Way back when, Wednesdays

Feline stud gets wired for sound

We all know that cats are arguably the most popular animals on the Internet. It seems like the local print media also never missed out on an opportunity to report on an extraordinary feline. On page 10 of the edition dated 2 August 1989, the Leader Messenger featured an article about handsome white Yuri, a show cat who enjoyed listening to music on the radio through his headphones. Yuri’s favourite radio program was the SAFM Morning Zoo. So who was “Max the Stereo Cat”, we wonder?

Yuri

Triple SA-FM was the first commercial radio station to broadcast on the clear sound of the FM bandwidth in Adelaide in 1980. The radio station later changed its name to Double SA-FM and then SAFM and dominated Adelaide’s ratings for many years.
The Morning Zoo was a new style of breakfast show. Lead by radio veteran John Vincent with newsreader Anne Fullwood and Grant Cameron, the Morning Zoo show was a mixture of music, news, absurd comedy segments and crazy stunts. For example, there were no shortage of listeners who signed up to go on the station’s Magical Misery Tours (the title of which was based on the Beatles’ song Magical Mystery Tour). Participants were taken to dubious destinations around Adelaide, including the Bolivar Sewage Treatment Works! The Morning Zoo eventually became the popular breakfast show on Adelaide Radio. SAFM is now called Hit107.

Perhaps Yuri was lucky enough to be listening to his owner’s personal stereo. The 1980s was the decade for being ‘wired for sound’ that is, having your own personal stereo. Before the Ipod, there was the Sony Walkman, technology which changed the way people experienced and enjoyed music. Cliff Richard even released a song and album called Wired for Sound in 1981. The video clip for the song features Cliff Richard on roller skates, listening to music on a Walkman cassette player.

Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel is credited with obtaining the patent for the Stereobelt, in 1977, the original concept for a portable stereo. On 1 July, 1979, Sony Corp. introduced the Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a compact, lightweight, blue-and-silver, portable cassette player with chunky buttons, headphones and a leather case. The Walkman was powered by two AA batteries. It featured a headphone jack but as there was no external speaker you could listen to your music in private. Using a second earphone jack two people could listen in at once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman).

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Before this time, people had to play vinyl records on a turntable with attached speakers or carry around a cumbersome cassette radio to enjoy music. You could carry the Walkman in your bag and listen to it while commuting. It was just what you needed to help you exercise during the aerobics craze of the 1980s. Or you could clip the device onto your belt when you went walking or running.

During the 1980s Sony added features to its original design, such as AM/FM radio, receivers, improved speakers, bass boost, and an auto-reverse function. You could even purchase a solar-powered or water-resistant Sport Walkman.

Sales of the Walkman were phenomenal. It was known by other names in different countries, as the Soundabout” in the USA, the Freestyle in Sweden, and the Stowaway in the UK. Other companies created their own personal stereos manufactured under brand such as Toshiba and Panasonic. (http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907884,00.html).

With the introduction of compact discs in 1982, Sony also manufactured a portable CD player (known as a Discman for a short time). Later the company marketed MiniDisc and MP3 players under the Walkman brand.

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Lady Alice biscuit recipe

Lady Alice biscuits melt in your mouth.

These little golden beauties have no comparison. They are a divine accompaniment to a creamy latte or a hot chocolate, any time of year.

Library cafe Bake and Brew, always have a fresh batch on the go. Here’s their recipe.

Lady Alice biscuits

Fresh at Bake and Brew every day…perfect with coffee or hot chocolate

Sue’s Lady Alice biscuits

This recipe came to Sue from her great-aunt, who lived in Port Pirie.

Ingredients:

340gm butter, softened
115gm icing sugar
340gm plain flour
115gm custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

(Measurements have been converted to metric from imperial).

