Not the Kangaroo Valley
Buster Keaton Silent Movie Show

7.30pm Sat Oct 5 2013, Kangaroo Valley Hall

Robert Constable, piano,
with guest artist Amelia Cormack
also Sarah Butler, Peter Stanton and The Tri Hards

1. Snub Pollard movie:
2. Belinda Webster movie:
3. The Tri Hards sing:

4. Buster Keaton movie:


5. audio-visual poem narrated by Sarah Butler:
6. Peter Stanton sings:
7. Amelia Cormack sings:

8. Libby Turnock movie:

It's a Gift
[a] I Got It From Agnes
[b] I Got It From Julia
[c] There's a Hole in my Budget
The Playhouse

free supper!

Albert's Air
Ol' Man River
[a] I'm a Caterpillar of Society
[b] Make You Feel My Love
[c] Trust
Cigarette Advertising Through the Ages

internal links: Robert Constable | Ameila Cormack | It's a gift | Snub Pollard | Waterdrawn & Belinda Webster | The Tri Hards | Tom Lehrer | I Got It From Agnes | I Got It From Julia | There's a Hole in my Budget | Peter Wesley-Smith | The Playhouse

Albert's Air | Sarah Butler | John George | Tony Barnett | Ol' Man River | Caterpillar | Make You Feel My Love | Trust | Cigarette Advertising | thanks | post-event emails| poster

We are pleased to welcome pianist Robert Constable back to Kangaroo Valley, this time as a permanent resident. Having come here ten times, from Newcastle, then Auckland, now Christchurch, to play for the Annual Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Show, he decided to save on plane fares and buy a house here. Tonight we hear him as composer and accompanist as well as improviser for silent films. But this is not the Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Show - it's something different, even though it contains one of Keaton's classic shorts. There's a brand-new old-style movie, and a brand-new new-style movie, and there are songs - one with images - and audio-visual poetry. If this becomes an annual event, we hope that before long we will present a show created and performed entirely by Kangaroo Valley residents.

Robert is active in a number of musical areas and across many styles of music. His recent musical achievements include music for flute and piano which was recently recorded and released on CD by the Sydney-based flutist Christine Draeger, a soundtrack for a short film by Belinda Webster, a performance in Christchurch of the solo part in Martin Wesley-Smith's Weapons of Mass Distortion, and silent film and other improvisations in both New Zealand and Australia. Robert is also a professor of music and director of the University of Canterbury School of Music, where he is involved in the post-earthquake restoration of music at the University as well as more generally across the city of Christchurch. He is a part-time resident of Kangaroo Valley; from 2014 he intends to pull back from his New Zealand commitments and spend more time at his home in the Valley.

Click on the photo at left to see a larger version.


Having just returned to Sydney from a successful two years in London, singer/actor Amelia Cormack is about to move to New York. We are delighted that she is willing and able to contribute - for no fee - to tonight's fundraiser. She is one of the original Divas from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical and has performed this role in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Europe. Theatre credits include Next Thing You Know (The Landor Theatre, UK), Radio Times (The Watermill, UK), Murder Mistaken (Bruce James Productions/Talking Scarlet, UK), The Convict's Opera (STC/Out of Joint, UK & Australia). Film & TV credits include The Silence (ABC), Gone (Working Title), and All Saints (Channel 7). As a recording artist, Amelia features on the original cast recordings of Priscilla and LOVEBites, and has released her own albums Amelia Cormack - Live @ The Supper Club and Amelia Cormack. She is thrilled to be performing songs by Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith, whose work she studied in high school.

1. In It's a Gift (1923), a group of oil magnates is trying to think of new ways to attract business. One of them suggests that they contact the inventor Pollard, who has devised a new gasoline substitute. He lives in a home filled with his eccentric inventions. When he gets the message from the oil company, he is excited about the opportunity to demonstrate his innovation.

