Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Go!! Show: they don't make 'em like that anymore...

“Welcome to Australia’s swinging-est teenage show… GO!!”

Bandstand? Bah. The cool kids watched Go!!
Between August 1964 and August 1967, music-mad teenagers from Melbourne (and, eventually, other states) tuned into channel 0 three times a week for their fix of the hippest, most happening sounds around.

A hit from the, ahem, get-go, and modelled on overseas pop shows such as Ready Steady Go! and Shindig, The Go!! Show regularly attracted an audience of 400,000 viewers — an impressive achievement for such a new TV channel (Go!! premiered the same month that ATV-0, which would ultimately evolve into Channel 10, started broadcasting).

The program’s live studio audience shared its viewers’ enthusiasm, as the screams in this clip attest…


A dream line-up

Now brace yourselves, and get a load of some of the artists who performed on Go!! during its short but illustrious existence: The Purple Hearts, The Groop, Normie Rowe, The Masters Apprentices, The Easybeats, The Cherokees, Mike Furber, The Twilights, Billy Thorpe, The Flies, The Loved Ones, Bobbie & Laurie, Dinah Lee, Olivia Newton John, Lynne Randell, The Running Jumping Standing Still — to name just a few. Pretty mind-boggling, eh? Oh, and let’s not forget the illustrious house band, The Strangers, who were sponsored by Melbourne’s own Maton Guitars. 

Cast of season 1, including young singer April Byron, who went on to collaborate with the Bee Gees. 
Photo: Amyhausen
Sadly, very little footage remains, except for some Youtube clips and a couple of DVDs available from America (go figure). Still, judging by the little I’ve seen, Go!! was beyond fab and thoroughly deserving of its iconic status in Australian TV history.

Check out this priceless video of Merv Benton, complete with silhouetted go-go dancers as his groovadelic backdrop. I’d love to know the male dancer’s story — that boy is so far out, he deserves his own TV show!

Much-loved TV personality Ian Turpie, seen in the above clip counting down the Top 10, was one of three Go!! hosts over the years. Alan Field (left), a British comedian who came to Australia with The Beatles as their MC on their 1964 tour hosted the first 26 episodes; followed by Turps (centre); and finally pop-star Johnny Young (right).


I heard a rumour once that Johnny Young was a real wild child behind the scenes, but you’d never guess it from the shy, bemused way he introduces Running, Jumping, Standing Still in the following clip. But then, I guess this bunch of bad boys would've made most folks seem shy in comparison!  

I think it's safe to say that many an unsuspecting teenage mind would've been blown by that particular performance...(of course, if anyone out there saw it back in the day, please feel free to share your memories in the comments!)

Related post:
Dreaming of Denise

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