John Appleton Comments on Childrens Programs

John Appleton was interviewed by Jacqueline Kent (for the National Film and Sound Archives) in 1983. This short extract from the interview was prepared by Bob Sitsky.


I first worked at the ABC soon after it was established in 1932. There was a variety of work - writing, performing and producing radio programs. However, the last 20 years of my working life was fulltime at the ABC. When I retired in 1970 I was Head of Children's Programs.

Television broadcasting training commenced in 1955 and I participated in the first Rudi Bretz school when he came to Australia. In fact I became his favourite student.
When he left Australia, I continued to run the television courses.

Dr. Barry and Clement Semmler asked me what television programs the ABC should run for children. They were keen for the Argonauts to be run in both radio and television. I suggested that we first do a dry run in television. We did a show and it was a complete disaster. When television broadcasting started, there was a gradual decrease in the numbers of children who tuned in to ABC radio children's programs.

The Commercial Television Channels allocated a lot of money for childrens television. Their budget for a one hour show like the Micky Mouse Club - of which there was something like 40 minutes live action - was twenty seven thousand pounds! That would be our budget for 6 months.

We ran a lot of television programs for children from our Gore Hill studios, and many of them were quite successful.

John Appleton was born in 1905. He started work in radio in 1926. His fulltime work with the ABC was from 1950 to 1970.


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