Biography and Broadcasting Career
Happy was famous for his bright personality and wearing a tartan suit and hat, sometimes referred to as his "test pattern" outfit, that clashed awfully in real life but worked well on black and white TV. His catch phrase was :
" Is everybody happy ? "
The nickname Happy came from his time serving in the military during World War II, where he performed in concerts teaming with Keith Glover, who later went on to join the ABC. After the war, the pair took the act to the Tivoli circuit.
Happy's broadcasting career began at 3GL in Geelong as breakfast announcer. While at 3GL, Happy made his first TV appearance in 1948, as part of an exhibition using closed-circuit TV equipment for trial purposes.
At 3UZ he hosted The Happy Show a children's program, as well as partnering Graham Kennedy after the death of Nicky Whitta in September 1956. Shortly after Happy joined GTV-9, he invited Graham to appear on a telethon, where the young Kennedy was noticed by Norman Spencer, leading eventually to Graham joining as well.
On TV, the Happy Show started on Melbourne's GTV-9 in January 1957, debuting from the Myer Emporium Lonsdale St store window. (See Tarax Show.) During Hammond's time at GTV-9, the program was only seen in Victoria, where it competed with Peters Fun Fair on HSV-7.
Happy switched to HSV-7 in 1960, where The Happy Show featured Princess Panda (Panda Lisner), Lovely Anne (Anne Watt), Parer the Magician (Tommy Parer), Funny Face (Vic Gordon), Big John (John D'Arcy), Robbie Rob (Bob Horsfall), Cousin Roy (Roy Lyons), Sylvester the Talking Sock (Ian Wiliams). The program was also relayed to ATN-7 in Sydney. During Watt's honeymoon absence in early 1965, her place was taken by a young Olivia Newton-John.
Happy was a keen supporter of the Victorian Football League (subsequently Australian Football League) Geelong Football Club. He was accorded the honour of running through the banner with the Geelong players on Grand Final day 1963. It must have been a good omen - they won.
His program won a Logie Award in 1959 for Most Popular Children's Show. Hammond, himself won a Logie in 1963 for Outstanding Contributions to Children's Entertainment.
Upon the program's cancellation in 1965, Hammond moved to an off-camera role in HSV-7's videotape department, although he continued to appear regularly for the station's Good Friday Appeal. He was occasionally seen in Shirl's Neighbourhood.
Limited footage remains from Happy Hammond's career. The most commonly seen clip is a musical finger clicking routine.
- 3RPP interview 1997.05.07
- King, by Graeme Blundell, p.79, ISBN 1-4050-3566-8
- King, by Graeme Blundell, p.82