I've read and heard several stories that many of the worlds television networks had disposed and wiped much material during the 1970's, when two inch tape was expensive. Every now and then, I've read that ABC did this during the mid nineties, but never could find anything more about it. So did Rage or ABC dispose of many video clips during 1996, and wondering why?
I think the rage/ABC music video library had several clear-outs, the last major one occurring some time in the mid 90s (my guess is some time in 1995 or 1996 - more on that in a sec).
I have a copy of the top 40 (from the top 50) of 1988 which aired on Rage. Probably a third or more of the videos are missing from the Countdown, including Tiffany's 'I Think We're Alone Now' and 'Could've Been', and Rick Astley's 'Whenever You Need Somebody'. My guess is that Rage turfed those videos during the year, not realising/caring that they'd need them again for the end of year chart. They've obviously since re-acquired 'I Think We're Alone Now'.
I watched the top 50/60 end of year charts on Rage up until 1996, and they didn't clear out any of the videos after 1988.
I initially thought Rage had their big mid 90's clear out in 1995, as when Tori Amos guest programmed in 2005, they only had 'Cornflake Girl' left from her pre-1996 videos, when Rage had at least 6 of her videos before then at one point.
If anyone here remembers, from about October 1995 until the first weekend of 1996, Rage played few new release videos, and airing of the top 50 chart was temporarily suspended. I believe the Rage staff were on leave, or there was some other dispute at the time. I remember reading someone stating that Rage was very nearly axed during that time.
On the first weekend of 1996, Rage debuted several clips that were a few months old at that point (e.g. Smashing Pumpkins 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings' was the first video shown on Rage in 1996), which they surely would have aired earlier if something weird was not going on.
Given that Rage had to re-acquire Swoop's 'Apple Eyes' and Tracy Bonham's 'Mother Mother' for airing in retro month 2010, I'm figuring that they had a clear-out in 1996 and possibly 1997 ('Mother Mother' aired in the end of year top 50 for 1996).
As for why they 'needed' the clear-out - I guess to create more storage space for videos. Prior to digitising everything, I imagine the original Betamax tapes in the Rage library would have taken up a lot of space.
Of course, unfortunately this has resulted in Rage losing many great 'rare' videos of yesteryear. Unfortunately, they've no doubt held on to all their Triple J $hit.
Interesting what you said there about rage nearly getting the axe in the mid 90's. That would have been the nail in the coffin very early for us Countdown fanatics. And, without meaning to offend anyone, I would probably turf Tiffany & Rick Astley video's out too if I worked at the ABC!
Also, is the quote "Because I'm much too tall to feel that small" borrowed from the Eurythmics brilliant 1987 track from Savage, "You've Placed A Chill In My Heart"?!
Thanks for all that info on Rage. I used to watch and tape it but never paid that much attention to the details.
I have got a copy of the Top 50 that I taped on August 13 1995 and the next Top 50 that I have was from March 9 1996. Usually I just kept an episode every 8 weeks or so as there was enough change in the charts to make it worthwhile. That would explain why I didn't have a copy for nearly 6 months. I do have copies of the 1995 Hottest 100 episodes that they showed on Feb 24/25 1996 however which may include clips from later 1995.
More 1995 oddities:
There was no guest programmer that year after:
16th Sep Ray Manzarek from The Doors and Danny Sugarman - Doors manager/biographer - guest program rage
Guest programming resumed on the first weekend of '96.
I am SO glad that rage axed the rage OZ TOP 50.
As in the 90s in January, rage used to only play COuntdown's till about 4am and then replay the OZ TOP 50 again!
We actually get around 2 and a half hours extra each weekend now compared to the 90s.
I never got why rage couldn't just play the Top 50 on Saturday mornings and why they had to do it again on Sunday mornings.
It used to SO **** me off!
I seem to remember some contractual issues with rage and record companies in 1995 being the reason clips were not shown. I would like to know though if these clips that were disposed of are just missing from the rage library and are still in ABC vaults somewhere or are they lost forever?
What made me curious is that the record companies would of basically thrown everything they had at the ABC through out the 1970's and 1980's. This I guess would of been due to countdown. So my line of thinking is, if they still had all the clips they collected from the countdown days, then yes indeed, Rage would of had a nice big library of video's to play from. you could think of any video clip and they would have it, but unfortunately this is no more, due to missing videos.
What raised my suspicions was the fact that they ripped The Little River Band's "Playing to win" from a countdown episode. The same last week with the Mardi Gras special with Tight Fit's "Fantasy Island" also from a countdown, as the intro was missing, and I could hear the recorded screaming at the end.
So now in many cases (if they do have the video) of a particular track, their only copy might be embedded inside a countdown with Gavern Wood voicing over it, and those horrible auto cue screams.
The problems at Rage in late 1995, early '96 were caused largely by political events.
By this stage the realisation that 13 years of Labor government under Hawke and Keating was coming to an end, and the Libs under Howard were making noises about cutbacks, and the first target of Liberal governments is always the ABC.
A few of the big nobs at the ABC hit on the idea of axing Rage as a symbolic signal to the new government that the ABC was cutting back on itself already and further cuts were unnecessary. At the same time contracts with three record companies had run out and Rage took the view that with such uncertainty hanging over the show's future there was little point in entering new contracts.
In February ABC management shelved plans to axe Rage, and instead decided to take a "wait and see" approach to the new government (which took office in early March 1996). Rage then signed new contracts with the record companies.
It was a very strange period all round. The only thing I watched on Rage back then (apart from Retro Month) was the Top 50 countdown. The ABC filed it as a separate program from Rage itself due to it running into children's viewing time on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Consequently it had a strict G rating, whereas Rage earlier in the night had an MA rating. If there was a video in the Top 50 which wasn't G rated, the Rage titles were played with the song title, artiste and chart position captioned at the bottom. Usually there were only about 2 or 3 videos that could not be played.
I knew something was up when I watched the Top 50 in late January 1996 and almost every second video wasn't being played. I knew those videos were G rated as I had seen most of them previously.
I wrote to Rage asking what was going on and they wrote back explaining that the contracts with three record companies had expired and were being renegotiated. A week or so later the problems were over and the videos began being played again.
Rage also went through a weird period in mid 1991, where several videos that existed and were G-rated were not being played in the top 50. One example I remember is Ratcat's 'Don't Go Now'. It didn't air during the top 50 until after it had left the top 10, from memory. I think Cher's 'The Shoop Shoop Song' was another one.
Could Rage look to other networks and pay tv to replace these videos or is that too simple??
Good question JASE. It should be that simple, but who knows... Why they were thrown out in the first place is just wrong! If they didn't have room in the ABC library to store all of these videos, then surely they should have been archived somewhere off-site instead of just thrown out altogether.