PERFORMERS: PAUL HOGAN

Born: October 8 1939

paulhoganby PETER TATCHELL (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #9, 1994)

It all began as something of a joke. In mid-1971, Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger Paul Hogan and a few of his workmates were bemoaning the treatment regularly meted out to contestants on the New Faces TV show. Why not work out a phony act and heap a bit back on the judges, thought 32-year-old Hogan, an Aussie battler with a wife and kids who’d left school in his mid-teens and worked his way through a myriad of jobs.

Billing himself as a knife-throwing tap-dancer from Lightning Ridge he duly appeared on the show and menaced the none-too-impressed adjudicators with his wooden props and ocker wit. Whether or not the producers of the program appreciated his sentiments they were quick to note a glimpse of talent in his methods and invited him back for another appearance. By the end of the year (and after several more ludicrous sight acts) Hogan was a contestant in the finals of the show and though beaten into second place he was creating quite a stir with the viewers.

Enter journalist Mike Willesee, whose A Current Affair daily TV programme debuted the following week. One of his first segments featured a reporter sent out to interview the famous bridge worker about his newfound fame and views on life in general.

The three-minute item so impressed Willesee that Hogan was engaged as a regular on the series and for the next few months would knock off work at four o’clock in the afternoon and make his way to the T.C.N.9 studios. Eventually, he was offered a full-time job with the program and deserted the heights of the famous ‘coathanger’ for a career which would ultimately reach equally dizzy heights in show business.

An indication of the popularity of the two to three minute segments came when Hogan discussed tax returns arid suggested attaching a $10 note to the form to speed up the refund. Over seven thousand viewers followed his advice (much to the consternation on the tax office).

In March 1972, he was named the best new talent on Australian television at the annual T.V. Week Logic awards. Soon after, he was signed for a series of highly visible commercials for Winfield cigarettes and the Hogan face was also seen on billboards and in magazines around the country.

During his time with Willesee Paul met and befriended a journalist on the show named John Cornell whose business acumen lent direction to the Hogan career from then on. After a year with A Current Affair the two convinced Nine management to finance a one-hour special called Hogan Abroad (or How To Travel Overseas Without Making A Mug Of Yourself). A mix of comedy and sightseeing filmed in Singapore, it was the start of phase two in the Hogan career.

Having spent eighteen months on the Nine Network, Paul switched to Seven for his next programme, this time set in London. Pleased with the response, the network signed Hogan and Cornell (who had built up a character of his own, the dim-witted and female-lacking Strop) for a series of hourlong specials to start the following March.

Limiting himself to six to eight appearances a year, the shows were a mixture of sendups and character sketches plus musical offerings by leading Australian pop artists. Central to the format was his alter-ego “Hoges”, the down to earth Aussie know-all in sleeveless shirt, football shorts and boots who was continually having a go at authority and knowing all the tricks to achieve your goal with a minimum of effort.

Other “regulars” included Smithy, Leo Wanker and the talent-free Luigi The Unbelievable who tried all manner of colourful sideshow acts from spoonbending and knife throwing to becoming a strong man and occasional magician. Sketches invariably poked fun at local TV. shows and commercials and various aspects of the Australian way of life in general.

Supporting him in the programmes (in addition to Cornell) were Andrew Harwood, Marguerite Frewin and Delevene Delaney (who would eventually become Mrs. Cornell), and later John Blackman and Sue McIntosh.

The mid-1970s also saw him involved in the all-star fundraising concert for victims of the Darwin cyclone tragedy, and appearing on an LP record with his antipodean version of Peter And The Wolf.

Hogan stayed with Seven until the end of the 1976 season before switching his team to Nine for more money and better production expertise. He continued there with basically the same format and his usual half-a-dozen shows a year.

By 1980 he was beginning to tire of the unrelated sketch format and appeared on only three programmes all with a specific theme. He lampooned a recent Nostradamus investigation, put forward a mock political campaign, and finally set up his own television network.

Impressed by the success Benny Hill was having with edited versions of his shows in America, Hogan decided to go the same route and packaged highlights from his specials into twenty-six half-hour programmes aimed at the overseas market. In the absence of new product, the Nine Network scheduled them for Australian transmission throughout most of 1981.

As it happens, Hogan’s first appearance on British and American T.V. screens came not from his sketch material, hut in a series of advertisements to promote Foster’s Lager on the international stage and as part of a hugely successful government tourism campaign. For many in the northern hemisphere he was best known as an unofficial ambassador beckoning them to journey down under and take up his invitation to ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’.

Back home, he could be seen in the occasional special and on several Royal Gala and charity concerts aired by Nine in the early 1980s.

