Number 96 (TV Series) - Impact


The series cast became stars in Australia and for the show's first few years the cast would take the train together to Melbourne for the annual TV Week Logie Awards in a multi carraged train with tyhe Commissioner's carrage hooked up at the rear for VIPS. This train was specially-organised by Publicity Director Tom Greer. Whistle stops at country siding saw thousands of people turn out to see their favourite stars. These whistle stops were all beamed back by country television stations and went live to air.

A humerous side as told by Tom Greer was when engaging a piano player (the outrageous John McDonald)to entertain the cast on the train on the way to Melbourne. John could only play upright pianos. The railways rang and said they could not get the upright around the passageway corners of the train so it would be impossible to get it on board. Tom Greer demanded it be put on the train somehow enen if it ment dimantelalling the piano and putting it back together string by string and key by key. In desperation engineers arrived took off the side of the carrage. Loaded the piano on with a forklift, then bolted the side of the carrage back. The train was christened Spirit of 96.

In 1975 the Number 96 Cookbook was released in Australian by the publisher Family Circle; it featured recipes from eight members of the cast.

The series celebrated 1000 episodes in 1976 with a compilation special, Number 96: And They Said It Wouldn't Last, which reviewed the show's most famous story lines and recounted the exploits of its departed main characters. And They Said It Wouldn't Last was repeated at the start of the 1977 TV season, its final year of production, with a new ending presented by Dina Mann.

The final episode (#1218) was significant in that it gave over considerable air time to a cast reunion curtain call, of popular actors past and present. A week after the airing of the final episode in Sydney, a televised public auction of props and costumes from the series was held in the grounds of Channel TEN-10.

In 1980 a short-lived US remake of the same name on NBC retained the comedy, but it toned down the sexual elements of the series. The series was launched over three consecutive nights. US television and TV Guide promotions for the series utilised advertising hyperbole, suggesting that the series had been "banned in Australia." The nudity and racy content of the original series was not present in the remake; it would likely not have been allowed in the US due to censorship standards there, so the US version only hinted at the sexual content that had been on display in the original. The US version of Number 96 was quickly cancelled due to low ratings; the US show was finally aired in parts of Australia in 1986.

Channel 10 Sydney started a repeat run of the series on 4 February 1980, starting from the first episode fully produced in colour, episode number 585. Episodes were screened Monday through to Thursday, at midnight.

The 1976 special, And They Said It Wouldn't Last, was repeated by Ten in a prime time slot in 1994. This edition of the special dropped the "And" from the original title and included a new introduction by Abigail. It concluded with a replay of the final episode's curtain call of actors.

Number 96 was rated number 9 in the 2005 television special 50 Years 50 Shows which counted-down Australia's greatest television programs.

The series was featured in the cinema documentary, Not Quite Hollywood (2008). Interviewees included Number 96 alumni, actors Rebecca Gilling, Wendy Hughes, Lynette Curran, Briony Behets, Candy Raymond, Deborah Gray, Roger Ward, Norman Yemm, and an associate producer of Number 96 and The Unisexers, David Hannay.

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