Six O'Clock Rock
|Six O'Clock Rock|
|Created by||David Porter, Peter Page|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Original release||1959 – 1962|
Inspired by the BBC program 6.5 Special, it had a similar format to its rival on the TCN9 network, Bandstand compered by Brian Henderson. This was ABC-TV's very first youth oriented music program, long before the start of Countdown.
The show initially opened with American girl Ricki Merriman as compère and Johnny O'Keefe and his band The Dee Jays as guests. The Dee Jays consisted of Greeno and Bluto on saxes (Bluto turned out to be Bob Bertles, who became a leading jazz player), Johnny '"Catfish" Purser on Drums, Keith Williams on Bass, and Lou Katz on Guitar. After six shows O'Keefe had taken over the hosting role. The show usually opened with O'Keefe singing "Weeeeeell, come on everybody it's 6 o'clock, uh huh huh huh", with the Graduates providing the "bap bap bap bap" background.
Many entertainers got their first big exposure on 6 O'Clock Rock and these included Lonnie Lee, Barry Stanton and Warren Williams. The Delltones also debuted on this show. The show was produced by Peter Page.
The show originally contained a mixture of Rock and Roll and Jazz. The jazz was supplied by the Australian All Stars, featuring Don Burrows on alto and baritone, Terry Wilkinson on piano, Ron Webber on drums, Fred Logan on bass, and tenor player Dave Rutledge. The jazz guys were always a bit uncomfortable with their role, and since Okeefe insisted on deciding who should be on the show, the jazz numbers were few and far between. O'Keefe wanted the show to be all Rock and Roll, hence the title, so the Jazz content dwindled for a time.
O'Keefe left the show in 1961 to move to ATN-7 to compère the more elaborately produced Johnny O'Keefe Show. These later shows were compered by Tanya Halesworth & Chet Clark, as seen in an existing 1961 edition. 6 O'Clock Rock closed in 1962 after having moved to a 'softer' format with O'Keefe's departure, suffering from greater competition from O'Keefe's new show on 7 and Bandstand on 9.
- Photo of Lonnie Lee on Six O'Clock Rock
- "JO'K The Official Johnny O'Keefe Story" Chapter "Terror on TV"