By Paul Montague
Retro should by rights equate to an escapist ramble through a yearned for, sepia-tinted past. Not always though. ‘We never had it so good’ on closer inspection could at times actually mean the complete opposite. If you thought the dire ‘Melody Rules’ or the 1987 Gofta Awards ceremony was always the bar-setting nadir for NZ television, you may want to reconsider after viewing a portion of the following…
If you were around, or can recall much from the late 70s, and one of the biggest turkey movies of all-time ‘Star Crash’ hadn’t made you wince, or the re-runs of Star Trek with some of its barely-disguised sexual innuendo hadn’t made you blush, then a particular NZ television entertainment show from 1979 may just have been your perfect viewing experience (or not).
It was called ‘The Club Show’. The hosts were a couple of wizened, polished sports presenters- that is the flimsy sports link in all this- who could actually hold a tune pretty well. One half of the double act was the extremely talented Glyn Tucker- although this may not have been quite up there with his more genial moments. Tucker was a Gee-gees aficiando and entertainer and presenter (and no, Gee-gees wasn’t some dodgy R. Hastie-owned nightclub on K Rd). His sidekick was Ernie Leonard- host of the iconic ‘On The Mat’, our 70s, no-frills model of the WWE.
It’s just a pity that in the 1970s our fair nation couldn’t have made a contribution to one of those Voyager space capsules that were aimed towards wherever and beyond. Because if some aliens out on a space blast through the Milky Way had intercepted Voyager and prised open all the worldly goods inside, they could have chucked ‘The Club Show’ onto a VHS player and surely had a good laugh at the low bar set by the earthlings.
Very high in levels of unintended misogyny and cheesier than a cavalcade of Mainland dairy produce adverts, ‘The Club Show’ is quite the work of highly-questionable art. And, most definitely on aspects of cringe, a perfect ten. You may seriously wonder how the show ever made it onto screen. It really is that bad. It probably should be viewed from behind the couch through your fingers. (Check out the snazzy dinner suits though).
Unfortunately, the interview with the then-Norwich City football manager John Bond has been cut from the footage. Norwich City toured here a couple of times in the 1970s and they would have been one of the last teams to have played on Newmarket Park before the famous old venue literally slipped away.
The following are definitely worth some of your quality time a lot more than the abomination above:
(A magnificent photo essay from Enzo Giordani. If you’re a fan of old domestic football this is a deadset must-read. Even if you’re not, it’s still very good).
You can also find plenty of other NZ TV gems of yesteryear here: nzonscreen.com
Unrelated: Regarding the test cricket- how good is Mike Hesson as the main Sky TV analyst? Possibly even better than he was as national coach. And that’s saying something. He’s brilliant.
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