The Graham Kennedy Show - Final episode

Title:
The Graham Kennedy Show - Final episode
NFSA ID:
1495847
Year:
1975
Courtesy:
Nine Network
Category:
Access fees

An excerpt from a colour episode of The Graham Kennedy Show, in which a 16-year-old suburban Melbourne school student presents the host with a topical illustration of Kennedy as a crow attempting to say something that has been censored. After the student cheekily takes the opportunity to plug his school's forthcoming social event, Graham and Bert Newton perform a version of the 'Executive Producer sketch'. Broadcast on the Nine Network on 16 April 1975, this was the final edition of The Graham Kennedy Show.

Note: viewers may find some of the humour in this clip offensive.

Following two successful return specials, The Graham Kennedy Show commenced its twice-weekly run in September 1972, continuing until the end of 1973. Tired, but happy with its success, Graham rested the show in 1974, collecting his 4th Gold Logie that year along the way.

Not one to miss an opportunity, his show returned with the introduction of colour television transmission in Australia. However, his mocking of a live sponsored advertisement for Cedel hair products on his debut colour show on 3 March 1975 - in which he was heard to add an 'F' to one of his longstanding 'Aaark' crow calls - incurred the wrath of the peak industry body, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Despite protests from Graham that comedienne Mary Hardy had used similar language on a Seven Network program to no consequence, the show's delayed screening in Adelaide the following night included a one-second edit of the offending moment. 

Following the 'crow call' controversy, pressure from the Broadcasting Control Board led to a change in the production of the show. The Graham Kennedy Show was no longer broadcast live but instead pre-recorded. Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB as a guest of host Earl Bailey in 1976, Graham admitted that his boundary-pushing comments had been intended for such an outcome. 

Graham pulled the pin on his own show immediately following the broadcast of the episode excerpted here, citing the Nine Network's editing of his opening monologue in which he heavily criticised then Arts Minister Senator Doug McClelland. The hole in Nine's schedule left by this sudden vacancy was ultimately filled by The Don Lane Show (1975-1983), a major success in its own right, on which Graham himself made several guest appearances. 

Of the 14 colour editions produced of The Graham Kennedy Show in 1975, only this last episode is presently known to survive. The whereabouts of  the 3 March 1975 'crow call' episode, handed to the Broadcasting Control Board at the time, remains unknown.

The 'crow call' incident became something of a millstone around Graham's neck. He admitted to The Herald in 1984 that 'I have done a lot of good things and lot of bad things on television and I hope I am remembered for the better things than crow calls'.

The 'EP' sketch seen in this excerpt was revisited on Don Lane's show in 1983. This sketch was seen throughout the 1970s series of The Graham Kennedy Show, during Bert Newton's appearance at the Wheel near show's end. 'Like so many of the regular segments on the show, The Executive Producer commenced by accident ... it was simply Graham and Bert clowning around one night when it was born. Graham liked it, so we did it regularly', writer Mike McColl Jones recalls.

Notes by Simon Smith