Bandstand (Australia)

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Bandstand was an Australian musical/variety television show which screened from November 1958 to 1972. It was produced at the studios of TCN-9 in Sydney and eventually became a national program as Nine Network expanded into other Australian cities in the early 1960s. It evolved from an earlier series titled Accent on Youth.

Bandstand was created by Nine executive Bruce Gyngell in consultation with Mayfield B. Anthony, who based it on the American show of a similar name, American Bandstand. The host for virtually the entire run of the series was Brian Henderson, who was also the chief newsreader for TCN-9 in Sydney.

The series is closely associated with the group of performers who regularly appeared on the show, and became known as The Bandstand Family. This included Col Joye, Little Pattie, Warren Williams, Lucky Starr, Sandy Scott, Bryan Davies, Johnny Devlin, Laurel Lea, Judy Stone, Digby Richards, The Bee Gees, The Allen Brothers (the duo that included future solo star Peter Allen), Cathy Wayne and Olivia Newton-John.

The musical director was Bob Young and all the bandtracks and vocal performances were pre-recorded at Natec Sound Studios in Bligh Street Sydney. The Audio Director was Max Alexander who worked for Channel Nine.

An attempt was made by the Nine Network to revive the show in the mid-1970s under the original title Bandstand, with new host Daryl Somers. The format was based on the BBC production Top of the Pops, and ran for two years. The change in music tastes however gave this type of format a limited life.

Bandstand had three producer/directors over its life. The original was Warwick Freeman who was responsible for its development and building its image. Second was Ray Newell who carried on the tradition. Brian C. Morelli took over in 1969 and remained until the programme finished in 1972. Morelli returned the programme to live vocals and successfully produced the show on location including the Australiana Village, Wilberforce NSW and in Singapore and Malaya, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Melbourne for the King of the Pops Award night. He also instigated the Bandstand Awards. The categories were voted on by all of the Network stations, Australia wide, who transmitted Bandstand. As well, under Morelli's leadership, he continued the Junior Bandstand annual series and introduced a teenage series entitled Midi-Bandstand. Morelli was engaged again for the 1976-78 series, hosted by Daryl Somers, which essentially was based on the UK Top of the Pops format. The programme was produced by the Reg Grundy group and featured popular music groups and soloists including Six O'Clock Rock host Johnny O'Keefe. New release international artist's promotional films were also integrated. Australia was introduced to ABBA this way.

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