DENZIL HOWSON ARCHIVE

Christmas Pantomimes Year-By-Year

1957 | Princess Joybelle

The first Happy Show Christmas Pantomime was called “Princess Joybelle”, broadcast live to air in December 1957.

1958 | Sleigh Bells

The Happy Show cast fly to the North Pole to help Santa with his Christmas orders. Performed in front of a studio audience and broadcast live to air.

1959 | Merry Make Believe

The Happy Show regulars travel to Make Believe Land with miserly Uncle Silas (Jack Little), who learns some important lessons about love and kindness. A more ambitious production that was pre-recorded on videotape.

1960 | Dick Whittington

A re-telling of the story of Dick Whittington and his Cat, featuring a marionette in the role of the cat.

1961 | The Magic Mirror

A mysterious magician gives Mary (Patti McGrath) a Magic Mirror and with the help of Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee she realises her dream of becoming a fine lady in the King’s palace. Set in a studio re-creation of Petticoat Lane in London.

1962 | The Golden Princess

Ali Gerry Gee and Blaskett Al Tisket A’ Tasket arrive in Bhagdad where they meet Pasha the Dasher (Joff Ellen). The trio befriend Princess Fatima (Patti McGrath) and save her from a spell cast by the evil Caliph’s magician.

1963 | Mari-Anne

Fritz Hoffle (Frank Wilson), the toymaker in the Swiss mountain village of Tiefencastel is given an ultimatum by the Mayor, Herr Zeidler (Frank Rich) to repair a doll belonging to his daughter Mari-Anne (Patti McGrath) by the next day. Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee find themselves in Toyland where they help the toys to save the day.

Preserving and Restoring the Christmas Pantomimes

Restoring and releasing some or all of the surviving Christmas Pantomimes will provide a unique and rare glimpse into the early days of children’s television in Melbourne and an opportunity to see once again popular Happy/Tarax Show personalities such as Gerry Gee, Ron Blaskett, King Corky, Joffa Boy, Patti McGrath, Susan-Gaye Anderson, Elaine McKenna, Bernard the Magician, Uncle Norman and Professor Ratbaggy.