“How does a beautiful aboriginal girl pick up the dreary threads of her normal life after a brief but heady taste of glory as a film star?”
Such was the premise of Oriel Gray‘s play Burst Of Summer, as described in TV Times magazine in 1961. Burst Of Summer told the story of singer Peggy Dinjerra, who enjoys a brief rise to fame with a film starring role, and who later struggles to settle back to her “pre-fame” life working as a waitress.
The story was in parallel to a real-life situation affecting the indigenous stars of the hit movie Jedda, made in 1955.
Burst Of Summer was first performed in 1960 and adapted for television by ABC in August 1961, broadcast live to air from the studio of ABV2 in Melbourne.
A month later, a “telerecording” of the broadcast (before videotape became mainstream and before cities were routinely connected by technology) was aired on Perth’s ABC station, ABW2.
It was to be another month again before the same production was broadcast on ABN2 in Sydney.
The television adaptation of Burst Of Summer starred Georgia Lee (pictured) as Peggy and Robert Tudawali as solicitor’s clerk Don. Both author Gray and producer William Sterling emphasised the importance of casting indigenous actors in the key indigenous roles. “Apart from the face that we had these excellent actors available, we felt it would destroy the whole social impact of the play if we were to cast white people in their roles,” Sterling told TV Times.
This was often in contrast to other television productions where it was not unusual to cast white actors to play indigenous characters.
Also among the cast were Candy Williams, Edward Brayshaw, Joan MacDonald, Wynn Roberts, Edward Howell and Anne Charleston.
The Perth broadcast of Burst Of Summer is among the latest additions to Classic TV Guides:
- Tuesday 19 September 1961 — PERTH Burst Of Summer
- Monday 20 August 1962 — VICTORIA
- Tuesday 17 November 1970 — SYDNEY
- Thursday 25 February 1971 — VICTORIA Matlock Police debuts
- Friday 5 September 1975 — SYDNEY The ‘bomb blast’ episode of Number 96 airs in Sydney
- Friday 13 August 1976 — SYDNEY Premiere of comedy series Alvin Purple is postponed by ABC management
- Monday 6 September 1976 — VICTORIA Variety show Ernie begins a week of episodes broadcast live from Hong Kong.
- Friday 23 December 1977 — MELBOURNE Final episode Bellbird
- Friday 20 July 1979 — MELBOURNE The 1979 Miss Universe pageant held in Perth, Western Australia
- Saturday 18 October 1980 — MELBOURNE The 1980 Federal Election
- Thursday 18 June 1981 — SYDNEY
- Monday 19 September 1988 — BRISBANE The Games Of The XXIV Olympiad from Seoul
- Monday 24 October 1988 — SYDNEY Mini-Series Barlow And Chambers: A Long Way From Home
- Sunday 13 November 1988 — VICTORIA The 1988 Australian Formula One Grand Prix; and 60 Minutes‘ 10th anniversary
- Saturday 29 April 1995 — SYDNEY TEN10 celebrates its 30th anniversary; and Gladiators begins
- Thursday 26 March 2009 — MELBOURNE One HD begins