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Operation Crowflight – ABV2 15th December 1960

Operation Crowflight opening title

50 years ago today, the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Melbourne (ABV2) premiered the film “Operation Crowflight” as part of it’s People programme.

Of course, many documentaries have their 50th anniversary, however, this was the first documentary film ever broadcast about the U2 aircraft and it’s mission in Australia. The film was made during historic times, the same year Gary Powers was captured by the Soviets after his U2 was shot down.  We had unprecedented access to the U2’s in action at R.A.A.F East Sale.

When “Operation Crowflight” was shown on British television a while later, Doctor John Grierson described the production in his introduction:

“Just have a look at this for a piece of news-reel reporting. The story yes but also the heart of the story and no pains spared to make a job of it. I know we are very good at this sort of thing ourselves, both on ITV and BBC, but if the news boys are listening to me, let me tell them that this item was completed from beginning to end in nine hours. That’s what I call first rate reporting. The reporter was Gerald Lyons and the director Terry Gallacher and my complements to both of them.”

The producer and reporter was Gerald Lyons, Kirby (Kibby) Rickard was the cameraman, Keith Taylor the camera assistant, Don Calder was the soundman, Nandor Jenes edited the film and Dennis Wahren was sound editor. I was the director.

In researching this subject and other articles of the time, I’ve noticed how little information online there is on my colleagues listed above as well as my time at the ABC and GTV9, if anyone has information please get in touch or leave a comment.

Click on the following links to read my account of the filming, post production and reaction to the film:

Operation Crowflight Part One

Operation Crowflight Part Two

© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2010.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For other articles about the ABC click here.

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