Hans Pomeranz Remembers
Conversation with Bob Sitsky on 13 September 2006
I was working for Colorfilm at a place called Automatic Associated Films at Moore Park – my job was processing and printing films. After television commenced in Sydney, I decided to make a change. I wanted to know what happens before the processing and printing cycle. I finally got a job in March 1957.
Before I was formally employed, I actually came in on Saturdays on a voluntary basis – week after week – to establish myself. I helped out in various jobs in the film area. Finally they got the message that I wanted to join up – in fact at one time someone (I think it was Ken Cook) called out "the wog wants a job!"
My first boss at Gore Hill was Frank Albanese. I was initially employed as an Assistant Editor. My first job was to remove the film segments that said ‘Place Commercials Here’. These were programs like Sergeant Bilko and Life of Riley and Liberace. Sometimes we left one of those segments in (by mistake) and they went to air. We worked in the Alderson Building at St.Leonards until the new studio was built at the beginning of 1958.
I received higher duties soon after and within 6 months I was made a Film Editor. At this stage I worked for the News department. The job covered work on News, Newsreel and Weekend Magazine. We used to work quite hard. I remember that we sometimes stared work in the morning and worked through to ten at night. All the news bulletins were transported to the Arcon by taxi. One of my colleagues was Russel Tooth.
I got Maggie Carden’s job when she left. I went in to town for the interview and Talbot Duckmanton interviewed me – he wasn’t the General Manager then. He always remembered me and greeted me by my name. In fact later on he stopped Frank Albanese from firing me. Frank took a dislike to me and at one stage wanted to sack me, but Tal intervened and overruled him. I was then moved from Alderson Building to work at Gore Hill.
When the journalist assigned to do the director’s job did not arrive on time for the 7 o’clock news, I had to step in and do the job. There used to be a 5 second run up to the news. All the stories were placed on the one reel with leaders in between. The script indicated when to roll the film.
I remember cutting a two minute news story on a Catholic theme – but it didn’t get to air that night because we did not balance the story by having a two minute segment on a Protestant theme. They were quite strict about balance in those days.
I remember at one stage they wanted all of us to wear ties. One day Ken Cook told Derek Timmins – "its about time you made all the editors wear ties". He said to Derek "lets have a look at your tie, you have a nice tie" and when Derek got close to Ken, Ken took his scissors and quickly cut Derek’s tie in two.
Derek Timmins was one of the managers in the Film Department. He did not have a good reputation with the staff; most felt that he lacked in depth knowledge. However, the staff admired Reg Barrett who was a top film editor. When it came to a contest between the two to become the Gore Hill film manager, it was Derek who won as he had the corporate skills.
At this stage I also worked on documentaries and other programs. My services were in hot demand.
There was a mixture of camaraderie as well as some back stabbing. The conflicts and work politics was mainly at the more senior level. At the workface, there was a spirit of cooperation and a thirst for knowledge. It was a good place to work in. There was a casual atmosphere in the workplace. However, the actual studio building was very plain and boring.
My experience at the ABC gave me a good grounding in my venture into running my own post production establishment.
Hans Pomeranz worked in the ABC from 1957 to 1964. He then established Spectrum Films- a post production house - of which he is still CEO.