To fans of TV nostalgia, Deadly Earnest is an institution.
Long before there was Elvira there was Deadly Earnest on Australian TV, a 1960s horror movie presenter on Channel 0.
In late Friday night TV slots, he would introduce B-grade horror movies -but was portrayed by different actors in different states:
* Ralph Baker (ATV-0 Melbourne)
* Ian Bannerman (TEN-10 Sydney)
* Hedley Cullen (SAS-10 Adelaide)
* Shane Porteous (TVQ-0 Brisbane)
While Bannerman was the first, it was Ralph Baker who became the defining version of the character, thanks to his elaborate make-up, costume and coffin. Baker had previously worked in the props department as well as appearing in comedy sketches on the original In Melbourne Tonight with Graham Kennedy.
Tomorrow night Baker, 72, will take to the stage of the Astor Theatre as part of the St. Kilda Film Festival to introduce the Horrorpalooza! session.
Horrorpalooza! programmers Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) and Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) have selected movies from the ’60s and ’70s for the occasion, but they may have a tough job to outshine Baker’s extremely rare public appearance.