First published in New Zealand TV Weekly August 29, 1966
Question: Who sets the posers for the Top Mark junior quiz? Answer: A 41-year-old Northcote schoolteacher, Sid Jones, who Landed the job of cooking up some 2,000 questions a year after he had told producer Ian Watkins that he didn’t think much of the mind ticklers then being used.... The pirate position still remains uncertain, but pirate captains aver that there is no shortage of applications for crew positions, many coming from across the Tasman... A Swingin’ Safari co-compere Ray Columbus is still waiting for America to discover him ..... Inveterate purveyor of homegrown goonery Mary Smith was given a Town and Around spot to add another dimension to his Friday night radio character, Hugo Rulfleigh. Surprising how little use TV has made of Merv’s talents in the fields of mimicry and mockery, but it could be that a little would go a long way. Meantime, he’s also one of the. better straight announcers with a nice talent for the whimsical aside ...... Yet another successful idea of previous years is likely to make a repeat appearance if a planned pilot for a Dancing Time series works out.... Art and culture, two commodities which tend to bog down in their usual TV treatment, would be the basis for a David Hardy series if the green light is given. Tentative title would be Aspect, and it would cover the local scene ..... Still no word of what is to happen to the gardening show if George Dean’s recovery is delayed. Meantime producer Bryan Ashbridge has also been on the sick list.
Many complaints about the Dean Martin Show being slotted into Tuesday night, but NZBC has no plans to change it. But at least the criticism about Dr Kildare appearing at peak viewing time on Saturday nights is to be met. It is to be replaced soon (all channels) with the highly rated Gunsmoke ..... Reports that NZBC might be buying the American series F Troop and The Trials of O’Brien brought a tired smile from NZBC officials. They have been under consideration for a year ..... Batman is another series likely to stay in the "pending" tray for a good long time. An improved Andy Williams series may be bought for local screens, but probably won’t be seen for a while . . , . . There are only a few in the present series of Danny Kaye left ..... Some old British movies may soon be slotted into Friday nights ..... Director of Television, Mr N. R. Palmer, had a good look at overseas developments during a recent tour abroad. Also interviewed some candidates for one of the top jobs in television ...... NZBC not very happy about government lethargy on pirate radios. It seems that if these pirates get going, then pirate television will only be weeks away Producer Kevan Moore on the go-go, has recorded a lively show, Cameras on Campus, and is working on a pop show, but you’ll have to stick around till next year to see it.
Danger Man has taken over from The Avengers in number one popularity spot at CHTV3, according to Christchurch’s water supply gauges. The water gauge charts clearly show a drop in water consumption during the Wednesday night showing of the programme, but the drop is not as great as it was for The Avengers. The final showing of The Avengers in early June produced the biggest mark on the gauges for the whole series. Dr Finlay was in second place to The Avengers, but currently there is no obvious second place TV programme evident on the water charts.... Patron of the Pan-Pacific Arts Festival, Mr James Collins, has returned from an overseas tour with the suggestion that closed circuit television should be incorporated in the new Christchurch Town Hall. He saw it operating in the foyer at the New York State Theatre. Idea is to allow latecomers to see and hear what is going on until such time as they can enter the auditorium without interrupting what is going on.... Most important OB of the year for CHTV3 was the third test match at Lancaster Park. Producer Stan Hosgood used three cameras, two on the embankment tower and another on the half-way line for close-ups. DNTV2 used one camera on the 25 at Carisbrook, but Hosgood reckons the “half” is a more strategic position. Hosgoiod laughed off censorship allegations saying viewers will get the lot within limitations of the cameras and certainly all the commentary, which will be “live” from sports commentator Keith McEwen and former All Black hooker Denis Young. As well as supplying all New Zealand channels, full match tapes go to BBC, TWW (Wales) and ABC. Plans at time of writing, were for a special pre-test Town and Around feature using the OB equipment at Lancaster Park last Friday night.
When Selwyn Toogood and The Family Game crew were in town for the Dunedin heats, we looked in on some of the preparations. On the Sunday, Selwyn had met the entered families and eventually selected his contestants. On the Monday he worked on those contestants until he had loosened all their natural inhibitions so that they would be spontaneous performers. On the Tuesday, under oath of secrecy, we watched Selwyn working with his colleagues and DNTVZ staff on a run through of some of the actual tasks to be performed' at the Wednesday taping session. Substituting for the family groups of three were two technicians. In the main this run through was to familiarise the crew with the tasks to be set, and also, even more important, to adjust The Game to DNTV2’s two cameras after WNTV1’s three. This was all very interesting, but what most impressed us was the thoroughness and no-nonsense attitude of this limited rehearsal. Selwyn was as much the professional without an audience as with-so much so, that at one point when he turned to the “one-technician” family who had won the bid for time and asked “which member of the family" would perform the individual task, that solitary stand-in involuntarily looked round at the two empty chairs beside him to “confer.” That’s showmanship!