From the New Zealand TV Weekly. June 16, 1969
It was pretty much Old Home Week for the team starting on the new C'mon! series. Kevan Moore is there at the helm, of course, and Peter Sinclair is again front man. One of last year's resident vocalists, Shane, is again on screen, and the music is once more in the talented hands of Jimmy Sloggett and Bernie Allen. Dorothea Zaymes has to think out new routines for the hyper-active dancers and Anthony Stones has the same job in set designs. However, there will be new faces in the team, notably Jacqui James, the fast-rising Rotorua vocalist, Larry Morris, late of the Rebels, and Dick Roberts, who' has graduated from a local pop group called The Troubled Mind. It should be Jacqui James's big chance - look what has happened to earlier C'mon! girls such as Sandy Edmonds and Allison Durbin . . . . The Dynamic Shirley Bassey may not have time for any TV work when she makes her third visit - this time she'll only stay one night . . . . The northern part of the country has been getting increased exposure in Looking at New Zealand. Producer Butev Hewes hopped on the train when the local railway enthusiasts ferried an historical loco up the island. He's also looking at the early history of the Bay of Islands, the 150th jubilee of Kerikeri, the completion of the Auckland harbour bridge extensions -known locally as the
Nippon clip on because of its Japanese construction - and sundry other assignments. Bute certainly tied together nicely the material supplied by Dr Michael Gill on the Hillary expeditions. The Nepalese jet boat shots should have been a great boost to this Kiwi invention . . . . The Interview '69 series had impact far greater than most religious programmes - that could not be denied. But despite critical acclaim, there is a lingering doubt whether viewers really got the message from the first one. It certainly was no fault of Francis Batten's able mime. Trouble was that a lot of people simply can't comprehend mime - which sounds like a nonsensical comment as mime should be more readily understood than any form of acting.
The NZBC has some bright viewing ahead to see us through the remainder of the winter. Next month, the Ronnie Barker Playhouse series will begin. Ronnie Barker, it will be remembered, was one of the stars of The Frost Report, and also appeared in another recent series about the Foreign Office. A new series of Misleading Cases will begin in August. Terry Scott features in Scott On, of which there are three one-hour programmes, also due for screening about August. The NZBC is also considering, at the time of writing, the purchase of a highly promising, well-written series called The First Lady, which stars Thora Hird as the power in the city council of a North Country town. Another well-known Television star in Robert Keegan (Blackitt of Z Cars, and Softly, Softly) is also featured. The series has thirteen one-hour episodes, and it seems certain that the NZBC will buy it. Marty featuring Marty Feldman (seen recently in At Last the 1948 Show) is unlikely to start screening before October . . . . The decision has been made to move The Lost Peace into a 7 p.m. slot from the earlier screening time, which has caused much dissatisfaction. The NZBC reports, that its viewer research team puts The Lost Peace on a very low rating . . . . Still no decision has been made on whether Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In will be purchased. This is a pity, for much of the show's value lies in its topicality, according to some of those New Zealanders who' have been fortunate enough to see it . . . . Producer Terry Bryan may be first in the field with a locally produced comedy series tentatively titled In View of Circumstances. Terry is not saying much about it at this stage, but the possibility is that we should see it about September or October . . . . George Andrews, particularly, and Ian Johnstone battled through a difficult interview with the Prime Minister, Mr Holyoake, on his return from Seato in Bangkok. Perhaps the Prime Minister was suffering from fatigue because he appeared unduly testy and dealt over-severely with some of George's questions. However, in the end, sympathies were with George rather than with the P.M. Other politicians should take note of this viewer reaction if they plan to adopt the same Television technique as the Prime Minister . . . . The new Western series Lancer looks as if it will satisfy viewers who want some action out West .... Rod Vaughan whom we mentioned earlier this year as one of the most promising newcomers to on-camera work as a news- man has graduated to the Town and Around team where he stands out with his intelligent and lively questioning.
The NZBC is rumoured to have favourably considered the purchase of another Lost in Space series which, it is reported, is liberally laced with monsters calculated to relegate those that have appeared in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel to the hack class. All three TV offerings are the products of Irwin Allen who, so far at least, has given no indications that his mission is to raise the standard of viewing either for juveniles or adults. It will be interesting to see if the corporation goes ahead with this one, following hot on the adverse reaction of the Southern Regional Programme Advisory Committee which, at its last meeting, singled out Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea as being unrealistic and far too violent. If the NZBC disregards the opinion of the committee - and it is an opinion that is almost certainly shared by a very significant segment of viewers - it at once becomes obvious that the committee should be given sharper teeth . . . Home in Christchurch recently to spend a few days with her parents was former
Miss Canterbury, and runner-up to
Miss New Zealand 1964 then Helen Iggo, now Mrs Toni Williams, wife of the well-known entertainer now based in Sydney. Toni has just recorded another LP of country and western songs in New Zealand, done some work for Studio One and will shortly be seen in his own show, in which he will introduce to New Zealand viewers other Kiwis now in Sydney show business. This one is due for screening any time now and, as Toni Williams is now catering for all age groups and is a most polished entertainer, this is a show that should be really worth watching . . . Keeping Christchurch in the picture in this year's Studio One series are Gillian Bliss, a 22-year-old Canterbury University student and folk-singer, and Brian Hurst, country and western singer. Gillian is currently studying for an M.A., won her first singing contest at the age of ten, was born in Wellington and spent three years in Indonesia . . . Resident vocalist at Christchurch's
Town and About nightspot, Mark Anthony is another local boy who has made numerous radio appearances and could be destined for even wider exposure on TV, according to some of the local critics. Mark - real name Patrick Francis Kearns - was educated at Xavier College and subsequently became a very young full-time music teacher. Was lead vocalist with The Funny Feeling group before becoming a solo act to travel with Lou and Simon who suggested he try his hand at recording. Just released is his
As Long As She Needs Me, from the show Oliver and on the local Master label.
DNTV2's new quiz, Catchword, seems to be going over very well with viewers, the main criticism being that we don't see enough close-ups of contestants and scoreboards. Generally, though the programme is good, bright entertainment, and a successful
first for producer, Murray Hutchinson . . . . That lively interview between David Frost and Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) is another item worthy of comment. How many opinions changed, we wonder, when the former heavy-weight champion revealed himself not as the loud-mouth of former years, but as a very shrewd showman, and whatever one's personal ideas on his extreme views, one had to admire his tenacity in the face of the hammering he took from Frost . . . . If nothing else, the Televised highlights from the Miss New Zealand Show, 1969 presented what must surely be an unbeatable case for the teaching of voice production and a return to some good old-fashioned grammar in our public schools. Not only would it have been wiser for most of the contestants to remain beautiful but dumb, several personalities on the entertainment side of the programme would have been better to have said less or used prepared scripts. In our opinion, the highlight of the evening was the smooth and imaginative handling of the live telecast by the DNTV2 team under the direction of Brian Ault and Colin Lehmann's lively commentary must have put a number of other speakers to shame.