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl. Add flour and custard powder and mix until smooth.
  3. Roll teaspoons of biscuit mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray 2cm apart
  4. Gently flatten each ball with a fork. After flattening, place the tray in the fridge and let the balls chill (takes approximately 1 hour).
  5. Place the tray in oven and bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until just golden around the edges. Leave to cool on the trays for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Way back when, Wednesdays

Special times at the Show

What are your special memories of the Royal Adelaide Show? One of our staff members at the Library was reminiscing about the Show. She mused about how she always loved the fairy dolls on sticks that you could buy there. She proudly displayed her doll in her bedroom.  On the front page of the edition dated 12 September 1973, the North East Leader pictured Anne Marie McArthur from Ridgehaven holding a fairy doll at the Show. Lots of little girls would have been envious. Their mothers also loved these dolls!

Fairy doll

The fairies on sticks were actually Kewpie dolls. They came in various sizes and the large ones were more ornate. These dolls had glitter painted on their heads and they were dressed in pretty colours, amid several layers of net skirt. The doll was fixed to a piece of cane shaped like a shepherd’s crook, so you could hold it easily and then hang it up at home.

70s girl at the Royal Adelaide Show

“In the 1970s and 1980s plastic showbags promoting snacks and lollies competed with showbags for rock groups, celebrities, television programmes and movies” http://www.nma.gov.au/kspace/teachers/adelaide/learning/showbags

 

Today Adelaide hosts a myriad of activities for children but in 1973 when your parents took you to the Royal Adelaide Show it really was a special experience. Families were larger so you were fortunate if you could afford to go every year. Children would save up their pocket money for months in advance, in anticipation of purchasing lots of showbags. With the school year having three terms, the Show also fell during the September school holidays.

Some older people might even remember the days when companies gave out free sample bags at the Show to promote their products, which contained mainly food samples. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/six-things-you-should-know-about-the-royal-adelaide-show/8859878 This would have been a boon for poorer kids, especially during the hardship of the Great Depression. These bags were the forerunners of our modern showbags.

Some things have remained the same at the Show. It is still primarily an agricultural event. The price, contents and design of showbags have changed over time but there are still so many to choose from. The ferris wheel and dodgem cars have been refitted and showgoers can play games such as the iconic laughing clowns. However on the map of the Wayville showgrounds Sideshow Alley is now called the Carnival. Patrons can purchase many new types of food are now available at the Showground but you can still enjoy Fairy Floss, waffles, hot cinnamon donuts and even the Dagwood dog.

Some things have gone. The art-deco edifice Centennial Hall was built in 1936 and closed in 2005 because it became structurally unsafe. It has been replaced by the modern Goyder Pavilion. I think that the horticultural displays have downsized but there are still competitions for needlecraft and cookery.

The Mad Mouse, which was the original roller coaster at the Royal Adelaide Show, ceased operation in 2007 and Kewpie fairy dolls have been replaced by toys depicting characters from film and television. The days are over where the Commonwealth Bank used to produce plastic elephant money boxes with the slogan “Get with the strength”. You could also get an iron-on transfer of Humphrey B. Bear for your t-shirt in a showbag from the Savings Bank of South Australia. I used to get excited about visiting the RSPCA shop in the Grandstand complex to build up my collection of Britains brand farm animals. And everyone knew that it was worth getting the Golden Eggs showbag from the egg board – not only for the recipes but because inside the bag you would find a cute molded plastic eggcup with shoes and stockings on its legs.

Eggcups final

Eggs with legs

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Way back when, Wednesdays

With strings attached

On page 13 of the edition dated 20 March 1974, the North East Leader Messenger featured a promotion for Ann’s Hobby Shop. Ann’s Hobby Shop used to be situated at the Clovercrest Shopping Centre on Montague Road, Modbury. Ann’s sold craft materials as well as completed projects, such as the work of string art held by Ann Barratt, who is pictured in the photograph.

Hobby gear

During the 1960s, kits and books appeared on the market to help you create string art. It was still a popular pastime for both adults and children in the 1970s. String art was cheap and fun to do.  Basically, you wrap coloured thread, embroidery cotton or wire around a grid of pins or nails in a geometric pattern, to make a picture.   More complex designs feature multiple curves and intersecting circles to produce a kaleidoscopic effect. You can also build up your layers using different colour threads, which is an effective way to draw in the eye of the viewer to your design.

