Bob Connor as a TIT
(Interviewed by Bob Sitsky February 2008)

 

I saw a newspaper advertisement for ABC TITs in Armidale and applied. They took me to Tamworth to interview me - the manager there made a mistake - instead of arranging for me to go to Sydney, he personally interviewed me. So that caused a stir.

When I got the job, I had to move from Armidale to Sydney. I was initially staying with my relatives - an hour and three quarters train trip to Gore Hill! In those days they got trainees to do the lighting rigging, so it meant a working day starting at 5 in the morning and getting home at 11 or 12 at night.

I was involved with the installation in Studio 22. At the last minute they decided that the pedestal wasn't working properly, and took the camera off. They didn't put the pin in to lock the pedestal but simply locked it off. So I had a bad accident when the mechanism sprang up and hit me on the head. I was subsequently off work for 3 months.

When I was working in Links, I must have been the only person to nearly fly off the Channel 9 tower at 300 feet level. When the show finished we went across to bring the dish over to another part of the platform and a sudden gust of wind took me right across - I managed to hold on by one of my legs by having it under the rail.

The Technical College people sometimes got it completely wrong - I remember Bob Mondel delivering 3 blackboards full of maths - if you did leaving Certificate Honours in maths you may have been OK. We had a maths teacher - Lee Klososcyk.
I tried very hard to just get 55% for all his exams. I would do just the first 5 questions if there were 9 questions in the paper. He always tackled me on why I did not do the rest of the paper. What for, I used to say - I only need to get 50% to pass?

One day the Tech College staff wired up this great big knob - they put a quarter watt resistor across the mains - and waited for someone to start fiddling. David Brogden was the trainee who got a hell of a shock when that resistor blew up with a very large bang.

Brogo always left his case near the door, and when the class was ending, he would grab his case and high tail it down the corridor. One day we filled his case with bricks - well his legs kept going but his arms stayed still! He ended up flat on his back.

John Watson was a very placid man - he had a very good way to discipline us without making us feel bad. I don't think I ever saw him angry. He had quite a job to keep the Tech College staff on track.

In my first day in the studios I was helping the sound man, Fred Rysdik. He asked me to turn down the volume on the coke box - so the music for the dancers never happened - I turned down the wrong knob.

I am glad I started in the late 50s and not the seventies or eighties - it was great to work in television in those early days.

I have a funny story about Telerecord Processing. As we were processing we had to staple together the two rolls of film - the one that was ending and the one that was next to roll through the machine. If we dropped some staples into the mix during the connection of the two reels we had to tell Vic Zeleny. Well one day David Brogden told Vic "I just had a bit of a problem with the staples". "How many?" he said "I don't know" David said. "What do you mean, you don't know?" he asked. "I don't know how many were in the staple gun, when I dropped it!" David said. Vic wasn't too happy with David.


Bob Connor started work at Gore Hill early in 1958.
He retired from the ABC at the end of 2000.

 

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