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Gerry Gee, was a ventriloquist Doll who was brought to life in 1956 by Ron Blaskett, for GTV9’s (channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong, Melbourne Victoria. Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, wife Merle Blaskett also a ventriloquist and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast (2016). The comedy duo became household names as rich a one as any Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time. And the act travelled the world, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, cyclone victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam. Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career of 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo.

 

Gerry Gee, is a ventriloquist puppet who teamed up in 1956 with Ron Blaskett, only four days before GTV9’s (Channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong.

Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, his wife Merle (also a ventriloquist) and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast at GTV9 (2016).

The comedy duo became household names as much as any Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time.

The act travelled the world together, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, Cyclone Tracey victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam.

Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career spanning 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo!

 

The Adventures of Gerry Gee was the idea by director Denzil Howson to give the children’s audience a more realistic feel of Gerry being a living moving boy. In these story lines Gerry was seen driving Puffing Billy Steam Train, flying a real aeroplane and other clever story line.

This was accomplished by using a boy, John Field a 9 year old boy wearing a face mask of Gerry and dressed the same as Gerry in all the long shots, cutting these with close-ups of the real Gerry Gee puppet.

One of the most popular story lines was “Pimpernel Gee”, in which Gerry played the part of the French Scarlet Pimpernel, based on the book by Baroness Orczy. Gerry wore a coiffured wig and velvet frock clothes of the period and had available a coach and horse which we used to simulate the saving of the French aristocrats from the guillotine.

Fans of Baroness Orczy’s series will recall the English lord, Sir Percy Blakeney (who was made out to be a thick, foppish English aristocrat, but was in reality the Scarlet Pimpernel), whisking away people to the sanctuary of England from the French Revolution. The story was originally made on film with Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey as the villain, “Citizen Chauvelin”, a part played by Frank Rich in our version. Gerry, acting as the English lord Sir Percy, was a riot. Raising the monocle to the eye and reciting the famous lines:

They seek him here
They seek him there
Those Frenchmen seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven?
Or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel!

Denzil Howson wrote, directed and produced all of these films and they were a success due to his effort and talent.

In October 1991, Denzil Howson and Ron Blaskett were called into channel 9, because lost film archives of The Adventures of Gerry Gee was found. The footage had been missing for 25 years.

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

Gerry Gee, was a ventriloquist Doll who was brought to life in 1956 by Ron Blaskett, for GTV9’s (channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong, Melbourne Victoria, on the 27th September 1956. Gerry Gee was made by Frank Marshall a wood carver in the basement of his house at 5518 S. Loomis, Chicago, USA. Ron Blaskett become aware of Marshall work though fallow ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s and his doll Charlie McCarthy. Blaskett corresponded with Marshall and he agreed to carve a special figure for £200. Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, wife Merle Blaskett also a ventriloquist and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast (2016). The comedy duo became household names as Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time. And the act travelled the world, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, cyclone victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam. Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career of 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo.

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

GTV (channel 9) was amongst the first television stations to begin regular transmission in Australia. Test transmissions began on 27 September 1956, introduced by former 3DB radio announcer Geoff Corke, based at the Mt Dandenong transmitter, as the studios in Richmond were not yet ready. The station was officially opened on 19 January 1957. by Victorian Governor Sir Dallas Brooks from the studios in Bendigo Street, Richmond. A clip from the ceremony has featured in a number of GTV retrospectives, in which the Governor advises viewers that if they did not like the programs, they could just turn off.

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

Sandra Simpkins is a ventriloquist doll which was used by Merle Blaskett in the test transmission of GTV9 (channel 9) from Mount Dandenong, Melbourne on this day 1956, becoming the first puppet on Australian TV. Today “Sandra Simpkins” is believed to be a very rare Len Insull doll, circa 1948, as female dolls were believed to be undesirable. Merle and her husband Ron Blaskett decided to sell Sandra and subsequently remodelled her into a Male character. As a historical TV artefact the Blaskett’s tried refined the doll to no avail until it was rediscovered in 2013 and restored to the original female character by Gordon Ross in South Australia. Ron Blaskett refers to this doll as the most historical “transgender” ventriloquist doll in Australia.

 

Gerry Gee, was a ventriloquist Doll who was brought to life in 1956 by Ron Blaskett, for GTV9’s (channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong, Melbourne Victoria. Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, wife Merle Blaskett also a ventriloquist and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast (2016). The comedy duo became household names as rich a one as any Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time. And the act travelled the world, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, cyclone victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam. Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career of 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo.

