11 September 2009

The Town & Country Brothers: the definitive account

After my recent post about The Town & Country Brothers and Sandy, Sandy, their 1963 Only In Oz hit, I heard from Ted Daryll, a member of the group and the writer of Sandy, Sandy.

Ted sent me his definitive account of the group. Not only does it retell the full recording adventures of Ted with Chip Taylor and Greg Richards, but it opens a fascinating window into a music business that no longer exists in quite the same form.

Rather than summarising it, I am giving you the whole document, a PopArchives exclusive, with Ted's approval.

Read the full story by clicking here (pdf).

The Town & Country Brothers: Ted (left) - Chip (right). 1962 photo taken at Adelphi Recording, 1650 Broadway, NYC (Image: Ted Daryll)

17 July 2009

Only in Oz (13) The Town & Country Brothers - Sandy, Sandy

Another in my series of posts about tracks that charted in Australia but not in their countries of origin.

13. The Town & Country Brothers - Sandy, Sandy
(Ted Daryll)
USA 1963
Tahoe single (USA) #
2534 ("Distributed by London Records, Inc.")
London single (Australia) #HL-2123
Later anthologised on GAB (Sony) CD Hard To Get Hits Vol. 3, 1994
Australian charts: #7 Sydney (Gavin Ryan) or #2 Sydney (The Book) #1 Brisbane #29 Adelaide #17 Perth

I have some answers for anyone who has wondered about the identity of US group The Town And Country Brothers. They had a hit with Sandy, Sandy in 1963, but only in Australia. [listen]

Update: See my follow-up post for the exclusive, full story of The Town & Country Brothers as told by Ted Daryll, composer of Sandy, Sandy.

Let's start with Chip Taylor. Before he wrote Wild Thing, or Angel of the Morning or I Can't Let Go, that is to say, before he worked at 1650 Broadway writing songs for a long list of legends including Dusty Springfield, Baby Washington, and Evie Sands, and before he released his own singles including the original of Cliff Richard's On My Word...
Before that, back in the late 1950s, Chip Taylor and two friends formed a rockabilly-folkie-style trio called Wes Voight and the Town And Country Brothers.
This was also before Taylor changed his name from Wes Voight (and, of course, before his brother Jon, keeping the Voight, became a famous movie actor).
None of Chip Taylor's early singles was a hit in the US, not as Chip Taylor or Wes Voight, or with the Town & Country Brothers. In Australia, though, Sandy, Sandy did well and is remembered as a classic oldie by Aussies who were around then.
Sandy, Sandy was written by Ted Daryll (b. Teddy Meister), another member of the Town & Country Brothers.
The third member of the group was Greg Richards (b. Greg Gwardyak). Ted Daryll and Greg Richards also wrote together, notably She Cried, first recorded by Ted Daryll himself but later a hit for Jay & The Americans (1962, #5 USA).
Sandy Sandy was on Volume 3 of Glenn A. Baker's Hard To Get Hits CD series in 1994. At that stage (1994), Glenn was unable to give any background on The Town & Country Brothers, concluding that they had "eluded all pop scholars".
To read more on Chip Taylor, see Tony Wilkinson's Wes Voight-Chip Taylor page at Black Cat Rockabilly, Taylor's current label Train Wreck Records, and the entries at All Music Guide and Wikipedia.
The most detailed source, though, is the Spectropop interview with Chip Taylor by Norman Druker and Mick Patrick which starts way back, covers the obscurities as well as the hits, and brings it up to Taylor's later work in country music.
I've joined the dots between Sandy, Sandy, its writer Ted Darryl and his Town & Country Brothers bandmate Chip Taylor, but none of the above sources mentions Sandy, Sandy.
Town & Country Brothers - Sandy, Sandy.mp3

Thanks to Doug for asking about this one, and to Kees for further background.

10 June 2009

Thane Russal

Thane Russal's British version of Security (1966), a garage-style pop arrangement of the Otis Redding song, seems to have been popular nowhere except in Australia, where it was quite a hit (#7 Sydney #24 Melbourne #4 Brisbane #8 Perth). In fact, a lot of Aussie Boomers might even know it better than the original.

