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Clip description

Stanley Evans (Harry Secombe) conducts the Kookaburra Springs school choir at a prestigious competition in Sydney. Wished good luck by competition official Lord Pearson (Jeff Ashby), Stanley and Shirley Marshall (Maggie Fitzgibbon) discover Stevie Cassidy (Dennis Jordan) has switched the school’s audition tape with a recording of Stanley’s Welsh school choir. Meanwhile, Mick Cassidy (John Meillon) and the locals in Kookaburra Springs attempt to tune into a radio broadcast of the performance.

Curator’s notes

This sequence effectively uses parallel action to draw comparisons between city and country life. The singing competition held in Sydney is smoothly and professionally run. In Kookaburra Springs, chaos rules the day as Mick and his bar regulars frantically – and comically – attempt to connect to a radio broadcast of the competition. The sequence successfully pokes gentle fun at the informality of the country community while exposing the secret that has been kept from Stanley.

Stevie’s tape-swap has the potential to bring shame on Kookaburra Springs and embarrassment upon Stanley. Energetic cutting between the two fields of action effectively creates both humour and tension in the moments before the choir is about to perform. Popular nightclub entertainer Norman Erskine appears in this clip as Norman at the pub. Stuart Wagstaff, a much-admired fixture of Australian stage and screen since the 1950s, plays the competition host.