| Innisfree Poetry
| Enskyment Journal
Scams | Stars & Squadrons |
Early Television days in Melbourne, Australia. The 1960's.
Westinghouse World of Sport, Veals World of Sport and finally, rising above the sponsors, just plain 'World of Sport.'
The days when Radio reigned supreme
By K.S. Mulholand (Australia)
'Wireless in its heyday.'
Early Television days in Melbourne, Australia. The 1960's.
Westinghouse World of Sport, Veals World of Sport and finally, rising
above the sponsors, just plain 'World of Sport.'
And what a monument of early Melbourne television.
There are so many memories that come flooding back from the six years I
worked those Sunday mornings.
But the very first is the sound of footballs hitting the Hand-Ball flat,
and what that did to my head after a Saturday night of partying. Why?
Because I was often one of the blokes behind it bracing the sand-bagged,
wooden braces to stop the plywood flat from wobbling.
Second, the sound of the wood-chop. Those razor axes biting into timber,
inches away from the competitors feet.
Third, the heave and grunt of the the Tug-of-War teams, busting a gut,
all lying down on their sides on the studio floor.
Then there was Uncle Doug Elliot. Big, booming, blustering Unk. I
remember him and Bob Horsfall chuckling together over some naughty
escapade or other. And one that was not Unk's doing but to his chagrin,
was orchestrated by Ken Fitzgerald, a director at that time. This
happened in studio 2. World of Sport had spilled over from Studio 1, and
Doug did some commercials there. It had been noted by the audio guy up
above in the right hand end of the control room that Doug would sidle
behind a couple of scenery flats on that wall and relieve himself in a
Now Ken was a terrible trickster, and when he learned of Unk's habit,
(It was because Doug rarely left the studio as he was often needed to
fill a spot or ad-lib.) he got one of the lighting guys to rig up a
flash-pot under the sink. You can imagine the following event. 'He's on
his way.' 'Stand by flash-pot.' 'He's executing his mission.' (Taking a
A very large, very cordite-charged explosion. A small mushroom of smoke
emerging above the flats. An extremely red-faced Elliot emerging with a
raised fist shaking toward the control room window.
Ah. Sweet memory.
Lou Richards talking about he and his wife's holiday in Fiji or Hawaii.
'All these girls plonking leis over your head, and not wearing much else
themselves except for arse-grass.'
Jan (Make-up lady) Higgs/Ackerly's comment about oranges. 'I quite like
eating the pith.'
Robbie Young's (Lighting Department.) cheeky, grinning reply. 'Yeah, I'm
into the pith too.'
We were rostered on at nine o'clock, from memory, and then there was a
production meeting. I only went to that on a couple of occasions,
because I had to do 'Flip Cards.' Flips were big deal, done live to air
and mostly by Phil 'Dixie' Duncan. (There's another whole story about
For the rest of the time I worked World of Sport I watched on as all the
personalities: Lou, Jack, Bobby Davis and Ron Casey (the primal,
motivating, energising, dynamic force that propelled the show onward)
became what Sundays were all about. Back then, when football was played
out on Saturdays, when a kid rode through the foggy mists of winter
nights calling 'Paper! Sporting Globe! Paper! We all awaited World of
And World of Sport didn't let us down.
Low spotlight in studio 1. Crew and Sporting greats gathered around
Louie Richards and a very young, new, raw footballer on a stool.
'And how did you feel, you know, getting the ball and kicking that last
goal? Was that good?'
'Oh shit yeah…'
Dead silence, the young guy freezes. This is live to air and nobody
swears live to air.
'Righto, you've scored a Huttons ham, a Kraft cheese round and a box of
Balantines chocolates. I reckon the kid's a bit overwhelmed at the moment.
Good on yer son! Back to you Uncle Doug!'
Unk swallows a portion of pie or mouthful of cola (Insert product brand
name here.) and waffles something like, 'Whether you're big, whether
you're small, the Mark Of The Round has got it all, ruff!'
There were times on World Of Sport that the three cameras on the studio
floor got so hopelessly tangled up, diving from set to set, that the
director Dick Jones would just fade to black and say 'Alright get
yourselves sorted. The channel would sit in black for the 30, 40, 50
seconds it took, and Dick would just wind up the fader and off we'd go
Studio One would often be brimming with people from all over: boxers,
golfing greats, reps from tennis, cricket, lawn bowls and of course,
majorly, V.F.L football. The greats of that era passed through Studio 1
at Dorcas Street: Ron Barassi, Ted Whitten, Daryl Baldock, Polly Farmer.
So many, such wonderful names on the roll-call: Bobby Skilton, Neil
Roberts, Bobby Rose and on.
I once overheard 'Skilts' say, as he and 'Bones' Edwards were passing
Make-up on their way to the studio and Pelaco Football Inquest, hosted
by Mike Williamson (More of Mike and me later.) that this was 'a pretty
good caper. They give you free pies and free beers!'
And that was about right in those old, golden days. Play your heart out,
take the bruises, the mud, the abuse and maybe get your head on
television. (So you can let Mum see that your black eye isn't too bad.)
And all you have to do is turn up at channel 7 before six o'clock, even
if you're still in footy gear, even if you have a black eye, or a bung
leg, crook back, dislocated shoulder, and you'd be 'looked after.'
Skilten fronted once with two black eyes.
And he was smiling!
In the golden days of World Of Sport the programme rolled itself out,
the running sheet was merely a guide to what was meant to happen, but
often didn't, in which case 'Case' would make a 'call,' (A decision) and
everything would be turned around.
Dick Jones had to spin on a dime when a guest failed to turn up or a
replay on telecine or later videotape, stuffed up. It was, as somebody
said 'Organized chaos.' Ron Casey was a whizz, a giant (No pun intended
on Ron's ample girth.) sporting broadcaster, a mine of information, The
Bruce McAvaney of his day. Ron was a one man band: he just did
everything, and he did it with a sharp eye for detail. He certainly
appraised me, figured I was frightened as hell, that I wouldn't stuff up
like I had on 'Tell The Truth,' and gave me another chance. This time I
didn't blow it.
And here we have to take a breather. Part 2 to come…possibly part 3.