Zig and Zag (Australian performers)

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Zig and Zag
Zigandzag.jpg
Zig and Zag, Jack Perry (left) and Doug McKenzie, 1998
Medium television
Nationality Australian
Years active 1956–1999
Genres Clown, slapstick
Notable works and roles Peters Fun Fair
Former members Jack Perry, Doug McKenzie

Zig and Zag—in real life Jack Perry (born 1917) and Doug McKenzie (c. 1917 – 4 August 2004)—were a clown duo who appeared on Australian television from 1956 to 1999 in Melbourne, beginning with Peters Fun Fair (advertising Peters Ice Cream). They featured on the annual Moomba parade and were regulars at the Good Friday Appeal for the Royal Children's Hospital.

In March 1999, the duo permanently parted company after it was revealed that Perry had been convicted in 1994 of indecent assault on his granddaughter.

History[edit]

Zig and Zag were the clown duo of Jack Perry and Doug McKenzie and began performing together in the 1950s in Melbourne. Before 1939, McKenzie was a junior announcer on radio station 3XY.[1] By 1952, he was voicing advertisements dressed as a clown with a young Bert Newton. This led to Zig and Zag regularly appearing on a Saturday morning children's show with Frank Thring Snr.[2] They worked alongside disc jockey Stan Rofe and Newton. In March 1956, they drove a toy car at their first Moomba parade and were crowd favourites at the annual festival.[2] On 10 November, local TV station HSV7 broadcast the first episode of Peters Fun Fair, with the duo as its stars, it was the first children's session televised in Australia.[3] They dressed in costumes advertising Peters Ice Cream, with the slogan, "the health food of a nation", and used the catchphrase "No-o-o trouble". Zig and Zag added their theme song, "You and Me", to their act in the late 1950s. Written by Tommy Steele, it was originally performed by Steele and Jimmy Edwards in the 1958 London pantomime production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Peters Fun Fair also featured Roy Lyons as Cousin Roy and continued for 13 years.

To the TV generation of impressionable children, they are remembered as the slightly naughty duo who broke the King Street Bridge: after a structural failure in July 1962 they filmed a segment for their show where they dropped a coconut and pretended to crack the bridge accidentally.[4]

Zig and Zag appeared on the annual HSV7 Good Friday Appeal, a telethon for Royal Children's Hospital, for more than forty years.[2]

In February 1999, Zig and Zag were named as Moomba Monarchs, a festival that they had been associated with for 44 years, but they were stood down before being crowned in March. Revelations of Perry's indecent assaults on his granddaughter, from his 1994 trial, were broadcast on current affairs show Today Tonight.[2][5] Since the duo's act was always aimed at children, it was irreparably ruined, and after the scandal, the pair never spoke to each other again.[6]

Members[edit]

Doug McKenzie (c. 1917 – 4 August 2004), former Changi P.O.W., November 1945. He is holding a mock version of the Melbourne Cup.

Doug McKenzie (Zag) (c. 1917 – 4 August 2004) had been a prisoner of war at Changi in World War II.[7][8] As a corporal, McKenzie, and another prisoner, Bill West, annually ran a mock version of the Melbourne Cup in the prison by using bull frogs.[8] In 1942 his frog, Greenbottle, won the mock cup trophy: made of cardboard, which McKenzie cherished upon return to Australia in 1945.[8] Whilst appearing on-air as Zag, he also produced many programs for HSV7, including Club 7, Hold Everything and Junior Jamboree.[1] In 2002, McKenzie was the inaugural recipient of Variety's Heart of Show Business Award. Doug Christie, chairman of Variety, the children's charity, said Mr McKenzie was awarded for his long service to Melbourne's entertainment industry and his commitment to children's charity. McKenzie died in August 2004, aged 87.[9]

Jack Perry, born in 1917, made many TV appearances outside his Zig character, including as an actor in drama series such as Homicide, Division 4 (1970), Matlock Police (1971) and Prisoner (in nine episodes from 1979 to 1985). He had a supporting role in the feature film, Dimboola (1979). Perry appeared in 1997 TV series, State Coroner. In November 2006, it was reported that Perry had died in April, with furniture marked "Heritage" and "Once belonged to Zig the Clown" being sold by the Salvation Army's South Melbourne store.[6][10]

Child sex abuse scandal[edit]

In March 1999, Zig and Zag stood down from the Moomba festival after they had been announced as Moomba Monarchs. It was disclosed that, in 1994, at Heidelberg Magistrates' Court, Perry had "pleaded guilty to seven counts of unlawful indecent assault against his granddaughter", Debra Clark, which had occurred "from the age of 12, between 1979 and 1981, while she lived with her grandparents".[11] In 1999, other allegations of indecent assault of children also surfaced.[12] Clark revealed that she had been indecently assaulted, by Perry, during an interview with Tracee Hutchison on television current affairs show, Today Tonight[13] just before Perry (as Zig) with McKenzie (as Zag), were due to be crowned.[14] The Moomba committee was devastated, and announced that there would be no replacement for the duo.[2][5] Subsequent festivals had no monarch until 2010 when Kate Ceberano and Molly Meldrum were announced as Queen and King of Moomba.[2][15]

In 2011, allegations of paedophilia against Roy Lyons dating back to the 1960s were revealed by Derryn Hinch.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "McKenzie, Doug: Interviewer Unknown, Record No. 307851" (PDF). Oral History Sound Recordings – Radio – A Guide to the National Screen and Sound Archive Collection. ScreenSound Australia. April 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bellamy, Craig; Chisholm, Gordon; Eriksen, Hilary (17 Feb 2006). "Moomba: A festival for the people" (PDF). pp. 17–22. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Headlines from Then". The History of Australian Television. Television.au. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  4. ^ O'Connor, Angela (6 August 2004). "Goodbye to Zag". The Age (Fairfax Media). 
  5. ^ a b Ryan, Jacinta (6 March 1999). "No Zig, no Zag, no king for Moomba now". AAP General News (HighBeam Research). Australian Associated Press (AAP). Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Direct from the House of Zig". The Age (Fairfax Media). 15 November 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Friends and family turn out for Zag's funeral". Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). 9 August 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Light hearts for first peacetime Melbourne Cup.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (National Library of Australia). 3 November 1945. p. 17. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "TV clown Zag dies". The Age (Fairfax Media). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 5 August 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Money, Lawrence; Carbone, Suzanne (16 November 2006). "Hats Off". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Costa, Gabrielle G (6 March 1999). "Zig Sex History Unseats Monarchs". The Age (Fairfax Media). p. 1. 
  12. ^ Congdon, K (10 March 1999). "Third Child Molest Claim Against Zig". Herald Sun (The Herald and Weekly Times (News Corporation)). p. 15. 
  13. ^ The Girl Who Killed Moomba at Tracee Hutchison's web page. Accessed 22 January 2014
  14. ^ de Souza, Poppy. "Footscray 1971 (1971)". Australia’s audiovisual heritage online. Screen Australia (National Film and Sound Archive). Retrieved 25 March 2011.  Note: Includes a film clip of the suburb of Footscray with a live performance by Zig and Zag at end of the footage.
  15. ^ Barry, Evonne (16 February 2010). "Molly Meldrum and Kate Ceberano the new king and queen of Moomba". Herald Sun (The Herald and Weekly Times (News Corporation)). Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Hinch Says" 13 May 2011
  17. ^ Clowning Around With Bastards 3AW

External links[edit]