – Admin/Production 1971-1976
Kay Linton-Mann (nee Sunners) – Publicity 1974-1977
Barbara Brown – Administration/Engineering 1976-1981


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Keith Mackenzie, Don Rowe and Bill Meacham

Keith Mackenzie – Producer/Director 1966-1982
Don Rowe – News/Production/Promotions 1970-1979
Bill Meacham – Senior Cine Cameraman – 1967-1980

Keith Mackenzie, John Hudson, Don Rowe and Bill Meacham formed a production company called Threshold in 1979. Their first big project was to travel the world to make a documentary titled: “Fragile Handle with Care”. This program took a look into the future, anticipating what may happen in the 1980’s with regard to society, entertainment, technology and the environment. The next major project was to remake the Maybelline cosmetics commercials for Australia, at a time when regulation prohibited overseas Ad productions from domineering the market. John Cranfield, who was also at the reunion, provided some insight into Don Rowe’s earlier career as the first 6IX newsreader/journalist to incorporate actual voice inserts into the bulletins.



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Judy Thompson and Carolyn Noble

Judy Duffy (nee Thompson) – Production 1975-1988
Carolyn Tannock (nee Noble) – Presenter 1960-1974

Judy was the presenter of a weekly teenage program called HEY JUDE (1975-79), where the first producer was Greg Parker and the final Keith Geary. Other shows that Judy was an important part of include Earlybirds (1979-80), Fat Cat and Friends (1980), Turpie Tonight (1980-81), Miss Western Australia (1981), Miss West coast (1980-81), and Jenny Seaton’s morning program (1982-88). Then there were all the Telethons between 1975-1988.

Carolyn’s career at TVW was devoted to entertaining children, starting in April 1960, at the youthful age of 17 and a half. A time when Rolf Harris was hosting Children’s Channel Seven, and Walt Disney’s Mouseketeers were all the rage. Carolyn also appeared on Coralie Condon’s Televisit program and used to help out on the Lloyd Lawson’s Today show, along with Audrey Barnaby. Carolyn and Gary Carvolth started at Channel 7 at around the same time and together won the 1964 best male and female personality Logie Awards for Western Australia. Carolyn, Trina Brown and Sandy Baker all took turns hosting the four time Logie award winning Stars of the Future.


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Logie award winning Stars of the Future


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Judy Thompson with Marion Leyer during the Hey Jude period


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Reg Whiteman, Annette Purvis, Judy Thompson

Reg Whiteman – Performer/Fat Cat 1959-
Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Judy Duffy (nee Thompson) – Production 1975-1987



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Sandy Baker and Reg Whiteman (courtesy of Seven News)


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Reg Whiteman and Fat Cat (courtesy of Seven News)


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Fat Cat, Sandy Baker, Simon Reeve and Percy Penguin
when TVW was a hive of local production activity

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Suzanne Dewar, Brian Smith, Annette Purvis and Will Upson

Suzanne Dewar – Group Colour/Operations/Production/Telethon 1974-1981
Brian Smith – Producer/Choreographer/Dancer 1969-1988
Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Will Upson – Musical Director 1973-1987


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Sir James Cruthers and Coralie Condon

Sir James Cruthers – General Manager/Managing Director 1959-1981
Coralie Condon – Producer/Presenter/Writer/Composer 1959-1967



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Peter Goodall, Bob Goodall and Michael Goodall

Peter Goodall – News/Production 1959-66 & 1979-83
Bob Goodall – Operations/News 1978-2003
Michael Goodall – News 1971-2003


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Marion Leyer and Sandy Baker

Marion Leyer (nee Greiling) – Production 1960-1985
Sandy Baker (nee Palmer) – Presenter 1972-1984

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Sandy Baker, Di Stanbury, Mark Stanbury and Judy Thompson

Sandy Baker (nee Palmer) – Presenter 1972-1984
Diana Stanbury – Production 1972-1980
Mark Stanbury – Production & Viz Ad 1971-1980
Judy Duffy (nee Thompson) – Production 1975-1987

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Di Stanbury, Greg Parker, Rhonda Thunder and Marion Leyer

Diana Stanbury – Production 1972-1980
Greg Parker – Production 1973-1979
Rhonda Thunder (nee James) – Production 1970-1977
Marion Leyer (nee Greiling) – Production 1960-1985

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Annette Purvis, Jeff Thomas and Trevor Kerslake

Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Jeff Thomas – Floor Manager 1971-2000
Trevor Kerslake – Production – 1979-2004

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Norm Bruce, Annette Purvis, Shane Nugent

Norman Bruce – Production 1974-1999
Annette Grennell (nee Purvis) – Performer/Publicity 1970-1980
Shane Nugent – Video Tapes/Telecine/Presentation 1974-2004


PHOTO GALLERY


Val Sutherland reports…

Posted by ken On November - 8 - 2009

Val Sutherland (nee Amoore) worked in the Seven Publicity and Program Departments form 1979 to 1985 (Typist/Publicity Co-ordinator/Publicity Manager).


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Gerry Swift, Val Sutherland, Martin Trevor, Jo-Ann Ledger

Val reports that, “My years at Channel 7 were so much fun and I was very fortunate to meet a group of fantastic people that are still my very best friends today (including my husband!!).”

My favourite pic of all – the Farewell Party to Sir James.


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Hollywood line-up with all those legs & short skirts – how ironic after Sir James was so strict about all the secretaries wearing short skirts!!

Produced by Brian Smith this dance number was sung to the tune of Mickey Mouse… can’t remember all the names but here we go:


J? I ? M? C? R?

U –Kim from 6IX


T – Liz Smith from Promotions

H – Lynette Gray

E – Val Sutherland

R – Kerry from Production

S – ?


But the most gorgeous gal… Peter Dean in drag!!


Farewell for Publicity Manager Ron Berryman. Publicity Manager was a hot seat with many changes! Ron resigned to go to the Tobacco Institute.


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L-R: Val Sutherland, Ron Berryman Ruth Leyland and Mary Crowell.


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(Channel 7 6) Stephanie Quinlan’s “Today” show attracted lots of celebrities. This one with the old Rock ‘n’ Rollers Dr. Hook. 
Ted Bull – background right.








Being paid to have fun by Tom Creamer TVW 1965 – 1996

Posted by ken On November - 8 - 2009

Thirty One of the Past Fifty Years

1965 – 1996

( Being paid to have fun )

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By

Tom Creamer

I joined TVW7 in December 1965. I’d recently migrated from England and was looking for work. I phoned the station on the off chance they might have a vacancy and was lucky enough to be answered by a girl on the switchboard who was also English. There weren’t any vacancies but she, somehow, talked the Chief Engineer John Quicke into giving me an interview the following day. My luck still held and he offered me a job. I spent the next week at Ascot racecourse with the OB crew, running cables for the cameras, getting covered in dust and rapidly losing my “pommy” pallor under the W.A. sun. I was also introduced to Swan lager in the breaks between races, which we were recording for the stewards who were checking each race for possible interference by any competing jockey.


After my stint at the races I was put into the Telecine room, which was on the upper floor of the building on the left of the short corridor leading to the studio control rooms

( AMU’s and VMU’s 1 & 2 ), where I was taught the intricacies of the equipment by Dianne Chappell.



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Dianne Chappell


Over the next few years I moved from Telecine to Videotapes, where I learned all about the RCA 1B videotape machines ( which were beasts to line up and used 2 inch wide tape ) from Peter Hobson and John Cleary. There were two of these machines and they took up the whole of one wall of the room. A far cry from today’s compact home video recorder.



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Kevin Reeves in the old videotape area



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Operating the RCA TRT-IB value videotape machines


My next move was to the Audio Department. My first job there was as “grams operator” for the news. In those days the filmed news stories were silent so, to add to the voice over being read by the newsreader, music was played underneath to provide “atmosphere”! This involved my choosing the appropriate records from the record library and marking the selected passages on the record with a chinagraph pencil. I eventually progressed to becoming a fully fledged audio operator which meant being able to operate the boom microphone as well as the audio desks.



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78 rpm gramophone records often contained the atmospheric music


By now the Videotape and Telecine departments had been combined in a new extension to the studio complex, along with a third studio which was to be used for the news. I was moved back into this new area as a semi-supervisor, helping to train new staff along with Norm Bruce. The old RCA video tape machines had now been replaced by the latest, state of the art, brand new machines ( albeit still using 2 inch tape ).


It was after I had spent some time in this area that a vacancy arose for an operations supervisor. Norm Bruce was offered the job and I was offered the position of Technical Director, which meant I was now involved in all manner of studio productions. The job involved the technical line up of the studio cameras, ensuring that all technical equipment required was available and working, physically “riding” the vision levels of the cameras used in a production, as well as keeping an ear on the audio side of things and an eye on the lighting side of things ( not that I had any worries on either of those areas as the guys were all excellent at their respective jobs ). I also had to keep an eye on the vision levels of any vision coming in from an outside source eg: film, videotape, OB vision etc.


