TV – The Good Old Days

Bob Byrnes’ excellent Advertiser  article on the early days of television in Adelaide brought back some wonderful memories. Not only of being an avid viewer but playing a small role in the most exciting era of live television.

I first came to Adelaide in the early 70’s to read breakfast news on 5DN.

NWS 9 was straight across the road in Tynte street, and 5DN staff would go across to the Channel 9 canteen that Ernie Sigley laughingly referred to as ptomaine corner. If he were to make that kind of reference today he’d be slapped with a law suit, but Ernie was a law unto himself (as long as the ratings held up).

I was asked to read weekend news on 9. At the time the legendary Roger Cardwell and the urbane Clive Hale read weekdays.

I was also doing booth announcing for NWS – “Coming up next on 9 Days Of Our Lives.”

It was after one of my recording sessions that Ernie Sigley asked me if I’d like to do some comedy segments for Adelaide Tonight, and of course I jumped at the opportunity.

It was only years later that I realised my role – if they needed a tall, goofy looking guy to play a cop or a parking inspector “ Give Goodings a call” but whatever the role it was a wonderful experience and it made me realise how hard Ernie and the team worked to make it all look so spontaneous.

On one of my early visits to the Channel 9 canteen  I first encountered the vivacious Anne Wills. Willsy burst into the canteen in pink hotpants looking absolutely sensational. Looks and talent, she was always going to be a star, and she still is to this very day.

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I also got to know Kevin Crease who was drifting in and out of TV at this time but I still rate Creasy as the finest newsreader on television. Not just SA but Australia.

I’ve seen them all from the legendary Sir Eric Pearce, through the two Brians, Naylor and Henderson.

Creasy could play them on a break, while they were all brilliant presenters, Creasy had that something extra, he was first and foremost an entertainer.

When a story called for a lighter, or theatrical touch Creasy would deliver like no other. He is missed from our screens, an icon of SA TV.

Most of us refer to the early part of their career as “the good old days.” Maybe our memories dim when it comes to the bad parts and we latch on to the good times. However, when it comes to television the change is quantifiable. The TV industry isn’t what it was. Back in the 60’s, 70 and into the 80’s each television channel produced a lot of local content.

In my time at 9 there was Adelaide Tonight, Here’s Humphrey, The Curiosity Show, News Beat,

SAS 10 had Deadly Earnest, Fat Cat and Friends Wheel of Fortune (earlier at 7), Touch of Elegance.

ADS 7 The Penthouse Club, Music Express and Lionel Williams World.

Sadly, all that local production has evaporated. Local channels put out little more than news these days, everything is networked from the east, meaning opportunities for local talent don’t exist as they once did.

As Bob Byrne said, the Baby Boomers have had the best of it, and it’s probably why the younger generations are turning away from television getting their information and entertainment online.

They predicted the demise of radio when TV first started but radio learned to adapt and not try to compete with television but complement it.

Maybe it’s the television industry’s turn to adapt or it will end up the way of the gramophone and the VHS player

 

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