Chrismarlon Perera a member of the Radio Ceylon Facebook Group recently visited the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and made a presentation to the Chairman of the station, the veteran Sri Lankan broadcaster Hudson Samarasinghe of a picture of Vernon Corea who was well known across South Asia as the Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon/SLBC. The presentation was made to commemorate the 12th Death Anniversary of Vernon Corea which falls on 23rd September 2014. Vernon Corea’s birthday also falls on 11th September 2014. Chrismarlon Perera a leading light of the Radio Ceylon Facebook Group said it was a very moving occasion and many SLBC employees came to see the picture which now hangs on the wall of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
Vernon Corea’s daughter, Ouida Corea-Wickramaratne recently visited Sri Lanka in July 2014. She visited the iconic Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and met with the veteran Sri Lankan broadcasters. Photographs show Ouida Corea-Wickramaratne with Nihal Bhareti who had a very distinctive voice – he joined Radio Ceylon in the 1960s and still presents radio programmes over the airwaves of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Ouida, daughter of Vernon Corea met with the veteran Tamil announcer of Radio Ceylon/Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Kailayar Sellanainar Sivakumaran in Colombo Sri Lanka. Siva knew Vernon very well. He has presented radio programmes over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon from the 1960s. Both Nihal and Siva knew broadcaster Vernon Corea when he was with Radio Ceylon/SLBC.
Vernon Corea was a distinguished broadcaster in Sri Lanka according to the Training Institute of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in Colombo, Sri Lanka:
Ridgeway Tillekeratne was Secretary to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Sri Lanka in the 1970s. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike appointed Ridgeway Tillekeratne Chairman AND Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) on the 1st of September 1973. He created world broadcasting history in 1975 when he appointed the first Sri Lankan visually impaired newsreader, Miss.H.P. Bisso Menike – she read the daily news bulletin on the SLBC – this was an absolute first for South Asia and Sri Lanka in terms of broadcasting and the differently abled. Ridgeway Tillekeratne was a first class administrator and he showed leadership and was instrumental in bringing stability to the SLBC in the 1970s. He was senior member of the Ceylon Civil Service. Born on 14th August 1931 he died on 19th August 1981. He was a top civil servant in Sri Lanka.
Recognising the talents, skills and experience of Sri Lankan broadcaster Vernon Corea, Ridgeway Tillekeratne appointed him Director News of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 1974. Vernon Corea held this appointment until he left the Corporation in June 1975 when the family migrated to the United Kingdom.
Bill Lear (1902 – 1978), the Founder of the Lear Jet Corporation in Wichita, Kansas, in the United States of America included a stopover in Colombo, Ceylon now Sri Lanka when he thought about sending his Learjet 24 around the world. He wanted a world record, so he dispatched a Learjet 24 N427LJ at 5.13 pm on May 23rd 1966 from Kansas in the United States of America. The Learjet made record breaking speed via Barcelona, Istanbul, Teheran and Karachi. They flew close to India on route to Sri Lanka. As the Learjet 24 was approaching the coast of Ceylon it ran short of fuel. The pilots headed for Colombo Airport just 500 feet above water. When the Learjet landed in Colombo it only had 100 lbs of fuel left on the aircraft. The delay in Colombo prevented them from establishing a world record of the business jet flying around the world. The Lear Jet flew on to Singapore from Colombo.
This was the first ever occasion of a business jet touching down in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The jet had travelled 23,993 miles in 50 hours 20 minutes.
The Bombardier Learjet 45 XR can now fly non-stop from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Bill Lear was also a gifted inventor – he invented the car radio and the 8-track tape. Stereo 8, commonly known as the eight-track cartridge, eight-track tape was used by Radio Ceylon and subsequently the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in the 1960s and 1970s. Sri Lankan broadcaster Vernon Corea has used the 8-track tape for his radio programmes. Bill Lear was also co-founder of Motorola.
Please read the book ‘The Planes of Wichita,’ for further information on the historic stopover in Ceylon:
Bill Lead and the founding of the Lear Jet:
An exhibition was held in Sri Lanka in 2012 of vintage posters of Ceylon according to a news report in the Daily News in Colombo:
An Exhibition of Vintage Posters of Ceylon by Anura Saparamadu will be held until November 24 at The BAREFOOT Gallery, Colombo, No.704, Galle Road, Colombo – 3 from 10 am to 7pm on Weekdays and 11 am to 5pm on Sundays.
Anura Saparamadu has been collecting classic posters of Ceylon for a long time.
Through the years his poster collection grew to more than 250 examples that showcased the talents of Ceylon’s artists. In 2011, Anura published ‘Vintage Posters of Ceylon’ a cofee table book that featured his entire collection.
This exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of Vintage Ceylon posters from the late 1890s up to 1972.