Friday 24 March 2017

WHAT WE WATCHED IN THOSE ONE-CHANNEL DAYS . . .

THE LATE LATE SHOW: Originally designed as a summer entertainment filler in July 1962, it was hosted by an ambitious young presenter called Gay Byrne with an innate feel for the hot button topics troubling the ubiquitous 'man in the street'. Right from the start, the Late Late became required viewing. From outraged bishops to liberated lesbians, the Late Late opened doors into some of Ireland's darkest corners.

TOLKA ROW: Set on a fictional Dublin housing estate and based on Maura Laverty's play, it revolved around the urban trials of the Nolan family. However, it hadn't the longevity of its rural competition, The Riordans, and only lasted from 1964 to '68.

TELEFÍS FEIRME: An innovative agricultural series providing information and instruction for Irish farmers, and the brainchild of a young Justin Keating.

WANDERLY WAGON: One of Irish television's best-loved children's programmes, tracking the adventures of three adults in a magical horse-drawn caravan with Judge the dog, Mr Crow, who lived in the cuckoo clock, and Foxy, whose abode was a barrel fixed to the outside of the wagon.

QUICKSILVER: Eons before Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, we sat rapt as prizes of 1 penny, 6 pence, a shilling and upwards tested contestants. Bunny Carr delivered the questions to the booming background of Norman Metcalfe's organ as 'Stop the lights!' became one of Ireland's most enduring catchphrases.

DÁITHÍ LACHA: An Irish language cartoon series for children produced by illustrator Flann O'Riain on a static comic strip shown one frame at a time. Dáithí's buddies, Maidhc Madra and Puisín the cat, also featured.

SEVEN DAYS: The new station's flagship current affairs programme, anchored by John O'Donoghue, Brian Cleeve and Brian Farrell. Made its reputation tackling subjects of public controversy in a forthright manner.

INSURRECTION: An eight-part real-time series which depicted the events of the 1916 Easter Rising to mark its 50th anniversary. It was RTÉ's biggest drama production of the 1960s, involving on location filming and the Army.

RADHARC: A series specialising in religious programming which ran up to 1996 producing documentaries from Ireland and around the world.And our favourite imports were:

MR ED: A talking horse, and a wise-cracking one to boot. A huge hit with kids and adults alike, his convincing lip-synch was achieved by the application of peanut butter to his gums.

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: A comedy about poor Clampetts who find oil on their property and become rich overnight. Moving to Beverly Hills, they face weekly country culture clashes.

CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? A slapstick comedy series about two very accident-prone police officers, Toody and Muldoon.

THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW: With a martini in his hand, nice guy Dino sang, danced and featured skits with well known stars of the day.

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