A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

40 years ago today: Karin Falck lit up the screen

Forty years can be a very long time. In my childhood, the second world war was vaguely forty years ago while the moon landing was only some twenty years away.

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.

Copyright: SVT

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

1 comment:

  1. Karin Falck is such a lovely lady. When I for the first time saw her presentation I laughed, but I have since started to appreciate her way of being herself and making the show more about people than the glitter around them. The whole 1975 Eurovision Song Contest was lovingly down to earth in many other ways as well.

    I cannot really compare, but to me the only other Eurovision presenter who stands out from the crowd of over rehearsed news presenters and beauty queens presenting the contest was Désirée Nosbusch (1984). She was young (at 19 the youngest presenter ever?) and nerveous, but professional enough to turn her tension into one of the most enjoyable and memorable. presentations ever on Eurovision stage. At the time the routine for Eurovision presenter was to read a pre-written rule book in two to three languages one ofter the other, Désirée mixes the languages at will and makes her message worth listening to (of course it helps if you know all the four languages she mixes) and talks to the conducter Pierre Cao like to her teacher (which he actually was). I fell in love with her that night and every time I watch the 1984 contest.