| Innisfree Poetry
| Enskyment Journal
Scams | Stars & Squadrons |
Wireless in its Heyday
The days when Radio reigned supreme
Television. Early days in Melbourne
By K.S. Mulholand (Australia)
'Wireless in its heyday.'
Television. Early days in Melbourne.
I was about twelve when T.V. first came to town in the Melbourne Olympic
Games year of 1956.
I lived with my parents and sister in West Heidelberg about a mile or so
from the Olympic Village and I remember my Mother pushing my four year
old Sister in a pram and me walking up to the Village to see these
exotic peoples from far distant countries around the world.
Security seemed almost non-existent and it was an incredible experience
to see all those athletes, many wearing bright and sometimes garish
colours and costumes from their homelands. For us, a suburban, meat and
two veggies family, this was something from another planet.
Five years later I was standing in the scenery bay at Channel 7, looking
out, goggle-eyed, at an American, Larry K. Nixon, bouncing into the
studio set of 'Lady For A Day.'
I was, at that point, the messenger boy. And that job took me all over
the city: to Newspaper House in Collins street, The Herald Sun building
in Flinders street, Crawford Productions, Radio 3DB and Dargie/Young
and Tillbrook across the street from The Southern Cross, the newest, most
coolest hotel in Melbourne Central. (And where The Beatles would appear
on its first floor roof.)
It was at DYT (Dargie/Young and you know as above) that I first
encountered Johnny O'Keefe on the narrow first floor staircase. I
gawked, he sidestepped. I remember the facial scars.(He'd been in a car
accident.) And his height. He was a dynamic pocket-rocket.
After eighteen months as a gopher and mail-room 'boy' I knew the city
pretty well and zapping through all the side-streets and alleys, could
cover it faster than the trams.
In Studio One at Dorcas Street I got to see the American actress Jane
Russel. (Big, in more ways than one.) And out in Fitzroy at The Tele
Theatre, Henry Fonda, fresh from his role in the Cinerama blockbuster
'How The West Was Won.'
But the man who impressed me greatly was Frank Thring. This was a guy
who, amongst many other pursuits, travelled overseas to appear as a
wonderful character actor in several of the Hollywood epics, rubbing
shoulders with the likes of Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and Tony
Yet he always returned back to Australia and Melbourne. A kind of 60's
version of Jeffery Rush.
I recall the first time I saw him. A tall man dressed all in black,
striding down the aisle towards the raised stage, passing me by with a
swift glance and a high pitched exclamation: 'Ohhh! A new one!'
His humour was dark and at times acid, his stare baleful, his smile
beguiling and he could rake you with a verbal broadside at fifty yards.
And, like The Wild Child, Johnny O'Keefe, he was a true professional.
More on both of them to come.