Panasonic barcodes: saving your Saturdays

Were you out of the house on the night of Saturday, October 3, 1992? (Why weren’t you home watching The Late Show!)

Those with the latest Panasonic VCRs needn’t have worried.

In the late 80s and early 90s, programming your VCR could prove to be quite a hassle, Panasonic claimed. That’s why it really pushed its barcode scanning system — by running your remote control over the show’s barcode in TV Week and confirming the selection, you could be safe in the knowledge that the timer recording for your favourite show would work — every time. With a handy five whole minutes added to the end of each show, any potential overrun would still be captured!

Yes, every day in TV Week, you would be able to scan your remote across a range of selected programs (The Late Show included) and program your VCR, with this section taking up half a page. (Later, these barcodes would be replaced by numerical G-codes.)

For what it’s worth, we were almost always in on Saturday nights when The Late Show aired, and recording it was only ever a manual affair. But it’s nice to know that The Late Show could have been a Pre-Programmed Favourite for many fans who would have preferred staying home than going to an odious dinner party.

Flashback: TV Hits Readers’ Poll, March 1994

Ah, the mid-90s. When penpals were still a thing, everyone under 20 knew who Colour Me Badd was and Bruce Samazan had not yet entered the world of real estate.

The 1993 Readers’ Poll featured The Late Show

Oh, and there was one other Australian ’90s phenomenon: The Late Show. Indeed, after two successful seasons, the ABC sketch comedy show had become so popular that it was voted “Best Comedy Show” of 1993 by TV Hits readers in their March 1994 issue, which celebrated all things pop culture from the previous year.

Looking back the the poll results reads like a quintessential mid-90s “who’s who”. The top comedy shows were:

  1. The Late Show
  2. Home Improvement
  3. Rosanne
  4. Full Frontal
  5. The Simpsons
  6. Blossom
  7. Fast Forward (the 1993 winners)
  8. Mr. Bean
  9. Married… with Children
  10. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
TV Hits 1993 poll results

TV Hits poll results

Another popular category included the Funniest Person on TV. That honour went to US comedian Roseanne, with Tim Allen (Home Improvement) and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) following suit. But wait! Two Late Show cast members were also honoured, with Mick Molloy taking in fourth spot, and Rob Sitch coming in a respectable 7th, just behind Bart Simpson and Married…’s Ed O’Neill and one spot ahead of Homer Simpson.

Let’s not forget that this was an age before the prevalence of e-mail and internet voting, so votes were painstakingly cast on paper and sent in, meaning it was impossible for bots or hackers to tamper with the results — and only the really desperate would have cast multiple votes by stocking up on copies of the magazine (which cost $3.30 back then). Therefore, we can confidently say, that these results are quite scientifically robust.

Other cateogories included “Event of the Year”, number 1 being the Madonna tour, and number two being Sydney winning the Olympic Games. River Phoenix‘s untimely death also came in the top five. The “Most Annoying Single of 1993” was Ween’s Push Th’ Little Daisies, which we all know was parodied to ear-piercing perfection with Mick Molloy at the helm.

When Farnham and The D-Gen pairing ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’

2018 marks 25 years since the Australian King of Pop John Farnham released the studio album Then Again…

“Big whoop!” I hear you say – but what makes this album special, is mainly a single from the album Seemed Like A Good Idea (At The Time), which reached number 16 on the ARIA Charts.

“What’s your point?” You also are probably yelling – what makes this song so special, is that the video clip features the 1993 cast of The D-Generation, creating schenanigans for Farnham when he asks them for music video advice.

Cue in Santo Cilauro and his grandfather Nonno telling him to have a piano accordion, Tom Gleisner promoting the usage of a smoke machine, Jason Stephens flogging false moustaches, Tony Martin and Mick Molloy going all ‘Billy Ray Cyrus’, Molloy separately trying to squeeze in monster trucks, Jane Kennedy suggesting gratuitious violence, Rob Sitch’s obsession with the Lambada, and Judith Lucy caring for the make-up.

You can purchase the video through iTunes here.

Dovetail: Not to forget, Farnham did help out with a Commercial Crimestoppers segment too:

Happy New Year

On behalf of admin Kim, myself and a whole bunch of dedicated visitors, we just want to wish you all a happy and healthy new year for 2018.

A big thanks to the D-Generation / Working Dog team who just keep making the greatest comedy to share the laughs.

2017 has been a pretty good year for content. From –

What else could we ask for?

See you in 2018!

Childproof – The Podcast now live

The latest offering from everyone’s favourite ‘… For Dummies’ stand-in is now available, after much sizzle.

From the pen of Tony Martin and Sarina Rowell comes Childproof – The Podcast.

Childproof is an unproduced TV sitcom written by Tony Martin and Sarina Rowell. It was performed live at the 2017 Melbourne Fringe by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn and Lachy Hulme, alongside a gaggle of guests, and then released as a podcast.

