NZ On Screen’s Dunedin Collection offers up the sights and sounds of a city edged by ocean, and famed for its music. Dunedin is a bracing mixture of old and new: of Victorian buildings and waves of fresh-faced students, many of them carrying guitars. As Dave Cull reflects in his introduction, it is a city where distance is no barrier to creativity and innovation.
This NFU documentary goes behind the scenes as Selwyn Toogood and his team prepare an episode of 50s radio quiz show It's In the Bag, long before it hit the telly. Questions are prepared and booby prizes — epsom salts, toy ducks — selected, before Toogood hits the stage at the Lower Hutt Town Hall to utter the ultimate poser. The big prizes du jour included washing machines and flash (New Zealand-made!) fridge-freezers. The show was so popular with '50s radio audiences it was said cinemas closed their doors on Tuesday nights when it went to air.
Over nearly two decades and almost 9000 hours of TV time, Good Morning was a TVNZ light entertainment mainstay, airing on weekdays from 9am on TV One. Filmed at Wellington’s Avalon Studios for most of its run, the magazine show ranged from advertorials for recipes and home appliances to news, film reviews, aerobics, interviews, and … hypnotism. Presenters included inaugural host Liz Gunn, Mary Lambie (with her cat Lou), Sarah Bradley, Brendon Pongia, Steve Gray, Hadyn Jones, Lisa Manning, Rod Cheeseman, Jeanette Thomas, Matai Smith, and Astar.
Prank phone calls were more radio DJ Kevin Black’s on-air stock in trade, but he fronted an unlikely Top 20 hit with this spoof of Deane Waretini’s 1981 chart topper ‘The Bridge’. With more than a little help from his Radio Hauraki creative team, a plea for cross cultural harmony was transformed into a novelty song celebration of a largely unsung domestic appliance. Blackie was front and centre with the souped up fridge in the video shot by TVNZ in Wellington, but producer Kim Adamson was the singer and co-writer (in addition to playing the dodgy salesman).
Set at the apex of the magnificent Te Mata Peak, Ed Davis' spectacular one shot wonder appears devilishly loaded. Opening on a transmitter tower, we pan to discover our brooding hero slouched in front of TV. Cropping to widescreen allows Davis to cleverly frame the action and draw focus, as our axe wielding hero busts a valve, unleashing a world of hurt upon the offending appliance. Backing away from the dispute, amidst breathtaking scenery, we close on the root of evil - the loathsome tower.
“In the dark and scary depths of a subway, one young man finds fear has a new name: FIZZ.” Jemaine Clement (pre-Flight of the Conchords fame) is the young man who faces up to a sentient soda machine in this short from Jason Stutter. Made for $2000 and filmed over two wintry Wellington nights, Fizz screened at festivals including Locarno, New York, and Clermont-Ferrand. Stutter would successfully repeat the combo of dark wit and dangerous appliance in his Careful with that … series; Clement starred in Stutter’s debut feature Tongan Ninja (2002).
This late 80s game show features couples attempting to accrue time credits through answering a series of questions; aiming to play off for prizes (eg. the required household appliances and a holiday to “exotic Tahiti”). Hosted by Paul Henry — his TV debut — Every Second's gentle pace is decades removed from the accelerating insistency of Millionaire or Weakest Link. Henry fronts with more groaning Granddad jokes than the bumptious cheek he’d later become notorious for, but early warning signs are there, disguised in a formidable 80s suit and white loafers.
This slow burning tale of a domestic appliance with a mind of its own was The Mutton Birds’ only number one hit. The sinister, surreal and partly animated video — the band’s fourth with director Fane Flaws — hints at the short films of Don McGlashan’s other project The Front Lawn. A furtive, nerdy McGlashan takes the lead with Elizabeth McRae (in her prime as Marj on Shortland Street) as his mother; the other Mutton Birds have cameos as a seedy second hand dealer (David Long) and a Salvation Army brass section (Ross Burge and Alan Gregg).
After adapting Maurice Gee classic Under the Mountain for TV, writer Ken Catran wrote his own tale of teen extraterrestrial contact. While holidaying with relatives in the country astronomy-mad Gretchen discovers that a farm weathervane has mysterious powers. In this second episode of the girl-power sci-fi series, the weathervane does strange things to cars and appliances; and Gretchen and local scallywag Ronny discover a secret in a tapu swamp threatened by development. Actors Zac Wallace and Roy Billing feature, and future weatherman Jim Hickey cameos.
Kevin Blackatini was star radio DJ Kevin Black, while The Frigids came from Radio Hauraki’s creative team. Together they concocted novelty hit ‘The Fridge’ which spoofed Deane Waretini’s chart topping 1981 single ‘The Bridge’. Their exercise in domestic appliance love was written by Kim Adamson, Tom Davidson and Hugh Walsh, with Adamson providing the vocal and Blackie as frontman. Despite the kazoo playing, the endeavour did have a serious side, with proceeds going to the family of a colleague recently killed in a car crash. Kevin Black died in 2013.