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The script held in the Crawford Collection has neither synopsis nor characer notes.
This entry has been compiled from archival research in the Crawford Collection (AFI Research Collection), undertaken by Dr Catriona Mills under the auspices of the 2012 AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) Research Fellowship: see The Writer in Australian Television History.
Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of
Australia's first spy show, made at a time when overseas television networks were investing heavily in counter-espionage programs.
The titular character was John Hunter, a secret agent with SCU3 (Special Clandestine Unit 3), a division of COSMIC (Commonwealth Offices for Security and Military Intelligence Co-ordination). Operating under the front of Independent Surveys, COSMIC was headed by Charles Blake. Hunter was assisted by female agent Eve Halliday.
The enemy organisation, CUCW (Council for Unification of the Communist World) was headed in Australia by Mr Smith, whose chief agent was the complicated idealist Kragg. Kragg ultimately defected to the West (and to COSMIC) after a period of disillusionment with CUCW.
Late in the show's run, John Hunter met an untimely death in front of a firing squad in an Iron Curtain country. He was replaced by a new agent, Gil Martin, but the show only continued for another eight episodes, as Ian Jones preferred to concentrate on his new vehicle for Gerard Kennedy, Division 4.
According to Moran, in his Guide to Australian TV Series, 'Coming as it did towards the end of the Cold War and indeed the whole breakdown of the hegemony of Australian society, Hunter was an uneasy combination of boys'-own spy adventures, owing something to the popularity of James Bond novels, and the more cynical and seedy variation of the genre associated with writers such as Len Deighton and John Le Carre'. Don Storey, however, writes on Classic Australian Television that it was 'a bold, sophisticated and ambitious venture into slick, professional local drama', the sophistication no doubt aided by the per-episode budget of $20,000 (compared to Homicide's per-episode budget of $7000).
Number in series:19
Script cover page (Crawford Collection at the AFI Research Collection)
The script is printed on pink paper and contains neither character list nor information on cast and crew members. It is dated '17.8.67' on the cover page.
A notation in black ink in the top right-hand corner of the cover page indicates that this is script no. 67, but no indication is given of to whom this copy of the script is designated. The script has ‘The Vargon File’ written on the front cover in lead pencil, but there’s no way of determining how recent this annotation is. An indeterminate scribble (likely initials) appears on the bottom left-hand corner of the cover page.