Number 96 and related synopses © 1994, 2017 Ian McLean and Lindsay Street Productions. They have been rewritten and annotated from information derived from Sydney and Melbourne editions of TV Week and TV Times, cross-referenced with original Cash Harmon documentation, DVD liner notes and viewings of episodes. No text may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. To use this material in research, you are requested to inform the author and credit his contribution accordingly. Thank you.
SPECIAL: Jill. (1973)
Music/variety production from Cash Harmon, featuring singers Jill Perryman and Gloria Dawn, with comedy skits written by David Sale featuring Jack Thompson (in a sendup of his 1972 Cleo magazine nude centrefold) and a scene in the delicatessen set of Number 96, with Johnny Lockwood (as "Aldo God-help-us"). Music by Tommy Tycho. Network Ten.
SPECIAL: Gloria. (1974)
Music/variety production from Cash Harmon, featuring singer Gloria Dawn. A followup to the television special, Jill. Network Ten.
SPECIAL: Hasham. (1/05/1975)
One-hour television music/variety production, directed by Ron Way, which launched Joe Hasham's LP record of the same name. The special also gave the world a famous TV blooper, when Joe was accidentally swept off rocks, mid-song, into the ocean. Network Ten.
UNAIRED PILOT: Oh Mummy, Oh Daddy. (Taped 02/1978)
Second unsuccessful attempt to spin off the characters of Reg and Edie MacDonald (Mike Dorsey and Wendy Blacklock), this time in a potential music/variety series with dream sequences (eg. Superman and Ginger Meggs characters in the pilot). Seven Network.
REPEAT OF COLOUR EPISODES. (Commenced 4/02/1980)
Episodes (from the first colour compile, #585, onwards) were repeated in Sydney in a late-night timeslot, Monday-Thursday (and Brisbane in 1982). Network Ten.
NUMBER 96 (US Version). (Commenced USA 10/12/1980; aired in Australia 1986)
1. Roger Moves In. (10/12/1980) Number 96 Pacific Way is a Southern California apartment building that shelters as many sexual shenanigans and personal peccadilloes as it does tenants. Travelling salesman Roger Busky (James Murtaugh), on the rebound from a recent divorce, arrives at Number 96 for a fresh start. Naive newlywed Jill Keaton (Sherry Hursey) and her baseball player husband, Mark (Howard McGillin), face the first hints of a strain in their marriage before the honeymoon is even over. Dr Robert Leon (William Bryan Curran) is more than he seems: a psychologist and a transvestite. Lyle Bixler (Charles Bloom) is the building's maintenance man. Architect Max Quintzel (Greg Mullavey) and his wife, Marion (Randee Heller), a bored concert pianist, feel that an open marriage is the secret to ongoing marital bliss. Max approves of Marion's seduction of Roger, but it is interrupted by an earthquake.
NBC's intention was to air three one-hour episodes in USA each week, at 9.00pm (and 10.00pm in other parts of the country). The slapstick seduction of nervy, new tenant Roger Busky by Marion Quintzel is reminiscent of Australia's Arnold Feather and his liaison with an older woman, cooking teacher Marion Carlton. However, Arnold's bedroom performance was interrupted by a phone call from Mr Carlton, not an earthquake.
2. Horace Goes to the Movies. (11/12) Despite her best efforts, Anthea Bryan (Rosina Widdowson-Reynolds) can't seem to dump an adoring police officer, Nathan Sugarman (Todd Susman). His older brother is Lou Sugarman (Eddie Barth), who has a slinky wife, Rita (Ellen Travolta). Lecherous voyeur Horace Batterson (Barney Martin), a retired Navy commander, persuades Lisa Brendon (Christine Jones) to have a drink with him. He is sure he has spotted her as the star of a porno film. Roger has a date with an interior decorator, Karen Hill (Susan Walden).
3. Sharon's Deadly Weapon. (12/12) Nathan moves in with the building's resident con man, the perpetually-broke Chick Walden (John Reilly). Max and Marion continue to experiment with open marriage. Nurse Sandy Galloway (Jill Choder) hosts a "let's get acquainted" party, at which her alcoholic mother, Maureen Galloway (Betsy Palmer), winds up very drunk. Mark's former lover, actress Sharon St. Clair (Hilarie Thompson), arranges a rendezvous with Garry Keeds (Barry Bartle), a prominent movie producer. Sharon's roommate is Ginny Ramirez (Maria O'Brien), a Puerto Rican comic. Also features Susan Plumb as Mitzi.
