Tuesday 28 February 2012

1966, Television: Skippy (The Bush Kangaroo)

Skippy The Bush Kangaroo was Australia's answer to the American series Lassie and Flipper. This Australian television youth series was created by John McCallum and produced from 1966 to 1968. It follows the adventures of a young boy, Sonny, and his intelligent kangaroo, Skippy. They live in the fictional Waratah National Park in Duffys Forest, near Sydney. Sonny's father, Matt Hammond, is the park's Head Ranger. Most of the stories are about events occurring in the park with the animals, dangers from natural hazards in the Park's environment, and actions of visitors to the Park.

Main cast:
  • Ed Devereaux as Matt Hammond, the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park
  • Garry Pankhurst as Sonny Hammond, Matt's youngest son
  • Ken James as Mark Hammond, Matt's oldest son
  • Tony Bonner as Jerry King, Flight Ranger (helicopter pilot)
  • Liza Goddard as Clarissa 'Clancy' Merrick
  • John Warwick as Sir Adrian Gillespie, Head of the NSW National Parks Board
  • Elke Neidhardt as Dr. Anna Steiner, a German doctor
  • Morgan Brain as Sgt. Bernard Gillies.
  • Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos
Liza Goddard
91 episodes were made over the three seasons of production. In 1969 followed a feature film "Skippy and The Intruders". The series was revived in 1992 as the short-lived "The Adventures of Skippy" using an entirely new cast.

Skippy Openening Sequence

Monday 27 February 2012

1965, Science and Technology: Sony CV-2000 Videocorder

Sony introduced the CV-2000 in 1965 as one of the world's first compact and affordable home video tape recorders. The 'CV' in the model name stood for 'Consumer Video' and was also known as Portapak. The CV-2000 was developed by Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara. On its release, each machine cost $695 (+/- €521,6). It used 1⁄2-inch-wide (13 mm) video tape in a reel-to-reel format, meaning the tape had to be manually threaded around the helical scan video head drum. The CV-2000 was one-tenth the weight and price of other analog video recording products of its era like the Philips EL3400 VTR (1964, 1-inch video tape), the Ampex VR 5003 VTR (1964, 1-inch video tape) and the Ampex Signature V (1963, 2-inch video tape, $30,000 (+/- €22515,26).

 Sony CV-2000 Reference Card

The CV-2000 could record television programs in black and white on video tapes with one hour of recording time. Although the CV-2000 was aimed at the home market, it was mainly used for business and educational purposes.

 Sony CV-2000 Ad

Sony CV-2000 Promo

Saturday 25 February 2012

1964, Music: Eurovision Song Contest

The ninth Eurovision Song Contest was held on march 21, 1964 in Copenhagen. The contest was presented by Lotte Waever and broadcast by DR (Danmarks Radio) from the Tivolis Koncertsal. Sweden did not participate because of a boycott by singers, they did however broadcast it. A political protest occurred after the Swiss entry: a man trespassed onto the stage holding a banner that read "Boycott Franco & Salazar".

Victory was for Italy with the song "Non ho l'étà" ("I'm Not Old Enough") sung by sixteen year old Gigliola Cinquetti (lyrics by Mario Panzeri, music by Nicola Salerno). She won the most crushing victory in the history of the contest, with a score almost three times that of her nearest rival.
Gigliola Cinquetti
 Gigliola Cinquetti

Earlier that year she won the Sanremo Music Festival with the same song. In 1974 she returned to the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Sì" ("Yes"), she finished second behind "Waterloo", sung by Sweden's ABBA.

Draw Country Artist Song Place Points
01 Luxembourg Hugues Aufray "Dès que le printemps revient" 4 14
02 Netherlands Anneke Grönloh "Jij bent mijn leven" 10 2
03 Norway Arne Bendiksen "Spiral" 8 6
04 Denmark Bjørn Tidmand "Sangen om dig" 9 4
05 Finland Lasse Mårtenson "Laiskotellen" 7 9
06 Austria Udo Jürgens "Warum nur warum?" 6 11
07 France Rachel "Le chant de Mallory" 4 14
08 United Kingdom Matt Monro "I Love the Little Things" 2 17
09 Germany Nora Nova "Man gewöhnt sich so schnell.." 13 0
10 Monaco Romuald "Où sont-elles passées" 3 15
11 Portugal António Calvário "Oração" 13 0
12 Italy Gigliola Cinquetti "Non ho l'età" 1 49
13 Yugoslavia Sabahudin Kurt "Život je sklopio krug" 13 0
14 Switzerland Anita Traversi "I miei pensieri" 13 0
15 Belgium Robert Cogoi "Près de ma rivière" 10 2
16 Spain Tim, Nelly & Tony "Caracola" 12 1

Thursday 23 February 2012

1963, Fashion: Beatles Mop Top Hair

In 1963 the British band 'The Beatles' appeared with a new hair cut. The Mop Top hairstyle was so named because it looked very much like the head of a string mop. The back and sides were cut to a medium length and the fringe was cut evenly across the forehead just above the eyebrows. It was inspired by the appearance of Jurgen Vollmer, as seen by John and Paul while hitch-hiking to Paris one day in 1961. At a press conference in the US George Harrison was asked what he called his hairstyle. His response was, 'Arthur'. Following that event, many Beatles fans began to refer to this hairstyle as 'the Arthur'. The scene was recreated in the movie 'A Hard Day's Night' with the reporter asking George Harrison, "What would you call that, uh, hairstyle you're wearing?" In 1964 and 1966 mop top hair became a fashion style for many youngsters.
The Beatles in 1963 with mop top hairstyle
left to right: John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

