When I read Kate Halfpenny’s piece, The New Daily online, I thought it must be an April Fool’s joke – but then I realised it’s not April, and it must be for real. She wrote that Karl Stefanovic will be a no-show at the 2018 Logies in protest at the news the awards ceremony will move from Melbourne after more than 30years. He told his Today co-host, Lisa Wilkinson: “I’m telling you right now: if the Logies move from Melbourne, I’m boycotting them. I will not be going to the Logies if they’re outside of Melbourne. I’m very sad. This is a huge loss for the city.” He is right. You can criticise the Logies – and there has been occasion when it was right and proper so to do, but to allow them to leave Melbourne is a show business shame! Mr. Stefanovic labelled as “disgusting” the Victorian government’s Sunday announcement that it will withdraw its bid to host next year’s event because it is “time to pass on the baton”. What a load of codswallop! One other of the states will grab the opportunity and Melbourne will live to regret it. Already the Gold Coast, or a different Queensland location, has been tipped as possible replacement destinations for the event. Tourism and Events minister, John Eren, said in a statement, the decision was reached after discussions with key stakeholders and conducting an event analysis. To add insult to injury, Mr Eren contended: “No matter where the Logies go next, Victoria will remain the cultural and events capital of Australia.” There was a time when that was true, but no longer. Gone are the glory days of Crawford’s television production – Homicide, Division 4; the ABC television drama department run by Oscar Whitbread at the Rippon Lee studios; JC Williamson Theatres; Aztec Productions headed by Kenn Brodziak OBE – the one and only theatrical impresario this country has ever produced; Harry M Miller Attractions at the Playbox Theatre, 55 Exhibition Street; the Melbourne Theatre Company, headed by John Sumner at the Russell Street, St Martin’s, and Athenaeum Theatres, with a company of 20-actors under annual contract, and seasons at the Comedy and the Princess Theatres; John Carroll at the Princess’ Theatre; Fred Schepisi’s, Film House, from where he made commercials, in-between shooting his acclaimed feature films; Tim Burstall/Village Road Show/Bilcock and Copping – Hexagon Productions who produced and directed the Alvin Purple films, shot by Robin Copping; the Pram Factory and La Mama Theatres; Dirty Dick’s Theatre Restaurant run by Frank Baden-Powell and Coralie Condon; the production of arms of Channels Ten, Seven and Nine which gave us The Box, Prisoner, The Sullivans, Skyways, Cop Shop, and Against The Wind – which was the first Australian drama to be screened in the US; Cash and Co; Tandarra; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Those were the days – but not today, and I know it’s true because I was in the thick of it. Sydney is the arts capital of Australia – whether we like it or not. The reality is, in the entertainment industry, if you are not known in Sydney, it stands for nothing, despite Mr. Eren protestations to the contrary. .
Mr. Stefanovic – who won the Gold Logie in 2011 and is renowned for his after-party dance floor – was having none of it, calling the move “a joke of giant proportions”. He was so irate, he confused the name of Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews, saying: “Kevin Andrews has lost the plot completely.”For the $1 million invested annually by the state government into the Logies, “the advertising Victoria gets is second to none,” said Mr. Stefanovic.
For 20-years, Crown Casino’s Palladium Ballroom has been the scene for what is billed as TV’s ‘night-of-nights’. Whoever will forget Bert Newton and Muhammad Ali; the night Don Lane punched Ernie Sigley on the nose – and we all cheered; and the long list of international stars, including John Wayne and Rock Hudson, who came as presenters – but mostly for the fabulous holiday they were given as an incentive. Previously, the Logies were held at various five-star hotels in Melbourne, including the grand old Southern Cross in Exhibition Street, and which has long since fallen victim to the wrecker’s ball. Sydney has hosted the event only a handful of times, the last time being in 1986. In 1963 the city’s Logies were postponed to fit with the schedule of special guest Tony Hancock, a UK comedian, who tragically committed suicide in King’s Cross; and in 1964 they were held on a cruise liner, the Marconi Liber.
Four-time Gold Logie winner, and Logie Hall of Fame inductee, Bert Newton, told The New Daily: “Some shows work best in one city, and the Logies have always worked best here in Melbourne as it’s always been the home of live television.”And Bert would know! We are yet to find a compere who does it as well as he has in the past. Bert did it like no-one else. I have been to the Logies a number of times, and it was a great night. Newton told News Ltd it was comparable to losing the AFL Grand Final, or the Melbourne Cup: “They too have always been in Melbourne.”That the Logies will move to another state is a sad end to what has been a Melbourne entertainment tradition. R.I.P. Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.