Happy Hammond

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Harry Montague Hammond (7 May 1916 – 1 April 1998 ) professionally known as Happy Hammond, was an Australian comedian, Radio host and Children's Television show host. & day time television producer

Biography and broadcasting career[edit]

Happy Hammond was born in Summer Hill, Sydney, Australia.[1] Happy was the youngest of 3 children . His parents were both Deaf and mute . He 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 catchphrase was:

" Is everybody happy ? " along with the catchy tune and theme song for the show " Happy days are here again"

The nickname 'Happy' came from his time serving in the Army during World War II . During World War II, Hammond served in the Australian Army in the South West Pacific Area. and was transferred following a few concerts to the "Australian Army Entertainment Unit the " Boomerangs" , entertaining Australian troops in various combat areas. He performed in concerts entertaining the troops with Keith Glover, who later went on to join the ABC. After the war, the pair took the act to the Tivoli circuit.[2]

Happy's broadcasting career began in his home town of Geelong when he became the breakfast announcer at 3GL. While there, he made his first TV appearance in 1948, as part of an exhibition using closed-circuit TV equipment for trial purposes.[3]

Hammond then moved to Adelaide's 5KA, before returning to Victoria to work first at 3AW and then 3UZ, both in Melbourne.[2]

At 3UZ he hosted The Happy Show, a children's program, as well as partnering Graham Kennedy, following the death of Nicky Whitta in September 1956. Hammond joined television station GTV-9, and shortly after, he invited the young Kennedy to appear on a telethon, where he was noticed by Norman Spencer, leading eventually to Kennedy joining the channel as well.[4]

On TV, the Happy Show (later the Tarax Show) started on Melbourne's GTV-9 in January 1957, debuting from the Myer Emporium Lonsdale Street store window. During Hammond's time at GTV-9, the program was only seen in Victoria, where it competed with Peters Fun Fair on HSV-7.

Hammond switched to HSV-7 in 1960, where The Happy Show, no longer sponsored by Tarax, 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) and 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.

Hammond was a keen supporter of the Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League (subsequently the Australian Football League). He was accorded the honour of running through the banner with the Geelong players on Grand Final day in 1963. It must have been a good omen - Geelong won the game.

Logie Award[edit]

Hammond's program won a Logie Award in 1959 for Most Popular Children's Show, and Hammond himself won a Logie in 1962 for Outstanding Contributions to Children's Entertainment.

After the Happy Show's cancellation in 1968, Hammond moved to Produce day time television morning shows and afternoon Children's TV shows and in his later years to an off-camera role in HSV-7's videotape department, although he continued to appear every year until the 1990s for the station's Royal Children's Hospitals 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. A very small number of kinescopes of The Happy Show are held by the National Film and Sound Archive,[5][6][7][8] despite the heavy Wiping of that era.

References[edit]

External links[edit]