GTV Police Series 1957
In 1957, GTV started a short series on the police. They were trying to show what nice fellows they were. A police sergeant would give a talk to a group of teenagers who would then ask him questions. Most of these programmes had some film inserts which I directed.
We did a short film on advanced driving techniques. For part of this, we drove around Melbourne with the Sergeant driving and with our crew in the car with the camera facing forward. The Sergeant would give a running commentary on what to look out for.
Early one morning, he drove down a line of parked cars and he said how careful you had to be watching for cars pulling out in front of you. He meant to say “Watch out for the turn of the wheel and the puff of the smoke” both of which could indicate that a car was about to move off.
Instead he said “Watch out for the turn of the smoke and the puff of the wheel”. Nobody noticed.
In the same series, we were trying to demonstrate careful driving. Our location was a fly-over bridge on a main road into Melbourne. Half way up the bridge was a slip road down to the riverside road. We wanted to have a car driving towards Melbourne which would pull up and wait for oncoming cars to pass before going round on to the slip road. The oncoming cars would be ours, as well as the one making the turn.
The police were out in force and the oncoming traffic were blocked off. They did not think it necessary to block the public travelling into Melbourne. You will appreciate that it required split-second timing to make the manoeuvre look genuine. We tried several times without getting it perfect.
The next time, it looked like we had got it right when a car came screaming down the bridge, overtook our waiting car on its near-side, turned on to the slip road, after missing our oncoming car by inches.
The police took off after him like a chase sequence from of a Hollywood movie.
We then got back to filming and managed to get a shot that looked right. After a while, the chasing policeman returned and one of his colleague said to him “I hope you did him proper, the bastard”. The chasing policeman said “I couldn’t do it, it was my doctor driving that car”.
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