Thursday, August 14, 2014

Norman Coburn

I'm going to write about another Home and Away star today—Norman Coburn. He plays one of my favorite characters—Donald Fisher. Although I did have problems with the storyline I was watching just before being banished from Summer Bay.

It's one of those storylines where it seems the writers are suddenly giving a character a new backstory—one that doesn't fit with what we already know about them.

We learn that, years ago, Donald Fisher accidentally shot a teenager (or he thought he did) and was blackmailed into keeping it quiet. The thing is, Donald Fisher is portrayed as a very moralistic man—so moralistic that he gets a bit too uptight at times. If I remember correctly, there was a time where his friend Celia Stewart asked advice about whether she should go to the police about something, even if it would hurt and anger someone she loves. I'm pretty sure Fisher said yes.

Fisher does not seem like the type of man who would accidentally kill someone and then keep it a secret for many years. I do think it's possible for someone to be a hypocrite, but in a case like this, I think he'd be totally mental. I think keeping such a secret would make Fisher go insane.

It's also annoying that the person Fisher thought he shot was the brother of Matt. Yet I don't think we ever heard that Matt had a brother until a few days before the storyline began.

I hate the rapid foreshadowing that often happens on storylines. Suddenly, Matt is a bereaved sibling and Donald Fisher has a big horrible secret. Why can't the writers come up with full character backstories way ahead of time, and then slowly drop hints years...or at least months ahead of time?

Anyway...let me move onto the actor who plays Donald Fisher. I use present tense because I'm not sure if he's off the show. And unless his character is dead, if he's not on the show, he could always make an appearance in the future. Even if he is dead, he can appear as a real or imagined ghost. If he was on an American soap opera, it's likely he'd come BACK from the dead.

I'm wondering now. Has anyone from Home and Away ever returned from the dead? Not as zombies. I mean it's not like characters on Days of our Lives literally rise from the dead. It's more like people thought their loved ones were dead, but it ends up they were mistaken.

Yeah.  Onto Coburn....

Should I start with Lord Wiki or IMDb?

Maybe I'll go with IMDb today.

Norman Coburn was born March 6, 1937. He's seventy-seven—twelve years older than my dad.

How old was he in 1990—the time period I was watching him in?

Just did the calculations. He would have been about 53.

I don't think I realized he was that old. Or maybe I did. I don't know.

I look at the adults on the show and wonder if they're my age or whether they're older or younger. It's hard for me to tell sometimes.

Anyway...let's move on.

Coburn's place of birth was Sydney. So when he was born, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was relatively new. I'm just trying to put things in perspective here.

His first screen appearance was an appearance in a TV show called Dixon of Dock Green. I've never heard of it. Have you?

It was a long-running UK show (1955-1976). Lord Wiki says it was about a police station.

At some point, Coburn must have left Australia. I wonder if he left specifically for his acting career. Or was he in the UK for another reason and somehow ended up with an acting job?

In 1960, Coburn appeared in a UK war drama. Circle of Deception.

When did he get back to Australia?

I'm quickly looking through his credits, trying to find something Australian. So far there's a lot of British stuff.

Oh! There's a big gap here.

In 1965, Coburn had a role in a UK movie called Tomorrow at Ten. Then the filmography jumps to 1981. Coburn was in an Aussie movie called A Step in the the Right Direction.

What was happening in that sixteen year gap? Was he doing theater? Struggling to find himself some acting jobs? Giving up on acting? Pursuing something else?

Here's a piece of trivia. Di Drew the director of A Step in the Right Direction was a director for Home and Away from 2010-2013.

I just thought that was interesting. And maybe inspirational. She started with some small movies that seem to have been forgotten, and then she ended up directing a hit TV show.

From 1982-1988, Coburn guest-starred on a few Aussie TV shows.  Then he was on Home and Away from 1988-2007. He's been off the show for seven years.

In 2008, he appeared on an episode of a show called The Hollowmen. I don't know if he had a small part or big part.

I wonder what Coburn has been doing the last six years. Is he still acting? Theater? Maybe he's retired? If he is retired, how is he keeping himself busy?

Now I'm going to consult Lord Wiki.

Lord Wiki disagrees with IMDb about Coburn being born on March 6. He says Coburn was born on April 6. Who's right? Or maybe they're both wrong.

Lord Wiki also disagrees with IMDb about when Coburn left Home and Away. IMDb says it was 2007. Lord Wiki says it was 2003.

Right now, he supposidly lives on Bruny Island. But I'm not sure I can trust Lord Wiki on that. I don't know who to trust right now.

This article about Ray Meagher's birthday confirms the Bruny Island thing. It says Meagher and his wife are going on a road trip to Tasmania and will visit Coburn on Bruny Island.

How do you take a road trip TO Tasmania?

Well, I guess you could take the ferry and put your car on that. Would it still count as a road trip?

Here's something random, and kind of interesting. There's a restaurant in Cornwall called the Mermaid Seafood Restaurant. On their history page, they say, When Francis retired it was converted yet again - this time into a wine bar and then later still into a restaurant. This conversion was done by Norman Coburn - again of television fame - he plays Fisher in Home and Away. In 1980 it was taken over by its present owners who have completely rebuilt it with affection and care and who have made it probably St. Ives’ most interesting and successful restaurant.

So maybe that explains what was happening during the gap in Coburn's filmography. He was owning a restaurant. That's pretty cool.

I found this video about a 2008 production of Death of a Salesman at the York Theatre in Seymour Centre. Coburn is listed as being in the cast. I'm not sure if he'll be in the video.  I'll watch and see. Before I do that, I'm curious about the Seymour Centre. It's in Sydney. I don't think I've heard of it before.

Oh. Okay. I'm looking at Google Maps. It's near the University of Sydney. Or maybe it's even part of the university. that I've looked closer at the website. I see that they are connected.

I'm going to watch the video now.

Jackie Weaver is in it.

One of the actors looks so familiar to me.

Anthony Gooley.

Should I know him?

IMDb says he was in three episodes of the second season of Packed to the Rafters. I forgot how many seasons I watched of that show. Was it only one, or did I watch some of the second?

I didn't see Coburn in the video. Unfortunately.

There's a Norman Coburn account on Twitter. I'm guessing it's really him. Why? There's only one Tweet. I would think if someone faked an account, they'd put more work into it.

His one Tweet is from May 7, 2013, and it's a reply to someone named Ian Hyland.

The Tweet: Apprentice look/like Francesca -Stella English, Natalie - Nicola Stapleton,Uzma - Marge when Homer hits her with makeup gun!

Fascinating! What does it mean? I see the Simpsons reference. Did Homer really hit Marge with a make-up gun? Is Norman Coburn a fan of The Simpsons? Well, I wonder if Donald Fisher would like the show. I picture him hating it at first and complaining about people watching it. But then I think he'd be pressured into giving it a chance, and he'd end up liking it.

Well, there is a Makeup Gun.  It was in a 1998 episode. I'm pretty sure we watched episodes from that year. But I'm not remembering it.

I looked up Francesca-Stella English and came across something about Apprentice Lookalikes. Is it a show?

Now I'm seeing this Huffington Post article. I think it's some kind of celebrity look-a-like show. Maybe Coburn was a fan?

Well, I think that's about it for this post. I wish I could find more information about Coburn. He sounds quite interesting.