Number 7

FOOTLIGHTS NEWSLETTER

November 2013

A wake for Jeff Scott

On September the first half a dozen Old Footlighters gathered at the Green Room of Holden Street Theatre to discuss plans for our next show, the fifth and FINAL 'Be Your Age' revue in the 2014 Adelaide Fringe. Jeff Scott arrived punctually, driving himself as always, in his little blue car.

He was quite adamant about being in the show an also declared his intention to be in the next one as well, in 2016, when he would be 91 and quite possibly one of the oldest performers on earth.

A fortnight later, on September 17th, Jeff died very suddenly, of a heart attack. He had felt chest pain while on his usual morning walk and went to his doctor, who advised him to immediately take a cab to the nearest hospital, Wakefield Street, which he did. He spoke to a nurse there; the nurse went off to make some arrangements; when she returned Scotty had died. Not a bad way to go, many would argue.

Several Old Footlighters attended the funeral gathering at Alfred James' on Unley Road. It was a small and low-key affair and we decided there and then that we must have a wake for Scotty and so it came about and was held on Sunday afternoon, November 3rd, once again in the Green Room at Holden Street.

About sixty people attended, the majority being Old Footlighters but there was also the family (wife Nedra and sister Nancy), some close friends and a number of academics - friends and ex students from Jeff's academic life. We provided spirituous beverages and a fine repast, thanks to Margi Butcher's catering skills.

Jeff had been in all four of our 'Be Your Age' revues. There was a DVD made of each show and from these Wayne Anthoney made a twenty minute compilation of all the scenes that Scotty was in, and included in it some very old photos of him as a little boy and young man, provided by Sue Geue. The formal proceedings started with a showing of this and many of his non-Footlights friends and relatives expressed great astonishment at seeing the raunchy side of the man that they did not know existed. To them Scotty had always been polite, reserved and gentlemanly. Ha ha.

Following the film, several people spoke about Scotty. The first was a Sydney friend, Robie Porter, who had flown over from Sydney for the wake. Jeff and Nedra spent much of their time in Sydney in later years and apparently were adept at dealing in real estate. Robie spoke emotionally of how much Jeff had meant to him and of his belief that although Jeff had passed away his influence and gentle presence could still be felt palpably. While he was speaking, several people present recognised him as a famous pop musician from bygone days. He works in Sydney as a promoter and producer.

Second to speak was an ex-student, Bob, who told the gathering about his religious life when he was young, going to church every day except Saturday, and twice on Sundays, and of how Jeffs' lectures, harangues and speeches at university had converted him to atheism and how grateful he was.

Phil Grummet was last to speak, with a brief selection of excellent anecdotes.

All in all we agreed that it was an excellent wake, with which Scotty would be well pleased.

Hereunder is a letter that Robie sent to Bish in the weeks before the wake.

Dear John/"Bish" -

 

Jeff I were friends for well over 20 years, and Nedra & Jeff's niece, Sue Geue, kindly forwarded me a copy of your invitation to your wake for Jeff.  Over the past 25 or 30 years, Jeff and Nedra owned various apartments in the same building as my family and me (in Fairlight/Manly/Sydney), and for many years we lived right next door to them when they were up in Sydney.

 

And so...firstly, I am very pleased you are holding this wake/tribute/memorial for Jeff.  He talked to me many times about his 'acting career', and told me how much his involvement with the Old Footlighters meant to him, and I'm convinced it helped keep him spry and extend his life. I have known no truer gentleman in my lifetime than Jeff - he deserves this tribute, and he would just love it that you thought so much of him to give him a great send off.  I'm sure it will also mean a lot to Nedra, and to Jeff's sister Nancy, and other loved ones.

 

I'm also pleased to say that I'll be flying down on November 3rd for the occasion. Since you are asking for his friends and family to share some memories of Jeff, I would like very much to be included if you feel that would be appropriate.

 

Kind regards...and Thank You,

Robie

A selection of photos follows, thanks as always to Leo Davis, also to Jeff's friend Lalita McHenry

Wayne and Meredith with Robie Porter (Robie G.)

