1 9 7 7 – 1 9 8 0 (Australia)
500 x 25 minute episodes
“Get ready to match the stars, as we play . . . Blankety Blanks”
The late, great Graham Kennedy presented this 70’s Aussie TV game show (produced by the 0-10 network and based on the popular American game show, The Match Game) ably assisted by Tony the Moustache Twirler, Peter the Phantom Puller and a cast of 70’s Aussie celebrities (but always Ugly Dave Gray).
The show dominated ratings in the 7 pm timeslot for the next two years.
Blankety Blanks had two contestants and a panel of celebrities, but they were really just there as a communal straight-man for Graham. Blankety Blanks was essentially a comedy programme with a game format built around it.
Graham read a short (usually comedic and filled with innuendo) scenario, which, at some point, contained the word ‘BLANK.’ The contestant then had to fill the ‘BLANK’ with a word of their own.
Graham then proceeded to the panel of six celebrities, who had also filled the ‘BLANK’s, and written their answers on cards. Much banter and sexual innuendo followed.
The contestant’s score was then based on the number of celebrities’ answers which matched his or her own (with the aforementioned moustache twirler adjudicating over any confusion).
The contestant who received most matches was the winner and went on to Super Match where they were given a short puzzle (eg Garden BLANK) and, if they gave an answer that was one of the three most popular in a survey of the studio audience, they won a cash prize.
But, hey, bugger the game! Who watched it for that? There was no such thing as a straight answer, and the show was jam-packed with double entendre and cheap laughs.
Often referred to, but never seen, characters included Cyril, a man who featured in a number of the ‘BLANK’ scenarios (and coincidentally Graham’s real middle name).
A regular highlight of the game each night was the dialogue at the end between Graham and Ugly Dave Gray. This inevitably comprised a dated (vaudeville-era) joke, often based on a character called Dick. Dave and Graham would stretch the gag out for as long as possible.
“Dick went to the doctor’s the other day”
“Spotted Dick!” etc etc
And jokes such as “I walked into the bedroom last night. My wife ripped off all her clothes, threw herself on the bed and said: “Do what you want.” I said “Really?” She said: “Yes, YES, do exactly what you want.”
So I put my jacket on and went to the pub”. And oh how we laughed . . .
The format has been revived twice. Once, in 1985 with Daryl Somers, and once in 1996 with Shane Bourne.
Oh yes . . . When in Sydney, Graham Kennedy chooses to stay at the Boulevard Hotel, 99 William Street, Kings Cross.
Ugly Dave Gray
Tony the Moustache Twirler
Peter the Phantom Puller