And the Gold Logie Goes To...

BY MEL BONDFIELD

The 2018 TV Week Logie Awards on 1 July mark the 60th year of Australian television's night of nights. 

To honour the occasion, we've dipped into the NFSA collection and chosen a few priceless Logies moments from decades past. The following clips feature a King, a Duke and a Dame, along with a 'Moonface' and a cranky little puppet. 

These clips highlight the spirit of the awards night and its importance as an Australian institution, with television personalities across all networks coming together to celebrate each other's achievements throughout the year. And they show how the ceremony has changed throughout the decades, and how some things have remained the same.  

'The King' Wins Again!

In the above clip from 1974, host Bert 'Moonface' Newton is on stage with special guest, Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. They are presenting the Gold Logie award for the most popular male personality to Australia's very own King of Television, Graham Kennedy. It was the fifth Gold Logie for 'The King' and he accepted it with a modest, low-key speech after a few comic moments between himself, Newton and Lollobrigida.

'Ding Dong' meets 'The Duke'

The following year, Bert was back, colour TV had arrived, and the guest list was even bigger. The 'Six Million Dollar Man' Lee Majors, Diane Cilento, Edward Woodward and 'The Duke' himself – Hollywood heavyweight John Wayne – all flew in for the party.  

The Logies had a long history of inviting A-list overseas celebrities to the ceremony and their inclusion often resulted in awkward exchanges, strained banter, starstruck locals and some very bewildered Hollywood stars. But on just as many occasions there were charming, funny and endearing moments, such as this, when the larger-than-life John Wayne joined Bert on stage to present the Gold Logies for 1975. Here Wayne announces the most popular female personality: 

While Australian award ceremonies have become far more polished since the 1970s, perhaps they have lost some of their homespun charm. The above clip captures a distinctly Australian warmth and informality, and the production crew does a good job of filming all 193 cm of John Wayne with the diminutive Denise Drysdale at the same time!

Our Dame steals the spotlight

The Logies ceremony not only honours overseas stars, but also celebrates the success of homegrown talent making it big abroad. 

By 1984, Bert was hosting his 16th Logies and, while the guest list included actors Christopher Atkins and Tony Randall, pop singer Marilyn and comedian Rich Little, the real shining light was our global megastar from Moonee Ponds – Dame Edna Everage, on a whirlwind visit from London.

Dame Edna owned the stage and was the highlight of the ceremony as she greeted members of the crowd and engaged in some cheeky banter with Bert. When the nominees and winner for the Most Popular Children's Program were announced, hilarity ensued as Bert did his best to keep things on track.

The file footage of children and the inclusion of segments from the shows nominated provides valuable context for a largely adult viewing audience. But it’s Dame Edna’s antics that steal this segment, which is wonderfully captured by the production crew:

Pranks, puppets and pizza

As the TV Week Logie Awards moved into the 90s, the production values soared, with even bigger musical numbers, lavish sets, special effects and more elaborate comedy set-ups. And Bert was passing on the torch to a new generation of entertainers and comedians to take on hosting duties.

In 1992, Daryl Somers, accustomed to working with a stuffed pink ostrich, was paired with a brash little puppet named Agro (performed by Jamie Dunn). As you'll see from the following clip, certain challenges arise when Daryl asks Agro to announce the winner of the Logie Award for Best Television Miniseries:

It’s an unusual choice having a puppet read out award winners, but the largely unscripted banter between Daryl Somers and Agro seems to go down well with the live audience. The camera only has to stay on the duo and allow the anarchy to take place for it to be engaging viewing.

Did you know...

  • Graham Kennedy was responsible for naming the Logie statuette, in honour of John Logie-Baird, a Scottish engineer who developed the television. 
  • Bert Newton has hosted the most TV Week Logie Awards ceremonies by far, with 20 under his belt.
  • Graham Kennedy leads the Gold Logie winners with a total of 6, and was inducted into the TV Week Logie Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • To date, Kylie Minogue is the youngest Gold Logie winner (at age 19 in 1988) and Ray Meagher is the oldest (at age 66 in 2010).
  • Not counting individual State awards, Lisa McCune and Rove McManus are tied for the most national Logie wins in total with 10 each. McCune has four Gold and McManus has three Gold Logies. 

The first 'TV Week' TV Awards for 1958

Before the Logies, there were the TV Week Magazine 'TV Awards'. The awards were first presented in January of 1959 for the most popular TV personalities and programs from the previous year. There were 11 categories in total and the awards were announced on the popular nightly variety show In Melbourne Tonight, hosted by Graham Kennedy, and in print in the 1-7 January 1959 issue of TV Week magazine: