Betty Johnson

Born in North Carolina in March of 1929 (or 1931) Betty Johnson made her professional debut as a member of a group that included her parents and siblings. The Johnson Family Singers was signed up to sing on a local radio station and by 1948 Betty had obtained her own programme, in which she performed as a solo artist.

Betty’s early career as a recording artist was not a particularly successful one although she did get to work with Eddy Arnold, who was on his way to becoming one of America’s most prolific country singers. This association led to Betty being signed to RCA Victor Records, which meant that she had to relocate to Chicago.

It was while she was in Chicago that Betty released what was to become her biggest single, “I Dreamed”. “I Dreamed” was released on Bally Records, a small label. The single entered Billboard’s pop chart in late November of 1956 and reached its apex at No.9.

A cover of “Little White Lies” achieved only moderate success for her in 1957. This might have been due to the fact that the song had already been atop the hit parade in 1930 and had subsequently performed almost as admirably for Dick Haymes in 1948. Then again, listeners might not have appreciated this popular tune being sung in the style of rock.

In 1958 Betty’s last release of any significance was her recording of the novelty number, “The Little Blue Man”. While it barely entered the Top 20, the recording developed something of a cult following and remained on the chart for four months.

As a child, I loved “The Little Blue” at the time of its release and could not understand why my mother did not share my zeal. Perhaps forty years passed before I was to hear it again and had to admit to myself that it was one recording for which my adoration had all but evaporated. Another thing that struck me was just how much Betty Johnson sounded like the infinitely more popular Doris Day.

Sack Is A Word Of Four Letters: Tuesday, 28th June, 1977

Many of Sydney’s public school teachers are on strike, again, today. Announcer, Bob Rogers, was sacked by radio station, 2GB, today for having allowed a four-letter word, uttered by John Singleton, to go to air on his show. Mr. Singleton is highly regarded within the field of advertising.

I joked with a workmate that the Vietnamese refugees, who landed at Wyndham, in Western Australia, the other day, must have felt like turning around and heading back. Having visited Wyndham, in 1972, I know what is (or should I say isn’t?) there!

Would you believe that my visit there was a part of a tour around Australia, by bus, that had a duration of sixty-three days? If the tour had not received an injection of new faces, in Alice Springs, I truly believe that those primal instincts that are affiliated to violence would have come to the fore. Mind you, even with the new members on board, these remained fairly close to the surface. Needless to say bus tours of nine weeks ceased to operate not long afterwards. Our coach (we weren’t allowed to refer to it as a bus) captain (driver) did not help when he would insert a tape and play, every single morning without fail, Bert Kaempfert’s “Swinging Safari”.

The coach broke down twice. Firstly, we were stranded five miles to the west of Croydon in North Queensland after the company’s visiting liaison officer, who wasn’t authorised to drive during the tour, had swerved the vehicle to avoid contact with a wild pig at four o’clock in the morning. That action damaged one of the coach’s springs and we were subsequently stranded in the heat and dust for twelve hours before makeshift repairs allowed for the vehicle to be driven, albeit in a crab-like fashion, to Normanton where a replacement spring was fitted.

In Onslow, Western Australia, we had to spend two unscheduled nights as this time a new spring had to be flown up from Perth. This delay meant that we were subjected to being driven throughout a night or two in order to make up for the time the tour had lost.

The most unexpected situation in which we found ourselves was shortly after we had passed the landmark of Pyramid Hill in Western Australia. Suddenly, the coach chugged to a stop and it was then that the coach captain announced that the vehicle had run out of petrol. He proclaimed that we were low on drinking water too! A fact that aroused a measure of panic from within some of the passengers, as it was, indeed, a desolate and isolated landscape.

Fortunately for all of us another vehicle arrived within minutes and the coach captain departed with it, having stated that he would be returning in a taxi along with the much-needed fuel from the town of Roebourne some thirty-two miles distant. In the two and a half hours that passed not one other vehicle was sighted.

When talk of us all dying of thirst had begun to arise, I distanced myself from the stranded vehicle and those congregated about it and passed the time, as best I could, by throwing the odd stone and trying to occupy my mind with other thoughts.

