1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 9 (Australia)
“Evenin’ viewers”. This was Paul Hogan in the days before he became Mick “Crocodile” Dundee, hooked up with Linda Kozlowski and dumped poor old Narelle in the fibro house at Auburn.
“Hoges” may not have invented the Australian Ocker image but he certainly embodied it and much of the humour on the show involved making jokes about minority groups, whether ethnic or social – visual gags about queers, winos, perverts, pommies and wogs – and perpetuating the great Aussie myth of the brawling, boozy, bronzed, pot-bellied male who treats his woman like dirt.
The former Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger who made his debut on New Faces came to fame via a regular spot on A Current Affair, a series of specials for Channel 7 and then his own show.
The shows also featured fantastic work by Hoges’ business partner John Cornell as drongo sidekick Strop – who also got to marry his Hogan Show co-star, the spunk of the seventies, Delvene Delaney, in real life.
When Delvene left the show, Hoges and Strop were joined by Miss World runner-up and Australian Playboy magazine’s first centrefold, Karen Pini, and Sue McIntosh, a former national children’s TV hostess who (as Sue Donovan) did four years on Adventure Island.
Hogan characters like Leo Wanker, the incompetent magician The Great Luigi, and Donger consistently made viewers laugh.
In later years Hoges became a bonafide Hollywood star. He also used to do TV ads for ciggies you know – and he will certainly fry in Hell eternally for making the world think that Australians call prawns “shrimps”.
Hoges always claimed his New Faces debut consisted of nothing more than “hurling a few knives about and doing a bit of a tap dance”.
But he did it with such Ocker nonchalance that the audience was in stitches. In the grand final, he was beaten to first place by a 15-year-old cellist.