Nostalgic TV fans cast your minds back to 1964 when a children’s television series on Japanese sword fighting caused a sensation: The Samurai.
With memories of WWII still raw, Channel Nine was bombarded with letters demanding the show be taken off air, but Australia’s children loved it. The show even kicked The Mickey Mouse Club off it’s mantle to become the most popular kid’s show.
For 30 minutes a day, 5 days week, Australian children watched their hero, Shintaro battle his mysterious Ninja enemies. On the surface, The Samurai was about flashing swords and flying stars, but there was a strong moralistic value of good triumphing over evil; a Japanese version of heroes defeating villains in the style of the classic western.
In 1965, a Sydney promoter, brought The Samurai’s star, Koichi Ose (Shintaro) to Australia for a promotional tour. He was greeted by 6,000 fans at Mascot Airport, and over 7,000 fans at Essendon Airport -the biggest since the arrival of The Beatles.
Now a documentary on the subject has been made by director Marco Sinigaglia to air on SBS.
He said, “I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the children who experienced the sensation first hand, reflecting on all the excitement and adulation that they had for the show and its star, Koichi Ose (Shintaro). The documentary needed to not only pay homage to The Samurai, but also capture the essence of what Australians and Australia was like at the time this show appeared.”
Appearing in the doco are Dr William. S Armour, Steve Bedwell, Santo Cilauro, John Doyle, Wayne Harrison, Richard Lyle, Ian Rogerson, Peter “Grubby” Stubbs, Andrew Verity, Nikki White and more.
It airs 8.30pm Wednesday November 4th on SBS ONE.