String art has a mathematical origin. At the end of the 19th century, intrepid teacher Mary Everest Boole invented ‘curve stitching’ or string geometry to help get children interested in mathematics, a subject that she loved. Typically designs are modelled on the ‘Bezier’ curve, as the straight lines of strings positioned at slightly different angles intersect. Spirelli stitching, which is another form of string art, is used to decorate cards and other paper crafts.

Today, there is a resurgence of interest in vintage crafts. There are websites devoted to string art design and instruction. Crafters have created a multitude of traditional and new innovative designs and have posted their ideas on Pinterest and YouTube. You can still purchase books and kits or download patterns online.

String art designs

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Blue jeans with bling – Eighties style

Was this the height of fashion or just a 1980s fashion which is still in dubious taste?

On page 13 of the edition dated 23 February 1983, the North East Leader ran a feature on diamond studded jeans which were reported as trending in Paris.  In her column titled In Style Jaye Walton wrote about a collaboration between diamond merchant Bruce Portner, Californian jeans label Tres Jolie and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to mass produce diamond trimmed jeans.

Jeans with bling final.jpg

Former model Jaye Walton was the original host and producer of the popular Adelaide television show Touch of Elegance. Touch of Elegance screened at 11am on SAS Channel 10, from 1968 until 1980. Having a woman as the principle host was a first for Adelaide television.  The show featured fashion and lifestyle segments, musical performances and advertorials. Jaye Walton interviewed a series of special guests, including celebrities and promoted local events.  Some people thought Jaye Walton was stylish and sophisticated but others considered her to be a snob who was out of touch with the average income earner.  She is reputed to have said “If you want to be truly successful, you need to have half the audience loving you and the other half hating you, then they all talk about you”   This strategy probably worked for her. Jaye Walton died in March this year, aged 88.

Hopefully wearing these fancy jeans did not usually result in being grabbed around the waist by strange men.  North East Leader certainly needed more accurate type-setting, printing the not-so-elegant phrase “proving that denims can be a girl’s brest friend”.  “Shrila Chan” is probably well-known Hong Kong actress Sheila Chan. Sheila Chan has appeared in numerous films and on television and she was elected First Runner-up and Miss Photogenic of the 1988 Miss Hong Kong Beauty Pageant.

Though not a mainstream fashion item, it is still possible to buy rhinestone studded jeans online.  However, wearing upmarket denim adorned with precious gems does not seem to have been a lasting trend.  If you could afford to buy the jeans you had to be prepared for the cost of regularly dry cleaning them too.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

R.O.C.K. in the T.T.P

Have you heard of Johnny Cougar? Tea Tree Plaza advertised the forthcoming appearance of pop star ‘cool cat Johnny Cougar’, on page 18 of the Leader Messenger dated 9 August 1978.

Johnny Cougar

Johnny Cougar and John Cougar were stage names used by Indiana born heartland rock musician and singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, early in his career from 1976 to 1982. Believe it; at the age of 26, John Mellencamp visited Tea Tree Plaza, before he rose to fame internationally. Let us know if you went to Tea Tree Plaza to see him or if you attended the Grease themed ball in Adelaide!

John’s professional music career began in 1976 when he secured a recording contract with MCA Records. The company released his first album, The Chestnut Street Incident, which featured some original compositions and cover versions.

John’s manager insisted that he change his name to Johnny Cougar in the belief that it would be too hard to sell a record by anybody who had a surname like Mellencamp, which reflected John’s German heritage. Eventually John would become successful enough to insist on using his real name.  http://www.mellencamp.com/about.html

During an interview in 2005 John Mellencamp revealed “That (name) was put on me by some manager. I went to New York and everybody said, ‘You sound like a hillbilly.’ And I said, ‘Well, I am.’ So that’s where he came up with that name. I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket. When I objected to it, he said, ‘Well, either you’re going to go for it, or we’re not going to put the record out.’ So that was what I had to do… but I thought the name was pretty silly.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mellencamp

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Unfortunately, The Chestnut Street Incident was not a commercial success. MCA Records ended their association with John but supported by Billy Gaff, (who also managed Rod Stewart) he secured a contract with the small Riva Records label. On the advice of his new manager, John moved to England to record his new album A Biography in 1978. He then went on tour to promote it. John had a top ten hit in Australia at this time with I need a Lover. His album A Biography peaked at 19 on the Australian music charts but it was not released in America.

