In 1940, Australia was introduced to a radio talent show called Australia’s Amateur Hour. It ran from 1940 to 1958, and featured both Indigenous artists and performers from various cultural backgrounds. The show was a talent contest. There were about 925 episodes aired. Australians took the show to their hearts and families would sit around the radio to listen. From 1957 to 1958 it was briefly aired on television, but only lasted 7 months.
Their advertisement for the show, would read: “We give all Australia its chance in Australia’s Amateur Hour. Thursdays 8 P.M. 4AY with Terry Dear”. The hosts included Harry Dearth until 1942, Dick Fair until 1950, then Terry Dear to 1958. The last episode was held on 13 December 1958.
It was recorded in Box Hill Town Hall, Melbourne. Some talent that appeared on the show included Jimmy Little, Harold Blair, Bobby Limb, Donald Smith, Johnny O’Keefe, Chad Morgan, Olice and Eva and Frank Ifield. The host would talk to the talent first, to get to know a little bit about them and then they would perform.
During the year, the show travelled around the country and showcased the local talent from a different town or city each week. Listeners would vote by phone or by postal vote. It was “Australians entertaining Australians“. During the tension of wartime, Australians Amateur Hour comforted and reassured Australians with the strength of the National Spirit.
The Amateur Hour was a pioneering talent show that became a pop-culture phenomenon.
It was cool to read about the Australian Amateur Hour, so I thought I would share it with you. I first listened to the show because it discovered “The Wild One”, Johnny O’Keefe; the first Australian Rock n’ Roll performer to tour the United States. I really enjoyed listening to all of the shows too! They do not seem to have all the shows available, but you can listen to some episodes here:
I hope you enjoy them.
Ridiculously Retro Xx