SA’s Lost Video Treasures

I’ve put my recent free time to good use, finally opening that box of VHS tapes that has been lurking in the dark recesses of my study for two decades or more. It was marked, South Australian Video History Archives and I bought it sight unseen from the Mainline Drive-In Trash and Treasure one Sunday before the turn of the century. Fortunately, each tape came with curator’s notes, which I’ve reproduced below. Maybe I should return them, but I thought that you may be interested in what I found.

 

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Maggie May This three part mini series followed the sexual awakening of a Scottish backpacker, during his time in the late 60s as a plucker on a Barossa pheasant farm. Infamous for the quince paste scene.

 

Up There Cazaly A little known tale of a slightly built but very nimble rover from the Lower South East, which started with his brief pre-WWII career at South Melbourne before he hurriedly returned, taking solace in the Adelaide arts scene before making it big overseas.

 

Brute Force and Ignorance – The Musical  Greasy Pop’s ill-conceived foray into the world of the stage featured the music of Exploding White Mice, but its theme, Fos Williams’ tenure at Port Adelaide, failed to ignite the interest of the Birkenhead cognoscenti and was it scrapped after one unfortunate matinee performance at the Semaphore Odeon.

 

Other Players’ Wives  Set in a fictional bayside football club known as the Tigers, this made for TV mini series was wound up when the storyline, which saw one of their key defenders moving to the also fictional Paradians club in order to keep his marriage intact, was deemed too far-fetched. A proposed spin-off, The Studley, starring Joan Collins, Anne Wills and William Shatner fell through, despite the best efforts of John H Ellers.

 

Yes Sir, That’s My Baby  This seventy-four part documentary used hidden cameras to reveal the moments when returning SA sporting, political or artistic luminaries were presented with the heartwarming news of their newly extended family. Narrated by David Campbell, over two thousand injunctions were lodged by possible subjects, and the Adelaide Supreme Court has allocated an entire compactus to house the ongoing proceedings.

 

Unzipped Another heavily disguised biopic, it covered the years before, during and after footy of a reclusive left footed Magarey Medallist named Terry McGinley.

 

Abattoir The Musical  Best known for its opening scenes featuring a crowded Cessna 172 arriving at Parafield and its knockout tunes such as Boner With A Boner, Offally Pleased To Meat You and Fritz Me With Your Gizzards Stick. Following the fortunes of Pooraka Dakka, the Bridgeway’s resident Oz Rock tribute band, not even locals like Dwayne Russell or Craig Bradley could make sense of the group’s dissembly line antics. The scratch and sniff novelty postcards further worsened the producers’ bottom line.

 

Poh Kitchen This NWS9 late night talk and cooking show, hosted by Ron’s granddaughter, featured a regular stream of guests including Ian ‘Elbows’ Aitken, Max Hall, Wally May, PT ‘Bo’ Morton, Eldon Crouch, Ted Langridge, Dave Darcy and Daryl Hicks. The series was cancelled after back to back episodes with Gary Window and KG Cunningham broke the station’s closed captioning system for good.

 

What Can I Say?  A low-key quiz show was hosted by Baz Moroney, the dimwitted and surly quiz master, whose primary passion was amateur sports team management. Spending most of his time berating the guests for standing in the wrong spot or failing to arrive on time, Baz’s habitual after midnight arrival on the doorsteps of past contestants resulted in countless restraining orders, which he could only avoid contravening by remaining in his one-bedroomed Glynde bed-sit permanently.

 

Breakfast of Champion  This single episode documentary had Hectorvwwwl’s favourite son revealing that his mum never had a backyard, he actually follows West Adelaide Hellas, he’s been to Paradise but he’s never been to The Parade and he really does have all of his savings with the Bank Of France. It was stamped Never To Be Shown when Champion let slip that he really prefers Diamond Creek to Dry Creek, Kings Cross to Gepps Cross, Tammy McIntosh to Garry McIntosh and Chris Naish to both Andrew and Michael Aish.

