1 9 6 0 – 1 9 7 5 (Australia)
60/90 minute episodes
Considered by many as the ‘King’ of Australian television, Graham Kennedy established himself on the ground-breaking prime time variety show In Melbourne Tonight launched on GTV-9 in 1957.
From there he was given the golden opportunity on special Friday night editions to host The Graham Kennedy Show as a national trial – and the rest is history.
Graham was supported on the show by the likes of Bert Newton, Patti Newton, Pete Smith, Philip Brady, Rosie Sturgess, Joy Westmore and Johnny Ladd with an array of entertaining guests (including early sightings of Ossie Ostrich and Daryl Somers).
On 3 March 1975, nearly 1000 people phoned Channel 9 in Australia to complain about a Monday night edition of The Graham Kennedy Show. Graham had used the word “faaaaaark” during a live Cedel Hairspray commercial. He claimed it was an impersonation of a crow call.
He was asked by the Broadcasting Control Board to defend his actions and when he refused, he was banned from performing live to air. A pre-recorded version of The Graham Kennedy Show went to air for another month before Kennedy resigned from Channel 9 in April.
Noel Ferrier and Daryl Somers were quickly recruited as fill-in hosts for the vacated timeslot.
Kennedy would not return to television until 1977, when he returned as the host of Blankety Blanks.
A diabetic and a heavy smoker and drinker, Kennedy’s health declined during the 1990s. In June 2002, he was found unconscious at his home, suffering a broken leg and skull with suspected brain damage. He was moved into the Kenilworth Nursing Home at Bowral (south of Sydney), where he died on 25 May 2005 from complications arising from pneumonia. He was 71.