50 years of Homicide
Sunday October 19 a reunion was held at Bell’s Hotel in South Melbourne to celebrate 50 years since the Homicide television series was first screened. For many of us this Crawford Production cop show was the introduction to how exciting Australian-made drama could be.
Police cars were a big part of the appeal. The following makes and models featured over the show’s 12-year span: Studebaker Lark, Studebaker Cruiser, XP/XR/XT Falcons, HK/HT/ HG Holdens and finally VH and VJ Valiants.
Among the human stars to appear at the South Melbourne reunion were Leslie Dayman (Snr. Det. Bill Hudson), Don Barker (Det. Sgt. Harry White), Gerard Kennedy (regular Homicide ‘baddie’ then star of spin-off series Division 4) and Terry Donovan (also Division 4).
The reunion was featured on TV news where Les Dayman, who starred in the classic Falcon period with the late Len Teale, held up his crooked index finger. This was his old Homicide injury, the reporter said.
As Les Dayman later explained to AMC, this happened during a scene where he was driving a Falcon police car with Len Teale in the passenger seat. He approached the camera at speed before slamming on the brakes. Both jumped out and slammed the car doors shut.
Door-slamming was a Homicide trademark, only this time Les Dayman mistimed and jammed his index finger in the door pillar. A true professional, he completed the scene before screaming out in agony.
He was taken to a doctor for treatment but the tip of the finger is still bent at right angles and remains a permanent reminder of his happy Homicide days. He left the series in 1968.
He remembers that he and Len Teale were the two designated drivers during the Falcon V8 period and had some friendly arguments over who would drive the car. Len, a capable race driver in his spare time, usually pulled rank when the script called for high-speed chase scenes.
The Homicide series is now released in a series of 26 episode DVDs from crawfords.dvd. com.au
Volume 8 has just been released. Copies of Division 4 episodes are also available.