 

Jeff's wife Nedra, centre, flanked by friends Lalita McHenry and Sue Geue

 

Yum yum

 

Lalita snapped this and the next two photos

 

Jeff's wonderful sister Nancy

 

Nedra's name-tag having fallen from her jacket about 1000 times, she took the obvious solution

 

People starting to watch the film

 

 

 

This one cracked them up

 

Robie G speaking passionately

 

Atheist friend Bob likewise

 

Phil Grummet wraps it up

 


Number 6

FOOTLIGHTS NEWSLETTER

January 2011

It has been five years since we last added a newsletter to the Footlights website but in that time the Old Footlighters have presented three sellout revues at Holden Street Theatre, in the Adelaide Fringe Festivals of 2006, 2008 and 2010. These shows are documented in the SHOWS section  of the website.

 

This newsletter is concerned with the Double Wake that the Old Footlighters held at Holden Street on December 19th 2010, to commemorate the passing of Brian Bergin, who died on October 14th 2010 and the passing of Union Hall, which was agonisingly destroyed by the Powers Of Darkness  during the latter months of 2010.

 

Tony Brooks and John Bishop led a memorial service for Bergie in the main theatre. Some eighty souls attended, there being many Old Footlighters and quite a number of old friends and colleagues from Bergie's days in the advertising trade. This was followed by a procession across to The Arch Theatre during which members of the Forces of Darkness were ritually insulted. These persons included leading figures from the University of Adelaide Financial Corporation, derided for their role in the destruction of Union Hall, and leading state government figures, derided for not raising a finger to stop the destruction. We held a short memorial to Union Hall in The Arch, chosen because the theatre seats therein came from Union Hall.

 

The Double Wake concluded with a sausage sizzle in the Green Room, accompanied by traditional drinking and much reminiscing.

 

Vale Brian, vale Union Hall.

 

Click here for sound file of Brian's memorial       Click here for sound file of the Union Hall memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Trevor Wilkey for sound and images above.

 

The following photos thanks to Leo Davis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Number 5

FOOTLIGHTS NEWSLETTER

November 2005

THE SEVENTY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY DINNER

15th of October 2005

In the foyer of the Adelaide Museum

It was a grand and glittering gastronomic gala, to be sure.

One hundred and eighteen Old Footlighters gathered among the stuffed animals and other relics of bygone ages, to feast, reminisce and make merry.

We made welcome our far-flung-most participant, Mari Lindsaar, well remembered from the revues of 1960, 61 and 62, who returned some years ago to her native Estonia. There, in the city of Tallinn, she lives with her husband in a one thousand year old wall. (It is the wall of the ancient city; the roof of their house is only three hundred and sixty years old.)

Some of us are showing the signs of wear and tear and of lives lived well and full,  but on the Grand Night the years slipped away, as we most strongly agreed with each other that we had not changed at all, not in forty years. Perhaps Footlights holds the key to Life Eternal.

Richie Gunn and his bass player provided soft ambient music and several of our company, starting with Harry Medlin and Jeff Scott, followed by Geoff Ward but not Brian Bergin who is sadly unwell, and then others of our clan representing the progression of Footlights eras through the decades, made speeches of more or less eloquence.

In accordance with the maxim that pictures speak louder than words, here follows a set of photos from the night, prefaced by Sandy Clark's address.

The speech of Professor S. D Clark:

Brooks generally has a reputation for organizing a good occasion.  If there aren’t elephants, siege machines, or Graham Douglas Craig singing, at least the speeches are usually good. 

Whether that premise survives the night remains to be seen.  But including me in his list can’t increase the chances!

 Yet here I stand.  And, like Dylan, I plunge my hands into that wool-white, bell-tongued ball of holidays, and out comes…not Mrs Prothero and the firemen …

… but the Old Footlighter’s night, when my entrance  was greeted, grosso voce, by a brightly-burnished Bergin, in the third row, with “Ahh, Clark! Now you’re bound to forget your lines”.  Which I obligingly did, eliciting further sympathetic ribaldry…..

…. or another occasion, in which I take no pride, when I apparently forestalled a riotous cast from throwing Ed Pegge out of the Union Theatre’s loading bay.  He was, on that occasion, playing the role of Director -  with his customary clamour and content.

