ON THIS DAY – March 30, 1929

Two elaborate musical productions are among the Easter attractions at Melbourne theatres. Both will open on Saturday. March 30. At His Majesty’s “The Vagabond King” will take the place of “The Desert Song.” now concluding its record run of seven months. The new musical comedy has had a long run in Sydney. Miss Strella Wilson and Mr. James Liddy are at the head of a strong company, which also includes the popular comedians. Arthur Stigant and Cecil Kellaway. The Noel Coward revue, “This Year of Grace.” will make its appearance at the Theatre Royal. Miss Maisie Gay, one of the most popular comedians in England, and a member of the original London cast, is leading lady.

Animal Kingdom is a 2010 Australian crime drama film written and directed by David Michôd, and shot on location in Melbourne with a budget of A$5 million from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Screen NSW and Showtime Australia.  The film premiered at the 26th Sundance Film Festival on the 22nd of January 2010. 

Michôd’s script was inspired by events which involved the Pettingill criminal family  of Melbourne, Australia. In 1991, two brothers Trevor Pettingill and Victor Pierce (along with two other men: Anthony Leigh Farrell and Peter David McEvoy) were acquitted in the 1988 shooting murder of two Victorian police officers.

After his mother overdoses, 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) asks his estranged grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody (Jacki Weaver), for help, and she invites him to move in with her.

Smurf is the affectionate matriarch of a Melbourne Crime family that uses her home as a base. Her home is also being watched by cops who are looking for the oldest son, Andrew “Pope” Cody (Ben Mendelsohn), who is in hiding. The volatile middle brother, Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), deals drugs successfully enough to have bought the house for his mother.

The youngest brother, Darren (Luke Ford), follows the lead of his siblings, while family friend “Baz” leads the gang, which specializes in armed robbery. Craig takes J along to meet with a crooked cop from the drug squad, who tells him that renegade cops on the armed robbery squad are on the look out for all of them.

Later, Baz goes to meet Pope at a shopping centre, where they discuss quitting crime and going straight. As Baz gets in his car to leave, police approach and shoot him dead. Angry and distraught, Pope and Craig want revenge, and ask J to steal a Commodore and bring it to Darren’s place.

The car is then planted in the middle of a night-time street as a lure. Two policemen are soon drawn to the scene, where they are ambushed and shot dead by Pope and Craig. The next day, Pope, Darren and J are taken in for questioning, where J meets Detective Senior Sergeant Nathan Leckie who also leads the armed robbery squad. Leckie, one of the few non-corrupt police officers, recognizes J’s predicament and begins to lean on him. The three are later released from custody, but J returns with his girlfriend Nicky to her parents’ home.

Craig, who has avoided being picked up by the police, Pope, Darren and Smurf meet at a diner, where they recognize J as the weak link. When told by Smurf to give himself up for questioning, Craig panics, and meets a friend in rural Bendigo. He learns that the house is already being monitored, and as the police arrive tries to flee through a field but is gunned down.

Pope and Darren take J to meet their solicitor Ezra. He coaches him to not tell the police anything and pressure him to break up with Nicky, which he does. Leckie takes J into custody again, where he proposes that J be moved to witness protection, but J turns down the offer. Meanwhile, Nicky, unsure what to do, shows up at Smurf’s home, where Pope gives her heroin, questions her, then smothers her to death to keep her silent.

When J returns to Smurf’s house the next morning he discovers Nicky’s bracelet outside the house. He calls Nicky’s phone, and realising something is not right, flees to Nicky’s parents’ house. Pope gets Nicky’s address from Darren and arrives in time to intercept J. J flees on foot and is taken into a safe house. With Craig and Baz dead, Pope and Darren imprisoned, and J potentially being the star witness for the prosecution, Smurf decides, “J needs to go”.

Smurf uses her connections to procure J’s address, and persuades the corrupt cop to help her. Police from the drug squad then raid the safe house. J jumps a fence and returns to Smurf’s house, saying he wishes to help free Pope and Darren from jail. To do this, the family’s barrister then coaches J’s answers.

After his day in court, Leckie sees J before his departure from the safe hotel, and asks him if he has found his place in the world (a reference to Leckie’s animal kingdom metaphor for J’s predicament). Pope, Darren and Smurf celebrate with champagne while being interviewed after their controversial acquittal. Smurf later sees Leckie in the supermarket and taunts him. Later again, J returns to Smurf’s home asking to stay, before going to his room.

Pope enters and begins to talk to him, but is cut off when J shoots him in the head. In the final scene, J returns to the living room and embraces a now silenced Smurf.

Animal Kingdom received 18 nominations for the 2010 Australian Film Institute Awards, across all major feature film categories – a record achievement. On the 11th of December 2010, Animal Kingdom won a record 10 awards.

