Easter Sunday, 10th April, 1977

We virtually drove the length of Sydney to its northernmost coastal suburb, Palm Beach.

The ring-pull on my can of drink broke away and Tiki cut her finger whilst trying to open the can with her car key. Therefore, we returned to the shop to have it opened.

Although the day remained fine, the icy winds continued to blow.

Tommy Woodcock: Easter Monday, 11th April, 1977

It has been another gloriously sunny day.

International tennis player, Karen Krantze, has collapsed and died, at the age of thirty, in the United States.

“Reckless” won the Sydney Cup, at Randwick Racecourse, this afternoon from “Gold And Black” and “Rhalif”. “Balmerino” ran disappointingly. “Reckless” is trained by Tommy Woodcock, who was the strapper to the legendary “Phar Lap”.

“Phar Lap” was foaled near Timaru, on New Zealand’s South Island, in October of 1926. He was bought at sale by an American businessman and brought to Australia to race. Although the horse’s early career was rather ordinary he was to become a favourite with punters during the early years of the Great Depression. So dominant did his career become, gangsters attempted to shoot him three days before he was to run in the Melbourne Cup of 1930. A race he duly won carrying 9st 12lb (61.5 kg or 138lb).

In fact, “Phar Lap” was to win thirty-two of his last thirty-five races; being beaten narrowly in two of the other three and finishing eighth in the Melbourne Cup of 1931, when burdened with the impost of 10st 10lb (68kg).

Despite the protestations of “Phar Lap’s” trainer, Harry Telford, the champion was literally hoisted aboard a ship and transported to America. Harry refused to accompany him.

“Phar Lap” was entered to contest the Agua Caliente Handicap, in Tijuana, Mexico. The competitors were vying for the largest amount of prizemoney ever offered for a horserace in North America, and it was “Phar Lap” who collected the bulk of it when he carried 129lb (58.5 kg) to win in a time that broke the previous record.

“Phar Lap” was returned to California, where on the 5th of April, in 1932 Tommy Woodcock found the champion writhing in agony in his stall. He haemorrhaged to death some hours later.

Conjecture still abounds as to the cause of “Phar Lap’s” sudden demise, but as his stomach and intestines were found to be inflamed, poisoning, whether deliberate or by accidental means, has always remained to the fore.

“The Bugs Bunny Show” and “The Flintstones” were screened on television, late this afternoon. On “Willesee”, on Channel Seven, at 7.00 p.m., there is a segment devoted to the fact that seventy-five Australians have lost their lives to road accidents this Easter. In another item a leader of nudists, in Echuca, tells of how he twice tried sex, but did not like it. He is a former scoutmaster.

This evening’s edition of “A Big Country”, from eight o’clock, on Channel Two , is about transcendental meditation and how it is hoped it will overcome Mount Isa’s growing problem, centred upon its level of unemployment, by 1980. Mount Isa is a town, of thirty-three thousand inhabitants, in North Queensland, which is largely dependent upon the industry of mining.

Episode 12 of “Rich Man, Poor Man: Book 2” is being shown, on Channel Seven, from half past eight.

The Upsetters

The Upsetters was an early Jamaican reggae band which, in late 1969, released its only notable recording when the double A-sided single, “Return Of Django” and “Dollar In The Teeth”, ascended to No.5 on the British charts.



Decades later, these two tracks were used in the soundtrack to ‘Grand Theft Auto: London’, a video game series of the late 1990s. “Return Of Django” can also be heard in ‘This Is England’, a dramatic British film from 2006.

Some members of the group by 1972 had become Wailers alongside Bob Marley.

You can find “Return Of Django” on the list of my favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.

“Please, Don’t Rip Me Off!”:Tuesday, 12th April, 1977

A packet of five Gillette twin-blade razors cost me $1.12 at the grocery store, Jewel, in Caringbah. A packet of the same five blades was earlier priced on sale at Woolworths’ for $1.35.

I entered a chemist’s shop in this same suburb to ask for four Tek multi-soft toothbrushes, only to have the gentleman hand me four Nada toothbrushes at a cost of forty-odd cents more for each of them. It wasn’t until I protested that I had asked for the cheaper Tek toothbrushes that I actually received them.

