SHARK FIGHTERS programme (1965)

Revenge of a Shark Victim‘ by Ron Taylor  originally narrated by Hayes Gordon.  Film had scenes removed after the first screening when the audience heckled the dramatic tragedy aspects of the script.  Purchased and re-edited in 1966 by leading TV producer Robert Raymond (Senior) for his weekly PROJECT ’66 series. Won an Emmy Award –  highest award in Australian television.  Sound on the original version was recorded slightly slow giving Hayes Gordon’s voice a sleepy yet dramatic quality, OK when projected at 26 or 27 frames per second instead of standard 24 fps.  (Hayes Gordon was a stage director remembered for “The Seven Year Itch” at the Ensemble Theatre – Starring Valerie Heighes (later Valerie Taylor).

Surf Scene had two versions.  The original (and best) narrated by 2UW disc jockey WARD AUSTIN was in color. A second version for television was  in B&W – the commentary was an attempt to copy the accidental humor of the original voice and failed miserably assisted with its slightly British accent.  Original music was composed by John Charter a musician and band leader spotted by John Harding at several music venues.

Slaughter at Saumarez  (now titled Saumarez Reef) was narrated by TV newsreader Chuck Faulkner with a jazz soundtrack by bandleader Geoff Harvey.



Other films were made especially for television audiences.

USA & Australian underwater specialists who filmed “Shark Jaws” on the Great Barrier Reef, which was the author of “Jaws” diving with sharks – notably a pair of feeding tiger sharks at Sykes Reef. John Harding (top left), in front row – Scott Ransom, Stan Waterman, Peter Benchley and Pat Smith.  Working as a freelance cameraman can be limiting.  This American crew demanded they ‘own’ all copyright to our memories obtained on the expedition, i.e. we could not write about any experiences.  That clause was struck out of my ‘contract’.

Filming sharks on the New South Wales east coast requires a dinghy like this Zodiac.  Better results are obtained with as few divers in the water as possible.

Walter A. Starck PhD (pictured above) came to Australia aboard his research vessel which had a 2-man wet-sub, useful for some aspects of filming large sharks.  We produced “Voyage to the Coral Sea” in the expedition from Madang,  Papua New Guinea to Cairns, Queensland, stopping for dives at Osprey Reef (1972).  Perhaps the first divers to visit this spectacular location in the northern Coral Sea.  Details in Fathom magazine No.9  pages at:


(1965 – Three documentary films packaged as a feature film)

May 1968, the era of in-person live narration film shows

The shows were a sell-out. 624 seats per session. Live commentary with records selected and played (by me) from the bio box courtesy of radio 2UW’s Gary Jaeger and Ray Bean.

Fantastic to see Ron’s stunning underwater shots with music by Nelson Riddle featuring The Untouchables, Route 66 TV theme, The Defenders theme. Plus The Shadows, The Ventures and other instrumental hits.

It was film making mixed with DJ – an early version of cinemateque. Fantastic fun and entertainment not seen today. Film footage was often original Kodachrome, bright brilliant colors, and commentary by the then world spear fishing champion and underwater photography ace.