Graham Kennedy

I’ve really loved Graham Kennedy for a long time. My earliest memory is of his return to night time television in the 1970s. One of the unfortunate parts of living in the country in this period was dodgy communications which meant that the “live” Graham Kennedy show from Melbourne was often disrupted due to telecommunication failures between Sydney and Brisbane. For that reason I don’t actually remember the famous crow call when Graham said, “Faaaark” and soon afterwards was removed from live television.

A stronger memory came with the arrival of “Blankety Blanks” which I absolutely loved. I loved it so much I used to watch it a couple of times a day. First on the local television station, RTN8, and then, as a result of bodgying up a television antenna, I’d watch it on TVQ0 from Brisbane. As a young kid on the verge of puberty with an interest in working in the media, it was both a training manual for my future career, and an insight into the “adult world” with its naughty jokes.

I’ve folllowed Graham Kennedy’s career ever since and was reasonably upset when he died a few weeks ago. There was always something about the Kennedy story that I could relate to in my own life. The kid from working class origins who was reasonably smart and who achieved some of his dreams. Although our dreams were achieved on quite different levels, I also thought there was something of a kinded humanity in that we’re both reasonably solitary figures.

So when I saw the book at Perth airport, I thought it was time to read a little more about Kennedy. Unfortunately there was nothing I didn’t really already know from having read hundreds of copies of “TV Week” as a teenager.

That said, there are some wonderful anecdotes about how spent his first big paycheck on a television for his grandmother, a story about driving a family to Mildura and then driving home almost instantly and in later life, stories about his battle with alcoholism that probably, in the end, killed him.

Although there are some personal reminiscences from the likes of Noelene Brown this is very much a “public account” of Graham Kennedy’s life. And for that reason I found it a little disappointing. I wasn’t looking for a “Kitty Kelley” tell all book about his personal relationships, but I guess I was looking for a more explicit book about Graham Kennedy the person.

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