I left it out of my Only in Oz series, though, because it had already been given the full treatment by Glenn A. Baker in Hard To Get Hits, a CD series from the 1990s with a similar premise to Only in Oz. In fact, it was Baker, in his liner notes to Hard To Get Hits Vol. 1, who finally identified Thane Russal as Doug Gibbons.
Thane Russal's Security even inspired a 1976 dip o' the lid by Australian band Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, their first single. This gave me an excuse to write about everything I've ever been able to find out about Russal/Gibbons and his Security, over here at the website.

I can't recall seeing a photo of Russal/Gibbons until I saw this New Musical Express ad from March 1966.

Listen: Thane Russal & Three - Security.mp3

Images: New Musical Express, 4 March 1966, p.5

25 May 2009

Lee Haig

Lee Haig was an announcer at 3SH Swan Hill around 1963. He later worked on-air at 3UL Warragul where I heard him one evening: his voice had matured, and he sounded great. After that I lost track of him.

Lee (Leyden) was our next-door neighbour's younger brother, so we often saw him at the time he started at 3SH. I was about twelve or thirteen, and he was probably about seventeen or eighteen, a cheerful, friendly, energetic kind of bloke.

My friends and I sometimes called him "Uncle Lee" because if he was on in the afternoons he would do the kids' show, so he would have to sign on as Uncle Lee. We were half-smart, cheeky young lads, and he must have found us pretty annoying.

Even so...

I was a radio nut: I used to stay up late picking up remote stations (they started to come in around sunset), and I would mark their locations on a map of Australia.

One Saturday I had a big length of aerial wire that I was trying to string up in the yard outside my window, but I couldn't get much height. Lee saw I was getting nowhere, so he grabbed the end of it and climbed up a tall pine tree, right to its skinny top so that he was swaying dangerously from side to side, and he tied my aerial up there. After that, I pulled in those after-sunset stations better than ever.

Two kinds of people: those who won't rest until they've solved the Whatever Happened To...? puzzle, and those who prefer to move on and stay pretty much in the present. I'm with the first group, who can't resist Googling old friends' names, or searching for them at FriendsReunited or Facebook.

Last week I was thinking about radio in the sixties, and about my aerial up the pine tree in the side garden. I wondered what had happened to Lee Haig, and I found him at the Herald-Sun's Tributes website. He died in Melbourne last October.

I was thinking: I'll write about him here, and anyone who ever Googles "lee haig" + 3sh or 3ul will easily find this page.

09 May 2009

Bob Carmichael at 3NE Wangaratta

Earlier, I mentioned the opening of 3NE Wangaratta in 1954. Bob Carmichael, who was on air at 3NE from its earliest days, has a page of reminiscences at his website. [Now offline: here's a link to the archived version.]

And yes, there is a photo of Bob at a broadcast from a country ball: see also the radio memoirs of Frank Avis and John Pearce for anecdotes about this country radio staple.

28 April 2009

"Frank Avis's Memoirs of 42 Years in Radio"

A highlight of John Pearce's radio memoirs (see earlier post) is his remote broadcast from a country dance for 3SH Swan Hill, probably some time in the late 1940s.

I've just found another entertaining account of a country dance broadcast, this time from Frank Avis in The Ball Broadcast, recalling his time at 2LF Young in the mid-1950s. Avis, best known as a radio newsman, is publishing his memoirs as a blog at FrankAvis.com.

Frank Avis started in radio at 2MG Mudgee, and his latest post (15 February) takes his career up to 2DAY-FM Sydney in the 80s and 90s. Along the way, he's worked at 2LF Young, 3BO Bendigo, 7HO Hobart, 3UZ, 3XY, 3AK and 3DB Melbourne, 6PR Perth, 3MP Mornington Peninsula, and 2GB and 2MMM-FM Sydney.