The film received several other film awards to Jacki Weaver who was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Weaver was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. It was also named one of the Top Independent Films of 2010 at the National Board of Review Awards.  All up the film received 36 awards and 39 nominations. 

Quentin Tarantino listed Animal Kingdom as his third favourite film of 2010, behind Toy Story 3 and The Social Network. 

Bad Eggs is an Australian comedy movie, written and directed by Tony Martin and Producted by Macquarie Film Corporation with a budget of A$4.5 million. The film was released on the 25th of July 2003.

Ben Kinnear (Mick Molloy) and (Bob Franklin) Mike Paddock are detectives with the Melbourne Police force’s elite Zero Tolerance Unit. When a freak accident involving a dead magistrate  named Poulgrain lands them on the front page of the local paper, Ben and Mike are busted and demoted down to uniformed duties. Things get worse when they pay a visit to the Magistrate’s widow Eleanor (Robyn Nevin) and accidentally burn her house down. Thinkings become more complicated when Julie Bale (Judith Lucy), a journalist and a former police-officer and onetime partner of Kinnear’s, is arrested on a charge of blackmailing the Magistrate. But when Ben discovers a strange link between the accident and the business affairs of a shady casino boss he and Mike have been investigating, the pair decide they can no longer turn a blind eye to the corruption rife amongst their own colleagues.

Interesting filming fact about Bad Eggs, Peter Aanensen is playing “Arthur Ferris”, the same character he played in the classic Aussie police television drama Bluey (1976). Ferris, who was Bluey Hills’ superior in the third series, is in this film seen working as a security guard at Victoria’s Parliament House.

Acropolis Now is a cult Australian television sitcom set in a fictional Greek cafe in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

The title of the show being a play on the film Apocalypse Now. Its brand of cross-cultural humour still resonates today in such shows as Pizza and Here Come The Habibs.

The show was produced by Crawford Productions and ran for 63 episodes from 1989 to 1992, airing on the Seven Network. It was created by Nick Giannopoulos, George Kapiniaris and Simon Palomares, who also starred in the series. They were already quite well known for their comedy stage show, Wogs out of Work.

Each episode was 20 minutes in length and was filmed in front of a live audience. Although the Acropolis cafè/hotel was filmed at HSV-7 Studios the exterior is still standing and looks almost identical to the show, being located at 251 Brunswick Street, and corner of Greeves St, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.

The premise of the show is based around Jim’s father Kostas “Con” Stefanidis (Warren Mitchell) asking Jim to run the family business, the Acropolis café, when he suddenly leaves Australia to return to his homeland of Greece. The series centres on the activities of the cafe staff. Greek Jim Stefanidis (Giannopoulos), is the immature owner and his best friend, Spaniard Ricky Martinez (Palomares) is the sensible manager (seasons 1-2 only). Memo (Kapiniaris) is the traditional Greek waiter, while Liz is the liberated Australian waitress. Skip is the naïve new cook from the bush and Manolis is the stubborn cook from the old cafe. ‘Hilarity’ prevails from the clash of cultures and beliefs. Jim’s hairdresser cousin Effie, played by Mary Coustas, became a hugely popular and enduring character during the run of the show. Coustas later reprised the role for several TV specials and series including Effie, Just Quietly, an SBS comedy/interview show, and Greeks on the Roof, a short-lived Greek Australian version of the British talk Show The Kumars at No. 42.

Although the show itself did not win any awards, Mary Coustas won the 1993 Logie for Most Popular Comedy Performer for her role as Effie. With the ethnic popularity of the show, Acropolis Now helped popularise the term “skippy” or “skip” to refer to Anglo Celtic Australians and others of European but non-Mediterranean descent. This term (inspired by the iconic 60’s TV series Skippy The Bush Kangaroo) became popular with Mediterranean-Australians, and to a lesser extent non-Mediterranean people, especially in Melbourne.

ABBA: The Movie is a documentary cult film about the Swedish pop group ABBA’s, Anni Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnatha Fältskog Australian tour in 1977. Directed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group’s videos. Its release coincided with the release of ABBA: The Album, the group’s fifth studio album, and features many songs from that album as well as many of their earlier hits, and one, “Get on the Carousel”, unavailable anywhere else.

The film has a very thin plot which is no more than a vehicle to link together the concert footage. Hallström indicated that the film’s script and plot concept was conceived on the plane on the way to Australia.

