Go! Dancers on and unidentified Go!! episode, circa1967

Let’s Go!!

to the premiere
 Simon Smith

Dancers on unidentified Go!! episode, c1967.Courtesy of Geoff Grant   NFSA title: 1218569

On 5 February 2016 the NFSA devoted an evening to remembering 1966, Teenage Dream, featuring the premier Canberra screening of episode #117 of the Australian television teenage music show, Go!!, reconstructed and restored by the NFSA.

Here we Go!!

Go!! was ‘Australia’s swingin’est teenage show’. It was ranked number 10 in the ’50 Top Moments’ of Network Ten’s 50 Years Young special aired in August 2014.

Go!! first went to air on 4 August 1964, four days after ATV-0 Melbourne began transmission, and helped launch the 0-10 Network on its journey targeting a younger viewing audience. Within 12 months, Go!! was broadcast on 0/10 stations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. Go!! was also sold to Australian regional stations including CTC-7, Canberra’s first commercial television station. CTC-7 commenced screening the show at 6pm each Tuesday from January 1967.

The show’s popularity brought fame to many Australian pop artists, a decade before the arrival of ABC TV’s Countdown in 1974. Yet of the 222 episodes telecast between August 1964 and September 1967, only significant portions of seven episodes survive, and only episode 117, first broadcast on ATV 0 on 28 November 1966, survives in its entirety.

Opening of Go!! episode 117, transmitted on 28 November 1966.

NFSA title: 1295985

Normie Rowe during Go!! episode rehearsals, August 1965.Courtesy of Carol West

The energy of Go!! crackled right from the very opening of the show. The voice of actor Colin McEwan introduces each episode over the distinctive opening visuals, believed to be created by in-house designer Denis Bryans. The above intro features host Johnny Young’s enthusiastic roll call of the forthcoming artists for the episode (missing is McEwan’s opening words: ‘From Melbourne!’).

The show’s biggest star, Normie Rowe, reflects here on the impact of Go!! on the Australian music and television scene:

Normie Rowe interviewed by Doug Ackerly (2007), Oral History

Courtesy of Norman J Rowe AM   NFSA title: 755440

The musical highlights of the restored episode are the three songs of visiting UK pop star Crispian St Peters (1939-2010), then at the very height of his (admittedly short-lived) fame. One of only a handful of visiting British pop idols to make a personal appearance on Go!!, surviving footage of the rake-thin singer is notably rare, adding to the importance of the episode’s survival.

Performers on episode 117 of Go!!, 28 November 1966. Frame captures from NFSA title: 1295085.

Let’s Go!! to work

Peter Doyle and Olivia Newton-John, Go!! episode rehearsals, Aug 1965
Peter Doyle and Olivia Newton-John during Go!! episode rehearsals, August 1965.Courtesy of Carol West

In early 2015, the NFSA acquired a 16mm black-and-white kinescope recording of episode 117 through the assistance of Melbourne television historian and author Chris Keating and Milton Hammon, manager of The Johnny Young Television Archive. A lower quality U-matic sub-master dub, lodged by Johnny Young with the Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne in 1983, was the only previously known copy. The newly recovered film print was incomplete in three places, with nearly two minutes of film absent. Fortunately two of the missing clips were present in the U-matic copy.

Preservation staff at the NFSA cleaned the 16mm print and transferred it to a High Definition digital standard. The soundtrack was also remastered and the image and sound files re-synched. The two missing sequences were then seamlessly edited back in from the U-matic. The final missing piece – Colin McEwan’s opening words ‘From Melbourne!’, missing from both U-matic and film versions – was extracted from other Go!! footage in the NFSA collection. The final result is the reconstruction of the complete episode using a combination of the best known surviving source material.

Ready to Go!!

To complement the program, specially curated advertisements from the NFSA collection dating from the period have been selected and reinserted into the six advert breaks in the original episode. Among the highlights are a series of locally filmed advertisements broadcast on Canberra’s commercial channel, CTC-7, including ‘Tuross is Terrific”; a tempting pitch to viewers to purchase land in the NSW South Coast!

Screenshot from advertisement for the NSW South Coast.
Tuross is Terrific: TV Advertisement  NFSA title: 53785

Following the screening, a panel session will be held, featuring Go!! Associate Producer Dennis Smith and Australian music icons, Normie Rowe and Little Pattie (Patricia Amphlett). The session will also include rarely seen colour home movies filmed on the set of Go!! in 1965, featuring a young Olivia Newton-John, and other rare Go!! clips. An evening not to be missed for all lovers of 1960’s music!!

Before you Go!!

Clips and images from Go!! episode 117 courtesy of John Young and Rolf Schreuder.
With thanks to Patricia Amphlett OAM, Australian Performing Arts Collection – Arts Centre Melbourne, Tony Barber, John Blanchfield, David Brice, Cinesound Movietone Productions, FremantleMedia Australia, Milton Hammon, Simon Kain, Chris Keating, Brett Leslie, Nine Network, Norman J Rowe AM, Rolf Schreuder, Dennis Smith, Carol West and John Young.

If you believe you hold any rare Australian television material, we’d love to hear from you. Please email tv@nfsa.gov.au.