Frank arrived at 3BO not long after the young John Laws left, and he tells a couple of good yarns about Laws's time at the station.

Great stories from a radio insider: highly recommended.

2QN Deniliquin

In the last post I mentioned 2QN Deniliquin, where John Pearce started in radio in the 1940s before moving on to 3SH Swan Hill.

When we lived in Swan Hill in the 60s, 2QN was one of the stations I could pick up clearly if I was roaming the dial looking for pop music. Another was 2WG Wagga Wagga. Like most country stations at the time, they had their moments of good Top 40 programming, presented by disc jockeys who could sound just as good as their big city counterparts. One of the 2QN announcers had an American accent, something unusual on Aussie country radio.

This Melbourne Argus story from 23 February 1945 (via the NLA's Australian Newspapers archive) shows how a financially weak 2QN nearly lost its licence to Wangaratta, a town in north-eastern Victoria. Click here for larger image.

Wangaratta didn't get its own commercial station until 3NE opened in 1954.

27 April 2009

John Pearce at 3SH Swan Hill

[The Argus, 1932]

For the Love of Mike, the memoirs of Australian radio announcer John Pearce, were published online a few years ago. His radio career starts just after the War, when he chanced upon a job at 2QN Deniliquin after he was de-mobbed from the RAAF. He went on to 3SH Swan Hill, 7HO Hobart, and to 2GB Sydney, where he was one of the pioneers of Australian talk-back radio.

Pearce's site is no longer online, but fortunately we can still access the whole work at the Internet Archive [title page, table of contents].

Being a radio fanatic from way back, I find this insider's view of radio irresistible, especially the chapter on 3SH, our local station during my teenage years. Pearce seems to have been at 3SH around the late 40s to early 1950s.

Pearce calls 3SH a "fun station", a "happy station", and this comes through in his reminiscences. There are plenty of endearing characters and entertaining stories: the outside broadcast at a local dance (how quaint!), hillbilly amateurs on the Christmas Appeal radiothon, grappling with a local politician to make sure he stayed near the mike, locking the duty announcer in the outside dunny while a three-minute song was playing...

The station manager at 3SH was Harry Lithgow, still there when we moved to Swan Hill in 1961. I believe Chief Engineer Bernie Walsh was still around then too.

Since For the Love of Mike has disappeared from an active website, and does not seem to have been published as a book, I'm posting the chapter on 3SH, which gives a great insight into the workings of a country commercial station in the pre-rock'n'roll era.

Victorians to the North:

Chapter 7 of John Pearce - For the Love of Mike

In the days when broadcasting meant radio, and not television and/or radio, the Victorian Broadcasting Network consisted of a head office in Melbourne and three country radio stations.

The main one was in Hamilton, the second best was in Sale and what was left went to Swan Hill, way north on the River Murray, the dividing line between Australia and Victoria. I got a job as an announcer at the latter. I can't remember how I got it, not even how I learned about it. Read it in the paper, maybe. However, it was mine; and I arrived after the adventure of the drive in my vintage Hupmobile...

Continued here...

23 April 2009

Boofhead book, 1945

I found this ad for a Boofhead anthology in the Melbourne Argus, Saturday, 18 August 1945. The other bloke just has to look at Boofhead and his hat flies off.

This whole edition of the Argus is online at NLA's Australian Newspapers website. This was a big news week: the Japanese had surrendered a few days earlier, and the main headline is AUSTRALIANS FOR JAPAN: INCLUSION IN FORCES OF OCCUPATION.

(It says something about my preoccupations that I would bypass the end of the War in the Pacific to focus on a tiny ad for Boofhead. Oh, and if you want to go straight to the comics pages they're here and here.)

Australian Newspapers is one of a number of digitalised historical newspaper sites, some of which I've listed at this section of my links page.

For more on the Boofhead phenomenon, see my earlier post about this unique Australian comic strip.

15 March 2009

Only in Oz (12) Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve

Another in my series of posts about tracks that charted in Australia but not in their countries of origin.

12. Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve
(James E. "Buzz" Cason)
USA 1968
Elf single (USA) #90015
Stateside single (Australia) #OSS-8456
Australian charts: #4 Melbourne #3 Brisbane #1 Adelaide

For onc
e, no doubts about this being a pure example of the Only in Oz phenomenon: no local USA chart appearances at (the inelegantly named) ARSA, no sneaking into the outer reaches of the Billboard Top 100. Nothing in the UK, nor in Europe. In the USA, this song didn't raise even a tiny blip on the radar, but in parts of Australia we loved it.

Adam And Eve
is a Bonnie & Clyde story of a couple from a Mississippi farm, their Garden of Eden, who drive into town to stick up a bank. [Listen] It goes badly wrong (the bank teller made a wrong move), and they end up doing time. The chorus goes:

We can never go back to the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve have sinned.
We can't go back again. Oh no no. [Lyrics]

There are echoes of Ode To Billy Joe, both in the music and the setting. As Andrew Bergey puts it, Bobby Gentry meets Harry Nilsson in a party hosted by Leo Sayer.

Buzz Cason has done a bit of everything in the music business: singer, songwriter, producer, publisher, label owner...

One of his notable writer credits is for Arthur Alexander's Soldier Of Love (1961), written with Tony Moon, later performed by The Beatles and by Pearl Jam.

Cason is better known, though, for having co-written (with Mac Gayden) the much-recorded hit Everlasting Love. It charted nationally in the US in versions by Robert Knight (1967, the original), Carl Carlton (1974) and Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet (1981).

I know of at least eight versions of Everlasting Love that have charted in various parts of Australia, including local hit versions by The Town Criers (1968) and Doug Parkinson (1974).

Buzz Cason was also the originator of these songs that were hits in Australian versions:
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Show - Hayride (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1968) on Elf #90021, label co-owned by Cason; Australian version: The Flying Circus (1969) #3 Sydney #1 Brisbane #13 Perth [PopArchives page]

  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Show - La La (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1969) Elf #90028; Australian version: The Flying Circus (1969) #5 Sydney #4 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #9 Perth [PopArchives page]

  • The Four Fuller Brothers - Groupie (Buzz Cason, prod. Cason-Gayden, 1969) Decca #32450; Australian version: The New Dream (1969) #2 Melbourne #19 Adelaide [PopArchives page]

  • Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Sugar Coated Candy Love (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1969) Liberty album track; Australian version: The New Dream (1969, as Candy Love) #44 Melbourne #22 Adelaide #36 Perth [PopArchives page]
Buzz Cason started out with Nashville rock'n'roll band The Casuals who recorded for Dot in the late 50s and became Brenda Lee's touring band. Cason's one charting single as a solo singer, Look For A Star (1960, #16 USA), used the name Garry Miles (confusingly, this was a cover of a British record by Garry Mills that also charted in the US).

Cason went into producing with Liberty Records in LA, working with Snuff Garrett. He produced (They Call Her) La Bamba (1964) by the post-Holly Crickets, arranged by Leon Russell, and when the single charted in the UK, Cason fronted The Crickets on a 1964 British tour.

With Nashville singer-songwriter Bobby Russell and Monument executive Fred Foster, Buzz Cason formed Rising Sons, the label and publishing company that released Robert Knight's Everlasting Love.
In 1967 Buzz Cason and Bobby Russell started the independent Elf label and the publishing and production company Russell-Cason Music: they published Russell's compositions Honey (the Bobby Goldsboro hit) and Little Green Apples (O.C. Smith, Roger Miller).

Bobby Russell's
1432 Franklin Pike Circle Hero (1968, #36 USA) was on Elf, for example, as were the two records by Saturday Morning Cartoon Show covered in Australia by The Flying Circus.

Buzz Cason is still working in Nashville, and he recently published his autobiography. For an update on his career since the 60s, see his website at BuzzCason.com or his MySpace page.

Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve.mp3

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Thanks to Paul Rivette for asking about this song. I'd forgotten it!Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books.

