Hector Crawford

Last updated

Hector Crawford
Born
Hector William Crawford

(1913-08-14)14 August 1913
Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died11 March 1991(1991-03-11) (aged 77)
Australia
NationalityAustralian
Occupationmusic conductor and director, radio and television producer
Known forBroadcast Exchange of Australia, Crawford Productions

Hector William Crawford CBE AO (14 August 1913 11 March 1991) was an Australian entrepreneur, conductor and media mogul, best known for his radio and television production firms. He and his sister Dorothy Crawford founded Crawford Productions, which was responsible for many iconic programs and initiated the careers of a number of notable Australian actors and entertainers. His influence on the Australian entertainment industry was immense and enduring, and one obituary described him as "one of the best-known and most respected names in the history of Australian entertainment". [1]

Dorothy Muriel Turner Crawford, other names Dorothy Balderson, Dorothy Strong and Dorothy Smith, was an Australian actress and announcer, as well as a producer in radio and television, who, with her brother Hector Crawford, co-founded the important Australian broadcasting production company Crawford Productions.

Crawford Productions Australian TV production company

Crawford Productions is an Australian media production company, focused on radio and television production. Founded by Hector Crawford and his sister, actress and voice artist Dorothy Crawford, the company, also known as Crawfords Australia, is now a subsidiary of the WIN Corporation.

Contents

Biography

Hector William Crawford was born in Melbourne in 1913. His parents were William Henry Crawford, a commercial traveller, and Charlotte, née Turner, a contralto and organist. [2] He studied at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and later conducted the orchestra there. In 1940 he became the musical and recording director of Broadcast Exchange of Australia, a radio broadcasting house, and its managing director in 1942. [3]

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 4.9 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

A contralto is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range is the lowest female voice type.

In 1945 he and his sister Dorothy Crawford founded Crawford Productions. Hector managed music, administration and sales, while Dorothy attended to script-editing and casting. [2] They produced musical radio programs in Melbourne such as Music for the People, in which concerts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, often conducted by Hector, were attended by large crowds and broadcast live on radio. The concept developed, and culminated in the concert given by The Seekers at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1967, which attracted a record-breaking crowd of 200,000 people. [1]

The Seekers Australian band

The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop quartet, originally formed in Melbourne in 1962. They were the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States. They were popular during the 1960s with their best-known configuration as: Judith Durham on vocals, piano, and tambourine; Athol Guy on double bass and vocals; Keith Potger on twelve-string guitar, banjo, and vocals; and Bruce Woodley on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and vocals.

Sidney Myer Music Bowl outdoor performance venue in Melbourne, Australia

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is an outdoor performance venue in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is located in the lawns and gardens of Kings Domain, Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne, close to the Arts Centre and the Southbank entertainment precinct. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Robert Menzies on 12 February 1959, with an audience of 30,000 people, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Other shows included Opera for the People, The Melba Story (which starred the then unknown soprano Glenda Raymond, who shared the role with Patricia Kennedy), [2] The Amazing Oscar Hammerstein , and The Blue Danube. The singing competition Mobil Quest first brought coloratura sopranos Joan Sutherland and June Bronhill and tenor Donald Smith to public notice. [4]

Nellie Melba Australian opera singer

Dame Nellie Melba GBE was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century, and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym "Melba" from Melbourne, her home town.

Patricia Carmel Stewart Kennedy OBE was an Australian actress with a long career in theatre, radio, film and television.

Oscar Hammerstein II American librettist, theatrical producer, and (usually uncredited) theatre director of musicals

Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II was an American librettist, theatrical producer, and theatre director of musicals for almost 40 years. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for vocalists and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs.

There were also radio dramas such as No Holiday for Halliday, Sincerely Rita Marsden, My Imprisoned Heart, A Woman in Love, Inspector West, and Lone Star Lannigan. [3]

Personal life

Hector Crawford married Glenda Raymond on 10 November 1950. [5]

Crawfords became the first independent producer to screen a programme on Australian television. Wedding Day was a games/quiz show, in which newly married couples came into the studio straight from their wedding reception, in the hope of winning prizes. It premiered on HSV-7 on 10 November 1956 (his own 6th wedding anniversary) and ran for 39 weeks. [4]

Australia's first hour-long television drama series, Consider Your Verdict premiered in 1961, and the hugely successful police drama Homicide in 1964, which lasted till 1977. Then came Showcase (1965–69; a major talent quest that discovered a large number of big names; Hector Crawford also conducted the Showcase Orchestra), Hunter (1967–69), The Box (1974–77), The Sullivans (1976–82), the miniseries All the Rivers Run (1983), as well as Division 4 , Matlock Police , Cop Shop , Skyways , The Flying Doctors and Carson's Law , among other programs. [3] At one point, all of the country's then three commercial television networks were showing Crawford studio dramas. [3]

In the 1970s he was involved in the Make It Australian campaign to encourage more locally produced television content. [6] The Whitlam Government appointed Crawford a member of the Australian Film and Television School in 1973, and a member of the Australian Film Commission in 1974. [3]

Death

Hector Crawford sold his controlling interests in Crawford Productions in 1987 and retired in 1989. [3] He died in 1991, aged 77, survived by his wife Glenda Raymond and children, Joanne and Tim. [1]

Honours

Official honours

Hector Crawford was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year's Honours of 1968, "in recognition of service as Director of Music for the People". [7] In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1980, he was raised to Commander of the order (CBE), "in recognition of service to the arts". [8]

In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1986, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), "for service to Australian television production". [9]

Industry and other honours

Hector Crawford was awarded special Logie Awards in 1969, 1971, 1975 and 1976, for outstanding contribution to Australian television and show business. In 1984, he was the first inductee into the Logie Hall of Fame.

Other awards included the Footlighter's Award, the Colin Bednall Award, the Chips Rafferty Memorial Award, the Sir Charles McGrath Award of the Australian Marketing Institute, an Advance Australia Award, the Hartnett Medal of the Royal Society of Arts, the Sir Arthur Cowan Award, the inaugural BHP Australian Television Festival Award for Excellence, and Life Membership of the Screen Production Association of Australia (SPAA). [10]

Legacy

The "Hector Crawford Memorial Lecture" is given at the annual SPAA Conference. It is the major annual public statement on the screen production and broadcasting industries in Australia. [6] [11]

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References