What were you watching on TV in 1976?

TV Guide Program Listing for 13 May 1976

You’ll need to click on the image above to see the full sized version and to read the program listings.

This is an actual scan of a TV Guide issue dated May 8, 1976. TV Guide was an Adelaide-only magazine that competed with the national magazines – TV Week and TV Times. It was smaller, cheaper and often carried unique content including local stories and interviews.

I found this edition of TV Guide recently and started looking through it – remembering the TV shows I was watching back then – some 34 years ago! Back when TV was everything – there was no computers, DVDs (not even home video!), mobile phones, pay TV, internet etc. Most families were pretty much glued to the TV as their primary form of entertainment – most cities had Channels 2, 7, 9 and 10 (or 0). In my family we still had a black & white TV in 1976 – colour television came to Australia in March 1975 but it would be several years before we could afford to “go colour”. When something special was on, we all trundled around to a friend or neighbours house to watch it on their colour set.

I’ve marked the shows I liked watching with red dots and those shows that were unique to Adelaide with a blue dot. I notice there’s a stack of British comedy shows marked with red dots – we really lived and breathed British comedy back then. Channel 7 even designated one night a week as “British Comedy Night.” The Dick Emery Show, No Honestly, Man About The House…they were all must-sees for me. You don’t see much of them on TV thesedays but you still do see American sitcoms like I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched and Hogan’s Heroes. Thanks to Pay TV and digital TV channels, these shows are still showing over 40 years after they were made. (And people are still watching them!)

Australian night-time soapies like Number 96 and The Box were still going and I was hooked on both of them. They both featured Gay characters and The Box even had a lesbian – Vicky Stafford. She was a total bitch but we still loved her. When I think about similar shows on Australian TV now, you just realise how far ahead of their time 96 and The Box were.

What cracks me up looking at this old Adelaide TV Guide listing is a couple of the Adelaide only “advertorial” type shows. “A Touch of Elegance” was a one hour show hosted by Adelaide sophisticate Jaye Walton. I can still remember being home from school one day and hearing her say to someone from a Department Store (about a particular perfume), “oh, it’s only $98 dollars? That’s quite reasonable – you could buy two.”  I just about passed out on the floor. The thought of buying anything for $98, let alone something as flaky and useless as a bottle of perfume was absolutely shocking to me.

It would have been shocking to my Mum & Dad as well. We were a poor-ish, working class family living in a “Housing Trust” house. My first salary at age 17 was $72.10 – seven ten dollar notes, a two dollar note (not coin – they hadn’t been introduced yet) and a ten cent piece. And this was a couple of years after I’d seen this particular episode of “Touch of Elegance.”

Then there’s the 5 minute advertorials that featured on Channel 9 in the afternoons each day. Thursday May 13, 1976 it was “Feres Trabilsie” with Head Start To Beauty. Feres ran an upmarket hair salon for the ladies in town. Other days it could be “Figurama” with Pat Davies – a local fitness salon guru giving the ladies all the benefits of electric massage belts etc. Another hairdresser was “Joseph” and he had his own 5 minute spot each week. He would say (in an outrageously foreign accent) “Zees noo ‘airsty-els aye áve imported from Parr-eee.”

I guess these 5 minutes spots must have worked because they went on for years and these people became mini-celebs in little old Adelaide. Their salons always seemed busy so the ladies at home watching daytime TV must have been lapping up every word!

Adelaide also had its own kids TV shows as well. “Channel Niners” and “Young Seven.” I won a prize on a phone competition on “Young Seven” once back in 1970 – I am still waiting for the prize to be delivered! Bastards never sent it. It was 24 cans of Coke and a 7 point certificate. If you got seven 7 point certificates, you were presented with a free bike on TV. Needless to say, I never got a free bike!

Finally, looking at this TV Guide I remember “Epilogue” which was the last program on Channel 9 each night before the TV station closed for the night. Yes, they used to close overnight! “Epilogue” was a religious program that ran for about 5 minutes – they read out a prayer each night and showed religious imagery. They even had a little theme song that is burnt into my brain after all these decades…”Goodnight to you, goodnight to you, time for us to leave the air. Stay with us a moment more, it’s time for the evening prayer.”

Isn’t it tragic that I can still remember that over 30 years later!?! I can even tell you that prior to “Epilogue” was “On This Day” – a five minute historical recap (like the early newsreels at theatres) of events that happened in Australia’s history on that day throughout the 20th century.

But, and you won’t believe this…..just before the station really went off air for the evening, they played the national anthem which was then “God Save The Queen” and showed images of the Queen of England riding on a horse and inspecting the guards and so on. It had only been a couple of years earlier that we still had to stand up at the cinema for “God Save The Queen” each time we went to see a movie!

This particular TV Guide has transported me straight back to my childhood & teenage years. So many memories have come flooding back. For instance, looking at the program listing for “The Dudley Dog Show,” I can tell you that this was a children’s show with a character (man in a fur suit) called “Dudley Dog” and that, for a few years, Dudley had his own ice-cream sold in shops all over South Australia. It was, quite correctly, called a “Dudley Dog Ice-Cream” and the jingle went “Dudley Dog ice-cream, it’s such a nice cream…”

Those men-in-fur-costumes were big on Adelaide kids TV – “Channel Niners” had “Humphrey Bear” (“Wilbur Worm”), “Young Seven” had Sammy Seagull (and “Muffy”). Wilbur & Muffy were operated by someone below the hosting desk with their hand up a a bit of fabric/plastic. I won’t start on “Winky Dink” or “Fat Cat” or “Rock Wallaby.”

Oh dear, I’m really scaring myself now!

But have a really good look at the full-sized version of the picture of TV Guide above – you’ll probably find some of your own memories in there as well.

What were your favourite shows in 1976?

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8 Comments

  1. Those were the Days I remember all these Shows and remember how Elegant Jaye Walton was to a Teenage Girl and as for Rock Wallaby his Side kick Johnno was one of my High School Teachers poor thing used to get all the kids shouting out Cooee Cobber which was Rock Wallaby’s catchphrase.

  2. Thats easy, Mary Tyler Moore…

  3. Interesting to read about Jaye Walton. She is still going strong; she still has her own television program, titled Thai Oz talk, produced in Bangkok, Thailand. She is also the Honoury Consular – General of Thailand for SA & NT. I’ll leave you to guess how many score years she maybe now. It is impolite to ask a lady her age.

    • Oh thank you for this news…lovely to hear she’s still on TV and living life to the full!

  4. Hey Graeme I can’t believe you had “The Box” before “Number 96”. In Sydney it was the
    other way round…

    • Mark,

      This was a time before the full networking of Australian TV channels. The states did a lot of their own decisions as far as timeslots were concerned. And there were a lot more differences between what was shown between states. Thesedays everything is basically the same across the whole country – at least in the cities.

      >

  5. Well I was past the kids shows but interesting that most of the kids shows programmed then I did watch as a kid!
    Amazingly quite a few shows were repeats…….and are still repeated to this day!
    e.g…..Skippy is on nowadays at a round 2-3 am!………are the kids of today really watchng TV at that hour…….or is Skippy a bad influence & unfit for prime time TV?

    Number 96 was of course my favourite.

    • 96 was a major favourite of mine as well as being a really good influence.

      If Skippy is on at 2-3am, it must be the original Skippy – he’s out of favour with the children’s TV classification people because “a kangaroo wouldn’t do that in real life.” The newer Skippy which did get the C rating approval is as boring as watching paint dry. Skippy doesn’t get to do anything.

      >


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