|Title:||Aunty Jack Introduces Colour|
|Subtitle:||Excerpt from the first ABC television program broadcast in colour|
|Date:||1 March 1975|
|Content creator:||Australian Broadcasting Commission and Grahame Bond|
|Keywords:||comedy, television programs, broadcasting, satire, special effects, music, 1970s|
|Record creator:||National Archives of Australia, Sydney Office|
|Copyright notice:||Reproduced with the kind permission of Ms A Jack OBE (Old Bull Elephant) and the Australian Broadcasting Commission.|
Aunty Jack and Thin Arthur (sing): Wollongong the brave!
Aunty Jack: Hello me little lovelies, this is your Queen speaking from my secret headquarters in Wollongong. My Arthur and I would like to warn you that the whole world is being gobbled up by the terrible colour television monster.
[THIN ARTHUR SCREAMS]
Aunty Jack: Don’t panic! Just always remember, the proud colours of Wollongong, black and grey, will fly at full mast and there will still be hope because if Wollongong breaks out in colour it could mean the end of the world. Arthur, how goes it on the Illawarra front?
Thin Arthur: Oh, I’m looking at the Port Kembla steelworks, Aunty Jack, and nothing but pitch black.
Aunty Jack: Oh good.
Thin Arthur: Hey, wait a minute! Wait a minute! The grass – under the foundry – it’s turning green!
Aunty Jack: Erky, perky, it’s here already!
Thin Arthur: Aunty Jack, I’m scared!
Aunty Jack: Yeah, so are you. Arthur, I can feel it in me bones.
Arthur: Oh look, Aunty Jack, we’ve picked up the colour monster on the radar.
Aunty Jack: Strewth, it’s at Corrimal South, postcode 2518, already!
Thin Arthur: Oh look! It’s coming up the garden path. It’ll be here in ten seconds.
Aunty Jack: Nine, eight, seven, six.
Aunty Jack: You’re early!
Kid Eager: I’m terribly sorry.
Aunty Jack: Five, four, three, two, one.
Kid Eager: Arr, arr, avast there, landlubbers. Where be the poop deck?
Aunty Jack: Over the crow’s nest!
Kid Eager: Oh! Oh, step aside, fatso, and let the new colourful personality of captain Kid Eager say, ‘Ahoy there, shipmates’.
Aunty Jack: Oh you poor thing, look what the colour monster’s done, it’s turned you in to a lady.
Kid Eager: Arr, oh!
Thin Arthur: Aunty Jack, that’s a pirate dressed as Flange Desire [female character].
Aunty Jack: See what I mean, Arthur, colour has an unnatural effect on pirates, turns them into ladies.
Kid Eager: Oh, listen, puddin’, to join this colour world you’ve got to give ’em eyes, tits and teeth.
Thin Arthur: Well, where are your tits?
Aunty Jack: [HISSES] Arthur!
Kid Eager: Well they must have dropped.
Parrot: Pieces of eight, pieces of eight.
Kid Eager: Arr, there they be!
Aunty Jack: Arr, they be a fine pair of tits.
[SIREN NOISE, SOUNDS OF WATER GURGLING]
Thin Arthur: Look! Aunty Jack! The colour! It’s leaking through the window.
Aunty Jack: Pooh, the filthy thing – all over my new carpet.
Thin Arthur: Look, it’s filling the room. How are we going to breathe?
Aunty Jack: Quick, Arthur, the Wollongong air, I’ll try and hold it down.
Kid Eager: Hey, look at me, look at me, I’m in colour. Come on in, it’s lovely.
Aunty Jack: I can’t hold it off very long. Here it goes, Arthur! [PAUSE] Oh, what a beautiful room. It’s really quite nice being in colour, isn’t it? I don’t feel any different.
Kid Eager: Oh yeah, that’s because you aren’t any different, tubby. You’re still in black and white.
Aunty Jack: I am not.
Thin Arthur: Yes you are, Aunty Jack
Aunty Jack: I am. Well I’m glad I didn’t catch it.
Kid Eager: Catch what?
Aunty Jack: That horrible disease that comes with colour. Ah, green slime polkaditis!
Thin Arthur and Kid Eager: Green slime polkaditis!
Thin Arthur: See I’m all right, Kid. I’m still in black and white. Oh, look, Aunty Jack, I’ve gone pink.
Aunty Jack: Pink flesh, pooh Arthur, you’ve caught it!
Thin Arthur: What’ll I do? What’ll I do?
Kid Eager: What’ll I do?
Aunty Jack: I can save you, Arthur. Colour remover. Right, shut your eyes.
Thin Arthur: Ooh, ooh!
Aunty Jack: Turn round. Right – saved.
Thin Arthur: Good!
Kid Eager: Yeah well what about me then, eh?
Aunty Jack: All right, shut your eyes. Right say ‘Ah’. Nuh, doesn’t work on pirates.
Kid Eager: Aargh! Oh! Ay, listen, I’m not a pirate, I’m Kid Eager.
