One of the few icons of Australian television. A blending of four ad-lib talents that combined to make a unique variety programme that stopped Australians from leaving the house whilst it was on (until the advent of video recorders allowed them!)
I grew up with 'Hey Hey, It's Saturday'. A unique programme in Australian TV. Starting on Saturday mornings in 1971 (8am to 11am) as the traditional studio compere links between the Saturday morning cartoons. Quickly the ad-lib style of the hosts (the key 4 personnel of Daryl Somers & Ossie Ostrich (two of the most misspelt names ever on Australian television?) & voice over man John Blackman & sound effects guru Murray Tregonning) saw the cartoons slowly diminish! One classic morning, out of the three hours of cartoons, only one segment of one cartoon aired! The rest was ad-lib magic. When they suggested champagne & chicken breakfasts, so did the fans. Live television meant some classic moments. From Rock Bands on the Discussion segments (reviewing latest releases) who were hung over or dropped magic words after the previous night's gig, to an Ossie early cross-over without head (Oops!). It was humour working rapid fire on many levels, visual, verbal, adult, and child-like. In-jokes abounded. The crew were incorporated into the show as stars in their own right. (Bray the Garden Gnome, Crystal, Phil). The task each week of the other three key players was simply to break Daryl up in laughter. Many times succeeding. Whilst the key 4 remained, the show was unbeatable. Jackie MacDonald joined a few seasons later to add a woman's touch (Hurley Burley What A Girlie was the catch cry). Moving to nights, increased the audience, but lowered the daring of the humour. Once Ossie Ostrich (Graham Kennedy's ex-scriptwriter, Ernie Carroll) retired, it lost it's unique place. Not everyone was a fan of Ossie Ostrich. One International star, Robert Palmer, refused to be interviewed by 'a puppet' as being beneath his image. There will never be another 'Hey Hey It's Saturday'. Variety television in Australia is all the more poorer.
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