NZ On Screen’s Zara Potts takes a look at an array of mullets and other dubious hairdos in our screen history.

In the 70's, the hit show on Broadway, and across the globe, was Hair. The eponymous title song extolled the virtues of "long beautiful hair, shining gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen hair."

But the hippies weren't the only ones with designs on follicular finesse, stars of the screen also had their share of outstanding hairstyles.

As times have changed, so has the fashion for hair – only a couple of decades back, the mullet could be found in offices, playgrounds and high-end fashion shops everywhere – these days, however, the old "business at the front, party at the back" style has been largely been consigned to the history books.

One of our most recognisable heads of hair belonged to one of our best writers. Janet Frame was instantly recognisable with her shock of red hair and in Jane Campion's 1990 movie An Angel at my Table the actresses portraying Frame throughout her life were fitted with wigs to give them the unruly curls that were associated with Frame.


See the trailer for An Angel at my Table here:

Curls were also something that distinguished former All Black and sports presenter Grahame Thorne. When he debuted his new perm while reading the sports news in 1983, his hairdo inspired irate phone calls, national headlines and even "Curls are for Girls" banners at rugby games. Sadly, his big reveal has been lost to the archives and the only evidence of this fashion "crime" is a slightly grown-out wave.

See Grahame Thorne's perm here:

For children who grew up in the 70s and 80s one of the beloved characters on screen was Count Homogenised; a vampire who loved milk. Presumably guzzling down so many litres of full cream turned the Count's 'fro completely white. The wig that actor Russell Smith wore for the part began as grey and quickly morphed into the porcelain white colour as the series took off.

See an episode of It is I, Count Homogenised here:

There are almost too many perms to count in Gloss – the 80s soap drama. As well as shoulder pads you could land a small plane on and some very brave choices in knitwear, the classic series is right on point when it comes to what passed for fashionable hair in 1987. Spiral perms, root perms, body waves and multi-cultured hair, you can almost smell the hairspray leaking off the screen.

Watch a dizzying display of 80s do's in the first episode of Gloss here:

Also making waves in 1987 was singer Shona Laing who was also rocking a haircut that was popular on many main streets at the time; the mighty mullet. Shona's choice of mullet was the shaven head topper with short sides and some subtle length down the back. Best worn with Japanese-inspired clothing, hoop earrings and a "Don't Mess with Me" glare.

Watch Shona Laing's Glad I'm Not a Kennedy here:

The precursor to the mullet is best exemplified in Stu Dennison, who hosted Nice One – an after-school show in which Stu played a cheeky, long-haired schoolboy. After decades of short back and sides, the 70s was all about length and volume and men of the time delighted in shoulder length locks, heavy moustaches and as much chest hair as they could muster.

See Ready to Roll - Nice One here: