Exactly 40 years ago today, on March 22nd 1975, Sweden hosted its first ever Eurovision Song Contest and when you look back at the show forty years will indeed feel like an eternity. It's a completely different world. Television was almost like a different medium.
If you compare what Stockholm offered viewers worldwide compared to the contests held the year before and the year after, you might get an idea of the difficult position Swedish television (not yet the SVT we know today, still a sub-division of Swedish radio) found itself in: it must be good enough to meet international standards but still rigid enough not to give people the idea that huge amounts of money was wasted on something as ridiculous as entertainment.
However, one special effect makes this contest stand out in a very positive light: the sheer super power that is Karin Falck.
Karin was a huge star in Swedish television - arguably the biggest female tv star in the history of Swedish broadcasting. She had a finger in every pie there was as a beloved host as well as a very nifty producer with an endless list of successes on her list.
She had also recently become a widow after her husband Åke Falck's untimely death in 1974 - also he was a top name in Swedish tv and the couple worked intensively together - and the top bosses thought an important task like hosting the ESC would keep Karin active and going.
Karin kept going alright. Perhaps languages skills were not her top asset, and possibly the opening of the show is a bit shaky - rumours had it her running entrance was due to colleagues literally having to push her onto stage - but once the professional in her woke up, she never lost control.
She lost her scripts, surely. Some of her quotes have become legendary and rightly so. During the voting she says fantastic things like "Seven? How much is that in France?" or "Could we have seven points on the Turkey?" but these are just glorious bi-products of a professional woman improvising her way through a language she isn't all that familiar with.
If you look at her determination instead: how steadily she makes her way through the show, how she always knows where she is going and how she never loses her temper or gets stressed. She keeps beaming like the sun throughout the entire voting - not something every host has managed to do through the years.
At the end of the show, she announces the Dutch team as winners and wraps the whole show up, still with the biggest of smiles, and ends with a few words in French: "Quelque part au fond de nous, nous serons toujours ensemble" - Somewhere inside of us, we will always be together - a greeting to her late husband Åke Falck.
Eurovision Song Contest 1975