YouTube: Classic Australian TV
This week marks 50 years since the debut of the Sydney-based drama series You Can’t See Round Corners.
The 26-part series was an adaptation of the novel written by Jon Cleary. Its leading actor was Ken Shorter playing the part of Frankie, a draft dodger who made his living as an SP bookie.
The show marked the TV acting debut for a young star from Brisbane, 19-year-old Rowena Wallace.
Wallace had previous appeared on local TV in Brisbane including featuring in the long-running variety show Theatre Royal.
Among You Can’t See Round Corners other stars were Carmen Duncan, Slim de Grey, Derani Scarr, Judith Fisher and Lyndall Barbour.
You Can’t See Round Corners debuted on Sydney’s ATN7 on Wednesday 28 June 1967 at 8.00pm, leading into the popular comedy series The Mavis Bramston Show. The show’s debut aided by a two-page newspaper advertisement in that day’s Sydney Morning Herald:
Melbourne’s HSV7 followed the next night, though gave the show a 9.00pm start.
The series created controversy and attracted the ire of the broadcasting authorities — in particular over one scene in the opening episode where a kissing scene between Frankie and Margie (Wallace) saw Shorter slip his hand up Wallace’s skirt. It was an unscripted move that caught Wallace by surprise, meaning that her shocked reaction was quite real.
The Broadcasting Control Board dictated that the offending portion of the scene be cut after its Sydney airing.
Not only was the scene cut, but it became a no-go topic in subsequent press interviews. “I’m sorry,” Wallace told TV Times. “But I’m not allowed to talk about that scene at all.”
Having made her first major break in TV, what ambitions did the young actress hold for her career? “I’d like to do another TV series. I’d love to make a film. Probably I’ll end up as a waitress in the Cross.”