In November 1982, British television saw the launch of Channel 4 and their opening schedule included the Hogan highlights shows. After thirteen weeks it had become one of their top shows and a second batch was scheduled later in the year. To capitalize on his success in England, Hogan scripted two special programmes to be recorded in London and screened on Channel 4 and by Nine in Australia.

Apart from a straight acting role in the 1985 telemovie The ANZACS, the co-productions were to mark the end of the Hogan television career as he and Cornell were anxious to move into the film arena with an idea which had been on the drawing hoard since the late seventies. Getting financial backing for it was another thing however.

Eventually, Paramount Pictures decided to bankroll the project and an outback character with a penchant for tall tales hit movie screens around the world in late 1986. Crocodile Dundee was an enormous moneymaker wherever it played, earning over $300 million on the American market and becoming the greatest success story in Australian cinema history. And, after a decade at the forefront of Australian show business, Paul Hogan was catapulted to international acclaim.

Two years later came the inevitable sequel Crocodile Dundee 2 and another box office success. Hogan’s private life came in for media scrutiny soon after when he and wife Noelene separated, caused in part by his ongoing relationship with Dundee costar Linda Kozlowski (whom he subsequently married).

Refusing to do a third Dundee movie, Paul opted for a new role and an injection of pathos into the storyline. Unfortunately, with Almost An Angel it was a case of third time unlucky and filmgoers didn’t support his change of direction.

After a couple of years regrouping, 1994 saw the launch of his comedy western Lightning Jack and two years later he starred in a big screen remake of the 1960s TV series Flipper. Neither was able to recapture the success of his Dundee films and Hogan eventually agreed to bring the character back for a third adventure in 2003’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

 

Television

May 11 1973 (Nine Network)
Hogan Abroad
Hoges and Strop visit Singapore, and take in the sights of Bugis Street and the Tiger Balm Gardens

Seven Network specials

August 22 1973
Hogan In London
with Warren Mitchell, Johnny Speight and Germaine Greer
Hoges and Strop visit London, where they encounter Alf Garnett in a pub and visit Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks

March 4 1974
with Tony Barber, Candy Devine, Ross Ryan, Mary Jane Boyd, Noel Brophy
picking up a sheila for Strop/the oil crisis/how to disguise yourself as a pop hero/mafia-run quiz “Fair Go Show”

April 21 1974
with Judy Stone, Julie Anthony, Rebecca Gilling
Pierre Hogan on Aussie restaurants/”Choose Your Career” covers burglary/Romeo and Juliet ballet/Luigi the Unbelievable

May 12 1974
with Belinda Green, Leonard Teale, Johnny O’Keefe, Stevie Wright, Dig Richards, Marsha Hines, the Bankstown Police Choir
streaking/Genghis Hogan and his travelling sex and violence show

June 23 1974
with Ron Frazer, Kerrie Biddell, Sherbet, Tony Pantano, the Socceroos, Tommy Tycho
Hoges advice to Adolph Hitler/a computer date for Strop/Luigi the Unbelievable takes up knife-throwing/how to get more people to go to Church

July 28 1974
with Eddie Charlton, Max Rowley, Candy Raymond, Bev Harrell, Jamie Redfern, Hush
teaching the Chinese to play Aussie Rules/recording a wedding ceremony for posterity/snooker tips/Strop’s dream/Luigi the Unbelievable becomes a strongman

September 1 1974
with Kate Fitzpatrick, Bert Newton, Johnny Farnham, William Shakespeare, Heathermae Reading, Leea Vlahes
in trouble over a radio and TV licence/a look at the Post Office/Australian sex habits on film

Seven also screened six highlights shows from September 27 to November 1 1974

March 16 1975
with John Newcombe, Bob Hawke, Chris Kirby, Patricia Stephenson, Doug Parkinson, Kate Fitzpatrick
Hoges talks to Bob Hawke about taking “sickies”/This Is Your Life John Newcombe/Smithy the war veteran

April 13 1975
with John Gorton, Kevin Johnson, Renee Geyer, Bob Hudson, Sherbet, Noel Brophy, Barbara Rogers
parking officers/Sherlock Hogan/Luigi the Unbelievable attempts spoonbending

May 25 1975
with Stuart Wagstaff, Al Grassby, Jon English, Ross Ryan, Allison McCallum, Julie Raines
Sherlock Hogan and Dr. Stropson visit a stately home/Smithy at a Chinese restaurant/Hoges versus the school inspector

June 22 1975
with Kerrie Biddell, God, David Gray, The New Seekers
A.S.I.O. reports on defence/Hurricane Hogan’s health studio

