Playschool legend visits city
Thursday, 23rd October, 2008
It's been 17 years since Alister Smart retired from the eternally popular children's show, "Play School", but his presence has left a lasting impression on many Australians. That was evident when he visited the Silverton Hotel, where even the publican remembered watching the presenter as a child. "I've never objected to being identified with Play School," Mr Smart told the Barrier Daily Truth yesterday. He was the very first presenter on the show which went to air in 1966, and he remained on air for 25 years. He spent a few days visiting the local district this week to catch up with lifelong friend Barry Esling, who was the Police Sergeant in South Broken Hill for many years.
They grew up together in Nowra and, now aged 73, Mr Smart said that their friendship has endured. "We've remained friends all our lives. "Mr Smart now lives on a "beautiful property" in East Gippsland and this was his first trip to the local region in 27 years. He said that the city has changed immensely in that time. "It seems to have expanded and has a stronger tourism industry. "It's been a great trip. "ABC's Play School was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2006 Logie Awards for 40 years on television. Mr Smart, who has worked as a director on a number of shows including Blue Heelers, said Play School's success was due to its ability to move with the times.
"Oh yes, it's changed according to social things. "They were very aware of it. "Despite his career success with a number of different projects, Mr Smart said that working on the children's show was probably the most enjoyable thing he had done. "Of all the things I've done both overseas and in Australia, Play School was the best. "It had the most positive influence."
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