A_biography_(Johnny_Cougar_album_-_cover_art)

John recorded his successful self-titled album in 1979, Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did in 1980 and American Fool in 1982, under the name John Cougar.  I Need a Lover was included on John Cougar and made it to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1979. US charts. He released Uh-Huh in 1983, Scarecrow in 1985, The Lonesome Jubilee in 1987 and Big Daddy in 1989 using the name John Cougar Mellencamp. John finally dropped the Cougar part of his name with the release of Whenever We Wanted in 1991.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

We are not alone

In celebration of 40 years since it first release on 16 November 1977, plans are in motion to remaster the iconic science fiction adventure film Close Encounters of the Third Kind and re-screen it in cinemas. It used to take some months for a film released overseas to reach Australia. Only selected cinemas had the right to show certain films, so audiences flocked to the Hoyts Regent cinemas in the Adelaide Arcade.

On page 16 of the Leader Messenger dated 5 July 1978, Tea Tree Plaza advertised a promotion designed to tie in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To generate interest in the film, Tree Plaza hosted a display about UFOs, which was put together by the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society, in conjunction with Hoyts cinemas. This promotion also featured a special event, which was a talk by a member of the Society, with the incentive of winning free passes to see Close Encounters.

Close encounters

At this time, people were receptive to new cinematic science fiction experiences. Steven Spielberg had terrified and thrilled audiences with Jaws in Australia in 1975. Star Wars had been monumental – it had set the bar for special effects and excitement, when it was released in Australia in October 1977. Everybody was waiting for the next blockbuster movie. Sessions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on evenings and weekends would book out in advance.

If you don’t know the story, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is focuses on a group of people who experience some sort of paranormal activity associated with alien contact.

Two parallel stories are told. Strange phenomena and sightings of UFOs are happening around the world, which according to a scale devised by UFO researcher Dr. Josef Allen Hynek, is a close encounter of the first kind. A team of scientists and experts including French scientist Claude Lacombe and his American interpreter and cartographer David Laughlin, are investigating these related incidents. For example, military planes which disappeared in 1945 have suddenly reappeared in the desert but without their pilots.

In Muncie, Indiana, in the USA, Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) refuses to accept conventional explanations for his encounter with an unidentified flying object. After this close encounter of the second kind, he becomes obsessed with pursuing the truth. Single mother Jillian Guiler (played by Melinda Dillon) and her young son Barry have similar experiences.

Integral to the film’s plot is a musical sequence of five tones enabling humans and aliens to communicate. In India witnesses report that UFOs make these distinctive sounds. Both Roy and Jillian have repeated visions of a mountain and the five musical notes run through their minds. When the scientists broadcast the musical notes into space they receive a response, a series of numbers repeated over and over. Cartographer Laughlin, interprets this data as geographical coordinates, for the Devils Tower near Moorcroft, Wyoming.

Defying a cover-up and military action by the American government, all of these characters follow the clues they have been given to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind: contact. The film was groundbreaking in its depiction of aliens as peaceful beings who wish to get to know humanity, rather than trying to take over the Earth or eat us. After their cinema experience, people could look up in the sky and think that perhaps we were not alone.

Alien

These were exciting times. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a critical and financial success. It was nominated for several Academy Awards but the film only won one, for cinematography. It also won several other film industry awards. A disco adaption of the five note sequence charted as high as 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1978.

John Williams would write many other beautiful, memorable film soundtracks and be arguably the best known composer of classical music in modern times. Steven Spielberg would direct a trove of acclaimed and popular films, and become the highest grossing director by worldwide box office ($9.246 billion) wikipedia.org. What would be the next science fiction/fantasy blockbuster? Superman released in 1978, which made a star of Christopher Reeves.

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