The plot centres around the adventures of Ashley Wallace (Robert Hughes), a DJ on a Sydney Radio station 2TW, who normally presents a through-the-night country and western-themed show. In spite of this, he is sent by the station’s boss (Bruce Barry) to get an in-depth interview (“Not an interview, a dialogue”, demands his boss) with the group, which is to be aired on the day ABBA leave Australia. Ashley, who has never done an interview before, singularly fails, mainly because he has forgotten to pack his press card, and is also unable to buy a concert tickets. Armed with his trusty reel to reel tape recorder, Ashley is forced to follow the group all over Australia, beginning in Sydney, and then travelling, in order, to Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne, experiencing repeated run-ins with the group’s very protective bodyguard (Tom Oliver). For authenticity during filming, the members of ABBA were not told of the storyline involving a journalist Ashley (Robert Hughes) seeking an interview. ABBA believed that the reporter was a real newsman trying to get a scoop.

Eventually, Ashley has an unbelievably lucky chance encounter with Stig Anderson, the group’s manager, in the foyer of The Old Melbourne Motor Inn, 17 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne, where ABBA was staying, who agrees to arrange an interview, and gives him tickets to that evening’s concert. But Ashley sleeps in and misses the appointed interview time. Just as Ashley has given up, a miracle occurs: he steps into an elevator and finds himself face-to-face with ABBA. They agree to give him an interview there and then in room 604, and he leaves Melbourne just in time to meet the deadline for the radio show to go out on-air. He puts together the final edit in the back of a taxi on the way back from the airport, as ABBA depart Australia for Europe. With only minutes to go, Ashley makes it back to the radio station where, having set the tape up on the studio’s playback machine, he relaxes at his control desk to listen as the interview is broadcast.

The production shoot went for six weeks and encompassed ABBA’s 1977 Australian tour and included their live concerts, press conferences, private downtime, public receptions, meeting fans and traveling time. Mostly filmed in Australia, however additional filming was done during the of Summer 1977 in ABBA’s home country of Sweden after their concert tour of Australia had been completed. This filming included “The Name Of The Game” dream sequence and filming on streets in Sweden, doubling, ironically, for the streets of Melbourne and Sydney. Actors Tom Oliver and Robert Hughes had to fly to Sweden for these shoot. Noticeably different from Australia are the street signs and the traffic flowing on the right hand side.

Most of the concert footage used for this film came from their five Perth concerts in Western Australia. This was because the concert venue there, the Perth Entertainment Centre, was the only indoors stadium on the tour, and the conditions there were best suited for acoustic recording and would not be affected by any bad weather elements. In these screens Agnatha Fältskog was frequently filmed above the neck in close-ups due to disguise the fact that she was pregnant at the time. There is a brief scene shot at the Parmelia Hotel in Perth where a photographer asks for a smile, ABBA at the time was surrounded by various International stars that happened to be in Perth at that time of filming. They include Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Dubliners, Alice Cooper, Stephane Grappelli and British actor Robin Nedwell.

The film had three simultaneous World Premieres all held in Australia on 14 December 1977, in Paramatta and Sydney New South Wales and Melbourne, Victoria. At the time of this film’s theatrical release, Stig Anderson said ABBA’s enormous popularity in Australia, where this concert movie was filmed: “Australia is still the biggest market in the world for ABBA. People in the music industry all over the world have been stunned with what has happened here.” The film was also released Scandinavia and several Eastern Blotic Nations, including the Soviet Union where it was screened at two movie houses in Moscow.

In 2003, The Swedish Film Institute restored the film to its original soundtrack after the original stereo sound had been lost for years. The film was premiered in its new version on the 2nd of December 2003, at Stockholm’s Film House with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson attending. Bjorn said of this film: “They wanted us to make a film in Australia, but quite honestly I don’t think that films with pop stars work very well. Of course The Beatles are an exception and Tommy (1975) was a big hit but there have been lots of other pop films that have sunk without trace. Seeing the film came as a bit of a shock. It’s hard to recognize yourself up there on a giant screen in Panavision. But then we’ve had many moments when it has been hard to accept the things that have been happening to us.”

A theatrical re-release of the film occurred across Europe during July and August 2008 in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and Austria.

Well we might be a little bit late to the new year this year!!  But nevertheless Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

In our defence we have been busy in the background finding and securing some new adventures for the Twisted History for this year, some we will be letting you know about very soon!  As well as busily providing ghost tours and paranormal investigations at Geelong Gaol and murder tours in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Back to our blog!!  This year we will be doing things a little differently.  For the past couple of years we have been blogging snippets from history that happened “On This Day.  This year we will be doing “Sunday Spotlights” instead.  This will allow us to provide more details (where we can!) on some of the events we will be writing about.

But we would like your input!

As some of you would know we have a few different categories that we blog about – these include Murders, Goals, Hotels, Pop Culture and of course Twisted History.

This year we want to hear from you! Which Australian murder cases fascinate you?  Is there a particular Australian movie or TV show you want to know more about?  Is there an urban legend that gives you a chuckle?  Or even a good ghost story we haven’t heard?  Is your local hotel haunted?  Is there something paranormal you want to discuss?  We want to hear it all!

