Saturday, May 17, 2008

Exclusive DVD news! Beware The Pantyhose Strangler!


THE RETURN OF 'NUMBER 96'

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They tried to stop me! They even sent Tracey Wilson after me! But I'll say it anyway...:

Australia's cult TV soap classic of the 70s is back: coming to a boxed DVD set near you... in September 2008.

(Okay, I'm joking about them trying to stop me: I just received the official go-ahead from Andrew Mercado to announce, exclusively, that a deal has at last been cut to bring the saga of the complete Pantyhose Murders storyline of "Number 96" to DVD.)

The DVD set will comprise 32 episodes on four discs - starts with Episode #649 (originally aired 4/11/1974) and finishes with #680 (original airdate 27/01/1975). There will also be a stills gallery (to which I have contributed), a new commentary and even the Network Ten News report (10/07/06) of the first "Number 96" DVD release. Cue the cheering!

In 2006, Umbrella Entertainment released a great salute to "Number 96", a two-disc collectors' edition of "Number 96: The Movie" and "And They Said it Wouldn't Last" (the documentary celebrating the first 1000 episodes of the TV series, including missing archive footage of the cast at Luna Park), and "The Final Years", a new featurette made for the DVD.

But you wanted more! So here it is!

While it would be great to start commercial releases of the TV episodes of "Number 96" from the very beginning, the sad fact is that many early black-and-white episodes no longer exist. The first few episodes were well-preserved but there's one eighteen-month-long chunk of TV history that crumbled to dust in the early 80s. Sadly, that missing footage includes the infamous, highly-controversial Black Mass. Then there's a lone episode (#450) and another long run of missing stuff.

It was also thought that a boxed DVD set could start from #585, the first colour episode, but that's rather tame compared to "Number 96" at - arguably - its creative and comical peak: the Pantyhose Murders! We commence our DVD tour after it is realised that the body of a blonde woman - found strangled with pantyhose in Chestnut Lane, Paddington - was not, as everyone feared, Marilyn MacDonald. The storyline weaves its way through the shocking deaths, and near-deaths, of several long-time residents of 96 Lindsay Street, thus putting most of the other residents under suspicion, including two mysterious young beaus, Michael Bartlett (Peter Flett) and Matt Barrington (John Paramor). Not to mention the nasty Peter Wilson (Dennis Miller), the cruel, estranged husband of Nurse Tracey Wilson (Chantal Contouri)!

In September, you'll be reacquainted with ditzy Lorelei Wilkinson (Josephine Knur), the equally ditzy Marilyn McDonald (Frances Hargreaves), and the wonderfully whiny Patti Feather (Pamela Garrick), new wife of Arnold (Jeff Kevin). Interspersed with the action on the killing fields is the sad (temporary?) departures of the beloved Goldolfuses, the arrival of a new deli owner, Freda Fuller (Sheila Bradley), and some wonderful Aussie comedy relief, as only vintage "Number 96" could showcase: wacky Les Whittaker's strangler-capture devices; wacky Mummy MacDonald's false boobies as she struggles to tend bar downstairs at Norma's; and Dorrie Evans' equally-wacky turn as a brunette (in order to avoid being the next blonde victim of the Strangler, of course)!

*If you think you recognise the rather sinister woman strangling me in the above picture, yes, that's Tracey Wilson herself. Ms Contouri has recorded a brand new commentary with Andrew for the DVD set!

Roll on September! At least you can't say, "Why wasn't I told?"

Pantyhose Strangler DVD boxed setwhiteNumber 96 DVD vol 2: The Pantyhose Strangler
The Pantyhose Strangler: evolution of a cover design

20 comments:

Therin of Andor said...

And the cross-posts to my exclusive news item have begun! Through the magic that is the Internet, no news stays "exclusive" very long in 2008.

I just hope people remember to link back to the sources. It's so weird seeing the graphic (of the 96 building, from my Number 96 Home Page) pop up on web sites from all over the world. Brings back memories of that day in "The Year of '96" when two friends helped me composite it as the title pic for my very first web page!

Seems so long ago - but then the TV series premiered in 1972 and that was even longer ago. My brothers and I were shunted off to bed at precisely 8.30pm, so our minds wouldn't get perverted. TV announcer Jeremy Cordeaux warned parents that Australia was about to lose its innocence!

I receive lots of queries about the availability of actual episodes on DVD and its great that Andrew Mercado and Umbrella have finally been able to make it happen! They've picked the best place to start!

Therin of Andor said...

I've been asked if this DVD set is to be in colour.

Yes indeed! The first episode of "Number 96" to be compiled in colour was #585 (Maggie Cameron stabs Cain Carmichael with scissors), so all of the Pantyhose Murders storyline is in colour. (They'd already been taping in colour since Easter 1974; but only compiling in colour from #585)

In fact, the night Lorelei is found dead (#649) was the first "Number 96" episode to be aired in colour in Sydney - Channel Ten did a prime time test of their equipment - and friends of mine had just won a colour TV set in a raffle! I sat in their lounge room with about twenty neighbours watching the show that night. No one expected to lose a "permanent" cast member. It was an amazing episode, and a wild ride for the next 31!

I've known Andrew Mercado since he saw me talking about Number 96 on "Tonight Live With Steve Vizard" way back in 1993. I think I came up with the idea of a boxed VHS set of this storyline way back in about 1997 (I even designed some box art) - but DVD makes it more commercially viable to do 32 episodes, especially uncut ones - and Andrew has all the right connections.

Although I'm jealous as hell - he's having so much fun putting it all together - it's been no pressure for me to let him do all the messy red tape stuff. I just get to wait to own it.

Good one, Andrew!

TelevisionAU said...

Ian did you get my email/s from last night? I seem to be having email troubles and not sure you got the emails with the attachments i sent?

Therin of Andor said...

Yes, I did televisionau!

Thanks for the link from your site, mate! I have you on my blogroll.

As i hinted earlier, I first dreamed of a "Pantyhose Murders" boxed set way back when - when VHS boxed sets of TV series arcs were popular. Somewhere in a corner of my house, my old boxed VHS set of "V: The Series" still has a mock-up cover on it, with pics of the "Number 96" building and all the victims and suspects depicted in the windows of their flats!

TelevisionAU said...

Ah there was a series I remembered well.. and I don't follow sci-fi at all but I never missed an episode of "V". I'd probably watch it now and think how corny it was, but 20 years ago I loved it.

Graeme said...

I will be buying this DVD box set as soon as it comes out. I am f****** ecstatic at this news.

And I'm quite ardament about that!

Anonymous said...

"It was also thought that a boxed DVD set could start from #585, the first colour episode, but that's rather tame compared to "Number 96" at - arguably - its creative and comical peak: the Pantyhose Murders!"

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF!!!

I and legions of other Number "Naughty Sex" fans would dearly love to see boxed sets of the series from episode 585 onwards. And that goes for those "lone" episodes sandwiched between slabs of now nonexistent portions of the show too. To have some of these episodes in our DVD collections would be far better than having none of them. So bring 'em on, Umbrella, bring 'em on!!!

Kudos to Andrew Mercado for putting the pantyhose strangler DVD together. It's sensational. I'd planned to limit myself to just one episode per night, so I could savor the DVD for as long as possible, but ended up watching all four DVDs in the space of a week.

The thing that made 96 such an entertaining, addictive TV series was that every episode was crammed with story and intrigue. Tumbling plot twists and turns propelled the show along at a cracking pace. Not like dreary, soporific American and British soap-operas. You could forgo viewing them for months on end without missing any thing of note.

Another thing that puts 96 above and beyond other soaps is the characters. They were genuinely fascinating people you wanted to spend time with.

My two favorites were the stuffy Mr McDonald and his lovable, scatterbrained wife, "Mummy", who were front and center of some of 96's greatest comic moments. Mike Dorsey's performance as "Daddy" as one of the finest comic performances I've seen on Oz TV. The wincing, constipated looks on his face as he struggled in vain to get through to his befuddled other half were priceless.


My favorite period of Number 96 period was the infamous final season, where the whole thing had degenerated into a raucous mix of T & A, over-the-top, even for Number 96, melodrama and unbelievably broad comedy. But, for me, just watching Duddly Butterfield go from being a raving queen to a raving heterosexual overnight was worth the price of admission alone.

TelevisionAU said...

Yours truly has just had a birthday and one of my family was obviously listening when I gave my DVD wish-list :) Looking forward to sitting through 32 episodes!!

Anonymous said...

hey there, I just got the box set the movie and all the 32 episodes and I am now on to my last DVD and I am having to turn it off as I don't want it to end :( I have really enjoyed visiting all the characters again and I want MORE... my partner is meeting them for the first time and he also is having a much fun. I just love Don, Dudley and Vera and of course who could not just adore those 3 senior sits with all their goings on ... go Dori go... I really hope that there is more to come it would be hubba hubba have more memories in my collection... dam shame VCR's where popular when it first aired....thanks for the memories ... cheers Jeff

Anonymous said...

hey there meant VCR where not popular when first aired... Jeff

Anonymous said...

More episodes please, Number 96 is still fun to watch, even decades later. Dorrie and Herb and Flo are may fave characters, they made the show such a hoot.

Donte said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joannah

http://transcendmemory.net

Therin of Andor said...

Gosh, thanks Joannah!

Brennie said...

I'm from Birmingham, UK, and only bought the Pantyhose Murders DVD after hearing about Number 96's reputation. As a result, I have been chomping at the bit for more! I understand the next 32 episodes (ie from #681) are due to be released on DVD in December. I'd emailed Umbrella in June about further releases and that was the answer. I can't wait!!!

Therin of Andor said...

Hi Brennie,

I was just chatting to my pal, Andrew Mercado, who packages the "96" DVDs for Umbrella. Yes, the next batch will take up where that last episode left off.

However, it probably won't get scheduled until 2010. But do watch this space!

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the first collection.

Anonymous said...

All I can say to that is: YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!

Next time you speak to Andrew, could you pass on my thanks for all his hard work?

Brennie said...

Oooops! Clicked the wrong button. This is how my ID was meant to look!

Viagra Online Without Prescription said...

You have made me remind such a long time ago when I was a child, I still remember how much I laughed watching that stuff.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi

I have just sat through all 64 episodes and want more! What an addictive show and NOW i understand why the fuss behind 96. I was born in 74 so i never got to watch any of it. I highly doubt it will ever be shown on TV again, well in australia at least due to the strict tobacco laws. Every scene every character is shown puffing away and the packet is clearly visible. Winnie reds and blue for Vera, Flo and Trixie, while don smoked the dunhill internationals, as all queers did back then. Trixie jumped from Winnies to B@H. See thats how visible the packaging is and tobacco is a big no no on australian tv these days.

Now is there going to be another batch? They left us hanging whith Andy Marshall and taanyaas ny bf about to shoot him.

The characters are intriguing and at times become so real you actually think you know them. I can truely say i wish TV was produced like this these days, but we have become so caught up with technolohgy that we have forgotton how to write good, sometimes silly, scripts and have the right talent playing those roles.

Though i don't know if i could sit through the B&W series (thats if some rich person with a u-matic taped them all) its the colour and the innonce of colourists of the day that intrigues me as well. Some of the garish colours are quite vivid in full pal colour, but hey that was mid 70s australia i guess. One scene in the deli i had to tone down the colour on my tv because aldos jacket, during his soda phase, is so vivid it was giving me headaches!

For me my favorites are mummy and daddy. The whole TC of TH and edies narrow mindness is some true comedy gold.

They really did fk it up by killing off popular characters and introducing smut again. Stupid character arc plots didnt help from watching the final years doco.

Please i want more umbrella and promote the bloody dvds if you want awareness. I had only come across the movie dvd when it came out through JB and only just in the past few months had learned of the pantyhose and aftermath DVDS. IF i knew the pantyhose dvd came out in 2008 i would have bought it back then, like most people. I am sure there is a whole generation, especially atm with retro and nostalgia being huge with the gen yers who would really get into number 96 if umbrella were to release more and promote it in the proper manner and respect it deserves.

D

Anonymous said...

Also to add to my post last night after watching Don fly off overseas to die from a rare blood condition..this is australia 1975..aids did not hit the gay scene until mid 1981.

Don flies OS to die from what i could say a bout of early aids eh in 1975?

hmmmm they sure were ahead of their time at 96!

:)