25 April 2016

TV flashback 1966


Continuing an irregular series examining New Zealand's TV schedules across the years, and sticking with the 15 April date used for the other episodes, it's now time to venture five years further into the past, to the year 1966. New Zealand in 1966 was concerned about its place in the world and fretted about its security. A small contingent of New Zealand soldiers had been serving in Vietnam since 1963, and several letters to the 11-17 April edition of the Listener debated the contents of a recent Compass TV documentary on the communist threat in Asia. The Listener's editorial looked further afield to the UK, worrying that New Zealand's traditional patron was losing its focus on the Commonwealth in favour of the blandishments of Europe and the EEC. Discussing the recent UK general election on 31 March in which Harold Wilson won reelection, the Listener wrote:

At 19 conferences for leaders of the major parties the Commonwealth was not once mentioned. This could have meant that reporters were asking the wrong questions, but a more probable explanation was simply lack of interest ... We shall need what bridges Britain can allow us, and she in some fields will need all that we can send her. Ultimately, however, our future is in that other commonwealth - the wide world itself.
Peter Sinclair, 1966

The letters page includes correspondence from veteran politician and writer John A. Lee, rebutting some points made by another letter-writer on the 1932 Auckland riots (for more information and the text of the letter, see my 2014 blog). And to cap the letters page off on a curmudgeonly note, L.D. Austin of Featherston writes of that bete noire, 'modern music', related to the debut in 1966 of Peter Sinclair's pop show C'mon:


Sir - In your admirable editorial "In the Teenage Groove" you recommend "the search for excellence" and "the raising of standards" as being necessary in the education of adolescents. Excellent advice. But in the same issue of the Listener appears an advertisement introducing a so-called "N.Z. Hit Parade", soliciting votes for a nation-wide poll on favourite "pop" numbers. With respect, I submit that this is calculated to undermine any efforts such as you have put forward so convincingly.
(I wrote about meeting Pete Sinclair back in 1991 here). No doubt to L.D. Austin's disgruntlement, the Listener details the Top 20 singles for the week of 7 April, with a clip-out-and-send poll asking for young readers' favourite five singles, to be posted to their nearest radio station. Here's what the hip young things were grooving to - none of which are by New Zealand artists:


  1. Nancy Sinatra - These Boots are Made for Walkin'
  2. The Beatles - Michelle
  3. Rolling Stones - 19th Nervous Breakdown
  4. Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds of Silence
  5. Herman's Hermits - A Must to Avoid
  6. Gene Pitney - Princess in Rags
  7. Spencer Davis Group - Keep on Running
  8. Dave Clark Five - Over and Over
  9. Searchers - Take Me for What I'm Worth
  10. Seekers - The Carnival is Over
  11. Chris Andrews - To Whom it Concerns
  12. The Beatles - We Can Work it Out
  13. Shadows - Don't Make My Baby Blue
  14. Cliff Richard - Wind Me Up
  15. Paul Revere & the Raiders - Just Like Me
  16. Simon & Garfunkel - Homeward Bound
  17. Barbra Streisand - Second Hand Rose
  18. Mindbenders - A Groovy Kind of Love
  19. Statler Brothers - Flowers on the Wall
  20. Beach Boys - Barbara Ann

Quite a reminder of a golden age of pop music, and a couple of lesser-known artists in there too. English singer Chris Andrews had four UK hits of his own, but was probably better known for writing a string of hits for Sandie Shaw. The Paul Revere number is quite the rocker, if you can get past the silly costumes, and for the Dave Clark Five clip, the dancers seem to be having way more fun than the band. For the uninitiated, the mysterious Flowers on the Wall, apart from its use in Pulp Fiction, is better known to New Zealand audiences of a certain vintage as the instrumental theme from the legendary sheepdog trialling contest A Dog's Show.

Finally, and befitting a nation that still had strong ties to Britain and the monarchy, the Listener's cover story was devoted to the royal visit to New Zealand of the Queen Mother, then aged 65. The state radio network went all out with local radio coverage of the tour, as this published schedule illustrates:

ROYAL VISIT 1966
Broadcast cover of the first two days of the Queen Mother's visit will be: 
Saturday, April 16
10.55am HMY Britannia berths at Bluff, National Programme, 1XN, 2XP, 2XA, 2XN, 3XC, 2ZA, 2XB.
11.30am Official Ceremony of Welcome at Bluff: National Programme, 1XN, 2XP, 2XA, 2XN, 3XC, 2XB, 2ZA.
12.20pm Public welcome at Invercargill, 4YZ.
10.30pm HMY Britannia sails for Dunedin, 4YZ.
Sunday, April 17
10.0am HMY Britannia arrives at Dunedin: 4YA, 4YX, 4ZB.
10.50am The Queen Mother leaves Britannia for First Presbyterian Church, 4YA.
12 noon The Return to Britannia, 4YA.