References, further reading: 1. Bio page at BuzzCason.com 2. Buzz Cason bio at Rockabilly Hall of Fame. 3. The Us Four on Rising Sons label at Garage Hangover. 4. Soldier Of Love song review at AMG. 5. Recent interview with Buzz Cason at Music Business Radio. 6. Adam And Eve lyrics at HotLyrics.net. 7. Adam and Eve: brief review at Andrew Bergey's Bursts of Flavor page. 8. Elf label discography at Global Dog. 9. Rising Sons label discography at Global Dog.

27 February 2009

Drift magazine cover, 1967

This is from the cover of Drift, a short-lived Sydney magazine from the late 60s.

Phil Jones And The Unknown Blues had a minor but well-remembered local hit with their arrangement of If I Had A Ticket (1967).

The song's sources go way back to traditional gospel, with a recording at least as long ago as 1927, and jazz-r&b versions by Chris Barber outfits in the early 60s. There's more about the song's history and the band at the website.

Thanks to Terry Stacey for sending this.

Lynne from the Musical Notes blog says that the producers of Drift, who had met at the Uni of NSW, included 'Merv Rabies' (Tony Robinson), Ross Smythe-Kirk and Bill 'Florence Lawrence' Tranchitella [Link] The Musical Notes page on Phil Jones and the Unknown Blues is informed by local knowledge: highly recommended [Link]

13 February 2009

Only in Oz (11) Bill Justis - Tamoure

Another in my series of posts about tracks that charted in Australia but not in their countries of origin.

11. Bill Justis - Tamoure (with the Stephen Scott Singers)
(Heinz Hellmer - Wolf Petersen - M. Singleton - B. Everette; arranged by Bill Justis. Apparently based on a 1956 composition by Yves Roche)
Song also known as Tamouré (The Dance Of Love) or Vini Vini or Wini-Wini
USA 1963
Smash single (USA) #1812
Philips single (Australia) #BF-26
Australian charts: #1 Sydney #1 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #1 Perth

Strictly speaking, Tamouré has an acute accent over the 'e'. Most English databases - and the title printed on the 45 - leave it off, although it is restored on the record's sleeve.

In the annals of Only in Oz this is a classic case, an American record that made a big splash all over Australia1 but only managed a ripple in the US: #7 in Chicago, #101 nationally.2 As far as I can see it wasn't a hit in the UK, Europe, South Africa or even Canada where it peaked in the high thirties.

So, let's say Only in Oz.

Bill Justis (1927-1982) started out as a trumpeter, but from the early 60s he worked in Nashville as a producer, composer, arranger and musical director.3

To the record-buying public, though, Justis was probably best known for his earlier hit instrumental Raunchy (1957, #2 US), recorded at Sun Records in Memphis where he had been musical director before moving to Nashville. He played the sax on Raunchy and co-wrote it with the guitarist on the record, Sid Manker. It was the only single in Bill Justis's name to chart Top 40 in the US, but it has been much played and recorded over the years.

One notable Bill Justis enterprise in Nashville was his collaboration with keyboardist Jerry Smith as Cornbread & Jerry. Their first recording, made in Memphis before the move to Nashville, was Li'l Ole Me (covered in Australia by Warren Carr), but they later added a female chorus and put two singles onto the US charts as The Dixiebelles with Cornbread & Jerry: (Down At) Papa Joe's (1963, #9 USA) and Southtown USA (1964, #15 USA).

Bill Justis's Tamoure is an English-language version of a Tahitian song known as Wini-Wini or Vini Vini.

 A version on German Polydor by Die Tahiti Tamourés, as Wini-Wini, was a hit in 1963 in Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium YouTube. It was released in January 1963 (says 45cat), with an arrangement that sounds the same as the Bill Justis record, released in March 1963 (45cat) with an arranger credit to Bill Justis.

