From the New Zealand TV Weekly. September 4, 1967
Who was that handsome, elderly man with the distinguished Hapsburg spade-beard at the 15 Club mid-year "do"? Older televiewers would have recognised him as Doug Laurenson, a small-screen pioneer, now retired and writing short stories at his beach cottage. Doug was one of many once-familiar faces at the function, but even the veterans themselves were foxed by some of the gallery of photos on the walls. President George MacKinnon and yesteryear's radio voice Dudley Wrathall had produced the collection. Even surprised many present to see themselves as they once were. . . . . AKTV2 manager Murray Buchanan showed an unexpected talent for full-chorded piano playing at the function. . . . . About time some of Barry Crump's flights of whimsy were given a second thought before screening. . . . . Fair bet that the Expo I exhibition will become a regular event in Auckland. Apart from vintage radio and TV equipment on show, the public was given a chance to see telly programmes being put together "live". The flashback corner included still pix from the first TV demonstration in 1951, including Aunt Daisy busy on one of her marathon recipes. . . . . Success has come to viewers' endeavours - they've put on enough pressure to move Sonia King's On Camera afternoon sessions to an earlier and more satisfactory spot. Interesting to know just what effect afternoon telly has had on afternoon radio audiences. Advertisers sometimes feel that the NZBC counts heads several times over for some of its statistics. . . . . Barry Linehan seems to be a very regular performer on the Hugh and I series. . -. . . Plans for new and well-equipped little theatres in Auckland with permanent tutors and executives could result in a solid core of TV drama performers becoming readily available. Could be handy if present plans to extend local TV drama jell. . . . . New Hey, Landlord series proudly announces that it is filmed live before an- audience. They must all have the mental age of five years if their laughter is real. Can't you just see the condi- tioned reflex to flashing "LAUGH" signs in the studio? Ugh! . . . . . Sort of schizophrenic situation building up now that so many TV personalities are on contract. They are advertised in all sorts of commercial chores, public appearances, store demonstrations and so forth. But the NZBC frowns on similar extramural publicity for staff. Did it ever occur to the moguls that Joe Public hasn't that faintest clue who is on the staff and who is on contract - and couldn't care less?
It's a big Week for the NZBC. The first of its TV Drama Workshop series is to be seen on Tuesday night. In Wellington it will be Warren Dibble's play Double Exposure, which runs for 38 minutes. Other plays in the series will be seen later in the month. Peter Bland who wrote one of the plays A Tired Man, also appears as one of the characters in Ian Cross' Momma's a Good Girl, which will be seen on AKTV2 this week. Brian Bell, Chris Thomson and Douglas Drury have produced the series which is expected to do for drama on New Zealand television what C'mon! did for pop entertainment, Compass for documentary, and Town and Around for topical news backgrounders. Even though NZBC has backed Brian Bell all the way, it is still important for viewers to take into account the limited studio facilities available to the producers. Moreover he and his fellow producers have tackled a project that from the creative angle has been far more demanding than the shows in other fields mentioned earlier. . . . . While praising the NZBC, one has to balance this with an objective view of its policy in screening such Australian-made documentaries as the Four Corners programme on New Zealand. This is the second time the Four Corners team has worked New Zealand over, and many New Zealanders might be pardoned if they failed to recognise their own country. Perhaps the NZBC should repay the compliment to the Australians by sending a team across the Tasman to look at Australian treatment of the aborigines, at Australian unemployment, and the Australian welfare programmes (or lack of them). Of course it can be a salutary exercise to see ourselves as others see us, but if the mirror is as distorted as this, it's not surprising if the final result is a shrug of distaste for "those Aussies." . . . . Back to the praise: the Greek classic Lysistrata had all the Mrs Grundys in a fine fury. It was however splendid viewing, and full marks for the maturity of the NZBC in wanting to screen it. Other channels should get the chance to see it soon. . . . . Diane Pickett really won her spurs in the Town and Around team with that piece on top of the windswept tower; did she put the smile on with sticking plaster? . . . . Elegant newcomer to the continuity team Catherine Dowling shows that for all its talk about being a depressed area Dunedin can still produce some comely exports. . . . . Had an anguished call from member of the Town and Around team, John Shrapnell, the other day. It seems many people, including ourselves, omit the last 'l' from his name. We'll watch it, John, for you. . . . .
Dr A. V. Mitchell, acting head of the political science department of the University of Canterbury, has resigned as from September 30 to take up a fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford. And so we say farewell to one of New Zealand's (albeit imported) few TV personalities . . . . Formerly of Christchurch, red-headed stage and TV actress Paddy Frost played the role of an American civil rights worker in the first play of a new series, Escape, being broadcast by British TV . . . . Peter Sinclair took time off from C'mon! on Stage to submit to Bernard Smythe's queries about his future in front of Town and Around cameras. Peter said the Christchurch visit was something of a sentimental journey for him as he had not only been brought up in the city but had also been auditioned in the CHTV3 studio. Answering Smythe about his future, he pointed out that some of the top pop teen-age idols in the U.S. were in their fifties, so he was not too worried, but added that he was involved in another show which would appeal to older viewers. Obviously, Pete's not keeping all his eggs in one basket . . . . DNTV2 further enhanced its reputation in Christchurch as a source of first-rate light musical shows with Take Ten which evoked favourable comments from critics and viewers . . . . Home from competing in the recent Miss Universe contest at Miami Beach, Pamela McLeod, Miss New Zealand, said it seemed like meeting old friends when she was introduced to Bonanza's Dan Blocker, alias Hoss Cartwright, and Paul Peterson of Donna Reed Show fame during a visit to Universal Studios . . . .' Seems that the NZBC is not the only TV set-up that believes that female newsreaders should neither be seen nor heard. Two young Malaysian girls, Nurlidar Saidi and Pag Eng Ong, in the city in the course of studying New Zealand's broadcasting system, said that in Malaysia there was no discrimination between men and women in radio work, but TV news reading was a male province . . . . Ebullient Peter Sharp, who used to enliven Town and Around a year or so ago, back home from his overseas trip and in harness once more, but it's unlikely that he'll be seen in front of the cameras as he is reported to be settling down on the presentation side of the business . . . . David Pumphrey heading mountainwards, if he hasn't done so already, to help out with programme in the Landscape series on mountaineering, one of his big interests.
DNTV2's Outside Broadcast van has become a familiar sight around the city since its arrival here three years ago, but despite the fact that rugby is considered our "national" sport and we have a fair helping of it on our screens, it was not until a couple of weeks ago that the DNTV2 van was used for a direct telecast of a match. The event chosen for the telecast was a game between teams from Otago and Christchurch Boys' High Schools. Technically, the telecast went off smoothly and even the elements recognised the importance of the occasion by providing bright sunshine throughout the day. The match itself resulted in a victory for the Christchurch team. The next sporting event scheduled for direct telecast is a rugby league match to take place at the end of the month. . . . . As part of their nation-wide tour following the final of their highly-successful television show, the C'mon! team spent a few nights in Dunedin. Although everyone was extended a warm welcome during their stay, there's one person who will not be treasuring the best of memories of his stay in Dunedin. He's Murray Grindlay, leader of the pop group The Underdogs, who was forced to remain in Dunedin to recover from an attack of pneumonia while his fellow entertainers carried on with the tour. It was reported that he went on stage to give a lively performance While running a temperature of 103. That's what you call real showmanship!