Here are just some of my photographs taken during those nine weeks:

Sydney's Spit Bridge was meant to be a temporary structure when it was opened to the public in 1958

Sydney’s Spit Bridge was meant to be a temporary structure when it was opened to the public in 1958

Sydney's Middle Harbour as observed from Edgecliffe Esplanade, in the suburb of Seaforth, New South Wales

Sydney’s Middle Harbour as observed from Edgecliffe Esplanade, in the suburb of Seaforth, New South Wales

Robbs Monument is situated alongside the Cairns-Kuranda Railway in the far north of Queensland

Robbs Monument is situated alongside the Cairns-Kuranda Railway in the far north of Queensland

Lake Eacham, in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

Lake Eacham, in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

Lake Barrine in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

Lake Barrine in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

The breakdown to the west of Croydon in the north of Queensland

The breakdown to the west of Croydon in the north of Queensland

The Northern Territory-Queensland border

The Northern Territory-Queensland border

Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges as viewed from Anzac Hill

Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges as viewed from Anzac Hill

A carving at the Pitchie Richie Sanctuary, Alice Springs, Northern Territory

A carving at the Pitchie Richie Sanctuary, Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Emily Gap is situated to the south-east of Alice Springs

Emily Gap is situated to the south-east of Alice Springs

Emily Gap, which lies to the south-east of Alice Springs

Emily Gap, which lies to the south-east of Alice Springs

Simpson's Gap to the west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory

Simpson’s Gap to the west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory

Standley Chasm, Northern Territory

Standley Chasm, Northern Territory

The 'twin' ghost gums to the south-west of Alice Springs

The ‘twin’ ghost gums to the south-west of Alice Springs

The Finke River to the south of Alice Springs, Northern Territory

The Finke River to the south of Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Ayers Rock at sunset, Northern Territory

Ayers Rock at sunset, Northern Territory

The climbing of Ayers Rock begins

The climbing of Ayers Rock commences

A dome of conglomerate rock located within The Olgas, Northern Territory

A dome of conglomerate rock located within The Olgas, Northern Territory

A view from The Valley Of The Winds in The Olgas, near to Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory

A view from The Valley Of The Winds in The Olgas, near to Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory

The Devil's Marbles near Wauchope to the south of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory

The Devil’s Marbles near Wauchope to the south of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory

Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory

Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory

A termite nest between Katherine and Darwin in the Northern Territory

A termite nest between Katherine and Darwin in the Northern Territory

The Law Courts in an ill-fated Darwin, Northern Territory

The Law Courts in an ill-fated Darwin, Northern Territory

The dusting and harvesting of cotton at the Ord River Project in the far north of Western Australia

The dusting and harvesting of cotton at the Ord River Project in the far north of Western Australia

A Sturt desert pea in a front yard in Halls Creek, Western Australia

A Sturt desert pea in a front yard in Halls Creek, Western Australia

Verdant growth climbs an otherwise bare rock wall in Geikie Gorge, Western Australia

Verdant growth climbs an otherwise bare rock wall in Geikie Gorge, Western Australia

A tranquil scene within Geikie Gorge which is near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia

A tranquil scene within Geikie Gorge which is near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia

The level of the Fitzroy River in the wet season is clearly shown in Geikie Gorge, Western Australia

The level of the Fitzroy River in the wet season is clearly shown in Geikie Gorge, Western Australia

This boab tree, near Derby in Western Australia, once served as a temporary gaol

This boab tree, near Derby in Western Australia, once served as a temporary gaol

The main street of Broome, Western Australia. The town is famous for its pearls.

The main street of Broome, Western Australia. The town is famous for its pearls.

Palms in the grounds of Mrs. McDaniel's 'Shell House' in Broome, Western Australia

Palms in the grounds of Mrs. McDaniel’s ‘Shell House’ in Broome, Western Australia

The asbestos mining town of Wittenoom, as viewed from the caravan park

The asbestos mining town of Wittenoom, as viewed from the caravan park

An old asbestos mine in Wittenoom Gorge, Western Australia

An old asbestos mine in Wittenoom Gorge, Western Australia

A scene in Yampire Gorge near Wittenoom, Western Australia

A scene in Yampire Gorge near Wittenoom, Western Australia

A circular pool in Dales Gorge, Western Australia

A circular pool in Dales Gorge, Western Australia

Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge, Western Australia

Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge, Western Australia

A broken spring brings the bus to a halt, twenty miles from Onslow, Western Australia

A broken spring brings the bus to a halt, twenty miles from Onslow, Western Australia

Playmates in Onslow, Western Australia

Playmates in Onslow, Western Australia

This log is from a karri tree. The tree was felled near Pemberton and one hundred and six feet of its trunk was brought to Kings Park and placed on display.

This log is from a karri tree. The tree was felled near Pemberton and one hundred and six feet of its trunk was brought to Kings Park to be placed on display.

The development of freeways in Perth, Western Australia

The development of freeways in Perth, Western Australia

Perth's city centre as viewed from Kings Park

Perth’s city centre as viewed from Kings Park

The entrance to Perth's London Court, as viewed from Hay Street

The entrance to Perth’s London Court, as viewed from Hay Street

The Town Hall on the corner of Barrack and Hay streets in Perth, Western Australia

The Town Hall on the corner of Barrack and Hay streets in Perth, Western Australia

The Archway at the northern end of St. George's Terrace in Perth, Western Australia

The archway at the northern end of St. George’s Terrace in Perth, Western Australia

The Gloucester Tree at Pemberton, Western Australia

The Gloucester Tree at Pemberton, Western Australia

Climbing the Gloucester Tree at Pemberton, Western Australia

Climbing the Gloucester Tree at Pemberton, Western Australia

The Natural Bridge near Albany, Western Australia

The Natural Bridge near Albany, Western Australia

The 'Dog's Head' in Albany, Western Australia. Its 'tail' is located in a neighbouring street.

The ‘Dog’s Head’ in Albany, Western Australia. Its ‘tail’ is located in a neighbouring street.

Jimmy Newhill's Harbour near Albany, Western Australia

Jimmy Newhill’s Harbour near Albany, Western Australia

A view into the mouth of a sperm whale at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

A view into the mouth of a sperm whale at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

A sperm whale lies prone on the slipway having been towed from the water to be flensed

A sperm whale lies prone on the slipway having been towed from the water to be flensed

A sperm whale awaits flensing at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station in Frenchman Bay near Albany, Western Australia

A sperm whale awaits flensing at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station in Frenchman Bay near Albany, Western Australia

Flensing in progress at the Cheyne Bay Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Flensing in progress at the Cheyne Bay Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Severed head of a sperm whale at Frenchman Bay near Albany, Western Australia

Severed head of a sperm whale at Frenchman Bay near Albany, Western Australia

A scene at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

A scene at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Parts of sperm whales are slid into a hole at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Parts of sperm whales are slid into a hole at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Parts of a dismembered sperm whale at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany Western Australia

Parts of a dismembered sperm whale at the Cheyne Beach Whaling Station near Albany, Western Australia

Blood from flensed whales enters the sea

Blood from flensed whales enters the sea

The Exchange Hotel, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

The Exchange Hotel, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Patrick Hannan's statue doubles as a bubbler in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Patrick Hannan’s statue doubles as a bubbler in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Sand gradually encroaches upon the remains of The Old Telegraph Station near Eucla, Western Australia

Sand gradually encroaches upon the remains of The Old Telegraph Station near Eucla, Western Australia

Scene at The Old Telegraph Station near Eucla, Western Australia

Scene at The Old Telegraph Station near Eucla, Western Australia

Sunrise at Mundrabilla on the Nullarbor Plain, Western Australia

Sunrise at Mundrabilla on the Nullarbor Plain, Western Australia

A ship under construction in Whyalla, South Australia

A ship under construction in Whyalla, South Australia

A board keeps a record of accidents and injuries at the ship-building yard in Whyalla

A board keeps a record of accidents and injuries at the ship-building yard in Whyalla

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A lookout tower at Port Augusta, South Australia

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The Seppeltfield Winery in the Barossa Valley, South Australia

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The Blue Lake (complete with age spots) in Mount Gambier, South Australia. It is reportedly at its most blue in November.

 

“Flashez” is followed by “Last Of The Wild” which, this evening, is about the birds of the Arctic. Bob Rogers appeared to be upset over today’s events when he was interviewed during the news on Channel Seven, at half past six. During “Willesee” Paul Makin tells the former prime minister, Gough Whitlam, that he looks like foreman material in his new clothes.

“Good Times” is followed by the second half of “Charlie’s Angels”, from eight o’clock, on Channel Nine. “Alfred The Great”, a motion picture that bears the copyright of 1969, follows. David Hemmings, Michael York and Prunella Ransome are among its cast.

 

“A Nice Little Earner!”: Wednesday, 29th June, 1977

Although it remained fine, a bitterly cold wind blew.

This afternoon, I priced a Slumberland ‘Gold Seal’ mattress and base ( five feet by six feet eight inches) at four hundred and fifty-nine dollars, in Bob Pollard Discounts, in Caringbah.

The ‘Sahara Desert’ edition of “Last Of The Wild” airs on Channel Two. At seven o’clock, Michael Willesee interviews the Australian authoress, Colleen McCullough, about her highly successful book, “The Thorn Birds”, which has just earned her five million dollars.

“Lucille Ball’s 25th Anniversary In Showbiz” followed, however, we departed from it, at eight o’clock, showing a preference for “Peach’s Australia”, in which Bill Peach visits the Gulf of Carpentaria and the towns of Burketown, Normanton and Croydon. He is seen experiencing the wild ride aboard the train which travels between the latter two.

The documentary, “The Fight Against Slavery”, is also shown on Channel Two, from half past eight. After that we returned to Channel Seven, from 9.30, to watch the motion picture, “The Blob”, which was produced in 1958, and traces the efforts of a community in its attempts to rid itself of a jelly-like mass. It stars Steve “Wanted Dead Or Alive” McQueen, in his first major role.

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