I used to watch Graham Kennedy’s “In Melbourne Tonight” in the early ‘60’s, which I and thousands of Australians would tune in and watch. Graham was "The King" of Australian television.
After his show was cancelled
He began his working life as a nightclub performer and singer, usually doing a mix of comedy and singing. He appeared at many clubs in
He says that he took his stage name 'Lane' from Frankie Laine. He worked alongside Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr, Wayne Newton and many others. Don also played Prof. Harold Hill in the
Irish comedian Dave Allen presented a talk show on
...................Bert Newton and Don Lane.
Lane was given the host's chair for six weeks. He planned to base his version of the show on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Lane's run was variously referred to as "The Tonight Show", "Tonight with
Don Lane and Graham Kennedy on a split screen.
Lane forged an enduring partnership with Bert Newton, an Australian comedian and entertainment personality.
Don and "Moonface" dressed up as Laurel and Hardy.
It is widely believed that Lane christened Bert “Moonface”, but Bert later claims that he and writer Mike McColl-Jones made up the nick name and from this the nickname stuck.
Newton took much pleasure in sending up Lane's singing, sometimes by playing his records at half-speed while miming Lane's performance. Lane sometimes responded in kind by "sending up"
Don Lane, Jimmy Hannan, Mike Walsh and Bert Newton.
Uri Geller, Doris Stokes and broadcaster Kevin Arnett regularly appeared on The Don Lane Show discussing psychic and paranormal themes. On one occasion Skeptic and debunker James Randi was invited onto the program. A heated exchange occurred at the end of the interview, which led to Lane saying, "We’re going for a commercial break and you can piss off. We'll be back with Diana Trask." Lane then walked off the set, sweeping the props from the small table, to audience applause. The aftermath of the event led to a national and personal apology to Randi, which was televised through the Nine Network.
The Don Lane Show ended on
Don Lane with his pal Sammy Davis Jr.
In 1985 Don had remarried and his son PJ was born.
Don Lane was married twice, once to Gina in 1964 and later to Jayne Ambrose in 1983. Jayne worked in the Sales Department of Channel 9. They had one child a boy nick named PJ. I have the book “Never Argue With A Mug” the autobiography Don wrote with Janise
Quote “We had a discussion about names and I suggested Jacob Isaacson - Jacob after my dad and Isaacson of course being my real last name. Jayne shook her head. “No it’s too biblical”. And then we talked around that and I said “Okay I’ve got an idea, “why don’t we give him a good nickname and that will suffice. I know you’re not a big fan of Jacob, but I’d like my father’s name to be in there somewhere, so how about Phillip Jacob Isaacson? We can call him PJ, because that will make him different from all the other kids at school”. And Jayne was fine with that. So he was PJ right from the start. Unquote.
...............Phillip Jacob (PJ) Isaacson.
By 1987, Don was back in
In 1993, Lane made a guest appearance on the very last episode and closing segment of the comedy program The Late Show on
............Don hosting NCAA Basketball.
Then in 1994, Lane hosted two specials for the Nine Network, The Best of The Don Lane Show. Each special was two hours dedicated to the most memorable moments from The Don Lane Show.
See I do have Don's book."Never Argue With A Mug.
In June, 2008 it was announced that
Don died from a dementia-related illness on Thursday morning on
Lane was charismatic and funny until the very end, his close friend and biographer Janise Beaumont says. "He didn't want this to happen, but he was still Don," Ms Beaumont told
"And pretty much up to the end he was very tactile ... he loved hugs, he still could make eye contact, still be funny, still be charismatic.
charity concert at Toorak's Track Centre tonight to honour his father. PJ Lane gave up a promising basketball career in the United States and Europe to move to Sydney to be with his father, he told Woman’s Day magazine in June. Five months ago, he said his father was still in good spirits and making jokes but he had decided to relocate closer to his father as his dementia was expected to worsen.
Don with one of the 15 Logies he has won.
Two shows that stood out in my mind was the concert for
The other was an on-air unscripted session with Sammy Davis Junior which overran the
Don always finished his show by circling his face with a finger which meant “I love your faces”.
Don was a true gentleman of the stage and screen. He was a entertainer who loved his audience and respected them, on and off the stage. He was a great host who made the term “A Lanky Yank”
a compliment of the highest honour. Like many of the entertainersI have blogged about. Don’s legacy as a great entertainer will be remembered for generations to come.
I’m concluding this blog with a video clip of a ‘roast’ that was filmed about Don and this roast was performed by Paul Hogan (he of Crocodile