Aunty Jack: Ooh, a Martian!
Kid Eager: A Martian?
Arthur: How do you know he’s a Martian?
Kid Eager: Yeah!
Aunty Jack: Look; big red feet, baggy pants and a propeller.
Kid Eager: Oh that’s me. Hey, I’ve always had those.
Thin Arthur: Yeah? Well how about a spotted face?
Kid Eager: Oh, a Martian! Aunty Jack, I’m changing colour!
Aunty Jack: Naturally, symptom one.
Thin Arthur: Yuk! A green Martian!
Kid Eager: Oh, Aunty Jack, I’ve got gangrene. Does that mean they’re gonna cut me off?
Aunty Jack: I hope so. You know the last person who got Martian green slime polkaditis turned in to a green jelly.
Kid Eager: A green jelly? Oh bull! Ooh, ooh, ooh!
Aunty Jack: What flavour is he, Arthur?
Arthur: Tastes like lime, Aunty Jack.
Aunty Jack: Yum, yum, a lime Martian.
Kid Eager: Hey! Hey, get your finger out of my ear, Aunty Jack.
Arthur: Aunty Jack! You’ve gone coloured.
[BACKGROUND SINGING: Hallelujah!]
Aunty Jack: Oh I know, Arthur. It was only a big joke. Heh, heh, heh.
Thin Arthur: A big joke!
Kid Eager: It’s no joke being a lime-flavoured jelly.
Aunty Jack: Oh, it’s all right, kiddy pooh, you just wobble along with us. All right hit it, Arthur.
[ARTHUR HITS KID EAGER]
Aunty Jack: Not the Kid!
Kid Eager: Pick on someone your own colour!
Thin Arthur (sings): Farewell, black and white. We saw you leave tonight. No more…na na na …
Aunty Jack: And remember, all you kiddies. Don’t you watch colour jokes on black-and-white television ’cause if you do I’m gonna jump through your sets and rip your bloody pink arms off. And I will too.
Thin Arthur: Oh pooh, Aunty Jack, what’s that horrible smell?
Aunty Jack: What horrible smell? Oh – I think I stepped in some Kid Eager.
Kid Eager: Ooooh!
This clip shows a sequence from the first colour television broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). It is an excerpt from Aunty Jack Introduces Colour, a special one-off episode of The Aunty Jack Show featuring Grahame Bond (1943–) as Aunty Jack, Rory O’Donoghue (1949–) as Thin Arthur and Garry McDonald (1948–) as Kid Eager. The clip is set in Aunty Jack’s living room. Warnings of the ‘terrible colour television monster’ become a reality when the characters and their surroundings are gradually saturated with colour. There are colour-based sight gags, basic special effects and a 'Farewell, Black and White' song.
This controversial and groundbreaking Australian series premiered in November 1972 and ended in 1973 – a period of great social and political change in Australia. Gough Whitlam's (1916-2014) Labor government was elected in December 1972 after 23 years of Liberal–Country Party government, and censorship laws had been eased, allowing stations to air the subversive comedy of Aunty Jack and nudity in the serial Number 96 (1972–77), pushing the moral boundaries of the times.
Aunty Jack, an obese cross-dressing bikie, created controversy as well as enthusiasm among ABC television viewers of the 1970s. An anarchic figure, she made many derogatory references to her home town, Wollongong, in New South Wales. Many Wollongong citizens rang the ABC to complain about the show when it began in 1972. Despite this, producer Maurice Murphy fought hard to retain the show’s integrity and its characters have since achieved cult status.
This special episode of The Aunty Jack Show, broadcast on 1 March 1975 two years after the series officially ended, was the first ABC program to contain a colour segment in its broadcast. The transition to colour was a significant development in television broadcasting and Australians quickly and enthusiastically adapted to the change. Almost 80 per cent of homes owned a colour television set within five years of its introduction.
The clip uses special effects to create a sense that the world the characters inhabit is gradually transforming from black and white to full colour. The ABC filmed the entire episode in colour, but transmitted most of the show in black and white. The final colour segments were created by overlaying the colour image in a gradient fashion to create the sense that the characters were gradually being saturated with colour.
Grahame Bond, who devised the series and played Aunty Jack, trained in architecture at the University of Sydney in the 1960s but found his way into musical comedy when he established the Architecture Revue at the university with writer Geoffrey Atherden (Mother and Son), director Peter Weir, composer Peter Best and Rory O'Donoghue (Thin Arthur). As of 2009 Bond has appeared on Better Homes and Gardens and Whose House is it Anyway? and continues to write musical comedy.
The Aunty Jack Show launched the career of Garry McDonald (Kid Eager). As part of the series he created the character of hapless television reporter Norman Gunston, whose nationwide appeal led to a spin-off television show. Since that time McDonald has established himself as a talented character actor, and he has appeared on stage, television and in film, including a starring role in the ABC series Mother and Son (1983–93). Both of McDonald’s ABC series won television awards.
© Education Services Australia Ltd and National Archives of Australia, 2007-10