July 13 1975
with Leonard Teale, Skyhooks, Lee Conway, Chelsea Brown, The Kinsmen
police destroying marijuana/Luigi the Unbelievable conjures up a lady for Strop/Tex Dubbo, country and western singer and bird impersonator

August 10 1975
with Terry Donovan, Johnny Wakelin, Heathermae Reading, Hush, Ronnie Arnold
a Fairy Godfather helps Stropafella/Smithy visits the police/a doctor has unorthodox methods

September 7 1975
with Michael Pate, Mary Jane Boyd, Darryl Braithwaite, The Muchachos
Indians sketch

October 6 1975
with Norman Gunston, The Hues Corporation, Julie Anthony, Normie Rowe, Marty Rhone
Norman and Hoges trade compering tips/Luigi the Unbelievable and Guiseppi the Wonder Dog/Tarzan in the suburbs/Strop wants brains as well as beauty

Seven also screened a highlights show on October 20 1975

March 3 1976
with Gus Mercurio, Bill and Boyd, The Ted Mulry Gang, Heathermae Reading

March 24 1976
with Stuart Wagstaff, Sherbet, Jade Hurley, Brenda Kristen, The Australian Ballet
A.B .C. staff cuts/customs officials/Hoges the dentist

April 28 1976
with Michael Willesee, John Paul Young, Mike McClellan, Marcia Hines, Beryl Cheers, The Korean Children’s Choir
bikie on a skateboard/This Is Your Life

June 9 1976
with Andy Gibb, Frank Ifield, Beryl Cheers, Jon English, Caterina Valente

July 7 1976
with Mark Holden, Max Merritt, Judy Stone, The Silver Studs
tips for the Olympics/how to get on in the Public Service/the Headmaster

August 18 1976
Paul Hogan Pays Back Glen Campbell
with Rod Stewart, The Captain And Tennille, Hugh Hefner, Telly Savalas, The Bellamy Brothers, Candi Staton, Richard Anderson, Darren McGavin
“Mugger Of The Year”/Hoges gets a shoeshine in New York

September 29 1976
with Sherbet, Trevor White, Brenda Kristen, Ronnie Arnold                                                                                                    “It’s Academic”/Cleopatra/world-record holders/classic movies! Hoges on jury duty

October 13 1976
with Mark Holden, Digby Richards, 01’ 55, Ronne Arnold, Kate Fitzpatrick
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs/a bank hold-up/animal hospital/long lost loved ones quiz

Seven also screened highlights shows on November 24 and December 15 1976

Nine Network specials

March 30 1977
with The Ritchie Family, Doug Ashdown, John Paul Young
Billy Galoot—stockman/history of Hoges/Hoges and Strop meet the Queen/Countdown presents Scungy Peterson and the Gutter Scums

May 22 1977
with Lynda Stoner, Peter Aanensen, Daryl Braithwaite, Marcia Hines, 01’ 55, John Braidwood
TV shows during the non-ratings period/Hoges and Strop at a fancy dress ball/the Dregs at a pizza parlour/Rolf Harris/Detective Donger/John Singleton commercial/Nigel at the library

June 19 1977
with Jon English, Renee Geyer, Dragon, Claire Binney, Bill Bennett, Roger Stephen, Linda Stoner, Marion Edward
Seeds — son of Roots/supermarket in the year 2000/Hoges is Strop’s valet/Starsky and Hutch/energy conservation

July 26 1977
with Ray Burgess, Billy T
Pot Of Brass talent show/Japanese tourists/Number 96/Hoges and Strop try medical care/Billy Galoot

September 13 1977
with Don Lane, Bert Newton, Mark Holden, Dennis Lillie, Linda George
Filth War — 2lst century soap opera/a football approach to cricket/the apprentice burglar/do-it-yourself hypnotism

September 27 1977
with José Feliciano, Peter Allen
magic carpet economy air travel

Nine also screened highlights shows on October 13 and November 1 1977

April 5 1978
Guests unknown
killer mullet/return of the man from Stung/legs cause havoc in park

May 4 1978
with George Benson, John Paul Young, Debbie Byrne
Pot Belly snooker championship/Commonwealth religious games/A Casual Affair

May 30 1978
with Dr. Hook, Paul O’Gorman
Harry Butler/Nigel makes a hospital visit/Leo Wanker/theToongabbie Triangle/a married Phantom/Saturday Night Fever

JulyS 1978
with Jon English, Ray Burgess
dogs are quite human/picnics/Donger searches for a new identity/The Sullivans/fashion parades

August9 1978
with Johnny Farnham, Dragon, Delilah
Ask The Leyland Brothers/Star Trot/Leo Wanker/Hoges in the army/appreciating art