The writer credits on the German Tahiti Tamourés single are to Heinz Hellmer and Wolf Petersen, also credited on Bill Justis's single. The other two writers on the Bill Justis Tamouré (M. Singleton-B. Everette) would be Bill Everette (he wrote Gitarzan with Ray Stevens) and - I'm guessing - Margaret Singleton, also known as Margie, first wife of Shelby Singleton.

Both records owe a lot to a 1958 version by Terorotua and His Tahitians, entitled Vini Vini, on their ABC-Paramount album, Lure Of Tahiti, with a writer credit to French composer Yves Roche.

There was at least one further single in the US of this "Bill Justis Tamouré", by Dick and Dee Dee, reverting to the title Vini Vini (1965).

Another single on Almo by Manuia and Maeva, also entitled Vini Vini (1965), is probably the same song, since it credits Yves Roche as writer (as on the 1958 Vini Vini) but I can't verify this. Arnold Rypens at The Originals lists several other versions 1958-2005, including a 1963 hit in Italy for Betty Curtis YouTube.

Die Tahiti-Tamourés, 1963 European hit.

The tamouré or tamure is a Tahitian dance, and there is no shortage of songs with variations of its name - or vini vini - in their titles,4 but I'm not about to research those in depth.

The sleeve of Bill Justis's single says THE FRENCH DANCE RAGE COMES TO AMERICA. Recordings by Les Kavika from 1962 are examples of the tamouré phenomenon in France: his 1962 EP on the French label Vogue Dansez le tamouré has four tamouré dance tracks, all arranged by Kavika-Barouh, including one entitled Tamouré Vini Vini. (See also the four tamouré compositions by Kavika on his 1962 EP Le Tamouré.)

Finally, a case of Not in Oz: Australians were also contrarian about Bill Justis's big hit, Raunchy (1957). It was a #2 on Billboard, #11 in the UK, but Australians preferred to put two cover versions - by Billy Vaughn and Ernie Freeman - onto the local charts. (Another version by Billy Strange popped up on our charts too, but not till 1965.) 

See also: Arnold Rypens's a list of versions at The Originals.
Thanks to Joop and Walter for lighting up this trail for me.

Bill Justis - Tamoure.mp3

Die Tahiti Tamourés - Wini-Wini.mp3

Terorotua and His Tahitians - Vini Vini (1958).mp3

1. Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books [store]. In this case the other chart books agree:
The Book for Sydney and Thirty Years Of Hits for Melbourne both have Tamoure at #1.
2. The Smash Records Story at Both Sides Now.
3. Bill Justis biography at All Music Guide.

4. Just three examples of tamure/vini vini variations, different from the Bill Justis Tamoure:
(i) The Wikipedia article on tāmūrē (which seems to have been cut and pasted all over the Net, going by Google search results) mentions a post-World War II popularising version by
Louis Martin.
(ii) As my friend Joop Jansen points out, there is a 1930s recording by Tino Rossi, Vieni Vieni [YouTube], also recorded, for example by The Gaylords in the 50s.
iii) Les Kavioka's tamouré EPs on French label Vogue (1962), featured at Encyclopedisque.fr
5. Song history at The Originals by Arnold Rypens.

06 February 2009

1960s promotional cards by EMI (Australia)

David Walker, a frequent PopArchives source (especially on Adelaide music), has sent me these scans of postcard-size promotional photos from around 1966-68, featuring Australian pop stars of the day. They were issued by EMI (Australia) for distribution to customers at record bars.

On the reverse side of each photo is a then current discography for the artist. I've listed the singles only, with links back to those that have a page at my website.
Bobby & Laurie
Sweet And Tender Romance/Down In The Valley (1966)
You'll Come Round (1966)
Bryan Davies
You Won't Be The Last/The End Of Another Day (1967)
Johnny Farnham
Sadie/In My Room (1967)
Underneath The Arches/
Friday Kind Of Monday (1968)
I Don't Want To Love You/Jamie (1968)

Cheryl Gray
The Real Thing/Move On (1966)
You Don't Love Me Any More/You Made Me What I Am (1967)
It's Not Easy Loving You/I'm Gonna Try (1967)
The Groove
Simon Says/
With This Ring (1967)
Soothe Me/
I See A New Day (1968)
What Is Soul/
Goin'Back (1968)
Little Pattie
I'll Eat My Hat/Nothin' (1967)
I Knew Right Away/In Time (1967)

04 January 2009

Chucklers Weekly (5): the small print

The address of Chucklers HQ, 26 College Street, is now part of the building that includes the Sydney Marriott Hotel.

