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James Laurenson as Boney (screen cap)
form y separately published work icon Boney series - publisher   film/TV   crime  
Adaptation of Bony Arthur W. Upfield , 1929 series - author novel
Issue Details: First known date: 1972... 1972 Boney
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A television series based on the twenty-nine novels by Arthur Upfield about fictional Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Originally broadcast on the Seven Network in 1972 and 1973, the series was titled Boney rather than Upfield's original spelling ('Bony') in order to clarify its pronunciation [all references to the film character therefore retain the alternate spelling].


As described by Upfield, Boney is a foundling, born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father and raised in a mission. An exceptional student, he won scholarships to secondary school and university, but later abandoned the 'white' culture to return to his mother's people and become initiated into their tribe. The issue of living half-way between two cultures lies at the very centre of Boney's existence and provides his character with a rich complexity of attributes: intellect, cunning, arrogance, compassion, and an inherent understanding of the land and of ancient bushcraft. His career as a policeman began after he helped solve an outback murder. Recognising his exceptional skills, the Queensland Police persuaded him to join the force, and he quickly rose to the rank of Detective Inspector. His talents are such that he is often loaned to other states to help solve outback crimes.


Several significant, though not overly problematic, changes were made to the television adaptation. In the Upfield books, Boney is aged in his fifties and married with three sons. He also smokes his own very poorly constructed hand-rolled cigarettes. For the television series, however, Boney is in his early thirties and unmarried. He also doesn't smoke. Another departure from the Upfield books is the inclusion of a regular female offsider, Constable Alice McGorr, who appears throughout most of the second series. McGorr was brought in to help solve an issue that the screen writers had struggled with during much of the first series: finding opportunities to have Boney talk and particularly to explain his reasoning or concerns. The omniscient writing style of Upfield's novels complemented Boney's solo methods of investigation well, but it created problems for the screenwriters in terms of dialogue. The answer was to provide a companion. The producers eventually decided on the character of McGorr, whom Upfield had introduced in the novel Murder Must Wait. The added advantage in this strategy, too, was McGorr provides a strong feminine perspective and, as Boney was now unmarried, a touch of sexual tension.

Exhibitions

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Notes

  • After several years of searching, both in Australia and England, for an actor who could convincingly play the 'half-caste' detective, the producers went with English actor Jon Finch. The major difficulty they had in locating the right person was that the actor not only needed to have some level of star power, but was also required to have the appropriate physical (if not colour) attributes in order to play the role convincingly. When Finch pulled out of his contract two weeks before production was to begin, the producers were about to cancel when New Zealand actor James Laurenson was brought to their attention. According to Don Storey, Laurenson's 'heavy brow, wide cheekbones and broad nose and mouth, looked and sounded right for the part' ('Boney' - Classic Australian Television). He was still required, however, to undergo extensive make-up sessions for the role, including having tribal initiation scars applied to his chest for some episodes. Although the series was condemed by many Aborigional groups and spokespersons for having a white actor 'blacken up,' Laurensen went on to win two awards for best actor.

  • Boney was marketed with much success to Great Britain, Europe, and New Zealand, no doubt helped by the fact that the series was filmed in colour (Australian television was still being broadcast in black and white during the early 1970s).

  • Boney was not telecast in the originally conceived running order, nor did it go to air simultaneously in all capital cities or regional areas. The series premiered, for example, with Episode 7, 'Boney and the Claypan Mystery,' in Melbourne on 27 July and in Sydney on 3 August 1972. Episode 1, 'Venom House,' was first aired in Melbourne on 17 August, Sydney on 24 August, and Brisbane on 17 November 1972.

    For further details regarding telecast dates (including some regional centres), see Don Storey's Classic Australian Television website (below).

  • The Boney series has not been transferred to either videocassette or DVD format, and the producers have no plans to release it commercially in the near future.

  • Detailed descriptions and historical information relating to the series are available through the Classic Australian Television and Australian Television Information Archive websites.

Includes

1
form y separately published work icon Boney in Venom House Tony Morphett , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398670 1972 single work film/TV crime

While tracking a murderer, Boney comes to a gloomy old house that was cursed by Aboriginal people a long time ago. There he finds two sisters twisted by jealousy and hate, a psychiatric nurse acting as housekeeper, and, locked away in an upstairs room, a powerful man with the brain of a child.

Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
2
form y separately published work icon Boney and the White Savage Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398676 1972 single work film/TV crime A young rapist escapes from prison and returns to the safety of the rugged mountain area near his home. It is also where the crime was committed. When Inspector Bonaparte is sent to track him down, his search is impeded by the rape victim, who tries to protect her attacker. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
3
form y separately published work icon Boney Meets the Daybreak Killer Frank Hardy , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398647 1972 single work film/TV crime The murder of two girls in the outback town of Daybreak has baffled the local police, and Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate. He arrives in the district as a horse breaker, believing that going undercover is his best chance of solving the mystery. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
4
form y separately published work icon Boney Buys a Coffin Joy Cavill , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398682 1972 single work film/TV crime Inspector Bonaparte is brought to a small fishing town to investigate the discovery of an unidentified body. The town is also linked to the disappearance of a Vietnam serviceman. A stray dog leads Boney to vital clues that help him solve a case involving not only murder but also drug addiction. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
5
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Payback Killer Arthur Young , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398700 1972 single work film/TV crime

An Aboriginal boxer is released from prison after serving a sentence for killing his tribal brother. Having always maintained his innocence, he sets out to find the real killer and seek revenge. Inspector Bonaparte also sets out to prove the boxer's innocence and bring the guilty party to justice before it's too late.

Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
6
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Reaper Bob Ellis , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398704 1972 single work film/TV crime After a large reaping machine pushes George Loftus's car into the path of a train, Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate. The problem is that there many suspects. He soon discovers, too, that there is a connection between the attempted murder and an actual murder that took place in Rabul, New Guinea. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
7
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Claypan Mystery Ted Roberts , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398709 1972 single work film/TV crime Inspector Bonaparte of the Queensland Police Force is sent to investigate the mysterious crash of a light aircraft in Central Australia. Unconscious in the wreckage is a young female passenger, paralysed by drugs, but there has been no sign of either the pilot or any tracks in the vicinity to indicate where he may have gone. As Boney begins to unravel what happened and why, there is another attempt to kill the girl. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
8
form y separately published work icon Boney Picks a Widow Ted Willis , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398713 1972 single work film/TV crime Two widows have been murdered in Broken Bay, a small coastal town. When Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate, he sets a trap for the killer, using the widow he believes will be the next victim as bait. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
9
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Black Virgin Peter Yeldham , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1398721 1972 single work film/TV crime While investigating the strange death of an escaped convict, Inspector Bonaparte discovers that the prime suspect has also been murdered. He eventually finds the key to the mystery in a weird love triangle. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
10
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Monster Bruce Stewart , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1458904 1972 single work film/TV crime While investigating the mysterious death of a geologist in Central Australia, Inspector Bonaparte becomes the target of a ritual killing by an Aboriginal tribe. They believe that the geologist has been trampled by the 'monster of Alice Gap', protector of their sacred burial ground, and that it must be appeased. However, Boney discovers that a cattle-stealing operation is involved. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
11
form y separately published work icon Boney Takes a Holiday Tony Morphett , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1458908 1972 single work film/TV A veterinary student and a customs agent disappear in the Flinders Ranges, and Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate the case for the South Australian police. He soon finds himself plunged into a strange case of murder and the illegal export of Merino rams. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
12
form y separately published work icon Boney Buys a Woman Joy Cavill , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1458912 1972 single work film/TV Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is asked to investigate the baffling mystery of a murdered white woman and her abducted daughter. As he seeks clues among a tribe of Aboriginals, Boney realises that in order to spring his trap on the murderer, he must first buy the beautiful Meena from her tribal chief. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
13
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Black Opal Ted Willis , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972 Z1458919 1972 single work film/TV A policeman is found murdered on a road in the rugged MacDonnell Ranges and his black tracker is missing, also believed dead. When Inspector Napoloeon Bonaparte of the Queensland Police Force is sent to investigate, he finds he has allies in the local Aboriginal community bent on revenge. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1972
14
form y separately published work icon Boney Tells a Fortune Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458925 1973 single work film/TV When an astrologer dies after having predicted his own death, but not at the hands of a murderer, Inspector Bonaparte investigates. What appears to be a clear-cut case proves to be something else entirely. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
15
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Paroo Bikeman Peter Yeldham , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458929 1973 single work film/TV On a sheep station near the Paroo River (in far west New South Wales), Inspector Bonaparte goes undercover to investigate a double murder that occurred during a bitter industrial dispute. While probing the case, Boney find himself in danger when he is suspected of being both a trade-union organiser and a black-leg labour recruiter. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
16
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Strangler Tony Morphett , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458933 1973 single work film/TV Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate the killing of a pregnant girl in a tropical rainforest. With no tracks leading to or from the body, he uses his intuition and logic, along with the help of Constable Alice McGorr, to identify the killer from among half a dozen suspects. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
17
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Powder Trail Tony Morphett , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458937 1973 single work film/TV Inspector Bonaparte is sent to investigate a murder and finds himself tracking a hired killer who is attempting to escape across the outback with a young Aboriginal guide and a bag of highly marketable heroin. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
18
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Albatross Ross Napier , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458942 1973 single work film/TV Inspector Bonaparte is sent to a small Australian coastal town to investigate the disappearance at sea of a U.S. senator. His investigations reveal that the senator was murdered in order to protect the headquarters of an international drug syndicate. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
19
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Kelly Gang Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458950 1973 single work film/TV Sent to investigate a spate of bank robberies, Inspector Bonaparte goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of Irish-Australian bandits who wear suits of armour in the tradition of Ned Kelly. Boney eventually leads the gang into a trap. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
20
form y separately published work icon Boney Hunts a Murderess Tony Morphett , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1458954 1973 single work film/TV