 

Sir Don’s Party  Another fly on the wall documentary, which followed the lead up to Sir Don and Lady Bradman’s celebration of his seventieth birthday. However it was aborted early in production when the avalanche of “inability to accepts” exceeded his test aggregate.

 

Together In Electric Dreams  The story of the ongoing war between Keith Bowden, Focus Video, Kenmax and Radio Rentals around the time of the 80s video boom was a sensation at its only airing. Unfortunately every time that Keith Bowden blinked, thousands of viewers thought that their vertical hold needed adjusting, flooding the station switchboard with complaints.

 

The Power of One  This rarely seen sporting documentary covers the golden years of 1991-1996 when the Adelaide Crows were the only AFL game in town. Narrated by the genial and popular Max Stevens, relive the careers of Adam Saliba, Shane Tongerie and Ashley Fernee, whilst singing along to the club song, Here We Go Camry Crows.

 

Are You Being Sanfled?  This cinema verite look behind the scenes at the League’s West Lakes Mall clearance shop showed the hapless efforts of shop assistants to move remaindered stocks of Fred Bills bed frills, Baggy’s trousers, Tony Antrobus rosary beads, Grenville Dietrich diet shakes and Steven Sims lolly teeth.

 

Store Wars A nine-parter that charted the evolution of Adelaide’s famed sporting goods shops, revisiting the empires of Mehaffey, Motley, Greer, Ebert, Weston, Poulter, Packer, Nelson, Casey, Rowe, Jarman, Robran, Fielke and more. Don’t miss the episode where it was revealed that Sewer and Close was having its books done on the premises of the Port Adelaide State Bank branch in the bank’s time. The series arrived at its denouement when every store in the metropolitan area was subsumed by the entity owned by Tom ‘First Ever Kick At Footy Park in 1974’ Zorich.

 

Let’s Get Physeddical. Set at the Holbrooks Rd site of the Adelaide CAE, watch as Nancy Whittingham, Charlie Walsh, Neil Craig and Dr Brian Sando revolutionised sports in South Australia with their scientific methods. An unlikely game show spin-off, Who’s Knees Are These? was hosted by Mike Nunan. It featured a parade of ruckman hidden behind a curtain from their thighs upwards. It was cancelled after a stoush over the appearance of a ruck-rover which contravened the original ‘knock ruckmen only’ policy, otherwise known as the Colasante Clause.

 

Multi Function Poultice  Sports medicine was also the topic of this one-off special, tracking South Australia’s attempt to create an R&D hub north of the city, specialising in muslin and Epsom-salts based remedies.

 

On The Job  Ian Day interviewed prominent league umpires about their personal lives, as well as key moments from their careers in white (with black socks). Pharmacist Murray Ducker runs through his Top 10 dingers, Laurie Argent helps out with his portable skip recommendations, Peter Mead lets us in on his after match exploits at Alberton and Robin Bennett gives us his tips for the daily double. Attempts to contact Mark Posa were rebuffed by Beijing.

 

Obahnacek  Norman Yemm was miscast as the Ridgehaven based private detective whose regular public transport misadventures belied his talent for tracking down snooty Burnside widows who failed to renew their late husband’s Norwood season tickets. This low key tragi-comedy was replaced by Rulebook, starring Geoff Payne (replaced by Ben Hart after series three), where the main character spent his time harassing shop assistants who had fallen behind with their union dues.

 

Songs From Under The Scoreboards Each week a SANFL club cheer squad was selected (in alphabetical order) to perform a brief selections of their favourite chants and songs. The series was halted after the first episode when Centrals’ haunting refrains of “CCCEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNTTTTRRRAAAALLLLLS” and “UUUUUUUDDDOOOGGGSSSS” had judges Johnny Mac, David Day and Sunny Tan lost for words. “No-one’s gonna top that, give ’em the prize now”, they remarked, and the Bev Harrell Perpetual Trophy was duly delivered to Goodman Road, where it still takes pride of place in the Sonny Morey Lounge.

 

Kolchak – The Night Packer . One of the earliest series to delve into the world of the paranormal, Kolchak (played by Ian Fairweather) was a quietly spoken Drake’s nightfiller who solved mysterious happenings for his employer such as Why Is The Big Sars Flat?, Who Pinched The Fritz?, When’s Bin Night? and Should We Get More Green or Pink Frog Cakes In?