The TV listings for the single channel broadcasting on 15 April are taken from the Wellington regional service WNTV-1 - New Zealand TV broadcasting wasn't joined in a single national network until 1969. Programming ran from 5pm until around midnight, and was all black-and-white - colour TV broadcasts didn't emerge until the 1974 Commonwealth Games.

WNTV-1, 15 April 1966

5.00pm Canterbury Tales ('From the Court of King Harffa. King Harffa Mo (David Hindlin) and Jester Minute (Don Farr) establish court in a dilapidated castle purchased for 4/9 1/2' (i.e. four shillings, nine and a half pence) (NZBC)
5.32pm Casey Jones (US railroad adventure, 1957-58, 32 episodes, episode 17 'Night Run - A torrential rainstorm forces the Cannonball Express to stop at Valley Junction', originally broadcast in the US on 14 September 1958; here's the opening credits)
5.57pm Headline News & Weather (NZBC)
5.59pm The Stranger (Australian drama, 1964-65, 12 episodes, 'A science fiction serial about three teenagers who investigate the activities of a mysterious stranger. Starring Ron Haddrick, Bill Levis, Janice Dinnen and Michael Thomas'; written by NZ writer G.K. Saunders).
6.27pm Hazel (US sitcom, 1961-66, 154 episodes, 'The Baby Came C.O.D.' - 'Starring Shirley Booth. Hazel and George help an expectant father with his financial difficulties'; s03e09, originally broadcast in the US in colour on 14 November 1963 but shown here in black-and-white; here's the opening credits for all five series).
6.52pm Adventure (UK documentary, 1963, 'When the Sea Ran Dry': 'A tiny British expedition whose encounters, whether with Tuaregs, with strange 'desert Roses', or with the rock paintings of Tassili, were no less rewarding than those of the more spectacular professional explorers'
7.20pm Sports Magazine (NZBC)
7.30pm Weather Forecast (NZBC)
7.33pm NZBC Reports (Film and spoken news) (NZBC)
7.48pm Town and Around ('Local events, views and items of topical interest. Produced by Kevan Moore') (NZBC)
8.05pm Reluctant Bandit (UK thriller, 1965, 5 episodes: 'The Great Attack: A five-part BBC thriller serial, starring William Dexter, William Mervyn and Patricia Haines. Robert has taken the unusual step of forming a Mafia-protected union. Final')
8.40pm The Great Adventure (US historical drama, 1963-64, 26 episodes: 'The Colonel from Connecticut: Adventure stories drawn from American history. Ex-railroad conductor Edwin Drake sacrifices everything he owns in a long, heartbreaking attempt to drill the world's first oil well. Starring Richard Kiley and Maggie McNamarra. Narrated by Russell Johnson'; originally broadcast in the US on 10 January 1964)
9.29pm Science in New Zealand ('A monthly programme introduced by Prof D.W. McKenzie. Produced by Peter Cape. The second of a new series') (NZBC)
9.59pm Cluff (UK drama, 1964-65, 20 episodes, 'The Daughter-in-Law: A BBC detective series based on the novels by Gil North, starring Leslie Sands as Sgt Caleb Cluff. Cluff's approach to crime is largely instinctive and is based on his knowledge of the Yorkshire villagers of Gunnarshaw. Jacob Bateson marries against his father's wishes and financial necessity forces the young couple to return to the family farm'; first broadcast in the UK on 31 August 1964 as part of the first series of Cluff, the entirety of which is missing from the BBC Archives)
10.52pm Late News and Weather (NZBC)
10.58pm Oyster Man ('Christopher Brasher reports from eastern England about a man who started three small industries after the war and is now self-supporting')
11.05pm Ann Veronica (UK historical drama, 1964, 4 episodes, 'Votes for Women - A four-part BBC serial starring Rosemary Nicols and Philip Bond. It is the story of a vivacious and attractive girl who bitterly resents the fact that a woman should be economically dependent on marriage to a man chosen for her. Ann is determined to repay Ramage and sends back half the loan money - all that she has left'; story from the original 1909 novel by H.G. Wells, which included the then-scandalous lines, '"She stood up and held her arms toward him. 'I want you to kiss me,' she said. . . . 'I want you. I want you to be my lover. I want to give myself to you. I want to be whatever I can to you.' She paused for a moment. 'Is that plain?' she asked."').

See also:
TV: Flashback 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991
History: New Zealand in 1966
History: New Zealand general election, 26 November 1966
History: New Zealand in Vietnam 
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