Inspector Bonaparte and Constable McGorr are sent to investigate the murder of a man who had been travelling by train in the outback. The principal suspect is a woman who is returning to her home town after having spent the previous ten years in gaol for the murder of her husband.

Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
21
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Emu Man Joyce Belfrage , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459006 1973 single work film/TV When three babies are kidnapped in a small country town and then a fourth disappears with its mother, Inspector Bonaparte and Constable McGorr are sent to investigate. Boney uncovers a cult based on Aboriginal lore, as the townspeople try to start a new tribe to replace those displaced by white men. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
22
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Devil's Steps Joy Cavill , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459010 1973 single work film/TV Inspector Bonaparte and Constable McGorr investigate the murder of a famous show-business personality at a luxury health farm. Boney checks in as a guest and has to unravel a complex case involving a change of leadership in a ruthless international crime syndicate. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
23
form y separately published work icon Boney Walks with Death Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459014 1973 single work film/TV A man of mixed Aboriginal and European heritage (who bears a striking resemblance to Boney and who has been using his name) is killed when a crop duster engulfs him in a lethal cloud of insecticide. When Boney and Constable McGorr are sent to investigate the death, they find that one of the locals, Dr Paul Henderson, is over-anxious to protect his fiancée, Gloria Lacey (the daughter of an outback magistrate). Gloria had once had an affair with the murdered man and has since received death threats. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
24
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Burial Tree Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459022 1973 single work film/TV When a white man is shot and 'buried' Aboriginal-style in a tree, Inspector Bonaparte and Constable McGorr are sent to investigate. However, nobody on the outback property where the body was found will admit having seen the dead man, although he was watching the homestead from his nearby camp. Boney also has to deal with a fanatical Army officer out to avenge the death of his mate. When the officer captures McGorr, Boney's skills and ingenuity are tested to the full. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
25
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Silent Order Eric Paice , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459041 1973 single work film/TV

Based on Arthur Upfield's character Bony but not on a specific novel, the narrative concerns a light aircraft that disappears after a forced landing on an emergency airstrip in the bush. Concerns are heightened because the plane was carrying a payroll. While investigating the plane's disappearance, Inspector Bonaparte and Constable Alice McGorr are drawn to a nearby convent. Realising that this 'silent order' (where the nuns are not permitted to speak) may hold the key to the case, McGorr enters the convent undercover. Meanwhile, Boney searches the bush for two kangaroo shooters who prefer human game.

Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973
26
form y separately published work icon Boney and the Black Clansman Ted Roberts , Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973 Z1459035 1973 single work film/TV While investigating sheep rustling and reprisal killings of stockmen, Inspector Bonaparte walks into a full-scale clan feud between two Australian outback families who cling stubbornly to the grim traditions of their Scottish ancestors. Australia : Fauna Productions , 1973

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1972

Works about this Work

Play it Again, From Bogie to Bony Peter Craven , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 27 June 2013; (p. 12)
'Boney' Don Storey , 2002- single work criticism
— Appears in: TV Eye Classic Australian Television 2002-;
Comprehensive discussion on the creation of the television series Boney. The series was based closely on the novels by Arthur Upfield.
y separately published work icon Boney : Following the Footsteps of a Lost TV Series Roger Mitchell , Chepstow : Roger Mitchell , 2001 Z1833025 2001 selected work criticism biography bibliography 'Based on Upfield's Inspector Bonaparte novels, the TV series Boney was made in Australia in 1971, yet despite worldwide acclaim, has never been shown in the USA. This PDF file (to view on a computer - PC or Mac) by Roger Mitchell tells the whole fascinating story of how Upfield created his half-Aborigine detective, and how the TV show was planned and shot. It has new interviews with the producer, directors and controversial star James Laurenson - and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos. It also contains articles on each episode, information on the company's other series, a Press section, an overview of each novel AND biographies of the creators of the show.' (Publisher's blurb)
Untitled John A. Newfong , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Identity , July vol. 1 no. 7 1973; (p. 39-40)

— Appears in: Boney : Following the Footsteps of a Lost TV Series 2011;

— Review of Boney 1972 series - publisher film/TV
form y separately published work icon A Man Called Boney Sydney : Australian Television Network , 1972 Z1398272 1972 single work film/TV A documentary produced by the ATN-7 (Sydney) news and current affairs departments, A Man Called Boney is a forty-five-minute film that focuses on the cast and crew as they make the series in outback Australia. It also features preview scenes from the series and interviews with producers John McCallum and Lee Robinson (who discuss aspects of Arthur Upfield's novels and the production itself). James Laurenson also examines the character of Boney.
Untitled John A. Newfong , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Identity , July vol. 1 no. 7 1973; (p. 39-40)

— Appears in: Boney : Following the Footsteps of a Lost TV Series 2011;

— Review of Boney 1972 series - publisher film/TV
'Boney' Don Storey , 2002- single work criticism
— Appears in: TV Eye Classic Australian Television 2002-;
Comprehensive discussion on the creation of the television series Boney. The series was based closely on the novels by Arthur Upfield.
form y separately published work icon A Man Called Boney Sydney : Australian Television Network , 1972 Z1398272 1972 single work film/TV A documentary produced by the ATN-7 (Sydney) news and current affairs departments, A Man Called Boney is a forty-five-minute film that focuses on the cast and crew as they make the series in outback Australia. It also features preview scenes from the series and interviews with producers John McCallum and Lee Robinson (who discuss aspects of Arthur Upfield's novels and the production itself). James Laurenson also examines the character of Boney.
y separately published work icon Boney : Following the Footsteps of a Lost TV Series Roger Mitchell , Chepstow : Roger Mitchell , 2001 Z1833025 2001 selected work criticism biography bibliography 'Based on Upfield's Inspector Bonaparte novels, the TV series Boney was made in Australia in 1971, yet despite worldwide acclaim, has never been shown in the USA. This PDF file (to view on a computer - PC or Mac) by Roger Mitchell tells the whole fascinating story of how Upfield created his half-Aborigine detective, and how the TV show was planned and shot. It has new interviews with the producer, directors and controversial star James Laurenson - and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos. It also contains articles on each episode, information on the company's other series, a Press section, an overview of each novel AND biographies of the creators of the show.' (Publisher's blurb)
Play it Again, From Bogie to Bony Peter Craven , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 27 June 2013; (p. 12)
Last amended 4 Dec 2013 16:27:59
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