1 9 7 4 (Australia)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Australian comedy series Mac and Merle starred two of the country’s best-known characters, Gordon Chater and Gwen Plumb.
Mr and Mrs John McInerney (Chater and Plumb) were known as Mac and Merle to everyone. In fact, you knew something momentous was afoot if Mac was ever addressed as “John”.
Mac always called his wife ‘Merle’ except in moments of stress when she became “silly old brolga”.
Merle was inclined to get her words mixed up so that hijackers became “high jokers” and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area the “irritation area”. Both shied away from saying anyone had died – their friends and acquaintances were all “snatched to glory”.
Each of the six shows was made up of three 10-minute sketches, an ideal length for the quick comedy sketches written by Ray Bichler, who also wrote the material for Chater’s tremendously successful Mavis Bramston Show.
In each sketch, Mac and Merle were joined by other comedians. In the opening sketch, ‘The Night Vistors’, they entertained Al Thomas and Beryl Cheers.
Al and Beryl arrive late at night, claim bed, board and hospitality that they’d been promised, they said, in 1954. The McInerney’s have no recollection of the couple who claim to be old friends.
Mac and Merle rise to the occasion but have a worrying time when they get back into bed, covered by their quilt of multicoloured crochet squares.
Guest stars on the ABC series included Noel Brophy, Ruth Cracknell, Wendy Blacklock, Judi Farr, Noel Ferrier, Dawn Lake, Toni Lamond and Mike Walsh.
John ‘Mac’ McInerney