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.



Floored Pillow: Saturday, 22nd October, 1977

I arose at 5.15 a.m. and whilst Tiki was outside on the toilet, I sneaked back into our double bed and threw her pillow on to the floor. She invariably does this to my pillow when I don’t retire for the night at the time that she does.

A pair of jeans purchased at Fletcher Jones cost me twenty-one dollars and forty-five cents and a pair of casual trousers in Kenrays, thirty-five dollars. Tiki, with some prompting from me, bought three pounds of T-bone steak for one dollar and ninety-nine cents.

We arrived home at ten minutes past twelve and watched the remainder of “International Pop Proms” on Channel Seven. The British programme featured Georgie Fame singing his hit of 1965, “Yeh Yeh”; Vicky Leandros, performing her classic, “Come What May”, from 1972, and the American vocalist, Johnny Mathis, delivering a medley of mostly recent songs.

As we travelled down the hill at The Spit, en route to North Head, I listened to the broadcast of the weight-for-age W.S. Cox Plate from Moonee Valley. “Family Of Man” ridden by New Zealand jockey, Brent Thomson, defeated “Raffindale” and “Vice Regal” respectively. The favourite, “Luskin Star”, finished unplaced for the first time in his thirteen starts.

North Head was the victim of a heavy overcast and a strong wind, as we parked to view the harbour and the city. At the tip of the promontory, where I’d not been before, we walked and ran to the railing and peered down three hundred feet into the water below. Empty, concrete emplacements along the cliffs’ edges once contained artillery. However, this afternoon, they only contained primitive traces of habitation and the smell of urine.

A visit to “Brutus” followed. After which Tiki drove us home by ten past six, having passed through some intermittent rain.

“Echo Of The Wild”, a documentary on animals, screened on Channel Nine from half past six. Channel Seven’s authority on the cinema, Bill Collins, introduced the movie, “The Lost World”, at 7.30. This offering, from 1960, features the late English actor, Michael “The Third Man” Rennie, Jill St. John, David “Five Fingers”/”Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” Hedison and Fernando “Run For Your Life” Lamas.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s royal coaches were on display, in Miranda Fair, this morning.

Working Like ‘Dogs’: Sunday, 23rd October, 1977

I awoke at 5.00 a.m. and arose by half past five because I couldn’t regain sleep. I jogged and walked to the first newsagent on Kiora Road to buy a copy of “The Sun-Herald”. The telephone rang at a quarter to eight as I was reading the paper in the lounge room.

It was an enthusiastic “Dad”, asking for my permission to come and commence to dig the post holes for the side fence. He was disagreeing with “Mum”, as to their time of arrival. “Mum” kept insisting that it would be ten o’clock while he was just as insistent that they would arrive in ten minutes.

Between 8.00 and 9.00 I listened to 2KY’s tribute to Bing Crosby, which was narrated by John Burles. Bing told of his early days, when he was an alcoholic and of how he was sentenced to sixty days’ gaol for driving whilst drunk.

I was washing last night’s dishes when “Dad” knocked at the back door. He and I dismantled what remained of the old fence and dug the first of an estimated ten post holes. While this was easy, the digging of the second was far harder. We struck impenetrable rock at a depth of eighteen inches. “Dad”, recognising that such holes would not suffice, decided that we should alternately extend the holes by two feet on opposite sides and he would call upon his brother-in-law to weld a metal support to the bottom of each of the lengths of sturdy pipe, which we propose to use as the posts.

Despite having dug four holes with a crow-bar, I still was called upon to ask our neighbour, who had been just standing around and observing us, to relieve me. Without stating as much, it was obvious to us that he did not want a fence constructed. Presumably, because it would deprive his children of the run of the two backyards.

We knocked off at a quarter past eleven to enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits. “Dad” and I continued to dig, as the neighbour, a schoolteacher, cut up a few of the old palings for his barbecue.

By lunchtime my hands had developed numerous blisters and I was employing and discarding sticking plasters with rapidity. “Dad’s” old military shovels only exacerbated the situation in this regard as they were guilty of pinching the skin on our hands.

He had shown me how to dig holes in rock by rotating the crow-bar a little with each blow and when we stopped for lunch, only one and a half holes remained to be dug.