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Technical Directing in Studio One

When colour television became a fact everyone involved in production had to suddenly learn a whole new set of “rules” regarding what looked right on camera and what didn’t. Make up, clothing, set painting, lighting etc. all had to make changes and adjustments in order that the end resulting vision looked correct. It was a sharp learning curve for everyone, not the least for me with regard to the new colour cameras. The technical line up for these cameras was vastly different to the old image orthicon black and white ones. These colour cameras had three plumbicon colour image tubes ( red, blue and green ) and the images from these had to overlay each other perfectly. This was achieved by the use of a registration chart and the adjustment of electronic controls for each tube.



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Registration chart


Once that was done the cameras then had to be colour balanced to ensure they reproduced all the colours correctly in whatever scene it was shooting. This was done with another chart called a grey scale and the adjustment of yet another set of electronic controls for each tube. This could be quite a time consuming job.



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Grey scale chart


As technology improved over the following years these three tube cameras were eventually made redundant by the development of CCD cameras which did away with the use of the registration chart altogether and only required a white card as a chart for colour balance which was usually achieved by pressing a “white balance” button on the camera.


Over the years I worked on a whole variety of shows from “Johnny Young’s Club Seventeen” to, just before leaving TVW, the children’s drama series “The Adventures of the Bush Patrol”! In between those I worked on Children’s Channel Seven, In Perth Tonight, The Chard Show, Family Feud, It’s Academic, innumerable footy shows, panel shows, commercials, OB’s, specials and, of course, every Telethon from the first in 1968 up to the one in 1996 when I left. You name it I probably worked on it.



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The Adventures of the Bush Patrol – Former TVW Audio man Lindsay Smith is on the far right


One of the highlights was working on Miss Universe 1979 at the Entertainment Centre, where I had the dubious honour of stopping Donny Osmond rehearsing his big production number. I called up the American Lighting Director on the talkback to say in some shots Donny Osmond’s face had a green tinge. He stopped the rehearsal and took me onstage to see if we could find out why. It turned out that one of the spotlights being used had a cracked lens which caused the problem.

I have hundreds of memories of things that happened over the years, mostly funny but some sad. I’ll recount some of the funny ones:-

When I was working in Telecine one of the pieces of equipment was a thing called a Caption Scanner. It was a large box inside which was a fixed camera, lights, rotating holders for graphics and a motorized roller device for scrolling rolls of paper ( somewhat like the inside of a 35mm still camera ), plus the station clock. It was used to put credits on programmes, via the caption cards or the motorized roller, as well as putting the station clock to air during station ID breaks. It’s unofficial use during some evenings was as a pie warmer to heat up the operator’s supper. On one occasion we had scored a bowl of cocktail frankfurts in tomato sauce, from a sales function held in the grounds during the evening. I put them in the caption scanner to keep them warm. Later in the evening the station clock was scheduled to go to air. Unfortunately I had forgotten to switch from the frankfurts, sitting on the bed of the roller, to the clock. The result was that the frankfurts went to air instead. Oops!

Also in Telecine one evening, I was putting a movie to air that was on five reels of film. In those days you had to rely on visible cues on the film ( usually tiny circles in one of the top corners of the frame ) to alert you to the end of the reel or the end of a scene where a commercial break was to be inserted. On this occasion I knew the end of the reel was close. I spotted the visual cues and, as the last one appeared, switched to the next reel. A couple of minutes later a voice on the talkback from Master Control asked quietly “Do you realize you’ve chopped fifteen minutes out of this movie?” I rushed over to the projector and, sure enough, there was still about fifteen minutes of film left on the previous reel. Luckily for me it was a late night movie and no-one phoned in to complain.

On another occasion we were making a commercial for a car dealership to celebrate their big sale. Part of the commercial involved swinging a bottle of champagne to break on the car’s front bumper. They tried and they tried but the darned bottle just wouldn’t break. After about a dozen or so tries they gave up and abandoned the whole idea. It was just as well because the front of the car was totally ruined.



One last memory. We were making a special programme with an entertainer called Peter Maxell, pianist, comedian, all round entertainer. As a promotion for the special it was arranged that he would be sitting at the grand piano on the beach playing “Ebb Tide.” As he played the tide would come in and he would eventually float out to sea still playing until the piano sank. Everyone was very happy with result and it was put to air. Suddenly, the studio was bombarded with complaints saying we should be should be “ashamed of yourselves for destroying such a beautiful piano” and “how dare you ruin such a wonderful instrument” and so on. That was high praise indeed for the studio carpenters because it was a fake instrument that they had built in the “chippy’s” shop and it was so good it fooled the viewers.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop here and say those thirty one years were very happy years working with one of the best bunch of people I’ve ever had the privilege and pleasure to meet. It was like one big happy family. I said it then and I still say it today.

I was being paid to have fun.


Tom Creamer

TVW7 1965 – 1996.






