From the New Zealand TV Weekly, August 7, 1967
Did you know that we are going to kill Perry Mason's bugs? A Fletcher top-dressing aircraft from James Aviation in Hamilton is to be shipped to Fiji to carry out several contracts and one of the first jobs will be spraying an island owned by actor Raymond Burr, who has been having trouble with mosquitoes. Old Hamilton Burger would probably like to see a load of arsenic dumped on his consistent courtroom conqueror! . . . . . There is a strong possibility that Pat O'Brien, whom we knew as Harrigan in the TV series, may visit New Zealand. He is lined up for a stage appearance in Australia and the play may be brought on tour. . . . . The trouble with Town and Around is the irritation of the little "running gags." That Gonk-type little figure with the unfunny banners could go into the discard can, and also the all-to-twee line,
Your host: Keith Bracey Esq. . . . . . I was lucky enough to be in Sydney when the big international two-hour TV link was shown and even made the supreme sacrifice of getting out of bed at 4.50 a.m. to see the show-well, at least I got out and switched the set on, but had prudently placed it at the end of the bed. I certainly didn't go back to sleep again -it was too fascinating. Although it was taped for a night replay, the electricity draw-off figures showed that thousands of other Sydneysidors also woke early. The replay was interesting enough, but it did not have the remarkable immediacy and sense of one-world viewing of the original. Quite incredible to realise that all those things were actually happening at the moment one was watching. . . . Let's hope the NZBC is geared up to be in the act next time there is an international link. Imagine the worldwide publicity we missed through not being in that first one. . . . . Interesting to know the response the Adult Education people get as a result of the Towards 2000 series. It will at least give some indication of the desire for learning among viewers. . . . . Sonia King and her women's session team are still taking time to settle down. They seem a bit lacking in confidence and still have a lot to learn in inter- viewing techniques.
Graham Kerr, who was to lob into Wellington for a few days in July to make his yearly quota of shows for the NZBC is now not expected to come here until November. It will be real pressure cooker stuff when he does arrive-12 programmes at the rate of two a day, under the guiding hand of chief producer Roy Melford, and focusing more on Kerr the cook than Kerr the entertainer. Roy has worked with him before, and probably has the secret of keeping that tremendous personality from boiling over. . . . . NZBC, often more sensitive to public opinion than its detractors have been willing to concede, has responded to demands that On Camera should come on screen earlier than 3.30 p.m. By putting it on an hour earlier, the corporntion has pleased the growing band of followers. Irvine Lindsay, according to those who get a chance to see all four On Cameras, is way out front with her originality and challenging programmes. A panel discussion on illegitimacy, and the social problems of the illegitimate, was good solid stuff, which brought many phone calls in praise. Another programme that struck a chord with viewers was the interview with great radio star, Edward Howell, the original Fred of radio's Fred and Maggie. Irvine also has under way a series about homes -- buying, selling, building, reconstructing, redecorating, furnish- ing, and so on. . . . . Town and Around is up to its eyes, too, in social documentary. Mike Minehan brought off a really good item on life in the Casualty Department in Wellington Hospital. His questions to the medical superintendent were courteous, skilfully phrased and very much to the point. Anyone who has had dealings with medical superintendents would have appreciated the skill with which Mike went about it. John Shrapnel, after a slow start, has settled into the Town and Around style. . . . . Wellington's contribution to Landscape, Bob Lapresle's production of 12 shows about New Zealand, has still to get under way. . . . . Compass' major efiort on New Zealand exports seemed to lack a central theme, and ended up as confused in its conclusions as it was in its editing. Anyone who cuts from Overseas Trade Minister Marshall to former Industries and Com- merce Secretary, Dr W. B. Sutch, a number of times must himself be badly confused, not only about exports, but about political realities. . . . . One must quickly add that Compass is still hitting the target more often than it misses.
Unwilling to let the West Coast grow closer to Wellington through the common bond of TV, the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce intends to further investigate the possibility of beaming CHTV3 programmes to the Coast. Local NZBC manager, Mr K. M. Hay, has said that costly research would be required to relay a picture from Christchurch, and no action was intended at present. Coast viewers received a much clearer picture from WNTV1, relayed through Nelson and Murchison, he said. Fact remains, Coasters are getting a clear Christchurch picture via a private transmitter at Hokitika. . . . . Local producer Brian McDermott moving off to Australia, if he has not already gone when you read this. . . . . Little bird whispers Christchurch will be seeing Coronation Street twice weekly and The Long Hot Summer going to be evening viewing. . . . . TV, with its ability to be both immediate and timely, offers a unique contribution to education in the modern age, according to Dr D. Paul, visiting senior lecturer in education at the Christchurch Teachers' College. He was one of the speakers who discussed the topic "Technology and Instruction" at a recent meeting of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Instructional TV would not solve all the problems of education, but was a medium that offered marvellous scope and depth. If pupil learning was measured on standardised tests it was generally found that children learnt just as well by TV as they did in regular classes, said the doctor. . . . . Two full-length Town and Around features, one on theatre in Canterbury, obviously designed to help launch the Canterbury Theatre Trust, and the other on the Open Door Mission, which is run for the city's homeless and drifting youth, drew plaudits from local critics and also raised hopes for a new pattern in this popular local programme. Hopes have yet to be realised, for the snippet format still generally remains. . . . . Christchurch cameraman Lodz evidently has a head for heights, if the Looking at New Zealand feature on Otematata hydro town and the Aviemore scheme on the Waitaki is any indication. However, this one was a bit too artycrafty for some viewers, while the commentary was not up to the usual high standard.
It was rumoured some time ago that there were changes in store for Town and Around, and over the past few weeks new faces and ideas have been introduced. The programme has taken on a more studious note lately-in view of the more serious times, perhaps? . . . . . Noel Robson, who has been host of Town and Around since the beginning of the year, has taken his leave, but the familiar voice can still be heard on local radio stations. His place has been filled by David Beatson. David was formerly a Town and Around reporter, and is filling his role as host with apparent ease. . . . . Continuity announcer, Kevin Mills, who was also well-known for his work on radio in Dunedin, has taken his place as a reporter on the T and A team. . . . . Another change at DNTV2 which could never be so well received is Catherine Dowling's transfer to Wellington. Catherine worked as a technician with 4ZB for 18 months before joining DNTV2's on-screen staff when the channel began transmission four years ago. Since she began work with the NZBC, Catherine has covered all the aspects of announcing open to her here and she feels the move north will be to her advantage. Aged 25, she attended St. Philomena's school and did two years of an arts course before entering broadcasting. Channel 2 viewers will miss her on Town and Around, where she has been working lately, but We wish her luck in the capital. . . . . Looking back on the bright side of things, the first programme of the Dunedin-produced show, Take Ten, has made its appearance throughout the country now and producer, Brian Ault, and his team have been rewarded for their long hours and hard work by first-class reception all round.