However, all was not plain sailing for he then tried to charge me $1.80 when the correct price was $1.08. I corrected him and he assured me that they were innocent mistakes.

“The Mike Walsh Show” is on Channel Nine from noon. Hollywood actor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, is a guest on the programme. Another edition of “Medical Center” screens from two o’clock and, at three, on Channel Seven, in “Mannix”, the private investigator of that name is shot and then hunted by a thuggish group of children.

Tonight, at the Caringbah Drive-in, “Battle Of Midway” and “The Big Bus” are being screened. The former features a long list of stars which includes Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Robert Wagner, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Cliff Robertson, Pat Morita and Robert Ito. The latter: Stockard Channing and Joe Bologna.

Meanwhile, at home, “This Day Tonight”, at half past seven, is followed, at 8.00 and also on Channel Two, by “Holiday” which takes the viewer to Surfers Paradise; on a hunting trip by raft, some sixty-five kilometres from Lake Taupo on New Zealand’s North Island; and lastly to Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

At 8.30, on Channel Seven, Bill Collins introduced the motion picture, “The Salzburg Connection” (1972), starring Barry “Petrocelli” Newman, Anna Karina and Karen Jensen.

The Chinese Art Exhibition is on display in town at present. It has been Children’s Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The First Trifecta: Wednesday, 13th April, 1977

It has been a delightfully still, sunny day.

The N.S.W. T.A.B. has held its first betting on a trifecta. It was conducted on a race on this afternoon’s card at Randwick. For every unit of one dollar, placed on the combination in the correct finishing order, one receives $277.50. “Dalrello”, a visitor from Queensland, was placed first, “Manawapoi”, second, and “Oranmore”, a visitor from New Zealand, third.

“The Andy Williams’ Show”, hosted by the crooner, Andy Williams, is on television, this evening, from eight o’clock. From half past the hour, on ABC-TV, an army of mercenaries gets out of hand in the British series, “The New Avengers”. It is a sequel to “The Avengers”, which was produced in the 1960s, and again stars Patrick Macnee as John Steed. Gareth Hunt is cast as Mike Gambit, and Joanna Lumley as Purdey.

Lack Of Communication: Thursday, 14th April, 1977

Tiki rang me, at 1.00 p.m., to say that pathology had detected a high level of “something” in my blood and that I have to revisit the doctor. She sounded quite depressed.

However, when I arrived at the surgery, after work, I learned that it is not open this evening.

Shaun Cassidy, who at eighteen years of age is the younger brother of David , appears as a guest on “Willesee” at seven o’clock. He appears to be mature and level-headed for his age.

At twenty to eight we left for Grace Bros in Miranda Fair to book seats to see Cliff Richard, at the Regent Theatre on the thirteenth of May, only to be told by the three women at the booking office that they knew nothing about it.

I informed them that in today’s copy of ‘The Sun’ it states that one should book at “Grace Bros stores”.

We returned home and watched “Policewoman”, from half past eight, in which Robert “Wagon Train” Horton is cast as the head of a dishonest scheme designed to sell babies to desperate parents.

Walk For Your Life!: Friday, 15th April, 1977

The weekly children’s programme, “Behind The News”, screens at ten o’clock. Presented by Barry Eaton, it looks at the work of the Red Cross; as well as the Calgary Stampede: ten days of events, based upon the theme of a rodeo, that is held in the Canadian city after which it is named. The third segment heralds the greatest agricultural breakthrough since the year 1700, when the seed drill was invented, namely the planting of newly germinated seed in a special gel to overcome the factor of soil temperature. This method affords every seed the optimum opportunity to fulfil its destiny. All of this research has been carried out in England.

My doctor informed me that one’s level of cholesterol should fall between two hundred and three hundred, with the latter regarded as a high reading, and that mine was, indeed, in dangerous territory, at three hundred and twenty-one.

Consequently, it was stressed to me that I must walk for six kilometres a day and play as much golf as I can. A short list was compiled of foods I cannot have — ever! With this in hand I headed for home to eat the lamb’s fry and bacon that “Mum” had already prepared for dinner.