Coralie Condon’s Post TVW Reunion Get Together

Posted by ken On November - 2 - 2009

It started off as small tea party for Coralie Condon and Pixi Burke (nee Hale) to reminisce about the theatre, the performing arts and everything in general.

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Pam Leuba, Coralie Condon, Audrey Long and Pixi Burke

Once word got out, it soon turned into a great post TVW reunion get together.

Two people who missed out on the TVW reunion on Sunday October 18, 2009 were Pam Nielson (nee Leuba) and Russell Sage. Pam will be remembered as WA’s first woman newsreader and Russell for being a top studio and OB cameraman in the first decade of TVW Channel 7. Pam is in Perth for a short time visiting friends, including her St Hilda school chums.

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Pam Leuba, Russell Sage, Coralie Condon and Audrey Long

TVW’s first News Editor Darcy Farrell took this opportunity to catch up with Pam, in a day filled with anecdotes and good humour.

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Coralie Condon, Pam Leuba and Darcy Farrell

Coralie’s theatrical heritage is never far from the surface, with Pixie Hale and Rick Hearder present.

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Pixi Burke and Rick Hearder

Pixi is fondly remembered as a talented singer, dancer and actress, having a close working relationship with many of Coralie and Frank Baden-Powell’s productions, when they owned and ran the Hole in the Wall, Old Time Music Hall, Dirty Dick’s, Island Trader, Diamond Lill’s, and many more venues and shows. Rick is a well known actor in Perth theatrical circles and has appeared in many ABC radio plays. He also appeared on Children’s Channel Seven when Rolf Harris was doing the show. Rick and veteran TVW floor manager John Easton were Playhouse thespians and part of a travelling players group before John joined Seven full time. Talk about six degrees of separation. Perth really was a small place in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

On the subject of history, Pam brought along her close friend Lennie McCall, a delightful lady steeped in all matters heritage. Lennie has held many leadership positions under the Library Board of Western Australia until her retirement in 1998. Since her retirement she has remained a member of the Management Committee of the Friends of the Battye Library. Her activities spread to non-library fields such as the National Trust and involvement with the Royal Western Australian Historical Society where she is the Chairman of Council.

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Gordon McColl, Audrey Long, Pam Leuba and Lennie McCall

Coralie’s long time friend Audrey Long was also there. Audrey is a constant help for Coralie, as her eye sight fades. Audrey will be fondly remembered for her many appearances on the Today and Televist programs on TVW. Audrey also came up with the popular Shopping Guide concept, which she regularly hosted in the early years. Audrey’s repartee with advertisers resulted in many friendships and long working relationships with various Perth sponsors.

Gordon McColl is remembered as a television veteran, firstly as one of the first two studio cameramen. Richard Ashton was the other, who presently is in Canberra with a fellowship at the National Film and Sound Archive. Both gentlemen went on to studio directing, whilst Richard also worked in the special events unit, publicity and as Manager of Group Color.

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Gordon McColl and Pam Leuba


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Russell Sage



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Pam Leuba, Coralie Condon and Pixi Burke after they discover that the still camera they were posing for was in fact a movie camera


PHOTO GALLERY





TVW Reunion Photo courtesy of Kay Linton-Mann

Posted by ken On November - 1 - 2009

Just a belated note to thank the organisers for the wonderful reunion. You all worked so hard for such a long time apparently, and your efforts paid off handsomely. We all had such a great time, so nice to see friends from those happy days at TVW.

Photo – myself, Carolyn Gould and Luise Borsje

Thanks again,

Best wishes,
Kay Linton-Mann (nee Sunners)


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Kay Linton-Mann, Carolyn Bendall and Luise Nelthorpe

Kay Linton-Mann (nee Sunners) – Publicity 1974-1977
Carolyn Bendall (nee Gould) – Finance/News 1975-77
Luise Nelthorpe (nee Borsje) – Admin/Production 1971-1976


Carolyn Bendall has also kindly provided a number of earlier photos.

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Carolyn Bendall in a MASH promotional photo

Here is another MASH promotional photo. Carolyn sadly can’t remember the name of the girl on the left but the one in the middle is Kay Sunners. Reunited after so many years at the recent TVW reunion on Sunday October 18, 2009.



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Unknown, Kay Sunners and Carolyn Bendall


Carolyn explains that, “This one was taken one day when it was VERY COLD in the office. Darcy called me over to take dictation and when I looked up, he’d put on this duffle coat and some alfoil-type promotional cap to keep his head warm. Note the telephone and typewriter (and the length of my skirt!).”



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Carolyn remembers, “…that this one and the one of Darcy and I were taken by Brian Coulter (not sure for what reason).”



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