Sabrina in Pix (Australia)
9 May 1959
British blonde becomes sweetheart of Australian audiences, sponsors
Traffic on busy Pittwater Road in the Sydney suburb of Manly came to screeching standstill. Horns honked, not in anger, but in appreciation of the neat blonde figure behind the wheel of a racy sports car outside a service station. In three minutes the footpath became choked with housewives, children and every male within a quarter-mile radius who wasn't at work - plus a few who should have been at work, but weren't. Cause of it all: Sabrina.
It was one of the few occasions when a banked-up crowd of onlookers was not what the publicity moguls wanted. For Sabrina was starring in a television commercial film and the script did not call for a crowd scene. See the ad in its entirety!
And so while a red-faced traffic cop tried to unsnarl the tangle of vehicles - with only an occasional peep over his shoulder at the racy figure in the sports car - a sweating camera crew figured the angles to chop the crowd from its shooting.
Expense not spared
This was the first commercial Sabrina had ever made for Australian TV, and both she and the sponsor, Caltex, hope it would be a good one. Neither time nor expense was spared, with the result that while it runs for less than four minutes, the commercial took more than a day to make.
Sabrina's cooperation earned her a reported 300 pounds, plus a handsome additional fee for each time the commercial is shown. Regarded by the experts as "a pip", it is being shown during "Caltex Theatre" programs on ATN Channel 7, Sydney and GTV Channel 9, Melbourne.
Sabrina by this time was becoming used to Australian commercial TV technique, for earlier she had appeared as the star in ATN's lively show "Ardath Hit Parade." A top-rated program at any time, studio officials estimated that the appearance of the British blonde lifted the Sydney viewing audience to 600,000 to 750,000.
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