September 11 1978
with Status Quo, Sherbet, Doug Parkinson, Don Lane
Stung – the old wino/This Is Your Strife

Nine also screened highlights shows on September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 and November 1 1978

March 29 1979
with Glen Shorrock, The Little River Band, Karen Pini, Sue McIntosh
the barbecue/Hoges and Strop have a domestic row/joggers outlawed/World Series Bowls

May3 1979
with Glen Shorrock, Kim Durant, Moscos and Stone
Australia is emptying because of cheap fares/Strop makes an announcement/taxation/World Series Lawn Bowls

June 13 1979
with Tom Waits, Max Merritt, Sports
the Tax Man visits Hoges/dentists/receptionists

July 25 1979
with Jon English, Marcia Hines, Glen Shorrock, The Little River Band
Trevor Dags – disco dancer/mongrel breeder Herb Guthrie promotes pet food/Luigi has advice for Don’s wheel segment

August 21 1979
with Renee Geyer, Marc Hunter, Air Supply, Glenn Shorrock
Hoges and Strop as astronauts/Leo Wanker – granny catcher

September 26 1979
with Roger Voudouris, Mona Richardson, Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons
the Swatz family in 1942 Berlin/the Marrickville Horror/Flyways/ Leo Wanker escapes from a barrel/Countdown/Have A Go Aussie

Nine also screened highlights shows on October 3, 10, 17 and 24 and November 7 and 14 1979

April 28 1980
The Prophecies Of Hoges
with Split Enz, Claudja Barry
World Series War/Clunk Eastwood/The Sound Of Music

Paul Hogan appeared in the Royal Charity Concert on May 27 1980

August 13 1980
Hoges For Prime Minister
with Renee Geyer, 01’ 55
Hoges outlines how he’d run Australia if elected

October 22 1980
H.O.G. 1
with Christie Allen, Air Supply, Karen West, Phillip Brady
Hoges starts his own television network with shows like Sale Of The Week, Benny Five 0 and In Search Of The Great Grey Wino plus cookery and exercise programmes

Nine also screened highlights shows on October 29 and November 5, 12 and 15 1980

September 22 1981
The Hoges Report
with Australian Crawl, Billy Field, Karen West Rudolpho
Majinski—ballet dancer/George Fungus exposes a menace on Australian beaches/Leo Wanker/Superdag

June 8 1982
Hoges ‘82
with Split Enz, Moving Pictures
SWATT Squadron with Leo Wanker/Raiders Of The Lost Ark/bio-chemical age/armchair sportsmen

September 21 1982
An Evening With Hoges
with The Little River Band, Vince Jones, Bobby Limb, Dawn Lake
Werewolf/Superquiz/security systems

Paul Hogan appeared in the Royal Gala Concert on April 14 1983

Paul Hogan appeared in Australia‘s Entertainment Spectacular on May 1 1983

October 10 1983 (CH4 November 4 1983)
Paul Hogan’s England
with Buck’s Fizz, Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Kung-fu restaurant/Perc the wino/World Series Executions/Norm’s trip through Europe

November 1 1983 (CH4 December 30 1983)
Paul Hogan’s England #2
with Tim Brooke-Taylor, Peter Cleall, Dire Straits, Paul Young
Harry Butler/dangerous London bobby/Conan the Barbarian/Charles Bronson

 

Films

ANZACs: The War Down Under (1985) (telemovie)

Crocodile Dundee (1986)

Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988)

Almost An Angel (1990)

Lightning Jack (1994)

Flipper (1996)

Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles (2003)

Strange Bedfellows (2004)

Charlie & Boots (2009)

 

Recordings

A Concert For Darwin
2LP set produced as a joint fundraising venture by the major Australian record companies (1975)
comprises the soundtrack of the all-star Seven Network TV special of January 1975 which featured a five-minute Paul Hogan monologue

Paul Hogan Narrates Peter And The Wolf
E.M.I. LP SCA 011 (1976)
Paul Hogan Narrates Peter And The Wolf
The Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra

 

DVDs

The Best of the Paul Hogan Show 
Sony/CH 9 2dvd (2004)

Paul Hogan’s England 
Sony/CH 9 dvd (2004)

The Best of the Paul Hogan Show 
Sony/CH 9 dvd (2005)

 

Books

Hogan — The Story Of A Son Of Oz
by James Oram
(Columbus Books, London and Hutchinson, Australia. paperback 1987)

Paul Hogan — The Real Life Crocodile Dundee
by Sandra Jobson
(St. Martin’s Press, New York 1987 and W.H. Allen, London 1988)

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