The rebirth of The Go! Show

Flash back to 1964: the Beatles had just finished a whirlwind tour of Australia, the impact of which changed the face of pop music forever. Enter The Go! Show, Melbourne’s first very own pop music television program, which became one of Australia’s most important pop music shows of the 60s.

Initially fronted by then little-known British comedian Alan Field, who himself had just finished hosting the Australian Beatles tour, The Go! Show was aimed at the ‘teeny bopper’ market, and showcased some of the finest up-and-coming musical talent that Australia had to offer. With Channel 0 having just gained its broadcast license, the station took a chance on developing a show aimed at the rapidly growing teenage market. It quickly developed into a massive hit. It was so popular, you could hear the teenage audience screaming all the way through the on-stage performances.

Some of the show’s performers became popular household names, such as Olivia Newton-John, Normie Rowe, Bobby and Laurie, Merv Benton, Pat Carroll, The Cherokees, and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs to name a few.

After 21 shows, Ian Turpie, who had also been a regular performer on the show, replaced Alan Field as presenter. Turpie hosted until 1966, when the talented Mr Johnny Young took over the reins of the incredibly popular show.

The Go! Show was really influential because it was Melbourne’s first nationally broadcast teenage music program”, said Simon Smith, the television curator at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). “Prior to The Go! Show, all of the music television shows came out of Sydney. So you had Bandstand on Channel 9, Sing, Sing, Sing on Channel 7 and you had Six O’Clock Rock on the ABC.”

Unfortunately, only a few of the 222 episodes produced between 1964 and 1967 survive. Luckily, though, The National Film and Sound Archive found one complete episode and undertook a complete restoration, which was shown at The St Kilda Film Festival earlier this week.

The fully restored episode 117 was originally broadcast on 28 November 1966, and featured UK recording star Crispian St Peters, along with local artists The Strangers, The Mixtures and Normie Rowe. Archivists and restorers even went so far as re-inserting TV advertisements from the era into the commercial breaks especially for the film festival screening.

“It’s like a perfect time capsule”, Mr Harris said. “Melbourne was becoming the pop capital, lots of discos and dances starting up, record labels, and The Go! Show represents the culture of that time in a very vivid fashion.”

Read about the history of The Go! Show.

Why not flash back to the 60s and have a look at some excerpts from The Go! Show?

The Go! Show intro 1966

Johnny Young

Merv Benton

Running Jumping Standing Still

Crispian St Peter

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