Sabrina in Pix (Australia)

9 May 1959

Sabrina in PIX Australia 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.


Click here for shots from the Caltex ad!

Sabrina in PIX Australia 1959
Clapboard for oil co. commercial hides her vital statistics, shows that Richard Allport was director of filming and Lloyd Shiels the chief cameraman.
Sabrina in PIX Australia 1959
During break for camera adjustment she leans for support on manager Ray Bolwell. They met in Melbourne recently.
Sabrina in PIX Australia 1959
'Sabby' practises her famous caricature and signature during making of Caltex commercial. It will be screened soon in Sydney, Melbourne.
Sabrina in PIX Australia 1959
On another Cinesound set Sabrina completes commercial with John Sherwood. Filming took more than a day, lasts minutes.
Sabrina in PIX Australia 1959
Ready for shooting on the set at Cinesound. Note "idiot board" with commercial lines Sabrina must speak. Board is printed clearly, is held out of camera range to act as prompter for announcer. But she knew the lines so well that board eventually was not needed.
Sabrina applies make-up

Sabrina

New and improved, Feb 2015

Sabrina Melbourne TV Ardath ad

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Crystal chandelier, velvet drapes made exotic set for her appearance in Hit Parade. Show was staged in its entirety at ATN Epping Studios.
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Amusing scene with some of Sydney's toughest muscle men was a highlight of the Ardath show.
Sabrina
Last-minute check of script for Ardath show with producer Frank Strain (right) and assistant general manger of ATN, Channel 7, Mr Len Mauger.
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At Cinesound studios Sabrina goes on set to make television commercials for Caltex. In this shot she introduces her "boyfriends" named Cal and Tex who are lightning-sketched in the frame behind her while she speaks a few sponsored words.

Click here for shots from the Caltex ad!

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