Sunday, April 23, 2023



Australian comedic genius Barry Humphries (1934 – 2023) passed away on 22 April aged 89. Although still expecting to return to performing, he died following complications from hip surgery after suffering a fall in February.

A comedian, actor, author and satirist, he was best known for writing and playing his stage and television characters Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.

RIP, Bazza.


From the Vault:

From Bytes, April 27, 2011:

At the end of the 1974 film Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Barry and his aunt, Edna Everage, return to Australia after having bested Count Von Plasma, the vampire head of an isolated Eastern European dictatorship. Von Plasma had kidnapped Edna after having mistaken her for the Queen of England.

At the airport they are welcomed by the then Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret (the real ones, not actors) with the Prime Minister bestowing upon Edna the title of Dame Edna.

When Whitlam and his government had been elected in 1972, one of the first policy decisions implemented was to scrap the imperial ie British, honours system in favour of an Australia one. Whitlam was later to remark that the title Dame Edna "was the only Imperial honour my government ever conferred."


See a video of Gough Whitlam bestowing Edna with the title of Dame by clicking on:


A further item about Gough and the film:

Chatting to Edna before filming of the movie scene, Gough noticed that Edna was carrying a Pan AM airways bag that she would be carrying in her film role. Logically, Edna and Barry McKenzie would have flown back to Australia by Australia’s national airline, Qantas. Whitlam drew attention to it, stating “That’s not very chauvinist of you,” obviously feeling that an American airline associated with a very Australian film was inappropriate.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2020:
Qantas was asked if it could lend its mock-up jet, or even a real one, for filming interior shots of the McKenzie-Everage homecoming — which would follow a view of a normal plane landing, giving the company a free advertisement at every showing of the film.

But Qantas promotions people had already expressed a desire to get away from what they called the uncouth image of Australia fostered by the first McKenzie film. So after inconclusive negotiations Pan Am was offered the role. And the arch-chauvinist Barry McKenzie who, as the film's director Bruce Beresford points out, is not the kind to have travelled on any other airline but his country's own, had to return to Australia by Pan Am.



Also from Barry McKenzie Holds His Own:

Barry McKenzie (Barry Crocker), an illegal immigrant, is smuggled into the UK in a van with a group of Indians where he is sitting next to a young Indian female. She is obviously educated and is reading a book by Immanuel Kant. He tries to start a conversation with her and asks what she’s reading…

Indian Girl: I am studying Kant.

Barry McKenzie: Same here, but I keep failing the practical.



A song from the first film, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, sung by Barry Crocker (the actor playing Barry McKenzie), written by Barry Humphries:

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