From the New Zealand TV Weekly. May 19, 1969


Was Broadcasting Minister Adams-Schneider really sticking his neck out - as some reporters suggested - or was he just playing it safe with a topic which was a sure good will getter when he had a whack at the Rugby authorities in Hamilton recently? After all, the views of the Rugby chiefs are well known, so there is nothing very bold in re-stating them. And the views of the public are equally well known, so what is to be lost in hopping on the bandwagon by re-stating them? But was he really on solid ground when he queried the Rugby officials' theory that Television could affect the gates for their fixtures? The Minister claimed that overseas experience had shown that major sports gained rather than lost gate takings as a result of Television. Certainly, TV has given a tremendous boost to some sports in this country. Soccer, for example - where the administrators are so eager to co-operate that they even keep an eye on the clothing of teams to ensure that they register firmly on TV - and League has followed suit to ensure that teams can be differentiated on TV. But Rugby has had such an overwhelming following in this country for so long, it is probable that it would lose in gate takings if main matches were Televised. However, the question which the Rugby people should be asked is whether they are prepared to keep up their ban on TV - and lose patrons because TV exposure has attracted them to other codes. They can't have it both ways . . . . Wryly amusing to see that the Aussies had to send a producer over to check whether the C'mon! type sequence devised by Kevin Moore as part of a go-go tourist promotion would be suitable for their top-rated show Bandstand. From all I've seen, Kevan's productions would beat Bandstand and its imitators hollow for pace and competence . . Sandy Edmonds really getting into the money in Sydney and likely to have her own telly show soon, so we won't be seeing her back here for a long time . . . . Rather surprising to see Pat McMinn picked for one of John Barningham's series of specials with the top girl singers. Pat's a grand person, but she hardly fits into the same slot as the current swingers chosen. And with Max Cryer as her partner for the show, at that.


The Town and Around team, after several big changes, is still struggling to find its feet. John Shrapnell, who earlier took a production course, but has decided to stay with front-of-camera work, is back again and strengthens the interviewers. But it seems that the team has a requirement for the tough, probing type of interviewer to give the programme some bite. A recent example where this type of questioner could have been used to advantage was in the session with the United States technical expert on Omega, Captain Polk. Kelvin Gardner put his questions determinedly, but failed to follow up and press them home, and the result was an interview which satisfied no one. Douglas Drury who has taken over the producer's chair from Eddy Harris has clearly not found it easy to make the transition to a news-support programme, and while Alan Lyne makes a smooth front man, the friendly smile of Peter Read is missed. Incidentally not many viewers regarded Alan Lyne's flights into comedy as amusing as the makers of the film . . . . Former Town and Around producer Kevan Moore, back in town briefly before going off to Australia with his tourist promotion C'mon to New Zealand, renewed acquaintances with his former staffers in Wellington. His new venture, to brighten the tourist image of New Zealand across the Tasman, could be the forerunner of others. He will have with him Yolande Gibson and Ray Columbus as well as some of the C'mon girls and the presentation suggests that someone in the Tourist Department is thinking along the right lines . . . . Producer Bute Hewes is winning plaudits for his new style Looking at New Zealand, improving week by week . . . . High praise for the play James 0 Connor's The Coming Out Party, reckoned to be one of the best seen in recent months . . . . The NZBC seems determined not to put a foot wrong in election year, and in the process is taking all the steam out of political programmes. We know that the politicians are to blame, too, and if the big bosses won't co-operate then it's hardly possible to screen lively political discussions. If the politicians won't go before the cameras except on their own terms, why not go out and find what the people are thinking?


A claim made in this column recently that Bill Taylor's Ooky Spooky series broke new ground for the NZBC in that it was the first national children's programme to be screened live has been challenged by one Auckland TV man who states that national children's programmes produced in Auckland by Northern Television (formerly AKTV2) have been screened live in Auckland, before later national screening, for at least five years. Well, it appears that Christchurch can't win 'em all. . . . Some of CHTV3's stockpiled Town and Around material has been coming through in recent weeks and, on the whole, there has been nothing to suggest that it was dated. But there was a bad slip the other night when one of the subjects was a young musician. The interview was most interesting and is piano-playing really worth listening to, but this segment lost something when it was revealed, probably quite unintentionally, that the action had taken place before the school year started. In point of fact the information contributed nothing to the interview which appeared on screen mid-April . . . It's a wonder that Christchurch's recent outbreak of disturbances and brawls has not been attributed, at least in some degree, to the violence in some TV programmes. For instance, one could question the wisdom - as indeed a local TV newspaper critic has recently done - of billing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea as children's fare and slotting it in at a peak juvenile viewing time, just after the headline news and weather. This series has produced a crop of monsters calculated to make the most ingenious horror movie-maker turn green with envy. If the NZBC considers this is the sort of entertainment on which to nurture the up-and-coming generation, it's going to be hard-pressed to provide meaty enough material to keep these youngsters viewing instead of going out and committing mayhem when they achieve 'teen status . . . . Friday's Teletopic is still trying to get airborne, but it has at least underlined a point and that is that some of the subjects that have evoked questions from viewers could well be treated in much greater depth to the benefit of lots of people. Case in point was income tax when District Commissioner C. K. Jones answered questions but really did not have enough time to do the subject justice. Much the same thing has happened with other topics.


The stork has featured on the visiting list of DNTV2 staff members on two recent. occasions. The first was the arrival of a son, Matthew Boyd, for producer, Rod Cornelius, and his wife Helen, and the second, a day later, brought twins for continuity announcer, Raewyn Molloy and her husband, Kevin. The twins, a boy and a girl, have been named Mark and Justine . . . . Dunedin residents are now beginning to appreciate just how dominant a landmark the new transmitter tower on Mount Cargill is going to be when completed. Although now just one-third of its projected final height of approximately 350ft. it can be clearly seen from many parts of the city . . . There are repeats and repeats, it seems. Take Not Only But Also, for example - while the series itself may not have appealed to everyone in the first place, it's a safe bet that most of the original fans were pleased at the opportunity to look in on a second helping of the same fare. Just enough time elapsed between screenings for viewers to have forgotten much of the material and in any case this is the type of series which can bear a re-screen by having so many asides and hidden meanings which are missed first time round. But repeat feature movies? Not such a good scheme, we feel. Once the story has been told, that's it. The film in question is Brigadoon which was part of the New Year's Day entertainment. While it can be interesting, and enjoyable to sit through a film and a stage version, or even two different film versions of a musical, the same does not hold true of repeats of the same film. Admittedly, there are those who can sob their way through halt a dozen sitting of something like The Sound of Music and still maintain they enjoyed it as much on the last occasion as the first, but they're strictly in the minority, and should have their self-indulgences restricted to the picture theatres and not made to form part of our TV viewing.

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