If you have some ideas for blog articles – get in touch!  You can email us at twistedhistoryvictoria@gmail.com, you can inbox us on any of our facebook pages or give us a call on 1300865800.

We do have some stories going up starting tonight and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Welcome to 2018!!

 

 

60 years of Australian TV

Cop Shop was a long running Australian police drama television series produced by Crawford Productions that ran for eight seasons between the 5th of November 1977 and July 1984. It comprised 582 one-hour episodes. The show revolved around the everyday operations of both the uniformed police officers and the plain-clothes detectives of the fictional Riverside Police Station. It also took a significant interest in the private lives of the characters. While many Crawfords Productions police dramas combined videotaped interiors with location footage shot on 16mm film, Cop Shop was shot entirely on video, including external scenes. Two one-hour episodes were broadcast each week and featured a specific police investigation and a guest cast whose stories formed a self-contained narrative block. Alongside this the ongoing narratives of the regular characters continued in longer, more open-ended soap opera-style story threads. This same soap opera-drama series hybrid format was also used in the series Skyways, A Country Practice and Carson’s Law. After an eight-year run, the show completed filming its last episode on 22 December 1983 and the final episodes were screened in the first half of 1984. Cop Shop won many awards including Logie Awards for most popular series and most popular actors, with Peter Adams and Paula Duncan winning multiple times. The show also won a number of other industry awards. Filmed on location at the Old City WatchHouse345 Russell St, Melbourne.

60 years of Australian TV

Homicide premiered on the 20th of October 1964 and ran till 1977. The show was an Australian television police procedural drama series made by production firm Crawford Productions for the Seven Network. It was the television successor to Crawfords’ radio series D24. The series dealt with the homicide squad of the Victorian Police force and the various crimes and cases the detectives are called upon to investigate. Many episodes were based directly on real cases, although the characters (including the detectives) were fictional. 510 episodes were produced, and aired from October 1964 to January 1977. It remains as the longest-running Australian drama series to date. The police station was filmed at the Russell St Police HQ 336/376 Russell St, Melbourne.

On this day …….. 12th of October 1990

On the 12th of October 1990, the “Luna Park Site Act 1990” was gazetted by the NSW Government. The Act was intended to protect the site of the park, dedicating it for amusement and public recreation. This act made Luna Park one of only two amusement parks in the world to be protected by government legislation, the other being Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens.

 

On this day …….. 12th of October 1918

The Magic Pudding is a novel by artist and writer Norman Lindsay, who was known for his unusual and creative approach. Norman Alfred William Lindsay was born on 22 February 1879 in Creswick, Victoria, Australia. He was a skilled artist, and his paintings were controversial for their time, concentrating on nudes, often incorporating pagan themes of gods and goddesses, nymphs and satyrs, in an Australian bush setting. Much of his work, which includes watercolours, lithographs, and etchings, can be found at his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum. As well as his prolific output of paintings, Lindsay was a writer who completed eleven novels between 1913 and 1950. His best known work is possibly “The Magic Pudding”, first published on 12 October 1918. “The Magic Pudding” is a children’s classic about a sarcastic and bad-tempered walking, talking pudding that can be whatever food it wants to be, and eaten without ever running out. The story was originally written by Lindsay as a means to take his mind off World War I and the tragic loss of his brother at the Somme. The storyline itself was the result of an argument between Lindsay and another writer, Bertram Stevens. Stevens was convinced that children were drawn to stories about fairies: Lindsay believed that food was the drawcard. The ultimate success of Linday’s novel would suggest that he was correct. Despite Lindsay’s own criticism of it, calling it a ‘little bundle of piffle’, “The Magic Pudding” went on to become an Australian classic, enduring for many generations beyond Lindsay’s lifetime.

 

On this day …….. 8th of October 1930

Luna Park was opened in Glenelg, South Australia on 8 October 1930. The park grounds were open to the surrounding area, with admission instead charged to the individual rides and attractions. Sadly due to a dispute with the local council it closed in 1935.

 

On this day …….. 4th of October 1935

Sydney’s Luna Park opened to the public on this day in 1935. The current Luna Park Face was based on the enormous smiling faces at Luna Park, Melbourne, Australia and Steeplechase Park in the United States, Luna Park’s 9-metre-wide (30 ft) smiling face, as well as its flanking towers, have presided over the main entrance for almost all of the park’s existence. There have been eight distinct faces, installed in 1935, 1938, 1939, 1946, 1950, 1973, 1982, and 1994. The seventh Face was donated to the Powerhouse Museum in May 1994.  The eighth and current Face, completed in 1994 and carved from polyurethane, is based on Arthur Barton’s 1950 “Old King Cole” version.