Our neighbour’s lack of assistance was only surpassed by his young son’s rudeness. He informed “Dad” that he was going to bury him and kept referring to the pair of us as “dogs”.

We mercifully finished the digging by half past two and after having placed the pipes in the back of “Dad’s” ute, gratefully entered the lounge room and sat in front of “The Bellboy”. The film, which bears the copyright of 1960, features Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle.

I chose to have a cup of tea while “Dad” opted for something stronger: a Scotch and dry. Tiki provided me with some cream, ‘Skin Repair’, to rub into my painful hands.

“Dad” and Wendy left at four o’clock as the A.B.C.’s live telecast of the latest qualifier in soccer’s World Cup was commencing in Seoul, South Korea. The match became a drab affair, with neither South Korea nor Australia able to find the opponent’s net.

“Mum” departed at ten to six and, at half past the hour, we witnessed ‘The Secret Of The Pond’, which comes under the mantle of “The Wonderful World Of Disney”. An hour later and it was the turn of “The Bionic Woman” on Channel Ten. It was followed by the opening episode of “The Moneychangers”. It stars Kirk Douglas, Christopher Plummer, Jean Peters, Anne Baxter and Timothy Bottoms.

Formerly Mrs Howard Hughes, the appearance of Jean Peters is only her second since her marriage, in 1957.


Operation Pending: Monday, 24th October, 1977

“The Big Match”, at 6.00 p.m., was only viewed for thirty minutes. It contained the highlights of the match from the Second Division, which was played between Crystal Palace and Southampton. The former stars, Alan Ball and Peter Osgood, were playing for the latter.

We drove to the hospital, where “Mum” had admitted herself an hour earlier. She was found to be in a cheerful mood, regardless of the fact that she was scheduled to have an operation on the top vertebrae of her spine tomorrow at 7.45 a.m.

The only other patient in her room was watching a television that she had rented from the hospital. Rather than do likewise, “Dad” and Wendy, both of whom were already there when we arrived, returned home to get the small portable, which would only receive channels Two and Ten, in black and white.

We left her to watch “The Rockford Files” and arrived home in time to view the second edition of “The Moneychangers” on Channel Ten. The English actress, Joan Collins, swims naked in a pool, in order to seduce the character that is being portrayed by the Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer.


Victorians See The Light!: Tuesday, 25th October, 1977

It has been a gloriously sunny day, accompanied by a maximum temperature of twenty-one degrees Celsius. En route to Tiki’s parents’, I visited the florist shop, Shire, to buy some flowers for her mother. Whilst there I had a change of mind and spent ten dollars, instead, on a pot plant summising that it would hopefully still be extant long after flowers had withered and been discarded. “Mum” had arrived home after 3.00 p.m., having had her vexatious neck manipulated. She had opted out of the operation, which had been scheduled for this morning, after having given the matter considerable thought overnight.

The strike within Victoria’s power industry, ended today after an arduous eleven weeks. Nineteen seventy-seven has certainly been a year of strikes!

“The Dave Allen Show” followed “Willesee”. The diminutive, Irish comedian, who is a chain-smoker, certainly is a talent! Albeit, an irreverent one.

We left at twenty past eight, in order to be home in time for the third instalment of “The Moneychangers”.

Silver Jubilee Year: Wednesday, 26th October, 1977

“Dad” arrived at half past seven on a bright, sunny morning. He delivered the galvanised pipes that now have a shorter and narrower length of piping welded at right angles to the end of each.

After work, we arrived at Tiki’s parents’ by half past five. Her father already had their old Westinghouse kitchen stove disconnected and I helped him carry it out to his red Chrysler Valiant ‘Town and Country’ utility. He is to deliver it to a mate’s weekender at Wyangala Dam tomorrow.

It was dark by seven o’clock. “The Royal Family”, screened on Channel Seven from half past seven. The programme is in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in this, the year of her Silver Jubilee.

Tiki washed the dishes while I dried them. Her mother is still in agony, in spite of having had her neck manipulated yesterday. More than a decade ago her car was rammed from behind and she received whiplash from the sudden impact.

We returned home by half past eight and watched the fourth and final episode of “The Moneychangers”. Kirk Douglas plays the part of a wonderful person, while the character portrayed by Christopher Plummer is the complete antithesis.

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