LIVE! From the Studios of Channel Nine, entertainment capital of the universe, Welcome back to another dose of what's good for ya!, with the Duck, the Dick, the chooks, and the rest of our motley crew, it's "Hey Hey It's Saturday!" And now, here's the star of the show, Daryl Somers!!
This classic Australian Variety Show ran originally from 1971 to 1999, returning with a reunion special in 2009, and one final proper series in 2010. "Hey Hey" was originally a Saturday Morning Kids Show hosted by Daryl Sommers and Ernie Caroll (who played the puppet Ossie Q. Ostrich), the show eventually evolved into a (mostly) grown-ups' free-for-all that is still fondly remembered by many Aussies to this very day. On the other hand, its most recent incarnation was marred by ignominy thanks to a black-face skit during the Red Faces talent segment that few found funny, and which caused a backlash in the international media.
"Hey Hey It's Saturday" features examples of the following tropes.
- Artifact Title: The 2010 revival initially aired on WEDNESDAYS.
- Ascended Extra: The character of "Plucka Duck" from the game of the same name started out as just a guy in a duck costume who created merry Hell every time the game played. He later become the de facto mascot of "Hey Hey," Eventually getting his own Kids show in the 90s called "Plucka's Place."
- Butt-Monkey: Jacki and Molly. Molly was regularly picked on during his segments. His segment on the reunion show even dragged on because Dickie kept making his little dog bark. Jacki had the song "Folks are Dumb Where I Come From" and was regularly the subject of double entendres from John Blackman.
- Catch Phrase: John Blackman: "And this is lucky Phil."
- That was actually a snippet from an anti-drink-driving ad that ran in Victoria (where the show was made) during the 1980s. Viewers in other states might have been aware of that.
- The Cast Showoff: Host Daryl Somers got to show off his singing skills every so often, especially on the last episode of the 2010 series, where he gave an emotional performance of "There's No Business Like Show Business. Plus band members Wilbur Wilde and Red Symons, extremely talented musicians in their own right, not only were regular members of the band, but frequently performed solos on their respective instruments."
- Cosmetic Award: When the game "Chook Lotto" was brought back for the 2009 reunion, changes in Australian gaming laws meant that the Nine Network had to get a lottery license to actually host the game as planned. The production team didn't have time to do this, so they reached a compromise, called the game "Fake Chook Lotto", and offered no prizes whatsoever, other than the glory of winning. They still got thousands of entries.
- Credits Medley: The last episode of the original 1971-1989 series, and the 2010 revival each featured one of these. In the latter's case, as a tribute to the closing of the Nine Network's GTV 9 studio, the closing number of the show featured a medley of the signature themes of two of Australia's best-loved chat-show hosts: Graham Kennedy ("Gee, But You're Swell") and Don Lane ("You Make it so Easy").
- Deadpan Snarker: Announcer John Blackman was in many ways, the most underrated cast member of the show. Since, along with announcing the segments, and reading the prize copy, he would often give pithy, snarky commentary on whatever it was that was happening during the show. In fact, his deadpan delivery helped elevate many segments into comedy gold.
- Game Show: And HOW! Some have described "HHIS" as a prime-time game show with occasional comedy and music elements thrown in. Here are just a few of the games played over the years:
- Chook Lotto - A parody of the Aussie national lottery draw, the game was a lottery featuring a big bingo cage. But instead of ping-pong balls, they used numbered frozen chickens or "chooks". Remembered because the original cage was rather flimsily built, and kept breaking.
- Pluck-a-Duck (later Plucka Duck) - Perhaps the best remembered game of all, contestants would spin a large wheel (a holdover from the famous "Don Lane Show") full of prizes, one of which was a new car. If players didn't like the prize from the wheel, they were given the chance to "Pluck-a-Duck" or pick a numbered duck from a large spinning contraption operated by Plucka Duck, the game's somewhat wild mascot.
- Red Faces - Talent Show segment based around The Gong Show. Famous for a notorious act that appeared in blackface in the second of the 2009 reunion specials. Three (or occasionally four) acts would perform for the judges (usually made up of Red Symons and 2 other guests, one of whom was usually a musician who performed earlier in the show). They would perform their act until they got gonged by Symons, at which point they would be judged by the panel, with Symons almost always giving them a low score (5 or lower), and some snarky commentary on the performance.
- Guest Host: Especially prevalent beginning in the mid 1990's. When Daryl was away or sick, they would frequently call in comedians or stars of various Channel 9 programs to come in and host. Guest Hosts included Lano and Woodley (yes, they hosted the show as a duo), Richard Stubbs, Peter Rowsthorn, Shane Bourne, Larry Emdur, Glenn Ridge and David Reyne.
- Keep the Reward: Once during a playing of Pluck-a-Duck, the pointer of the wheel landed on the edge of the peg separating a smaller prize from the car. This is called a "liner" and usually results in a re-spin. However, Nine Network honcho Kerry Packer phoned into the studio during the game and said, "Give 'er the car!" This also happened a few times during the reunion shows in 2009. Even if the contestant didn't win the game, Daryl still gave them the prize.
- Lovely Assistant: The show had several female co-presenters over the years. In the 70s and 80s the role was filled by the best-known hostess, Jacki MacDonald, famous for her quick wit and ever-so-slightly raspy voice. She left in 1989, quickly followed by Denise Drysdale, who lasted until late 1990. After that, Daryl hosted the show with Ozzie as a duo until the end of 1994, when Ernie Carroll (Ozzie's perfomer) left the show, so popular Channel 9 personality Jo-Beth Taylor joined as the female sidekick for 3 years. Later, she was replaced by Livinia Nixon, and later still Suze Raymond (though she was more-or-less just co-host of Pluck-A-Duck.)
- Promotional Consideration: In the early years of the show, all the cars for the show were Toyotas provided by Ken Morgan Toyota, in Nunawading, Australia. (It is apparently now a Daewoo dealership.) They later changed to Nissan, around 1994-95. Similarly, the chickens for "Chook Lotto" were provided by poultry company Inghams. Furthermore, the Red Faces segment was sponsored by both McDonald's and Qantas at points throughout the first run (it had the various logos of both companies on the gong), and when they came back in 2010, the segment was sponsored by Hungry Jacks for a while, before switching to My Fun (representing Theme Parks in Australia)
- The Unseen: One of the show's famous characters was "Dickie Knee". A young school-boy who would occasionally pop up on the bottom of the screen to interact with the host. Though his nasally voice was heard, his face was never seen. (In reality, he was just a bushy black wig and a blue baseball cap on a stick that was shaken when he talked.) His comments ranged from snarky to obscene. American guests in particular found him baffling.Daryl Somers: Oh, and this is Dickie Knee.Chevy Chase: Nice to meet you, Dick.Dickie Knee: Nice to meet yours!