[Dermot McCaul, a dark-haired man wearing glasses, looks through a large, colourful comic book printed on glossy paper. Behind him, a wall is covered with colourful covers and posters.]
Dermot: When people come into the Arts Library, they expect to find Beethoven and Bach, Michelangelo, and all the glories of the theatre. But we also collect a lot of other material…
[Dermot stands at a counter covered with publications.]
Dermot: ...and I’ve brought up some of my favourite things that I think give a taste of what you might find here at the State Library.
[Large tiles bolted to a wall feature a wide-eyed woman clutching her face. To one side, a silhouette on yellow background shows a man choking a woman in a long dress.]
Dermot: One of my personal favourites as far as the music collection is concerned is something that came from Geelong, actually.
[Dermot holds up a CD with a very colourful cover.]
Dermot: Here come eleven nuns (one with a bucket of chips for me). And let’s not forget that Victoria has a ferocious industry as far as popular music is concerned, and we need to have it here.
[Under the wide-eyed woman’s face, the words ‘Cover girl cries murder’ are printed in black. Dermot holds a 1970s LP cover featuring a bright orange car.]
Dermot: One of the things we’ve been purchasing just recently, Australian vinyl records from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s. We missed a lot of it at the time, but we’ve had the good fortune to be able to catch some of it lately.
[Dermot holds an LP cover up to the camera. On the cover, a man in 1970s clothing stands on a country highway with a truck in the background. Beside him, the words ‘Big Wheels, Lucky Starr’ appear in bright pink and blue.]
Dermot: And one of the people we’ve caught is Lucky Starr, truckin’ songs. Who doesn’t love a good truckin’ song? I certainly do.
[Dermot holds up the first LP cover. Barry Crocker kneels in a bright orange convertible. The words ‘Barry Crocker, Please don’t go’ appear in yellow and orange beside him.]
Dermot: Not to mention Geelong’s own Barry Crocker – Please don’t go. And why would we?
[Dermot smiles down at a large volume. The flamboyant text of the title fills the cover.]
Dermot: This is a marvellous title, recently published. Queer visitors from the marvelous land of Oz. It is, of course, The wizard of Oz, but definitely not Judy Garland territory.
[Dermot opens the volume, revealing a page of colourful cartoons.]
Dermot: This is a wonderful newspaper serialisation that happened at the turn of the 20th century. And these were just published in the daily papers of the time.
[Dermot opens to a page that looks like a newspaper ad. Beside the paragraphs of large white text, witches riding a goat and holding a jack-o’-lantern are silhouetted against a bright orange moon.]
Dermot: Every page is just a gem. The comic book industry is bigger now than it’s possibly ever been.
[Dermot looks through a comic book with a glossy, colourful cover and pages]
Dermot: This beautiful thing, Wednesday comics, comes from DC in America, and in it you find just about every single great DC character that you can think of – Superman, Batman. They’re all here in the kind of newspaper strip format, but for a new age.
[Dermot picks up a slim, yellowed paper comic called Yarmak. The cover shows two muscled men fighting in a jungle.
Dermot: Australia itself had its own very vibrant comic book industry. I have here a couple of examples of some earlier material. This one, Yarmak – jungle king comic. Yes, it’s Australia’s own shameless rip-off of Tarzan of the apes…
[Dermot flicks through the pages. The pages are filled with detailed black-and-white drawings.]
Dermot: ...but done by one of Australia’s greatest comic-book artists, Stanley Pitt.
[Dermot holds a paper comic called Cowgirl romances; the cover features a blonde woman on horseback.]
Dermot: We also have the wonderfully quirky Cowgirl romances, once again based on American models, but Australian-produced.
[The pages of a glossy book are covered with old-fashioned movie posters.]
Dermot: The other great revolution of the 20th century, of course, is film. And I just dragged this book off the new bookshelf, ’cause who could resist it? It’s The art of Hammer. This is the most wonderful book of their lurid posters, and ‘lurid’ is the word for it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
[Dermot lays all the books out on the counter.]
Dermot: And the best thing about all of these is that they’re all available for anybody to come into the library and use.
[Text onscreen: State Library of Victoria. Produced by Renegade films. Music by Kevin Macleod. Copyright State Library of Victoria 2011.]