It concerns those controversial types, the ‘childfree by choice’. They’ve been called ‘selfish’, ‘immature’, ‘unfulfilled’ and even ‘unAustralian’ – by their own families! Out of step with a world that exalts the traditional family unit above all else, Ian and Jennifer are also battling extinction in their workplaces – commercial radio and book publishing.

Recorded in front of a live audience at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September 2017,  Childproof stars Geraldine QuinnLachy Hulme, Roz Hammond, Damian Cowell, Andrew McClelland and many more. The six episode series has been produced by Bad Producer Productions and Matty “Pots N Pans” Dower.

As of Thursday morning 23rd November 2017 at 12:01am, the first two episodes have now become available for your audio players.

Subscribe for free on iTunes, or visit to listen and ogle at the imagery.

The Campaign now on iTunes

The year was 1996 – the year of the Paul Keating /  John Howard election. It was a make-or-break election as Australia had been governed by the Labor Party since 1981 with Hawke-Keating. The Coalition was nibbling at the heels, with the threat of John Howard ready to rule the roost. Things were heating up and Parliament House was turning into a sauna.

So Santo Cilauro grabbed his camera and drove up the road from Melbourne, to Australia’s famous round-about to document it all – The Campaign.

Digital cameras are considered a luxury and mobile phones still have antennas. There is no social media. Google is a PhD research project. YouTube and Facebook are a decade away. So how different were election campaigns back…

Not much of Cilauro’s documentary has seen the light of day, until now – where it now has been officially released on iTunes to rent or buy.

So do yourself a favour and check out this magnificent time capsule of Australian politics in the mid 1990s now.

HYBPA? and Russell Coight Return in 2018

Good news everyone!

Australia’s favourite game show Have You Been Paying Attention? and Australia’s favourite outback larrikin Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures are returning to Channel 10 in 2018.

Though nothing new since the original announcement at Channel 10’s Upfronts in late 2016, Russell Coight (played by Glenn Robbins) was meant to return in 2017, but production delays held the release date back. This has been shown when Robbins would appear in episodes of HYBPA?  with a decent amount of stubble on his face – a la Coight – and quizmaster Tom Gleisner disappearing for a few episodes as well for filming. But now, at Channel 10’s 2018 Upfronts,  the long awaited new season of All Aussie Adventures will see the light of day next year.

Pang, Gleisner, Logie, Kavalee.

Speaking of HYBPA?, the multi Logie award winning quiz show with regulars Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang alongside Gleisner, are returning for a new season in 2018.

While you wait, catch up on the Coight by getting Season One and Two, plus telemovie, on DVD at any good retailers, or purchase through iTunes.

All Aussie Adventures Series 1TV
All Aussie Adventures Series 2TV

The audio podcasts of HYBPA? are available on iTunes, and catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.

Santo, Sam and Ed’s Total Football Podcast returns for new season

After a visual experiment earlier this year via ABC iView, the new season of Santo Sam and Ed’s Total Football Podcast returns in audio form for 2017, as of today.

So if you love your football / soccer, or you just love a great laugh and pretend you have an interest in the round ball, hit subscribe now or visit the official site for updates.

Tony Martin at Hightail

Melbournites, clear your Halloween plans.

Comedy at Hightail Docklands is about to launch (just at the end of Collins St), with some great comedy legends, such as “Let’s StartleBob Franklin, Utopia‘s Celia Pacquola, and many more.

Tony Martin is appearing Tuesday 31st October, 2017 – so grab your tickets via – Tell ’em Geoff & Terry Bailey sent you using the promo code: 8CENTS

If you attend the event, shoot us a review.

Check out Hightail Bar as well, for other functions and events:

Tony Martin’s Deadly Kerfuffle novel front cover

Wwwwwhat’s all this about?

Here is the front cover design of Tony Martin‘s first novel (fourth book) Deadly Kerfuffle.

It’s 2006, and terror scaremongering in the media has rattled the residents of sleepy, suburban Dunlop Crescent. When a Maori family moves into number 14, the local cranks assume they are Middle Eastern terrorists hell-bent on destroying the Australian way of life. Rumour has it that they plan to turn their house to face Mecca.

This sets off an extraordinary chain of events that embroils the entire neighbourhood as well as cynical media figures, bumbling anti-terrorist police, and a gang of white supremacists with a radical plan to wake up the country and ‘preserve Australian values’. At the centre of it all is Gordon, a retired widower, who just wants a bit of peace and quiet.

Deadly Kerfuffle is a smart, riveting and incredibly funny novel inspired by actual letters to the editor in a local newspaper. Through biting satire and a cast of unforgettable characters, it’s an insight into the kind of paranoia that could only ever blossom in the quietest and safest of places.

Deadly Kerfuffle will be available at all good book stores from October 31, 2017.

In the meantime, you can find Martin’s previous books: