Retrograde Selection: Monday, 17th October, 1977

Four out of every ten suburban trains aren’t running today, due to a strike. On this gloriously sunny morning John Burles, an announcer on 2KY, played Bing Crosby singing “Muddy Water”. The song was recorded on the 3rd of July, in 1927 when he was a vocalist with the highly successful orchestra of the bandleader, Paul Whiteman. Crosby, whose death was announced on Saturday, achieved his first hit, as a soloist, in 1931 with “Just A Gigolo” on one side of the record and “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams” on the other.

Bob Simpson, at the age of forty-one, is named as Australia’s captain for the forthcoming Test series against India. Australian officials have deemed the retrograde selection to be necessary because of the ban placed upon all of those Australian cricketers who signed to play for Kerry Packer’s renegade troupe. The former Australian captain, last played for his country in 1968. He is also named as the new captain of New South Wales.

This evening we watched the first half of the film, “The Last Of Sheila”. Produced in 1973, it stars James Coburn, James Mason, Dyan Cannon, Raquel Welch, Richard Benjamin and Joan Hackett.


Footnote: David Lee Roth, in 1985, included a more lively rendition of “Just A Gigolo” on his medley that combines it with another hit from the past, “I Ain’t Got Nobody”. Bing Crosby, on the other hand, is credited with being the most prolific recording artist of the twentieth century. Between 1931 and 1962 no less than three hundred and thirty-two of his recordings entered or re-entered the American charts as singles. This number does not include those he performed with other artists, the most notable of these being The Andrews Sisters.


Great Crisis!: Tuesday, 18th October, 1977

We were almost at the intersection of Rocky Point Road and the Prince’s Highway on a gloriously sunny morning when John Burles broadcast the news that the favourite for Saturday’s W.S. Cox Plate, “Luskin Star”, had been injured in an exhibition gallop at Moonee Valley this morning and that his future in racing might be in some doubt.

However, when I bought a copy of “The Sun” at lunchtime I learned that the injury to the horse was not as bad as was firstly believed although it is still uncertain if he will run on Saturday.

This evening, “Willesee”, was devoted to a debate over the strike by workers in the industry that generates and provides power, which has virtually crippled the state of Victoria. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, described its duration of nine weeks as this country’s “greatest crisis in industrial memory”. Union leader, John Halfpenny, and the Federal Minister for Labour, Tony Street, were also on the programme.

Heedful of the requirement for some levity, we watched “The Dave Allen Special” from half past seven. The Irish comedian really has perfected the art of telling a joke!

Strike Drags On: Wednesday, 19th October, 1977

“Mum” and Wendy travelled into town to attend a screening of “Smokey And The Bandit”. The film stars Burt Reynolds, Sally “Gidget”/”The Flying Nun”/”The Girl With Something Extra” Field, Jerry Reed and Jackie Gleason.

This evening “Willesee”, again, centres upon the strike by workers within the power industry that has virtually crippled Victoria. I am listening to the radio for a change. Towards the end of a day that delivered extreme heat and humidity and a maximum of twenty-nine degrees Celsius, it is raining and we are, therefore, not going for a walk. I am listening to “Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue”, which is sung by Loretta Lynn’s sister, Crystal Gayle. It isn’t a hit out here, yet, although it is doing well in the United States.

At nine o’clock we watched the film, “A Cry In The Wilderness”. George Kennedy and Joanna Pettet occupy prominent roles in this production from 1973. Another motion picture, “Victory At Entebbe”, was being shown on Channel Ten.



‘Luskin Star’ To Start: Thursday, 20th October, 1977

It has been a gloriously sunny day, yet a little cool, with the maximum having settled upon twenty-two degrees Celsius. “Country Road” this evening was hosted by the Melburnian Johnny Chester. American actor, Richard Widmark, narrated the documentary, “Tiger, Tiger”, from half past seven. David “Shane”/”Kung Fu” Carradine and Barbara Hershey appear on Channel Ten from half past eight in the film, “Boxcar Bertha”. It was produced five years ago.

“Luskin Star” has been declared to be a certain starter in Saturday’s W.S. Cox Plate. The race is run over two thousand and forty metres at the tight Moonee Valley Racecourse, in Melbourne, and is regarded as Australia’s premier event under the scale of weight for age. “Luskin Star” is yet to finish unplaced in any of his twelve starts. Last year, at the age of two, he won Australia’s Triple Crown, in Sydney, having been victorious in the Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill, by a margin of seven lengths, and thence the A.J.C. Sires’ Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes, which are both contested at Randwick.

Cardinal Gilroy Dies: Friday, 21st October, 1977

“Mum” possesses the appearance of death warmed up or as a grossly obese landlady of mine, who once confided in me that she had been declared clinically dead on five separate occasions, used to say: “…has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin!” Another saying of hers was, “There’s nothing wrong with me that a sharp axe won’t fix!” All jokes aside, it really is quite depressing to witness “Mum” suffer as she is. There is really nothing that one can say to brighten her mood and nothing that we can do to ease her intense discomfort.

This evening, at six o’clock, we viewed the documentary series, “Wild, Wild World Of Animals”, on Channel Two. Entitled ‘Ostrich’, this edition stated that the world’s largest flightless bird has ‘the largest eyes of any land animal’, before going on to add that a baby of the species can grow at a rate of a centimetre per day or ‘a foot per month’. Afterwards, this led me to quip to Tiki, as we were walking, “… after two months it has two feet!”

We skylarked in the bathroom as Tiki continually tried to tread on my toes. At nine o’clock we viewed the corny film of 1973, “Guess Who’s Sleeping In My Bed”. It features Dean Jones and Barbara Eden. Unsurprisingly, I began to doze off towards its conclusion. Having awoken for the last time, I threw sheets on the mattress in the spare bedroom and exclaimed to Tiki, “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep for a change!” This marks the first time that we’ve slept apart since last December when she spent several days in hospital.

Sydney’s Cardinal, Sir Norman Thomas Gilroy, died today at the age of eighty-one.



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