4. Chick Hits it Big. (12/12) Horace deals with a hung-over Maureen. Sandy tries to get romantic with Roger, who is asked to be best man at the wedding of his divorce attorney to his ex-wife. Sharon swears off dating after Garry, the movie producer, dies in her bed. Chick plans to capitalise on this particular misfortune. Also features Ray Vitte as Harry and Jeff Connors as Terry Kiser. Guest stars Regis Philbin as Himself.
The Friday night instalment started an hour earlier and used up two one-hour episodes. The series went on Christmas hiatus, returning to Fridays only at 9.00pm. Against "The Dukes of Hazzard", ratings did not improve.
5. Maureen's Visitor. (26/12). Newly-widowed Maureen claims that her late husband regularly returns from the grave to visit her. Mark is suspended from the baseball team. Horace dreads some impending surgery. Max and Lisa go on a date. Guest stars Phillip Avalon as Jim Horan, a shifty card sharp, and Joe Maross as the ballet manager.
Note that Phil Avalon has the distinction of being the only actor to appear in both the Australian and US versions of "Number 96".
6. Father's Day. (2/01/1981). Horace can't turn off his air conditioner. Roger's plans for a romantic weekend are foiled when his ex-wife, Dorothy (Sharon Spelman) drops off their 10-year old son, Donald (Christian Zika), for an unexpected stay. Anthea is touched by a superior officer's concern for Nathan. Also features Elaine Giftos as Hildy and Graham Jarvis as Mel.
SPECIAL: The Australian Way: A Salute to Aussie Sex Appeal. (1982)
Presented by Gordon Elliott, Joanna Lockwood and Grant Kenny. Clip show incorporated raunchy footage from Number 96 and interviews with Joe Hasham, Elaine Lee and Abigail. Also included was a scene from Joanna Lockwood's time with the show. Network Ten.
REPEAT OF MOVIE. (24/03/1983)
WIN-4 in Wollongong, NSW, screened the movie at 11.30pm. Exact Sydney airdate unknown. Network Ten.
GOLDEN YEARS OF TELEVISION: A Salute to Australian Soaps. (14/08/1986)
Presented by David Lyle and Ginger de Winter (aka Virginia Bell). Featured the infamous "bomb aftermath" episode (#840) and assorted footage. Nine Network.
TONIGHT LIVE WITH STEVE VIZARD. (20/07/1993)
Hosted by Steve Vizard. Featured flashback footage and live interviews with Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Comedian Vince Sorrenti featured in a live cross to Sydney, and conducted a tour of Moncur Flats, at 83 Moncur Street, Woollahra, the actual location of the Number 96 building seen in the show's credits. Seven Network.
SPECIAL: Number 96: They Said It Wouldn't Last. (21/11/1994)
With new commentary from Abigail. Featured most of the special made to celebrate the show's 1000th episode, revamped and concluded with the "curtain call" from the final episode. Network Ten.
SALE OF THE CENTURY: Battle of the TV Classics. (19/06/1995)
Hosted by Glenn Ridge. Featured Johnny Lockwood, Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin and Candy Raymond representing Number 96 and competing against stars from The Sullivans, Prisoner: Cell Block H and The Young Doctors. Candy Raymond made it through to the finals. Nine Network.
EUROTRASH: Eurotrash Goes Down Under. (SEASON 5, Episode #6, (UK 22/12/1995; Australian airdate unknown)
Hosted by Jean-Paul Gaultier, narrated by Kate Robbins. The segment "Abigail" featured flashback footage of Number 96, Chances and the Alvin Purple movies and TV series. Interviews were with Abigail, journalist Robin Oliver and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Foxtel/Austar's The Comedy Channel; Galaxy TV.
REPEAT OF MOVIE. (8/11/1996) This time, rather savagely cut, particularly Rebecca Gilling's nude scenes. Network Ten.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW. (1997)
Presented by Peter Luck. Weekly episodes, three of which focused on Number 96 stories. One episode featured James Elliott and Elisabeth Kirkby. Another reunited John Orcsik with Joe Hasham, who reenacted their kiss from the Number 96 feature film. A Soap Opera Weddings special featured Jeff Kevin and Pamela Garrick. Seven Network.
DARREN GRAY DOWN UNDER: Number 96. (1997)
Hosted by Darren Gray, produced by Joy Hruby. Featured interviews with actor Vince Martin and Number 96 historians, Ian McLean and Andrew Mercado. CTV1.
TAMARA TONITE. (20/10/1999 - 3/11/1999)
Presented by Brisbane-based drag queen, Tamara Tonite (aka Roderick Paterson). Weekly episodes, three of which were focused on Number 96. Interviews with Sheila Kennelly (#137), Elaine Lee (#138) and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean (#139). Channel Briz31.