Rotary Colorprint is still around, in Surry Hills. It also printed, for example, Phantom comics and Larry Kent pulp detective novels.

Previous Chucklers Weekly posts: covers, comics, other content, club.

03 January 2009

Chucklers Weekly (4): Charlie Chuckles Club

I was a member of the Charlie Chuckles Club. I lost my badge long ago, but I like to think that the one I bought through eBay (below) is my own badge, mystically reunited with me after fifty years. Now, if only I could locate my old Argonauts' Club badge...

Previous Chucklers Weekly posts:
covers, comics, other content.

Chucklers Weekly (3): Pat Boone, Bob Rogers and make a book cover!

Previous Chucklers Weekly posts: covers and comics.

Apart from the comics, Chucklers Weekly included short stories, puzzles, general knowledge features, pop music news, competitions and readers' advertisements (Exchange Corner and Penfriends). The content was wholesome, even educational, fare. (Crystals are interesting!) There was nothing here that would upset parents at a time when comic books had had some bad press.

The pin-up boy of Chucklers Weekly was Pat Boone, the clean-cut American crooner and movie star who had hits with whitebread versions of Little Richard and Fats Domino songs and otherwise occupied the lighter end of the pop spectrum. He even wrote an advice book for the youngsters called 'Twixt Twelve and Twenty that I remember being promoted through Chucklers Weekly. In fact, looking back, Chucklers Weekly was nuts about Pat Boone, almost an Aussie branch of his PR team.

Of the two white-collar-and-tie disc jockeys featured here, Bob Rogers from 2SM in Sydney was the most famous nationally. Five years later, by then with 2UE, he was embedded with The Beatles' tour of Australia, an arrangement that was continually crashed by 2SM's Mad Mel, a wacky deejay from America who would have seemed shocking in 1959.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Chucklers Weekly (2): comics

About a third of the Chucklers Weekly was given over to full page comic strips, Australian and imported. These comics appear in the two editions I have, each filling one or two pages: There is also a single strip for younger children:
  • Joey Jumper Serial (Australia, Anonymous)
And a single panel cartoon: Australian illustrator, writer and animation artist Monty Wedd (b.1921) is a prolific creator of historical and educational comic strips. He began drawing the fictional bushranger comic Captain Justice in the late 1940s, before Chucklers Weekly, and he later continued it in the Australian Woman's Day in the 1960s. From the 1970s he produced well-researched comic strip series about real life Australian bushrangers, Ned Kelly and Ben Hall. Monty Wedd's work was also seen in the Australian Children's Newspaper, published by the national broadcaster the ABC (it was the second magazine I ever subscribed to, after Chucklers Weekly). Arthur Hudson who drew All About Debbie Reynolds (below) and Monty Wedd both contributed to the The Australian Children’s Pictorial Social Studies series of educational comics.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

References, further reading: 1. Dan Cooper at CoolFrenchComics.com. 2. Monty Wedd - Australian cartoonist by Greg Ray at Collecting Books and Magazines. 3. Dick Brooks, The Jackson Twins at Lambiek.com. 4. MortWalker.com and the Wikipedia entry on Beatle Bailey. 5. Wendy and Jinx: Valerie and Michael Hastings at Steve Holland's Bear Alley; Ray Bailey at Lambiek.net. 6. George Sixta, Rivets at Lambiek.com and ComicStripFan.com. 7. Gill Fox at Ger Apeldoorn's 50s blog. 8. John Ryan, Panel By Panel (1979).