FUNNY BY GEORGE

Synopsis

Using rare photographs, home movies, feature film footage and contemporary interviews, Funny by George – The George Wallace Story, traces his colourful life. This one-hour documentary looks at George’s influence; redresses his place in history and proudly presents a sample of his work for the audiences of today.

Professionally, George found success on stage, in motion pictures and on radio. From his early beginnings in country travelling shows and vaudeville, he became Australia’s first genuine box office comedian of the sound era, starring in five feature films. When his first feature, “His Royal Highness”, was released in England he was hailed as one of the biggest comic finds in a decade. But his deeply ingrained Australian manner was to bring about the biggest disappointment of his life when he finally made his stage assault on England.

Privately, George Wallace was a complex man whose life was a battle for recognition and acceptance. From a miserable childhood in Sydney, he escaped to the outback of Queensland to find work as a cane-cutter at the age of thirteen. His one marriage, which produced a son, was a short-lived failure. Domesticity took second place to the stage. Plagued by ill health in his later years, George was described by some as jealous, uncouth and a slob…and by others as kind, talented and hysterically funny.

George Wallace was an influential comedian whose persona was unashamedly Australian. He was a creative force who wrote his own material from vaudeville sketches to feature film scripts. He was a painter, musician, skilled tap-dancer and a composer – who gave Australia its wartime anthem “A Brown Slouch Hat.”

Funny by George first aired on ABC-TV on Wednesday 12.04.2000 at 8.30pm.

Details

56 minutes

Correspondence

Dear Don

Hearty congratulations for ‘Funny by George! Absolutely one of the very best compilation films I’ve seen. Bill Kerr’s narration was spot on. A terrific tribute to George and those around him. Good Luck

Tony Buckley (Anthony Buckley Films Pty Ltd)

Dear Don

Congratulations. You must feel really proud of the finished product. It’s a great achievement and, I believe in the entertainment industry, historically significant. Congratulations once again. Warm regards

Lynne Gumbley (Author)

Dear Don

It was wonderful! Congratulations on creating a truly wonderful documentation of the life and art of a unique man, and acknowledging so lovingly his legacy of laughter. Funny by George is real Australian show biz history. You and your team must be very proud.

With Admiration, Sincerely. Frank Van Straten (Historian)

“…thoroughly entertaining documentary…”

Tony Johnson, Sunday Herald Sun

…packed with detail…

Darrin Farrant, The Age Green Guide – Pick of the Day

…provides a fascinating insight into a world long gone…

Greg Hassall, The Sydney Morning Herald

…reverent and thoroughly researched…

Garry Mansfield, Herald Sun TV Guide

…some marvellous reminiscences…

Gerri Sutton, Who Weekly

...a well researched and fascinating biography...

Brian Courtis, The Sunday Age

…superb…

Robert Fidgeon, The Herald Sun