Wiped Helps With Recovery Of Missing Material

THIS website has proven instrumental in helping previously missing TV material find its way back to the archives for all to enjoy.

Back in April, Wiped ran a feature – John Williams On Finding Flashez – looking at the recovery of footage from influential Australian music show Flashez, which ran from 1976-7 on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Despite running five days a week, Flashez was shockingly represented in the archives, with no whole episodes being known to exist until researcher John took up the cause in 2006.

Two months after the publication of the feature, in June, Wiped was contacted by former Flashez producer Ralph Montague, who explained that he had in his possession an old tape with a copy of his last show on it, which he was happy to donate in return for a DVD copy.

Wiped promptly notified ABC’s John Williams and put him in touch with Mr Montague, who agreed to send an excited John the tape.

John takes up the story: “Ralph Montague sent me a Betamax tape, the box marked ‘Flashez segs’,  that had not been viewed in decades.

“I managed to finally track down an antique Betamax player within the ABC TV offices. I put the tape into the player and hoped for the best; after all, there was no guarantee that the tape would even play, let alone have any Flashez material on it.

“Thankfully, the iconic opening titles for Flashez appeared and amazingly the picture quality had held up quite well, despite the passing of time, with little tape damage or picture/audio deterioration (drop-outs and tracking problems are infrequent). All of this material was missing from the ABC’s collection.

“I checked some ‘ready for transmission’ documents in ABC Document Archives and have traced episode information for what has survived on Mr Montague’s tape. Here is what was on the tape:

Flashez episode number 110837E (tx 23/03/1977) near complete episode

Music clip: “Telephone Line” by E.L.O; [segment] “Saturday Night” by Skyhooks

Live studio interview with Red Symons. Symons is currently a television personality in Australia (Australia’s Got Talent), as well as a former member of one of Australia’s most popular and influential bands of the 1970s, Skyhooks. This is a rare 1970s post-Skyhooks interview for Symons.

Feature story: “Magical Mystery Tour” – a feature re: travel options in Australia for younger travellers (part two of an ongoing series re: travel)

Lengthy retrospective piece re: musical career of Elton John. This segment (8 mins, 16 seconds) features interview and live performance material (filmed in Australia) from ABC TV program GTK as well as a sequence covering Elton John’s (Reginald Dwight’s) childhood.

We have about 90% of this episode in its entirety barring some crash recording over a music revue segment.

Segnents from Flashez ep 110835E (tx 19/03/1977)

Live Studio interview with drag racer John Fleming, conducted by Kate Fitzpatrick. Rare, as this is the only surviving in studio/live material of Kate Fitzpatrick (an acclaimed and prominent Australian actor) that we have. The ever-versatile Kate had a stint as a reporter on Flashez.

Feature story, re: travel options for younger travellers in the USA (part of the “Magical Mystery Tour” travel series). The piece features lots of stock footage of New York City street scenes filmed by an ABC TV crew.

A number of story and segment introductions for this episode by Flashez host Ray Burgess are also on this recording.

Segments from Flashez episode 110832E (tx 25/02/1977)

This material features Flashez co-host Mike Meade interviewing rally driver Barry Ferguson, live in the studio and features a story re: rally driving (features Meade being driven in rally car on rally circuit).

John continued: “We are indebted to Mr Montague for donating the material to the ABC and also grateful to this site for bringing the existence of this material to our attention. The power of the Internet in being a tool to help recover lost television material cannot be underestimated.

“Thanks to Wiped for helping recover some of our television history.”

  • To read Wiped’s original news story on Flashez, from April 1, click here.
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Filed under Discoveries, Music, Releases, Television

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