Graham Kennedy Treasures: Friends remember the king
Miegunyah, $64.99 hb, 272 pp
Tucked inside a plastic sleeve affixed to the inside front cover of this handsome, large-format book is a video disc promising ‘The Best of Graham Kennedy’. Introduced by Stuart Wagstaff, the one hour of footage offers a compilation of Kennedy’s work for Channel Nine drawn from the early days of In Melbourne Tonight (1957–69) and The Graham Kennedy Show (1972–75). Most of the sketches, dance routines, advertising segments and encounters with the audience I had seen before. Rover the Wonder Dog peeing on a camera while refusing to spruik Pal dog food has become part of the collective memory of Kennedy’s contrived mayhem, revisited whenever television (especially Channel Nine) embarks on one of those moments of self-memorialisation with which it marks each milestone. There was, however, one early IMT sketch I had not seen. Rosie Sturgess, wearing an apron, enters a kitchen set looking for Bubba. Bubba is under the table. Graham dressed as a baby in a bonnet is discovered and helped into a chair which Sturgess needs to move closer to the table for the sketch to proceed. She tries to lift the chair with Kennedy in it. She can’t shift it or him. Sturgess looks helplessly at Kennedy. Kennedy smirks impishly back. Things are not going as planned. Or are they? I started to laugh and kept on laughing for the duration of the sketch as the porridge flew and the milk sprayed while the tears ran down my cheeks.