The actor, Peter Lawford, who was born in England, was interviewed on “Willesee”, this evening; shortly before Tiki and I set out to walk for five kilometres.

The film, “The Last Time I Saw Paris”, which stars Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor, is on television tonight.

Sydney delighted in a maximum temperature of twenty-six degrees Celsius.

Bobby Vee

Robert Thomas Velline was born in Fargo, North Dakota, in April of 1943. When Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were killed in that devastating plane crash in Iowa, on the 3rd of February, in 1959 it was Robert, at the age of just fifteen, who was called upon to fill in for Buddy at the tour’s next venue, in Moorhead, Minnesota.

From there this singer, songwriter soon adopted the pseudonym of Bobby Vee and within two years had emerged as an international popstar. The third single he released, under the livery of Liberty Records, was a revival of The Clovers’ ballad, “Devil Or Angel”, from 1956.


However, it was to be his fourth single, “Rubber Ball”, that was to stamp him as an international success. The song was co-written by singer, Gene Pitney, who substituted his mother’s maiden name of Orlowski on the record’s label.


Bobby, between 1959 and 1970, was to enter the American charts with singles which numbered almost forty in total. This was no mean feat when one considers just how highly competitive entrance to the charts was in those days, what with such a stellar array of talent, both ensconced and burgeoning, on hand.

In the wake of “Devil Or Angel” and “Rubber Ball”, in 1960, Bobby’s most popular recordings proved to be “More Than I Can Say”, Take Good Care Of My Baby”, “Run To Him”, “Walkin’ With My Angel” (all from 1961), “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara”, “Sharing You”, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” (1962), “Charms” (1963) and “Come Back When You Grow Up” (1967).




Across the Atlantic, “More Than I Can Say”, which had only risen to No.61 in his homeland, ascended to No.4. Similarly, “How Many Tears”, in 1961, also performed considerably better in Britain, where it peaked at No.10. In 1962, in Britain, “A Forever Kind Of Love”, reached No.13 and stayed in the chart for nineteen weeks.


“Rubber Ball” and “One Last Kiss” (which Bobby shared with Crash Craddock, who had released a simultaneous version) both reached No.1, in Australia, in early 1961, and, in the second half of the year, his revival of the classic, “Baby Face”, from the 1920s, reached No.4 there.

“More Than I Can Say” spent four weeks at No.2, in America, in 1980, when the song was revived by Englishman Leo Sayer. Leo became a naturalised Australian citizen, in 2009.

Bobby Vee has continued to tour into his sixties.

I have included Bobby Vee’s original recording of “More Than I Can Say” on my list of favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists.

‘Luskin Star’ Shines: Saturday, 16th April, 1977

“Luskin Star” becomes the highest two-year-old stakes’ winner in the history of Australian horseracing by taking his earnings to $151,200.

“Native Son” won by five lengths at the races in Brisbane this afternoon. The Inter-dominion series for the pacers and trotters is to be held there this evening, at Albion Park.

Sydney enjoyed a maximum temperature of twenty-six degrees Celsius.

From 7.30 p.m., on Channel Seven, the British comedy series, “Morecambe And Wise”, is screened. Eric and Ernie’s guest is Australian actor, Keith Michell, dressed for the part of Henry VIII, the role for which he is known best.

Howard Hughes: Sunday, 17th April, 1977

I listened to the description of Canterbury-Bankstown’s defeat of Manly-Warringah, by twelve points to eleven, at Brookvale Oval.

Venturing upstairs I then viewed a repetition from the series, “Ask The Leyland Brothers”. It takes the viewer to Broken Hill, the town built on mining, in the far west of New South Wales. Broken Hill also lends its name to the large company, B.H.P., which was founded there. The programme also looks at a working bullock team in Tasmania, and the lighthouse at Cape Otway, in Victoria.

From 7.30 p.m., in the series, “Hawaii Five-O”, a victim shoots policemen, at night, from his wheelchair. At half past eight, on Channel Nine, “The Amazing Howard Hughes: Part 1”, begins to take a quite engrossing look into the life of the producer and director of films, investor, business magnate, engineer and philanthropist. Howard Hughes died a year ago at the age of seventy.