Channel 9 studios today in Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide.
Image by Kylie Fleming

CHANNEL 9 INTRODUCES TELEVISION TO ADELAIDE IN 1959; pioneers 'Adelaide Tonight';
'Country/Western Hour', 'Curiosity' go national 

 

TELEVISION CAME TO ADELAIDE AT 7PM ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1959, when premier Tom Playford officially opened Channel 9. This was three years after New South Wales and Victoria who had television in time for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

Channel 9 in Adelaide recruited its performers from radio: Kevin Crease from 5DN and Lionel William from 5KA. Others such as Ian Fairweather and Glenys O’Brien became regulars on the station. Channel 9 also introduced children's characters Bobo the Clown and then Humphrey B. Bear.

The station took a risk with the launch of local night variety show Adelaide Tonight.  It showcased emerging talent such as Bev Harrell, a young Kamahl and Johnny Farnham.

Ernie Sigley joined Adelaide Tonight in the mid 1960s.  He came from from radio 3DB in Melbourne, then Teenage Mailbag on Channel 7, some work with BBC in London and three years with Radio Luxembourg as a DJ. By the mid 60s, Adelaide Tonight was screening four times a week. Regulars included Kevin Crease, Lionel Williams, Roger Cardwell, Ian Fairweather, Glenys O’Brien, Joan McInnes and Anne Wills.

The show ran until mid 70s when sigley left for GTV9 in Melbourne, with Glenys O’Brien as his wife. Kevin Crease became a newsreader and Lionel Williams moved into travel. Wills went on to win a record number of Logie awards.

Channel 9 Adelaide also succeeded with its County and Western Hour, initially hosted by Roger Cardwell. The show coincided with the 1960s folk music boom in Adelaide and won national popularity.

Another award-winning Adelaide television experiment was The Curiosity Show (1972-10), Australia’s longest-running children’s show with a science base. It was hosted by Rob Morrison and Dean Hutton for 500 episodes made by Banksia Productions for the Nine Network.

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