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Interview

Murray Grindlay: Film composer and jingle writer extraordinaire...

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

Murray Grindlay first rose to prominence as the lead singer in the 60s blues band The Underdogs. Since then he has written the music for a number of feature films, such as Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors and Broken English; as well as countless TV commercials, including the classics Dear John and the Great Crunchie Train Robbery. Currently Grindlay is producing a web-based kids music show The One Winged-Bee Called Emily.

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Collection

Wellington

Curated by NZ On Screen team

In 1865, Wellington became the Kiwi capital. In the more than 150 years since, cameras have caught the rise and fall of storms, buildings, and MPs, and Courtenay Place has played host to vampires and pool-playing priests. Wind through our Wellington Collection to catch the action, and check out backgrounders by musician Samuel Scott and broadcaster Roger Gascoigne. 

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Collection

The Top 10 NZ Television Ads

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.

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Decimal Currency Changeover

Commercial, 1967 (Full Length)

This animated promo was one of a series that ran from 1966 to help communicate New Zealand’s shift to decimal currency. The existing imperial system divided pounds into 20 shillings and 240 pence, and required working out the fractions. In 1963 it was decided to ‘decimalise’ to make things simpler. ‘Mr Dollar’ was the icon of the change, and here, with the help of a Dad joke, he introduces the notes and coins, and the changeover date. Mr Dollar — plus 27 million banknotes and 165 million coins — officially marched into town on 10 July 1967. 

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Artist

Monte Video and the Cassettes

The artist-briefly-known-as Monte Video was musician Murray Grindlay. Grindlay was a guitarist in the legendary 1960s R&B group the Underdogs, and sang their biggest hit, 'Sitting in the Rain'. Since the 1970s the "the king of jingles" has been the musical force behind many of NZ's most memorable TV advertisements, including 'Dear John' for BASF tape, 'Travelin' On' for Europa, and 'Have a Crunchie' for the long-running Crunchie Great Train Robbery ad. Grindlay has also released solo albums and co-wrote the scores for Sleeping Dogs and Once Were Warriors.

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Travellin' On - Europa (with Stevie Ray Vaughan)

Commercial, 1988 (Full Length)

This 1988 Europa commercial showcases the guitar playing of American bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan. An anthem to good times on the road, the promo features four friends — musician Midge Marsden, jingles veteran Murray Grindlay, Vaughan’s fiance Janna Lapidus and Brigitte Berger — larking around the North Island in an old ute. Stopping off at the iconic DC3 aeroplane parked in small-town Mangaweka, they step into a bar made from car parts to join Stevie Ray on stage. A shorter cut of this petrol station promo also screened, plus an ad featuring an acoustic version of the song.

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New Zealand Is Yours - Nightlife

Short Film, 1974 (Full Length)

This short promo was part of a mid '70s Tourist and Publicity Department campaign touting New Zealand to New Zealanders. It focuses on nightlife to highlight the swinging face of our cities: bars, bands, dancing, floor shows and restaurants. As the jingle says: "Share it, share it, you've got to share it with each other." Delight in fast-cut '70s fashion and styles even if the chop stick, champagne and ciggie-filled affair has a faintly ominous vibe (just what is the bartender slipping in the cocktail?). The film ends with the Orwellian instruction to "go there ... now".

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Artist

John Hanlon

One night in his early 20s, John Hanlon was nudged into playing some songs at a party. A recording studio owner was listening in, and so a star was born. Hanlon won the APRA Silver Scroll Award in both 1974 and 75, plus a host of RATA awards, including Songwriter of the Year three years running.  ‘Damn the Dam’ became a protest classic, despite its birth as a Pink Batts radio jingle; 1974 hit ‘Lovely Lady’ reached number one. In 1978, growing weary of replaying the hits, Hanlon concentrated on his advertising career.

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Christmas

Film, 2004 (Full Length, Trailer, and Extras)

Tis the season to be toxic in this "distinctly Kiwi take on the f***ed up whanau" (Chris Knox, Real Groove). Broke, depressed oldest son Keri arrives home to face up to a suburban Christmas countdown and two messed up sisters, a gay brother, drunk kids, and narcoleptic parents. Director Gregory King wrests bleak comedy and holiday horrors from the tokes, tinsel and frequent toilet visits. The raw realism of his debut feature saw it selected for Toronto, Locarno, Edinburgh, and Melbourne festivals. It won best digital film and script at the 2003 NZ Film Awards.  

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Murray Grindlay

Composer, Singer

Since first winning fame as lead singer of 60s blues band The Underdogs, Murray Grindlay has gone on to apply his musical talents as a composer for feature films (Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors), veteran jingle-writer (including the classic Crunchie train robbery commercial), and producer (hit single 'Sailing Away', Goldenhorse's Out of the Moon).