|Letter to an Aunt - November 1956|
ABC TV opened officially - big night. I watched at work- very good.
Rehearsal at White City.
NSW tennis champs - my first real TV show! We had quite a time! It rained and rained - just when we were about to start - so did the rain! I have a radio-telephone link with master control Gore Hill so I hurriedly rang them and told them to do something. They were expecting a fine day and had nothing prepared! In the end they put on the previous nights' films! They took hours putting on the first film so I grabbed the phone and tried to find out the delay. We were then told the telecine men weren't there - so the boys who were there - were threading the projector - with the aid of a book! We nearly died! After a few minutes we started and all went well till the end of the film. They then asked us to try and do something while they set up the next film! We got the most sheltered camera going and sent Adrian Twist and Brian McClenaughan out into the rain on the Centre Court to say " it's awful wet out here etc" they nearly drowned but it gave the listeners something - and filled in time! After about 5 minutes Gore Hill said the next film was ready and to wind up Brian McClenaughan whenever we wanted to. I gave the signal to Dick who relayed it to Brian. Suddenly there was a yell over the phone "for Gods sake - keep him talking - we've got the wrong spool in"!!!! Typical!! Dick was passed the swearing point by now!! Eventually the next film started - a boring thing about water birds - very appropriate! We had started all this fun at 1.30pm - at about ¼ to 3 the rain stopped - so Gore Hill stopped the film and crossed back to us again - forgetting, of course, to stop the sound of the film! So we heard "and this bird is well known for " while on the screen, you could see officials pulling off the covers and rolling the Centre Court!! I screamed into the phone again - and after a few seconds - things was righted!! Then, we discovered our main camera had broken down in the rain! This wasn't fixed for an hour or more - so we had to cover the tennis on the other two cameras - neither of them very good. Camera 3 was on the side and could only be used for interviews, score-boards, players change-over etc. So Camera 2 had to cover all play. This was very difficult as it had the zoom lens on - which is very good for sport, now especially as it can follow play and then zoom in for a close-up of a player - but it can only go to a 6" lens which wasn't big enough to cover the whole court - so he dipped up and down following the ball! Boy, did we have fun!