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The Golden Years of Television

July 1, 1986

Rod Taylor and his TV show "Hong Kong" were the subject of one installment of this nostalgic series that aired in Australia during the late 1980s.

Its co-creator and host was popular Australian TV critic David Lyle. For each installment, he featured beloved shows from the 1950s and '60s -- including "The Rifleman," "Adventures in Paradise," "Have Gun Will Travel," "Dragnet," "Batman," "Zorro," "The Mickey Mouse Club," etc.

Lyle presented the shows in an affectionate, laid-back manner, with the touch of irony that comes with time and perspective.

In presenting an episode of "Hong Kong," Lyle both praises and pokes fun at "Our Rod." But it's done in such a fond and humorous way that you (almost) don't mind.

At the start of this installment of "The Golden Years of Television," Lyle describes the premise of "Hong Kong" (and presented his theory that Rod was not a newspaperman but a spy!).

Here's some of what Lyle had to say:

The newspaper reporter aspect is not really necessary as we never saw Evans do anything vaguely connected with journalism beyond phoning some person in the States who he claimed was his editor. With over 25 years hindsight, I think it's clear that the newspaper thing was a cover. ...

When he wasn't acting as a newspaperman, which was all the time, he was chasing adventure and romance -- both with the sort of two-fisted bluntness we like to think of as Australian.

And that was the show's extra appeal for us Australians. The star was a local boy made good.

Rod Taylor had been in Hollywood for six years before Hong Kong and in that time played the sorts of roles that made him look destined to succeed in a big way.

He had good looks, the swagger of a man of action and could get by in comedy. And as you can see, he had the pectorals of a real man. [Beefcake shot at right illustrated this point.]

The following video shows David Lyle's commentary and the still photos that illustrate some of his points and punch lines. To view "The Jade Empress," the episode of "Hong Kong" that Lyle discusses, visit this YouTube link.

Many thanks to Ken Lynch, who discovers gems like this from time to time in his collection of TV recordings. Previously, he found an audio recording of a Rod Taylor interview with Mike Willesee from 1975.

 

LINKS

Hong Kong

Rod on Radio

Utah commercials

Picture Show Man

 

VIEWER'S GUIDE

David Lyle's commentary on Golden Years of Television

Jade Empress on YouTube

Radio days

Manly pectorals

Leaning on coal

 

         
   

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