Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beyond Number 96

Since yesterday's exclusive announcement of more classic "Number 96" on DVD, I've felt a need to upgrade the last section of my old, annotated episode guide - the one with details of all "Number 96"-connected shows since the parent series went off the air. I Google this stuff every few years and it's amazing how little snippets turn up every now and then.

For example, when I did my initial research, I would have stopped my skimming of bound volumes of old TV Times and TV Week issues when I hit the end of 1977, and so I had no notes on the bizarre-sounding second pilot for a variety series that would have featured Reg and Edie MacDonald! Also, last time I checked, there was no online information whatsoever on "Eurotrash" (in which yours truly appeared as the dubiously-described as the "only member of the Abigail and Number 96 Fan Club!). Recently, I found an official site that listed all the segment titles and subjects of that tongue-in-cheek documentary series.

Anyway, here's the (UPDATED 2011) list:

SPECIAL: Number 96 Auction. (20/8/1977)
With Joe "The Gadget Man" Sandow as the auctioneer. A live cross to the grounds of Channel 10, Sydney. 90 minutes; aired at 12 noon. 0-10 Network.

UNAIRED PILOT: Oh Mummy, Oh Daddy. (Taped 2/1978)
Second unsuccessful attempt to spin off the characters of Reg and Edie MacDonald (Mike Dorsey and Wendy Blacklock), this time in a potential music/variety series with dream sequences (eg. Superman and Ginger Meggs characters in the pilot). Seven Network.

NUMBER 96 (US Version). (Commenced USA 10/12/1980; aired in Australia 1986)

GOLDEN YEARS OF TELEVISION: A Salute to Australian Soaps. (14/8/1986)
Presented by David Lyle and Ginger de Winter (aka Virginia Bell). Featured the infamous "bomb aftermath" episode (#840) and assorted footage. Nine Network.

Hosted by Steve Vizard. Featured flashback footage and live interviews with Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Comedian Vince Sorrenti conducted a tour of Moncur Flats, at 83 Moncur Street, Woollahra, the actual location of the Number 96 building seen in the show's credits. Seven Network.

SPECIAL: Number 96: They Said It Wouldn't Last. (21/11/1994)
With new commentary from Abigail. Featured most of the special made to celebrate the show's 1000th episode, revamped and concluded with the "curtain call" from the final episode. Network Ten.

DARREN GRAY DOWN UNDER: Number 96. (1995)
Hosted by Darren Gray. Featured interviews with Andrew Mercado and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. CTV1 (Sydney) and the Wire Network (UK).

SALE OF THE CENTURY: Battle of the TV Classics. (19/6/1995)
Hosted by Glenn Ridge. Featured Johnny Lockwood, Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin and Candy Raymond representing Number 96 and competing against stars from The Sullivans, Prisoner and The Young Doctors. Candy Raymond made it through to the finals. Nine Network.

Presented by Peter Luck. Weekly episodes, four of which focused on Number 96 stories. One episode featured James Elliott and Elisabeth Kirkby. Another reunited John Orcsik with Joe Hasham, who reenacted their kiss from the Number 96 feature film. Johnny Lockwood was interviewed in an episode dedicated to the deaths of beloved fictional Australians (8/8/97). A "Soap Opera Weddings" special featured Jeff Kevin and Pamela Garrick. Seven Network.

EUROTRASH: Abigail. (SEASON 5, #6, UK 1997; Australian airdate unknown)
Hosted by Jean-Paul Gaultier, narrated by Kate Robbins. Featured flashback footage of Number 96, Chances and Alvin Purple and interviews with Abigail, journalist Robin Oliver and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Foxtel/Austar's The Comedy Channel.

TAMARA TONITE. (20/10/1999 - 3/11/1999)
Presented by Brisbane-based drag queen, Tamara Tonite (aka Roderick Paterson). Weekly episodes, three of which were focused on Number 96. Interviews with Sheila Kennelly (#137), Elaine Lee (#138) and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean (#139). Channel Briz31.

TELEVISION'S GREATEST HITS: The Best of Number 96. (13/3/2000 - 30/3/2000)
Presented by Andrew Mercado over three weeks. 24 episodes, hand selected by Andrew Mercado and Ian McLean. Episodes were: #2, 33, 450, 604, 613, 630/631, 649, 669, 679, 680, 689, 838, 839, 840/841, 844, 1005, 1006, 1136, 1160, 1164, and 1217/1218. Foxtel/Austar's TV1.

THE BEST OF AUSSIE DRAMAS: Part I. (7/11/2002)
Presented by Kate Ritchie of Home and Away. Contained numerous clips of Number 96, with sound byte comments from John Orcsik, Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin, Lorrae Desmond, Vince Sorrenti and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Part II aired a week later, and a two-part focus on Aussie Cop Shows followed over the next fortnight, with additional sound byte comments from Paula Duncan, John Orcsik and Lorrae Desmond. Seven Network.