 

The Adventures of Gerry Gee was the idea by director Denzil Howson to give the children’s audience a more realistic feel of Gerry being a living moving boy. In these story lines Gerry was seen driving Puffing Billy Steam Train, flying a real aeroplane and other clever story line.

This was accomplished by using a boy, John Field a 9 year old boy wearing a face mask of Gerry and dressed the same as Gerry in all the long shots, cutting these with close-ups of the real Gerry Gee puppet.

One of the most popular story lines was “Pimpernel Gee”, in which Gerry played the part of the French Scarlet Pimpernel, based on the book by Baroness Orczy. Gerry wore a coiffured wig and velvet frock clothes of the period and had available a coach and horse which we used to simulate the saving of the French aristocrats from the guillotine.

Fans of Baroness Orczy’s series will recall the English lord, Sir Percy Blakeney (who was made out to be a thick, foppish English aristocrat, but was in reality the Scarlet Pimpernel), whisking away people to the sanctuary of England from the French Revolution. The story was originally made on film with Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey as the villain, “Citizen Chauvelin”, a part played by Frank Rich in our version. Gerry, acting as the English lord Sir Percy, was a riot. Raising the monocle to the eye and reciting the famous lines:

They seek him here
They seek him there
Those Frenchmen seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven?
Or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel!

Denzil Howson wrote, directed and produced all of these films and they were a success due to his effort and talent.

In October 1991, Denzil Howson and Ron Blaskett were called into channel 9, because lost film archives of The Adventures of Gerry Gee was found. The footage had been missing for 25 years.

Gerry Gee, is a ventriloquist puppet who teamed up in 1956 with Ron Blaskett, only four days before GTV9’s (Channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong.

Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, his wife Merle (also a ventriloquist) and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast at GTV9 (2016).

The comedy duo became household names as much as any Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time.

The act travelled the world together, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, Cyclone Tracey victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam.

Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career spanning 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo!

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

Sandra Simpkins is a ventriloquist doll which was used by Merle Blaskett in the test transmission of GTV9 (channel 9) from Mount Dandenong, Melbourne on this day 1956, becoming the first puppet on Australian TV. Today “Sandra Simpkins” is believed to be a very rare Len Insull doll, circa 1948, as female dolls were believed to be undesirable. Merle and her husband Ron Blaskett decided to sell Sandra and subsequently remodelled her into a Male character. As a historical TV artefact the Blaskett’s tried refined the doll to no avail until it was rediscovered in 2013 and restored to the original female character by Gordon Ross in South Australia. Ron Blaskett refers to this doll as the most historical “transgender” ventriloquist doll in Australia.

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

GTV (channel 9) was amongst the first television stations to begin regular transmission in Australia. Test transmissions began on 27 September 1956, introduced by former 3DB radio announcer Geoff Corke, based at the Mt Dandenong transmitter, as the studios in Richmond were not yet ready. The station was officially opened on 19 January 1957. by Victorian Governor Sir Dallas Brooks from the studios in Bendigo Street, Richmond. A clip from the ceremony has featured in a number of GTV retrospectives, in which the Governor advises viewers that if they did not like the programs, they could just turn off.

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1956

Gerry Gee, was a ventriloquist Doll who was brought to life in 1956 by Ron Blaskett, for GTV9’s (channel 9) first live test broadcast from Mt Dandenong, Melbourne Victoria, on the 27th September 1956. Gerry Gee was made by Frank Marshall a wood carver in the basement of his house at 5518 S. Loomis, Chicago, USA. Ron Blaskett become aware of Marshall work though fallow ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s and his doll Charlie McCarthy. Blaskett corresponded with Marshall and he agreed to carve a special figure for £200. Gerry was imported from the US at a cost £200 and was named after the station. Ron, wife Merle Blaskett also a ventriloquist and Gerry are the only survivors of the test broadcast (2016). The comedy duo became household names as Aussie entertainer, on radio and TV, on The Tarax Show, IMT (In Melbourne Tonight) and Young Talent Time. And the act travelled the world, playing to millions at the 1975 Toronto Expo, cyclone victims in Darwin and Diggers in Vietnam. Gerry Gee and Ron Blaskett retired together after career of 56 years, Aussie TV’s first and foremost ventriloquist duo.