TELEVISION'S GREATEST HITS: The Best of Number 96. (13/03/2000 - 30/03/2000)
Presented by Andrew Mercado over three weeks. 24 episodes, hand selected by Andrew Mercado and Ian McLean. Episodes shown were: #2 (middle of the original Sydney premiere), 33 (Sonia & Chad interracial kiss), 450 (Amanda & Herb in court), 604 (a Fake Amanda, and Dorrie's dreams), 613 (Flo's jilted wedding), 630/631 (TC's mother's beach house), 649 (Pantyhose Strangler strikes), 669 (Pantyhose Strangler strikes again), 679 (Pantyhose Strangler defeated), 680 (Pantyhose Strangler escapes), 689 (Norma's mother vs the Murphy bed), 838/839 (Bomb in the building!), 840/841 (bomb aftermath), 844 (Lucy's anguish), 1005 (Junior's real father), 1006 (the Hooded Rapist strikes), 1136 (Duddles' disco opens), 1160 (Rob's deadly game), 1164 (Miss Hemingway arrives; bikies kidnap Chook), and 1217/1218 (the finale and curtain call). Foxtel/Austar's TV1.
THE BEST OF AUSSIE DRAMAS: Part I. (7/11/2002)
Presented by Kate Ritchie of Home and Away. Contained numerous clips of Number 96, with sound byte comments from John Orcsik, Elaine Lee, Jeff Kevin, Lorrae Desmond, Vince Sorrenti and Number 96 historian, Ian McLean. Part II aired a week later, and a two-part focus on Aussie Cop Shows followed over the next fortnight, with additional sound byte comments from Paula Duncan, John Orcsik and Lorrae Desmond. Seven Network.
SPECIAL: Ten: Seriously 40. (21/08/2005)
Presented by Bert Newton and Rove McManus. Clip show celebrating four decades of the former 0-10 Network. Network Ten.
SPECIAL: 50 Years, 50 Shows. (25/09/2005)
Presented by Eddie McGuire. Number 96 rated #9 out of 50 Australian television shows. Nine Network.
DVD: Number 96: 2 Disc Collectors Edition. (10/07/2006)
Includes: a brand new 16:9 transfer of Number 96: The Movie (1974), uncut and uncensored, with newly recorded audio commentary (2006) with Elaine Lee, creator/screenwriter David Sale and TV historian Andrew Mercado; original draft screenplay of the movie on DVD-ROM; And They Said It Wouldn't Last TV documentary special (1976, plus 1977 update); Abigail's introduction to the special's repeat TV screening (1994); an all new featurette, THE FINAL YEARS (2006), covering the last 218 episodes (and new interviews with actors Elaine Lee, Sheila Kennelly, Wendy Blacklock, Deborah Gray and series creator David Sale); plus rare footage of the Spirit of 96 train journey, as the TV cast attended the Logies in Melbourne (1975). Umbrella Entertainment Australia. (Note that cover art of the first pressings of this product mentioned a stills gallery, but this was unable to be included as planned.)
REPEAT OF SPECIAL: 50 Years, 50 Shows. (11/09/2006)
Newly presented by Mike Munro, celebrating Australian television's 50th anniversary. Nine Network.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW. (8/07/2007)
Presented by Melissa Doyle and David Koche. Featured Jeff Kevin, Sheila Kennelly, Elaine Lee, James Elliott, Elisabeth Kirkby, Frances Hargreaves, Chantal Contouri, Joe Hasham and Chard Hayward. Seven Network.
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (08/2008)
Theatrical documentary included brief footage from Number 96. Interviewees included actors Rebecca Gilling, Wendy Hughes, Lynette Curran, Briony Behets, Candy Raymond, Deborah Gray, Roger Ward and Norman Yemm, and associate producer, David Hannay. Archival footage of Abigail, in numerous non-96 appearances, were more revealing than any of her supposedly more-notorious Number 96 scenes! (Later also available from Umbrella Entertainment Australia.)
