TOPICS:  Bid for stardom on Permanent record

A CHECK-shirted man boomed instructions at the young cast. Their costumes, heavy with bonnets and frills, designated them as adults from the turn of the 20th century.

‘‘OK, people with money bags put them in the safe and remember, everyone’s excited about this because it means you’re closer to owning a home.’’

The new Newcastle Permanent Building Society ad takes the form of a kids’ play about the past 110 years. Cast members have been picked from the Young People’s Theatre at Hamilton, and fitted out with more period clobber than a season of Downton Abbey.

Perm ads often make for watercooler chat in the Hunter. They form a soundtrack to our living rooms.

Think of the fist-pumping ‘‘This Is Our Town’’ ads, or the ‘‘Here For Good’’ jingle girl hitting notes we cannot replicate in the shower.

Topics visited the set of the new ad. Cast member Amelia Audet, seven, wasn’t quite sure which decade her costume belonged to (we guessed the 1940s) but was ‘‘excited’’ about the prospect of seeing herself on TV.

‘‘I only know that I’m dressing up as an adult,’’ Ms Audet told us.

Her little brother Archie, four, was unlikely to understand the ad at his age but ‘‘he’s going to school next year, and then he’ll understand’’.

The ad goes to air early next year. While we wait for it, does anyone remember the 1984 Perm ad? A curious offering from the ‘‘Our Town’’ campaign creator Garry Sleeman, it featured a spaceship landing on the Perm building on King Street.

Can someone tell us more about it?

 Santa’s magic moment

 DID Santa just turn down a few gift requests?

At this highly strung time of year, there’s nothing more heart-warming than a photo with the bloke in the red suit. Even one where everyone’s bawling their eyes out.

Here’s a nice follow-on from the ordeal of Elwood Peak, the Waratah West toddler whose emotional photo with Santa we brought you last week.

We’re not sure exactly what Santa said before the flash went off in this latest one at Charlestown Square, but it was all a bit much for Lilly, age four, Cooper (13 months) and Ruby, 15 months.

They’re all from Tingira Heights, and we doubt Santa will forget them in a hurry.

 Genes may be too tight

 WE recently asked why all jockeys sound kind of the same, and even got some answers.

In the case of the little folk who ride horses, an expert told us it was mostly down to the hardware. A big person tends to have a big voice apparatus, which produces a lower voice. A little person has a smaller instrument, which produces higher notes.

‘‘Two quick thoughts on professions come to mind after reading your piece on jockeys sounding similar,’’  reader Howard Bushby  emailed us.

‘‘1. Talk back jocks. 2. Politicians, state and federal.’’

By jove, the man’s right, though the similarities in these professions seem to be a matter of habit rather than genetics. 

We’d add auctioneers to the list and, dare we say it, footballers in man-of-the-match interviews.

Think of any others?

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