A friendly gathering of television veterans and cinema folk was kindly hosted by the Australian Museum of Motion Picture and Television (AMMPT) on Wednesday 21st of August, 2013. A 51 minute video covering the golden era of TVW was screened on this occasion.
Gary Carvolth specially interviewed Sir James Cruthers for this video and Audrey Long narrated the production. The event finished with a session of reminiscing between Gary and Audrey, with Gary telling many amusing yarns. A few of the audience joined in too with stories. Audrey’s narration was first class and Gary was at his brilliant best. They certainly helped make the evening a success.
The TV veterans we most appreciative for the welcome provided by the AMMPT team, and for providing a nice spread of refreshments and snacks for the evening. Key staff at Seven, such as Jill Glass and Janine Vidot provided much valued help over the years in giving access to photos and old footage for the video. Seven’s Sadie Purser and Brad Bergersen were also pivotal in this quest, with their research for the TVW 50th Anniversary Special, and John Crilly for his 40th Anniversary Special.
Radio veteran and historian John Cranfield attended with Dianne Rowe, who was a weekend producer at 6PR. Ian Stimson was not only a veteran of radio but also television. He currently collects cinema and television equipment, which includes videotape and video cartridge machines, telecine chains, studio cameras and an endless assortment of related paraphernalia.
Most people present were either veterans of the television or cinema industries, including Derrick Wright and Kim leSoef from the ABC. John Quicke was the Chief Engineer at TVW during the period much expansion took place from the introduction of videotape and colour, to the building of the Perth Entertainment Centre. Former STW Channel 9 Chief Engineer Bob Penno was also present, who pioneered much happening at Nine during the early days, right through to the use of the StumpCam during cricket matches. Phil Salinger who helped install the TVW studios and transmitter, told a story about of his period Technical Directing in the studio. Bert King was responsible for building TVW’s first OB van, that was designed by John Quicke, and used for the 1962 Commonwealth and Empire games at Perry Lakes. Peter Buzzard was not only a Telecine veteran at Seven, but also the inaugural Chief Engineer of 96FM. Allan Smith worked at Seven from the early 1960s in Audio until more recent times as an Engineer. Peter Partridge also has a rich technical history at Seven, working most areas including outside broadcasting and operating and servicing the north west commercial cable TV network for mining communities, set up as a joint enterprise by TVW and STW. Lindsay Smith was also present, who worked on many early productions as an audio operator.
Former TVW production manager Marion Leyer kindly attended with producer and choreographer friend Brian Smith, who both were responsive over many years for a vast quantity of top shows, with a significant number being staged at the Perth Entertainment Centre. Other production veterans included Richard Ashton and Gordon McColl, who were responsible for producing the video shown on the night..
Photos provided of the evening are courtesy of Peter Goodall and Gordon McColl.
Derrick is an ABC veteran, Ian a pioneer with BTW3 and the Golden West Network, whilst Audrey was a popular personality on both TVW and STW.
Ross McDonald, the national president of AMMPT, was a technical director at TVW for many of the early shows. Ross went on the form TIAMAC a television facility with a studio for commercial production. The company also serviced the closed circuit television needs for the WA Turf Club, WA Trotting Association and the greyhounds. This included the stewards camera service, the photo finish and public address system.
The video presentation was narrated by Audrey Long, who will be remembered for appearing on TVW’s Today and Televisit program, and as the presenter and originator of Shopping Guide. Audrey is a great friend and carer for Coralie Condon, the first lady of WA television. Audrey and Coralie were great friends of the late Lloyd Lawson, who was inaugural program manager at TVW, before moving to STW, where Audrey joined him to present Roundabout.
There was a good contingent of AMMPT folk present, who offered their hospitality. AMMPT run the Sunday morning nostalgic film screening at the Cygnet Cinema in Como once a month, which they have been doing for many years owing to its great popularity. Peter Foyster, Gerry Voutsinas, Graham Lacey and Tony Smith are but four of many associated which that endeavour. Western Region AMMPT president John Fuhrmann plays the theatre organ for these session
Please find below brief highlights of the 51 minute video presentation.
The Origin of TVW Channel 7 as told by Sir James Cruthers
In 1958, Jim Cruthers was given the task of starting a television station, by West Australian Newspapers managing editor James Macartney, without first having seen a working TV set. He embarked on this quest by visiting the east to witness the new media and find people who could enlighten him. After a discouraging visit to AWA, he found solace at PYE, where an aged engineer was prepared to advise him on everything he needed to know and also tell him how to go about it. Jim describes his journey of a newspaper man seeking out information to write a licence application, rather than using these journalistic skills to write a story for the newspaper. No doubt his reporting prowess proved invaluable in following leads and tracking down the vital facts.
The Original Newsreaders at TVW Channel 7 as told by Darcy Farrell
Once TVW Channel 7 opened in October 1959, a former newspaper man and first News Editor at the station, Darcy Farrell, tells us about news gathering and bulletin reading of the era, and how the relationship between journalists and the prime minister has changed. We gain a brief insight into television weather reporting, where bees were observed to gain more reliable information in those early days of meteorological forecasting. The presenting later to be taken over by women, with Trina Brown causing a mild sensation by winking at the camera
Channel Seven Perth’s Telethon anecdotes by Sir James Cruthers
Telethon’s origins are traced from 1961, when the Lord Mayor’s Appeal for the fire ravaged town of Dwellingup became the first charitable fundraiser on television, to the incredible institution that Telethon is today.
The story of how Dr Christiaan Barnard came to Perth for the 1979 Telethon, and joined with actress Chantal Contouri, to present the Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren song “Goodness Gracious Me”. Unfortunately we can only show the vision of this performance owing to music rights issues.
The Birth of Fat Cat
Sir James Cruthers tells the story of Fat Cat’s origins, whilst Sandy Baker and Keith Geary talk about Fat Cat himself.
The First Channel Seven Christmas Pageant
Sir James Cruthers continually espoused the virtues of localism and the station being part of the community. Many programming innovations resulted, including the first Christmas Pageant in 1972.
Spellbound the Television Hypnosis Show
The ground breaking Spellbound with Martin St James, the Moon Man and hosted by Garry Meadows, was an incredibly popular show, though it was banned in Victoria. Max Bostock explains how not every participant was taken out of the spell before being sent home.
The Perth Entertainment Centre – from Go to Wow!
Major television and arena productions in Western Australia led to the construction of the Perth Entertainment Centre, which enabled increasingly more lavish shows to be mounted in Perth.
Boxing Day National Television Mishap
Not everything always goes to plan, as witnessed by a brief glimpse of hard core pornography making its way onto our screens on Boxing Day 1979. Not that TVW was to blame, though it did provoke some amusing public responses.
TVW7 in Perth – Brian Treasure, Brian Williams and Max Bostock
The late Brian Treasure is not forgotten, as the late Brian Williams explains the relationship between these two foundation staff members of TVW, and how they were pivotal to the companies success. Max Bostock reminds us that TVW was like a family, where people worked together as friends during the early pioneering times.