In his cups, he has often since told me that I thereby saved his theatrical career.  If true, it is a feat about which I am properly modest …and entirely ambivalent.

For me, however, the Tardus always seems to stop somewhere before Footlights.

I see Wayne Anthoney doing impressions of a Stobie pole, wearing a scout hat and twirling a rope about his improbable knees.  This was, I suspect, Warwick Goodenough’s “Gang Show” in the Memorial Hall at St Peters.  There, I first encountered GrummetT as a convincing Cinderella, sliding down the handle of his broom, in contortions for which not even a good pharmacist would have had a remedy.

But for me, it is not events, but the wonderfully diverse fauna that inhabited the penumbra of Footlights and Adelaide theatre.

There is the impassive Reg Bennett, the Union Theatre electrician, with his spectacles, bow tie and dustcoat -  which I suspect were all part of one cardboard cut-out which someone velcroed on to him each morning.

And there goes Bert, the craggy carpenter, whose stoop and furrows deepened with the awful news of his son’s diving accident off Port Willunga.

And can you see Irving Johnston and David Page, from whom one bought one’s make up or tu tus - depending on one’s predilections -  before the Grummetts sidled up to Mr. Leichner?

What about Maggie Day, with her pre-Pulp Fiction haircut, crouched over her perpetual, votive Craven A, in the prompt corner?

Or John Tasker’s arm-waving and suitably theatrical descents on Adelaide, leaving a trail of shattered pedestals and minor crises.  Which Harry Medlin would repeatedly resolve with patient resignation and great skill.

Further out in space, I see the intense, energetic, nail-biting Les Dayman’s eyes, which never came to rest.  Or the comical bulk of Murray “Give-me-a-potato-and-I’ll-make-it-act” George sailing forth, with Patrick Tennyson skittering at his substantial heels.

Back in focus, I see Brian Bergin’s amazing involuntary puckering of everything between stomach and hairline, with the first hit of whiskey and water, at Friday night drinks in the Gresham.

And then there were the Sunday morning champagne breakfasts in Wellington Square, when, on every occasion, Brian’s mother would have seen “Gone with the Wind” again, on the previous evening.

There were many more laughs than roast dinners, weren’t there?

The delectable Honey Davey, who many of you know, chose to fly to Sydney this weekend, rather than be drenched in formaldehyde.  (I confess, too, that while she is accustomed to being both toasted and roasted when in Adelaide, she is now fearful of also being barbecued.) 

From her eyrie on the correct side of the Yarra, she is both bemused and incredulous about the Footlights phenomenon – and Adelaide, in general.  In her view, if they didn’t exist, someone would probably have to invent them.

And there is something distinctly Rabelaisian about my recollections of the Footlights Club.  Its cast of characters and stories rival Voltaire’s “Candide”.  In more contemporary and parochial terms, perhaps Footlights is to South Australia, what Richard Flanagan’s deliciously imaginative “Gould’s Book of Fish” is to Tasmania.

As recollections dim, the fables are bound to increase.

For me, at least, the best thing about remembering Footlights is that it allows me to fabricate a past which makes me feel much better about myself.

I hope it works that way for you, too!

Sandford D. Clark

------------

In the following photos, taken on the Grand Night, we have used the ladies' maiden names deliberately.

Harry Medlin, of course

Andy Ligertwood, Leonie Waye

Anne Dibden, Mick Johnston, Sandy Clark

Arwed Turon, Daryl Warren, John Potter

Bob Lott, Anne Levy

Tony Brooks addresses the nation

Some of the multitude

More of the multitude. Ducky Taylor front right

Jack Hume, Sandy McLeay, Colleen McLeay,

John Locke, Bish at the back

John Slee, Wayne Anthoney

Sandy McLeay, Margy Hill

Kitty Peake and Tony Short with George Lines and

Margaret Bilney in background

Robyn Layton, Keith Conlon and Michael Jacobs

 with John Slee and Bill Kay's head in the background

 

 

 


Number 4

FOOTLIGHTS NEWSLETTER

October 2004

GET IN FOR YOUR CHOP!!

At the celebrated Footlights Chop Picnic!

To be held  

On Saturday 13 November 2004

 at

The Holden St. Theatres in the old church, Holden St Hindmarsh

From 5.00 pm until no-one is left standing

Off street parking available.

 

Useful information

 We will provide..Chops..Sausages..Bread..Butter (or PC equivalent) Tomato Sauce..Mustard..Plastic Plates..Salad Makings  as in Chopped Lettuce..Tomatoes.. Oil and Vinegar..Tea and Coffee..Foam Cups

 You should bring..your favourite liquids and glasses..cutlery and your own preferred seating.

Congenial non-Footlighters are most welcome to attend—just send money and include their names on the form.

Wanted—a floorshow, or parts thereof.  Some of you must still have a party piece fit for general consumption, even something not of Footlights origin—let’s see it!  Indicate on the form overleaf.

The cost of this extravaganza is a measly $20—see below.

How to get there

Fill out the form,  NOW!!  Add a cheque or postal note made out to Footlights Reunion at $20 per head.  Send it in!  By November 1 !!! 

 

For further information please call—

Sue Lawrence                8379 3178  susanmclawrence@hotmail.com

John Bishop                  8235 6356  johnbish@senet.com.au

Tony Brooks                   8362 4696  prfirm@bigpond.com

Phil Grummet                8342 1234  philgrum@senet.com.au

Michael Muecke             8361 7285            m.muecke@adelaide.on.net

 
See below for acceptance form

 

Footlights Chop Picnic

C/o John Bishop

Level 3, 97 Pirie St

Adelaide SA 5000

 Yes, we’re Coming!!

Surname

Maiden Name

First Name

Revue Year

Phone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$20 per head enclosed—total  $

Yes, I will be part of the entertainment (to be coordinated by Tony Brooks on the night).

Name(s)      


No. 3

FOOTLIGHTS NEWSLETTER

August 2004

So who swiped the year?  It seems only a few weeks ago that we were reuniting and here it is almost Spring, when a Young (or Old—sorry, Senior) Footlighter’s fancy turns to the impending Revue season.  And so your committee has roused itself from its customary torpor to consider what might be done in celebration. 

They decided on a---

Chop Picnic!!

--which will be held at Bob Lott’s premises at the Holden Street Theatres, a converted church and church hall in Holden St, Hindmarsh.  The proposed date, for your diary, is Saturday November 13.  The starter’s gun will be discharged in the late afternoon and the show will end only after the police arrive, possibly on Tuesday.

We would ask you to supply--$20 (see below), suitable booze, drinking vessels, cutlery and chairs if there is some danger of you falling about (the Chop part of this deal will be outdoors).  We will supply comestibles as chops etc. bread, plates, sauce, mustard and butter (or substitute).

Being a Footlights do means that there is an opportunity for individuals or groups to present a Rendition, Party Piece, Speech, Dirty Story, Song, Chorus, Opera or—you get the idea. There won’t be a formal floorshow, so it’s up to you!  It is suggested that acts be kept to about four minutes maximum (unless your name is Pegge when the max will be 40 seconds).  A piano will be provided, but if your rendition requires a symphony orchestra please bring your own. This part of the proceedings will be in the theatre.

This is a Preliminary Announcement and further details will be sent to you in October, when we will ask you to tell us whether you are coming, whether you will perform and to send money.   

Any enquiries should be directed to committee members, whose email addresses and phone numbers are listed below.  Postal enquiries to Footlights, PO Box 2635, Kent Town SA 5071.

It’s fine to bring non-Footlighters.  Just send money.  And spread the word—we are still looking for lost souls who have avoided the net.

 Email

It costs about $100 to get this to those of you who don’t have email facilities or who haven’t told us about them if you do.  Email comes free of charge.  If this letter has come to you by post and you do have email access please let us know via Geoff Ward at gward70@ozemail.com.au.  If you don’t, you should consider getting it. If your decrepit committee members can manage it surely so can you!


The Website

Find it at      http:/www.footlights.net.au

Wayne Anthoney in Yulara and a tribe of dedicated idiots in Adelaide have been putting this together.  The plan is to have on the site full details of the revues from 1953 to 1973, including programs, scripts, pix and media comment.  The earlier shows are well represented, with some obvious holes, but we need help with the later ones.  If you have archived any of these and are prepared to let us use them for copying please send them to us via the PO box number noted above.  If you don’t know what to do with your day we also need volunteer typists for copying.

