IT was an accidental success, but a massive one.
And Jamie Dunn will talk about this and share other anecdotes when he brings his iconic puppet Agro to the Ipswich Civic Centre for a show with Ranger Stacey at 7.30pm on September 22.
“Most people gasp when I tell them – go on, gasp – that I was not the first Agro,” Jamie said.
“I was a guitarist and drummer and said ‘yes’ to any job. Basically I did it for the $60 a week that I was paid,” he said.
“Who would have thought that a hand in a puppet would be such a hit?
“I remember the first time I operated Agro. I had the voice right and then the production manager got down on the floor (under the cameras) and waved a sign at me, saying could I please make the puppet mouth move when he speaks.”
Such was Agro’s popularity that ratings on Channel 7’s Super Saturday show soared, to the point that Disney wanted that time slot.
At the Ekka, the Agro showbag sold 50,000 every year in Brisbane and about 30,000 in Sydney.
“It was 80 cents worth of value for eight bucks,” he said.
“Agro wasn’t just popular with children. The grandparents got into it. Westfield Strathpine wouldn’t book us again because the idea was for the parents to shop while the children watched the show and everyone stayed to watch,” he said.
Jamie has plenty of stories to tell, including ones of political correctness of the day, as vetted by the Housewives for Better Children’s Television.
“We had to be careful what we said. I mean, Fat Cat at seven foot tall was scary to children and Humphrey wore no pants.”
All of this and more will be told at the show, which Jamie describes as a ‘pacey little show’ and where he employs one man to ‘get him out of the box’.
“Yeh, his job is to walk on and lift me off the floor. That’s what happens when you’re 74 years old. But what a cracker of a life.”
Jamie is no stranger to Ipswich having put on shows at Teen Scene in Brisbane Street and bringing his band Burke and Wills to town at different times. There is a chance to say hello to Dunn and Agro after the show.