Prior to the mop top, the Beatles sported the popular hairstyle of the day which was known as the Tony Curtis cut or the d.a (duck's arse) haircut.
The Beatles with Tony Curtis hairstyle in Hamburg, 1961
left to right: John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney and Stuart Sutcliffe

German photographer and artist Astrid Kirchherr is often credited with inventing 'The Beatles' mop top hair cut although she disagrees, saying: "All that rubbish people said, that I created their hairstyle, that's rubbish! Lots of German boys had that hairstyle. Stuart Sutcliffe had it for a long while and the others copied it. And my boyfriend then, Klaus Voormann, had this hairstyle, and Stuart liked it very very much. He was the first one who really got the nerve to get the Brylcreem out of his hair and asking me to cut his hair for him."

Interviews in 'A Hard Day's Night'

1962, Cars: Ford Cortina MK I

The MkI Ford Cortina was launched by Ford of England in September 1962. At first it was known as the 'Consul Cortina', from 1964 onwards the Consul name was dropped. The Cortina was named after the Italian winter resort 'Cortina di Ampezzo', where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held.

In the late 1950's, Ford had the Anglia 105E at one end of the market, and the MkII Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac range at the other. The market in between was filled up with cars like the Vauxhall Victor, the Hillman Minx, and and the Austin A55 Cambridge. Ford began work on a car for this market segment, and the Ford Classic made its debut in 1961. It looked like an oversized Anglia and turned out to be a quite expensive car to produce. There was still room left for another cheaper, simpler model.

The goal for the Cortina was to keep production costs low, whilst giving the best possible performance and fuel economy. This meant that planned features like an independent rear suspension were shelved. To further minimise production costs, but also due to limited development time, mechanical components from other Fords were used. Styling was completed in 9 months, finalised by the end of 1959.

The first Cortinas were all fitted with an engine based on the 1000 cc Kent engine that first appeared in the Anglia, stroked up to 1200 cc (1198 cc). In January 1963 a 1500 cc (1498 cc) engine became an option.

Cortinas were firstly available in standard or Deluxe form, with only two-doors available, but four-doors became available in October 1962. The standard cars had a simple painted grille and painted headlamp surrounds. In January 1963 followed the introduction of a Super Deluxe, in two and four-door models, which had the 1500 cc engine as standard equipment. The Lotus-Cortina also appeared in early 1963. An estate model was released in March 1963. A GT model was released in April 1963.

The MkI was replaced by the MkII model in September 1966. Total MkI production was 1,010,090 units.

Ford Consul Cortina Standard 1962

Ford Consul Cortina Super Deluxe 1963

Ford Cortina GT 1965

Ford Cortina GT 1965

Ford Consul Lotus Cortina 1963

Wednesday 22 February 2012

1961, News: The Crash of Sabena Flight 548

On 15 February 1961, 73 people were killed in the crash of a Boeing 707 of Sabena in Berg, Kampenhout, Belgium. Sabena Flight 548 left seven hours earlier the New York airport and was preparing to land at Zaventem Airport.

The Boeing 707-329 with registration OO-SJB was on a long approach to runway 20 when, near the runway threshold, power was increased and the gear retracted. The aircraft gained height and made several circles in a left turn. During these turns the bank angle increased more and more until finally the aircraft was in a near vertical bank. The 707 crashed and caught fire near the district Lemmeken in Berg.

All 61 passengers and 11 crew members died. Most passengers were killed instantly by the impact. Others died in the fire that broke out after the collision. Passengers must have known that something went wrong. Their bodies were found in the crash position, head between the knees, arms wrapped around the head.

On board was the entire American art skating team. They were on their way to the World Championships in Prague. Some om them were just sixteen years old, it was their first trip abroad. One of the skaters was the national champion Dudley Richards, a friend of President John F. Kennedy. The loss of the U.S. team was considered so catastrophic for the sport that the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships were cancelled. 
Boeing 707-329 with registration OO-SJB
1961 US Skating Team in front of  Boeing 707-329 OO-SJB
Investigators at the crash site
Monument at the crash site

1961 News Reel

1960, Film: The Apartment

The Apartment a 1960 American comedy produced and directed by Billy Wilder stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray.

The film tells the story of Bud Baxter a struggling clerk in a huge New York insurance company. He discoveres a quick way to climb the corporate ladder by lending out his apartment to the executives as a place to take their mistresses. He often has to deal with the aftermath of their visits and one night he's left with a major problem to solve...

The Apartment received 10 Academy Award nominations and won 5 Academy Awards.
Best Motion Picture: Billy Wilder
Best Director: Billy Wilder
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Edward G. Boyle and Alexandre Trauner
Best Film Editing: Daniel Mandell
Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray
Jack Lemmon
Lunch with Billy Wilder during filming
Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine