Neil Spencer

Roneo Room / Props / Sound

1973

"The Entertainers"; just the name brings back memories and I’m sure I recognize the name of Cass Alexander from the show; I think I also worked with him on dubbing "Showcase" tapes when I graduated from the Romeo Room and carrying Hector Crawford’s briefcase!

A few years ago, I contacted HSV 7 as I thought they might have the tapes of "The Entertainers" in their archives; but nothing heard back. Perhaps the tapes were re-used; a likely fate.

I do remember that Barry Humphries used to play up a lot on the show. He had a carpet bag with a large bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label in it and the level in the bottle used to drop considerably during the day while rehearsals were taking place for the live to air show that night. I remember the last show, show 14. As part of a boating to an Island scene, with Barry & Tommy Hanlon in a boat on stage; Barry was scripted to say to Tommy; "I think we’ve hit the Island".

The scene was rehearsed a number of times during the day as the level in the bottle dropped. Came show time; the live audience filed in; the show proceeded; the Island scene rolled around and Barry, in a fit of inspiration substituted the script wording; "I think we’ve hit the Island" to "(expletive), what was that?!!" The crew and cast were helpless with mirth; the Audience gasped (this was long before the infamous Graham Kennedy crow call) and the Director was screaming "Cut Cut!!". He was apoplectic. I don’t think there was much of a delay in Live to Air in those days. Anyway, Barry was booted off the show; the show ended but I would like to think that Barry’s unceremonious dumping was the beginning of his re-incarnation into the characters we now know and love him for. If I ever get to met Barry Humphries again I would love to remind him of that scene.

I’m sure now that I remember Cass; big guy and really friendly; he gave me a chance in the Post Sync room where I met my fate and a sacking from Bob Gardiner. I was supposed to press play on the tape recorder at the direction of Bob, but instead pressed record and managed to wipe off the only recording of an orchestral stanza used as emphasis in a scene from Homicide; the daa daa daaa daaaaaaa, sound! The rest is history; I recall that sadly, Bob was killed racing his Alfa at Sandown a few years later.

Thanks for all the memories this site evokes. They are coming back to me like they happened yesterday; I really appreciate this Website.

Neil Spencer
19th August 2013