The most famous sequence in the film shows Pollard using a large magnet to put his car into motion. It stars Snub Pollard as Inventor Pollard, Marie Mosquini as The Girl, William Gillespie as oil executive Weller Pump, Wallace Howe as the Customer, Mark Jones as the Swindler, and Eddie Dunn as the Postman.


Born in Melbourne in 1889, Harold Fraser acted with "Pollard's Lilliputian Opera Co", which gave stage performances featuring children and performers of small stature. Harold subsequently took the name Snub Pollard then went to America, where he played supporting roles in the early films of Harold Lloyd. Lloyd's producer, Hal Roach, gave Pollard his own starring series of one- and two-reel shorts, the most famous being It's a Gift. In 1926 Pollard joined the low-budget Weiss Brothers studio, where he co-starred with Marvin Loback as a poor man's version of Laurel & Hardy. When the talkies arrived he - unlike Albert - prospered, appearing in many comedies and "B" westerns. In 1962, aged 72, he died of cancer.



2. Waterdrawn (2013) is a meditation by Belinda Webster on the colour and lines in moving water. The score was composed and performed by Robert Constable, especially for tonight.

Belinda Webster OAM is the founder of Tall Poppies Records which has issued over 220 CDs in its twenty-two year history. She is Artistic Director of Arts in the Valley, the biennial arts festival. She has presented her photographs in nine exhibitions. She has also made several short art films.


3. Male vocal trio The Tri Hards is the first sub-group to break away from the now-defunct Thirsty Night Singers and to strive for fame and fortune in its own right. Consisting of Peter Morgan, Peter Stanton and Martin Wesley-Smith, it has set a punishing schedule of rehearsals, concerts, recordings and international tours. This is its first gig for this year.

Peter Morgan welcomed the opportunity of some more group singing after finding solo performances in the shower less than inspiring. "Singing with Martin and Peter keeps me in touch with the buzz of singing a cappella, something I find hard to beat. Being the youngest in the group (by far) has its challenges but providing they get their daily nap things run pretty smoothly". Peter Stanton is a self-effacing cove who says that as he still hasn't got over the break-up of the Thirsties he quite pathetically accepts any invitation to sing, no matter how demeaning. Martin Wesley-Smith is a bon vivant, wit, sportsman, choral conductor, concert entrepreneur and composer. A kindly man, he is always ready, with a smile, to help people - little old ladies to cross the street, for example, or poor urchins who love to receive a gay "Gidday!" (or, preferably, a lolly). Recent projects have included whipping local singers into shape.

Tom Lehrer, a mathematician, teacher, lyricist, pianist, composer and singer/songwriter, was born in 1928. His early work typically dealt with non-topical subject matter. It was noted for its black humour in such songs as Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

An urban myth says that Lehrer gave up political satire when the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger. He did comment that awarding the prize to Kissinger made political satire obsolete, but has denied that he stopped creating satire thereafter as a form of protest. In 2003 he commented that his particular brand of political satire is more difficult in the modern world: "The real issues I don't think most people touch. The Clinton jokes are all about Monica Lewinsky and all that stuff and not about the important things, like the fact that he wouldn't ban land mines ... I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporize them."

Lehrer once promoted his songs by deliberately quoting his negative reviews: "I know it's very bad form to quote one's own reviews," he said, "but there is something the New York Times said about me that I have always treasured: Mr. Lehrer's muse [is] not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste." He said of his musical career, "If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth while."

(taken from


[a] In 1952, Lehrer wrote I Got it From Sally. Later, when Cameron Mackintosh was putting together a show - Tomfoolery - based on Lehrer's songs, he wondered if there were any he hadn't heard. Lehrer dredged up Sally, polished it a bit, wrote a new verse, and made it more like a British music-hall song. In the process it became I Got it From Agnes. Read the lyric here.