The Video

Nothing to report at this stage.  Perhaps next year.

See you in November.

Sue Lawrence              8379 3178       susanmclawrence@hotmail.com

Wayne Anthoney          08 8956 2257  anthoney1@bigpond.com

John Bishop                  8235 6356       johnbish@senet.com.au

Tony Brooks                8362 4696       prfirm@bigpond.com

Phil Grummet                8342 1234       philgrum@senet.com.au

Michael Muecke           8361 7285       m.muecke@adelaide.on.net

Geoff Ward                  0411 148 505  gward70@ozemail.com.au 

 


 

No. 2

 

March 2004

You should all have enjoyed the summer holiday season and have recovered from the excesses of that lazy time.  A few of us have spent the last month or so labouring on your behalf to produce a web site for Footlighters.  You can see this at—

 

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~nyac/Footlights/index.html

 

Bookmark this URL as the site will be dynamic and will change as new material or gossip comes in.

 

You are warned that this is a work in progress and is a long way from complete.  At the moment it occupies most of Wayne Anthoney’s web space allocation from Ozemail. We expect it to be transferred to the University Union server soonish, when more space will be available and further additions will be made.

 

We would welcome comments about the site, particularly as to how we might improve it.

 

We would also ask you for material for inclusion in the site.  We particularly need—

 

·        scripts and programs for The Lunatic Fringe (1957), Strictly Between Us (1960)  and anything  from 1962 onwards

 

·        pictures taken of any of the shows or during rehearsal

 

·        stories, crits or photos from newspapers about any of the shows

 

·        photos or stories related to any of the shows or associated activities and likely to be of interest to other Footlighters. If you’re game, photos of you then and now might be fun. An example of a story (up to 200 words or so) is this—

 

HAIR Y NAVELS, VIRGINS AND WEE

 

My memories  of the All-Nighters at Mt. Lofty include the wee wee parades, hairy navel contests (won for several years in a row by Penny Ramsey) and deflowering the virgin.

 

I remember vividly the year I was selected to be the virgin, and Lyndon Murray was the deflorist. I was very much in awe of him because he was so much older, and panic overwhelmed me because for just one tiny moment I wondered if the ceremony was for real, and I didn't dare ask him, as he would think I was such a nerd. Speechless with anxiety whilst trying to look oh so cool, I was led off into the bushes. The next day's headlines flashed before my eyes ---  but relief oh joy, it truly was only a joke  --- which I knew all the time didn't I - didn't I? - I think that was the year that I then proceeded to get totally pissed for the first time, out of sheer relief.

 

Sue Lawrence Feb 2004

 

Please send any suitable material to

 

Footlights

Box 2635 

KENT TOWN   SA  5071

 

IMPORTANT  Label all material with your name and address, and (for photos and stories) the year or name of the show and the names of those pictured.

Please also indicate whether you want the material returned or donated to the Barr Smith special collection.

 

THE NEXT REUNION…

 

There’s a first class excuse for having one in December next year, which is the 75th anniversary of the first Footlights Revue in 1930.  Nothing has been done about this yet, but if sufficient interest is shown by potential participants the committee might stir itself into action, put its shoulder to the wheel and its nose to the grindstone. Any bits left over would be available for the action thing.

 

THE CD

 

Available from

 

             Trevor Wilkey

146 Walkerville Terrace

Walkerville SA 5081

Phone 08 8344 6997

 

The cost is $23 plus $5 postage and packaging.  Cheques made out to Trevor, who expects delivery about 10 days after ordering.

 

THE VIDEO/DVD

 

The tapes have yet to be edited and there is no release date for this epic as yet.  When’s the next Oscars ceremony?

 

THE FUTURE

 

Watch this space!

                                                                                     

Sue Lawrence

Wayne Anthoney

John Bishop

Tony Brooks

Phil Grummet

Michael Muecke

Geoff Ward

 

Number 1

December 2003

 So that’s the Reunion that was.  We don’t have to tell those who were there that it was a Good Thing.  We can feel sorry for those of you who were unable to attend, in part because it was such fun, and in part because you weren’t there to renew old friendships.  But be warned—if there’s another one, get there—pawn the spouse, sell the car, but get there!

