Entry to Crawford's Little Collins Street first floor apartment was from a cobbled alley; my desk overlooking Collins Street.
TV was to be the rage, and I was one of a crowd of volunteer extras on the Wedding Day set for rehearsal of camera angles and lighting positions while auditions were underway for the MC and his make up trials.
But radio was always my love.
One harrowing day the author forgot to bring his script with him and despite an early liquid lunch imbibed on the way, he dictated to the typist, His arm draped across her shoulders. The pages flying from roneo and down to taxi off in stages to the studio. The episode was actually on air before the final page left in the last car. But Wynne Pullman kept her cool: things stayed on track and organized.
It was noisy but exciting. Wynne reading scripts aloud with stop watch in hand, the radio going to find actors in studio. The hand cranked Gestetner printing in an ex bedroom, while in another the boys were playing records searching for suitable tracks to insert, or maybe trying sound effects in the little bathroom. Stacks of books, cans and whathaveyou crashing into the bath for thunderstorms, avalanches or other disasters. The bathwater heater cranked up to gurgle and steam for outer space rockets or monsters breathing fire for the children's adventure serials. That was intrusive to say the least.
At times tempers frayed. One warm day Miss Diana Howard sent word that Mr. Crawford requested our presence in his office immediately. We all trooped in, feeling a little nervous, only to have Miss Howard serve chilled drinks. (I had my first gin squash) and then Mr. Crawford said how he knew of our discomforts, but please to be patient, plans for better conditions were under way and so on. He was so charming we all felt wonderfully flattered, renewed, and carried on.
It was the only job where I gladly worked overtime without being asked or even being necessary. I just could not leave until I had found how the story ended.
I just wish I could remember titles for some of those adventure series and dramas. (Ma Pepper and Sam Malone?). And maybe I could track some of them down and hear them. Pure nostalgia. But at 75, I guess that is allowed.
21 February 2012