DVD: Number 96: The Pantyhose Strangler. (30/08/2008)
Includes: 32 consecutive colour episodes #649-680; stills gallery (that was originally planned for the previous DVD collectors' set); newly recorded audio commentary (2008) with actor Chantal Contouri and TV historian Andrew Mercado; 2006 footage of the Network Ten News announcement of the earlier DVD release. Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
DVD: Number 96: Aftermath of Murder. (11/03/2010)
Includes: 32 consecutive colour episodes #681-712; newly recorded audio commentaries (2009) with actors Carol Raye, Elisabeth Kirkby and TV historian Andrew Mercado; The Australian Way: A Salute to Aussie Sex Appeal TV special (1982, incorrectly identified as 1978); original 1976 "Adults Only" TV promo for premiere of And They Said It Wouldn't Last documentary special; 1975 uncut Christmas messages from cast members; and 2008 footage of the Network Ten News announcement of the previous DVD release, including a reunion between Chantal Contouri and Pamela Garrick. Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
DVD: Ozploitation: Volume 4. (01/2012)
Number 96: The Movie is re-released (Disc 1 only, not the docos) as part of a six-disc set of Australian movies, including Alvin Purple, Alvin Rides Again, Stork, BMX Bandits, Dark Age and the short film, Three Old Friends. (The liner notes incorrectly state that Abigail stars in "Number 96: The Movie"; she does, however, feature in the two "Alvin" movies.) Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
DVD: Number 96: The Beginning and the Bomb. (7/03/2012)
Includes: 16 of the 19 surviving b/w episodes (#1-10, 13, 31, 33-35, 450) and 16 consecutive colour episodes #832-847; audio interviews from the National Film & Sound Archive with actor James Elliott and director Peter Benardos, conducted by Nigel Giles; newly recorded audio commentary (2010) with The Hon Michael Kirby, AC CMG, and TV historian Andrew Mercado; Showcase (2009) interview with actor Elaine Lee and series creator David Sale, conducted by Andrew Mercado; Network Ten News interview (2009) with actor/politician Elisabeth Kirkby, conducted by reporter Angela Bishop, promoting the previous DVD release; and downloadable PDFs of original press clippings and advertisements. Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
FIFTY YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION: The Sexy 70s. (2017)
Documentary episode about Australian television in the 1970s, including Logies moments with the cast of Number 96. A segment of the TV series. Nine Network and Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
DVD: Fifty Years of Australian Television. (2017)
Six-disc set of documentaries about Australian television. The Sexy 70s instalment includes: Logies moments with the cast of Number 96. Nine Network and Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
PODSPLOITATION: Number 96: The Movie. (01/07/2020)
Episode #22 of this podcast series by the Podsploiteers - Callum, November and Daria - is dedicated to the 1974 feature film. "The series that lost Australian television its virginity (so they say) went on to deflower the cinema. We look into the whole world of soap, sex, slapstick and seventies that 'Number 96: The Movie' opens up. And, well, we're pretty much hooked." Click here to play.
Back in print! DVD: Number 96: The Movie: 2 Disc Collector's Edition. (01/09/2021)
Re-release of the 2006 DVD set. Includes: Number 96: The Movie (1974); And They Said It Wouldn't Last TV documentary special (1976, plus 1977 update); Abigail's introduction to the special's repeat TV screening (1994); THE FINAL YEARS (2006), covering the last 218 episodes; plus footage of the Spirit of 96 train journey to the Logies in Melbourne (1975). Umbrella Entertainment Australia.
OUTRAGEOUS: The Queer History of Australian TV (16/02/2023)
Theatrical documentary hosted by TV historian Andrew Mercado. It included lots of archival footage from the Number 96 series and its 1974 movie spin-off, plus The Box. Interviewees included actor Carlotta, reflecting on her role as Robyn Ross, and notable identities from the LGBT community: Shane Jenek (Courtney Act); Benjamin Law; scriptwriter Sarah Walker; The Hon Michael Kirby, AC CMG; and actor Keiynan Lonsdale. Produced by Andrew Mercado & Margee Brown. The premiere at QueerScreen, Event Cinemas, Sydney, featured a live Q-and-A session with Joe Hasham and Sarah Walker.
NUMBER 96: TV's First LGBT Show. (16/02/2023)
A composite of episodes of Number 96 with a focus on its humour and important LGBT scenes. Includes interwoven storylines of Dudley's fictitious lover, Osborne (Episode #605, 1974); the aftermath of Maggie Cameron's attempt to seduce Reg MacDonald; the arrival of Prue Rhinegold (Episode #766, 1975); Edie MacDonald becoming publicist for the local Gay Liberation organisation and her friendship with Rodney and Adrian (Episode #768, 1975); Don Finlayson taking the blame for the hit-and-run car accident that his sister, Carol was involved in (Episode #769, 1975); and Jane Chester's infatuation with Ros Halliday (Episode #1196, 1977). Edited by Andrew Mercado. Premiered at QueerScreen, Event Cinemas, Sydney.
Number 96 and related synopses © 1994, 2017, 2023 Ian McLean and Lindsay Street Productions. They have been rewritten and annotated from information derived from Sydney and Melbourne editions of TV Week and TV Times, cross-referenced with original Cash Harmon documentation, DVD liner notes and viewings of episodes. No text may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. To use this material in research, you are requested to inform the author and credit his contribution accordingly. Thank you.
Page last updated May 2023