 Some notes.

 The Reunion

 Who was there?  People from all over.  Reg and Marg Strickland from Albuquerque, Judi Barr (Nancarrow) from Portland, Oregon, Albert Havard from the UK, and a host of starters from everywhere in Australia. We thank these wonderful people who came so far and helped the evening to go so well by their presence.  In fact, we thank all of you who came—you created the success of the evening.

 What happened?  As you might imagine the noise level was off the scale as old friendships were refurbished and old revues revived.  There was a goodly supply of healing fluids, not really necessary as lingual lubricants, and enough finger food to keep the worms away. 

And there was a floor show.  Notable moments— 

--A. Brooks esq. as compere and driving force 

--songs of fifty years ago being roused from hibernation 

--three jockeys, one of whom did not have a problem with vertical challenge

 --three returning travellers from abroad 

--Gordon Bilney being confused about sex, religion and politics 

--recurring attacks of the Texas Rangers 

--Janna Hilbrink reciprocating.  

 

Click here to hear a medley from "Sparkling Burgundy" and "Be Your Age".

   

 

 

 Bergin waxed eloquent about the failure of Footlights to survive as a student force today, and his view of the reasons for its decline. 

 The rest of the evening was filled with Old Footlighters maintaining the party animal tradition, with incidental music provided by Jerry Wesley-Smith, Richie Gun, Keith Conlon, Kent Fuller and Ron Williams.

 All in all, five hours enough!

Click here to see the Floorshow running sheet.

The Future--Short Term

 The floorshow was recorded and there is about two hours of videotape in existence. The audio CD is available for purchase from—  

 

Trevor Wilkey

146 Walkerville Terrace

Walkerville SA 5081

Phone 08 8344 6997

 

The cost is $23 plus $5 postage and packaging.  Cheques made out to Trevor, who expects delivery about 10 days after ordering. 

The videotape is to be edited and the edited version will be available probably on both VHS tape and DVD for purchase at some future time. The content is the floorshow and many short clips of Footlighters enjoying themselves. (Note: this film has not been rated) The cost of the video is not yet established.  Expressions of interest to –

 

Geoff Ward

87 Northgate St

Unley Park SA 5061

Phone 08 8272 3205

Email gward70@ozemail.com.au

 

The Future—Later

 The database of names and addresses is to be tidied up and will be burnt to a CD for reference by anyone in the future who wants another reunion (like, next year?)  It is possible that a new chapter of the Alumni Association may be formed to cover Footlights and maybe AUDS and the Theatre Guild, in which case they will be given a copy.  This will not be available for general purchase because of Privacy restrictions.

For a mass mailout email is easier than snail mail.  If this newsletter has been sent to you by post and you do have an email address, please send it to Geoff Ward  at gward70@ozemail.com.au

 In the meantime we need to find the Old Footlighters who have disappeared into the woodwork.  A list of Lost Souls is included with this newsletter.  If you know how to contact any of them please get in touch with Geoff Ward, address above (email preferred).

 The Barr Smith Library has been given a lot of original material for their Footlights Club Special Collection.  We would encourage anyone holding Footlights memorabilia to photocopy it, retain the copy and donate the original to the Library, either direct or to :

 

Sue Lawrence

13b Cedar Crescent,  

Glenside  SA 5065      

Phone 08 8379 3178

Email   susanmclawrence@hotmail.com  

 

We need old scripts for the second half of each of Sparkling Burgundy, Be Your Age and Count your Chickens, and all of The Lunatic Fringe. We would also be grateful for annotated photographs of any of the revues and any press clippings for any show.

A Web Site?

 It’s on the cards that Footlights will be able to have its own web site, which raises all sorts of interesting possibilities.  This is being explored now.  If it occurs those of you with email will be contacted.  

The Future Future

Who knows?  There is a lot of enthusiasm for having more reunions.  We’d love to tell you how to go about it and some of us might even get involved. The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd is hard to escape.

 One thing is certain—regardless of student interest or disinterest--Footlights will not die while we all retain our enthusiasm. 

Sue Lawrence

John Bishop

Tony Brooks

Phil Grummet

Geoff Ward