 

In Harms Way – Amateur in so many ways and shot originally in Super 8, this twelve-minute piece, commissioned for Weekend Magazine, revolves around Darko, a northern states blow in and his hapless attempts to get amongst the goal kickers for a South Parklands football team. Not even Gordon Schwartz’s mellifluous voice work could render this footage acceptable.

 

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Let me know if you’ve seen any of these. Even better, give me some suggestions for other SA cultural artifacts that I should track down.

 

Check out Vol 2 of SA’s lost videos HERE

 

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right

Comments

  1. Swish, you missed Bob Neil…the true cultural artifact!
    What is better, the video Breakfast of Champions or the video Champion Breakfast? I guess the one that is the parody is the best one!
    Great to see Rulebook got a guernsey.

  2. Gold thanks Swish. Brilliantly done.
    The producers of “What Can I Say” may need legal representation.

  3. Bill Linkson says

    Sunny Tan ?…..cripes thats a blast from the past ….wasnt he that singer/host from the old chop house across from the Arkaba pub from memory ?…..been up here in Darwin for 30 years but can still remember our incessant requests in the late 80’s for him to sing that Engelbert Humperdink song “Preeeze wereese me let me go ” …haha

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Oh Swish. Your down time has enhanced your imagination and creativity. So South Aussie. So clever. How do you do it?

  5. What about the episode where Kolchak investigates why Humphrey and Neil Button have never been seen together?
    The blood bath episode of Reg Lindsay’s Country and Western Hour where the Colin Huddleston dancers disappear one-by-one during the Snowtown V Truro inter-league contest.
    The tragic episode of On The Job where Max O’Connell reveals the first signs of early dementia was giving Barrie Robran “not out” four times in the first quarter.
    Is Pam Western the Avenging Eagles’ real identity?
    Are you Deadly Earnest?

  6. Peter Crossing says

    Brilliant McSwish.
    Treasures still abound at the Mainline Drive-In Market although the atmosphere is somewhat more organic.
    Comment PB. Good comment.
    And from the House of Lindner …….

  7. Brilliant, Swish.
    South Australia did not deserve you.

    I thought Redgum may have provided a soundtrack somewhere along the line?

  8. Funny, I’m CERTAIN that I had heard Russell Starke’s voiceover on at least one of these tapes.
    Great job Swish, glad to see you’ve not wasted Iso.

  9. Swish- each of these is/ would be a treat. There’s been no finer phrase on this website than “quince paste scene”.

    Always good to see an Adam Saliba reference too.

    Easily the high point of my Monday. Thanks.

  10. Superb Swish and yes it got a giggle at work today

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks everyone, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Maybe I should open the other box too.

    Well played PB, very well played.

  12. Lee Harradine says

    Lovely work, Swish. The Bloods Cheer Squad have put in a late entry for ‘Songs under the Scoreboard’ with their fence banging, inspired by past player Clarrie ‘Bang Bang’ Cannon, sponsored by Hughes and Lovefay Sports Store.

  13. Brilliant. A lot of laughs – and I only get half the references.

    The fritz reference is one many highlights.

    Straw poll suggets: OPEN THE SECOND BOX.

  14. Luke Reynolds says

    Superb Swish. So much culture in SA.

  15. bernard whimpress says

    Ticks galore, Swish. UnBELIEVABLE as KG might say.

  16. Marcus Holt says

    Sad to say it took me until the 3rd “tape” to smell a rat. “Hmm, these don’t sound genuine!” General ignorance of South Australia and its dubious cultural history means a lot went over my head, but amusing none-the-less.

  17. Mark Duffett says

    Thanks so much for these, Swish, these sound so much better than my mixtape of Birdman Rally highlights.

  18. McAlmanac says

    Woodville Cheer Squad featured in the last episode of From Under The Scoreboards singing:

    We’ll win again
    Don’t know where
    Don’t know when
    But I know we’ll win again some sunny day
    (Some sunny day)

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