Desmond and the Channel 9 Pins

The first children's show on television was Fun Farm. Hosted by Pat Mondel a small group of invited youngsters sat on a mat and watched cartoons. An early Television Preview described the show in the following manner;

The only "live" programme for children is scheduled to begin early in November. It is called Children's Fun Farm, and is a variety show designed to interest children through a wide range of ages. TCN programme directors say that puppets, cartoons (on film), and stories may be included in this show.A trained children's teacher will compere the programme and it may have a youthful studio audience. But this point has not yet been settled. All children's programmes will fulfil the regulations of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board.

The programme commenced on Monday 29th October 1956. It had a short run finishing in  April 1957 in spite of receiving over 3000 letters per week from children hoping to attend. 

Thus began the Channel 9 Pins hosted by Desmond Tester as the producer/compere. He was himself a child star in the United Kingdom. He brought with him an enormous amount of experience.

Tester made his first stage appearance at the age of 12. Desmond's characters often met with doomed fates, in such early films as Midshipman Easy (1935), Tudor Rose (1936), The Stars Look Down (1939) and Sabotage. He also appeared in The Drum (1938). He spent fifteen years at Channel Nine, taking charge of children's programming, and became more involved behind the scenes in production and publicity.

Desmond is seen here, left of screen, during preparation of the show. A generation of children came to know his face as he presided over afternoon programs during which he never talked down to his audience
Desmond encouraged musical groups to perform live on the show.
He encouraged education programs and invited science experts to give tuition.
Theatre was another favourite. Young performers from theatrical groups were given much needed exposure.
When studio facilities were not available Desmond would pre-record young artist's vocal numbers and take them out on location to give them more latitiude in movement and presentation.
However, as much as he did for others he could never completely give up his thespian attributes, and maybe his alter ego, Slippery Sam the villian in Kaper Kops. During the early 1960s TV Times in association wth Pan American Airways sponsored a series of Talent Spots and Kaper Kops to be made in Fiji. Constable Clot, played by Rod Hull spent days and days chasing 'Sam' all over Fiji.
Apart from being produced to look like the silent movie era it was created very much the same way. Create a scene then shoot it. No predetermined script or story line. Each scene had to have humour. Think of something funny to do and while we were all still laughing about it - shoot it.
Constable Clot of course couldn't ever catch Sam so he asked for help from the Fijian Constabulary who came the closet than anybody to catch Sam.
Everywhere we went there was a ready made audience to gauge how funny the scene was.
Our finale' was to conduct the Channel 9 Pins favourite segment the 'Cabbage Quiz' on the tarmac of Suva airport. It was appropriately re-titled the 'Coconut Quiz ' as you can see lying on the ground near Sam.
The TV Times competiton proved to be very successful for all concerned.