SPECIAL: Ten: Seriously 40. (21/8/2005)
Presented by Bert Newton and Rove McManus. Clip show celebrating four decades of the former 0-10 Network. Network Ten.

SPECIAL: 50 Years, 50 Shows. (25/9/2005)
Presented by Eddie McGuire. Number 96 rated #9 out of 50 Australian television shows. Nine Network.

DVD: Number 96: 2 Disc Collectors Edition. (10/7/2006)
Includes: a brand new 16:9 transfer of Number 96: The Movie (1974), uncut and uncensored, with newly recorded audio commentary (2006) with Elaine Lee, creator/screenwriter David Sale, and TV historian Andrew Mercado; original draft screenplay of the movie on DVD-ROM; And They Said It Wouldn't Last TV documentary special (1976, plus 1977 update); Abigail's introduction to the special's repeat TV screening (1994); an all new featurette, THE FINAL YEARS (2006), covering the last 218 episodes (and new interviews with Elaine Lee, Sheila Kennelly, Wendy Blacklock, Deborah Gray and David Sale); plus rare footage of the "Spirit of 96" train journey, as the TV cast attended the Logies in Melbourne (1975). Umbrella DVD Australia . (Note that cover art of the first pressings of this product mentioned a stills gallery, but this was unable to be included as planned.)

REPEAT OF SPECIAL: 50 Years, 50 Shows. (11/9/2006)
Newly presented by Mike Munro, celebrating Australian television's 50th anniversary. Nine Network.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW. (8/7/2007)
Presented by Melissa Doyle and David Koche. Featured Jeff Kevin, Sheila Kennelly, Elaine Lee, James Elliott, Elisabeth Kirkby, Frances Hargreaves, Chantal Contouri, Joe Hasham and Chard Hayward. Seven Network.

DVD: Number 96: The Pantyhose Strangler. (30/8/2008)
Includes: 32 consecutive episodes #649-680; stills gallery; newly recorded audio commentary (2008) with Chantal Contouri and TV historian Andrew Mercado; 2006 footage of the Network Ten News announcement of the earlier DVD release. Umbrella DVD Australia.

DVD: Number 96: Aftermath of Murder. (11/3/2010)
Includes: 32 consecutive episodes #681-712; newly recorded audio commentaries (2009) with Carol Raye, Elisabeth Kirkby and TV historian Andrew Mercado; "The Australian Way: A Salute to Aussie Sex Appeal" TV special (1982, incorrectly identified as 1978); original 1976 "Adults Only" TV promo for premiere of "And They Said It Wouldn't Last" documentary special; 1975 uncut Christmas messages from cast members; and 2008 footage of the Network Ten News announcement of the previous DVD release, including a reunion between Chantal Contouri and Pamela Garrick. Umbrella DVD Australia.

DVD: Number 96: 40th Anniversary set. (Forthcoming 2012)
Includes: sixteen early b/w episodes (#1-10, #13, #31, #33-35 and #450) and sixteen consecutive colour episodes, #832-847, covering the Mad Bomber storyline. Umbrella DVD Australia.

Thanks to Luke of Brisbane for a few crucial dates listed above.

On a totally unrelated topic...
Sunday's magic number: 94.0. Absolutely no change - again. (Should I admit now to Thursday night's two donuts. And Friday's four? Shhhh! Maybe not.)

How wonderful: it's Sunday. The day I declare my progress to the world, and it's sandwiched between Number 96 news that people will be Googling for months! Let's hope the numbers are lower by the time the new DVD set hits.


TelevisionAU said...

it took the dud US version six years to get here?!? Which TV station got sucked into running those handful of episodes?!? :-)

Oh and I remember "Ginger de Winter" on the Golden Years of Television with David Lyle. Name and TV icon of old and you can bet "Ginger" was there.. whether it was a dancing girl on IMT, or at Norma's Bar on the night of the bomb blast, she was everywhere apparently! And I remember her mock horror when David made some comment alluding to her drinking habits at Norma's, during a telethon aimed at raising money to teach kids not to fall into drug and alcohol abuse! She was most horrified! :-)

Therin of Andor said...

Re the US version of "Number 96" - I haven't been able to find out which channel ran them, but I know it was at a very later hour.

As for Ginger de Winter: I met David Lyle at a Brisbane science fiction media convention once, and tried to grill him for information on her, but he just grinned and said, "Ah, Ginger!" (I found a reference to her alter ego many years ago, but Googling "Virginia Bell" these days turns up an American topless dancer!)

Therin of Andor said...

Wow! I found Ginger again: HERE