[b] I Got It From Julia is a modern Australian version with a new lyric by Peter Wesley-Smith:

We got it from Julia, she got it from Tim,
Ev'ryone knows about hairdressers so who gave it to him?
It sure wasn't from Tony, who tried by crook or by heck
To pass it on to Kevin, which he did - but in the neck

A bloke in the Shoalhaven got it in his moustache
Somehow (we don't really know for sure) he gave it to Joanna Gash
She was ever so grateful, it gave her quite a thrill
Despite the medication we suspect she's got it still

From each based on ability, to each according to need
Old MacDonald had a farm and gave it to Eddie Obeid
Who doled some out to Moses - but there we'll have to let it be
We'd love to take it further but it's all sub judice

Kristina Keneally, if you can recall,
Tried to give it to Barry O'Farrell who never got it at all
Now if anybody wants it you know you'll have to pay
'Cos now we've got it back and we won't give it away!


[c] There's a Hole in my Budget comes from a children's song - There's a Hole in my Bucket - popularised in the 50s by Harry Belafonte and Odetta (read the lyric here). In 1951 English songwriting duo Flanders & Swann came up with a version that, according to Michael Flanders, "explained ... economic truth in simple revue terms. Alas, all too true today." They updated the song whenever there was a new British Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer. Peter Wesley-Smith has come up with a version relevant to today. To read Flanders & Swann's version, click here. Peter Wesley-Smith's version:

There's a hole in my budget, dear Tony, dear Tony
There's a hole in my budget, dear Tony old mate

We'll blame it on Labor, Joe Hockey, Joe Hockey
We'll blame it on Labor, Joe Hockey old mate

I've already done that, dear Tony, dear Tony
I've already done that, dear Tony old mate

We'll ask all those experts in Finance, Joe Hockey
We'll get them to fix it, Joe Hockey old mate

We sacked half the experts in Finance, dear Tony
We sacked all the best ones, dear Tony old mate

Rehire them, you blithering idiot, Joe Hockey
Withdraw their redundancies, Joseph old mate

And where will their salaries come from, dear Tony?
They're very expensive, dear Tony old mate

Why, out of your budget, Joe Hockey, Joe Hockey
Right out of your budget, Joe Hockey old mate

But ... but ... there's a hole in my budget, dear Tony, dear Tony
There's a hole in my budget, dear Tony old mate

Peter Wesley-Smith says that despite his outward charm, scintillating demeanour and youthful appearance, he has long been dedicated to his craft and devoted to his legions of fans. Like Berlei, his work aims to shape, entertain and uplift, and it has been performed all over, from Upper River Hall to Kangaroo Valley Hall and everywhere between.


4. The Playhouse [1921, 22'], written and directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton, stars Keaton as Audience/Orchestra/Actors/Stagehand, Joe Roberts as Actor/Stagehand, and Virginia Fox as the Twins.

Darragh O'Donoghue claims that The Playhouse is a "Masterpiece of the Absurd":

"This has to be one of the strangest, most daring films ever made by a major Hollywood studio, and surely the funniest and most perceptive study of madness in all cinema. The first ten minutes are a breathtaking display of bewildering surrealist magic. Buster Keaton buys a ticket for a variety show. Buster Keaton conducts an orchestra of Buster Keatons, defeated by their hostile instruments ... Buster Keaton minstrels have a calm discussion, while pairs of male and female Buster Keatons make up the audience, restless, spiteful and belligerent.

"This is stunning cinema in any language ... As in so many of Keaton's films, this remarkable fantasy is shown to be the dream of a lowly, bullied man, this time a theatrical hand. Far from diminishing the film's dreamlike structure, this revelation intensifies it. An astonishing series of variations on the line between art and life, dream and reality ensues, an argument which descends into ever-increasing spirals of confusion and disintegration ..."



5. Albert's Air:

The subject of this tale is a forgotten aspect of Kangaroo Valley history. Albert was a local prodigy who, at a young age, played piano in all the great concert halls of the world. He returned to the valley to accompany silent movies but was shattered when the talkies arrived, rendering his services unwanted. The tragic consequence brings tears to the eyes of all who hear it.

Verse: Peter Wesley-Smith; narration: Sarah Butler; photographic model: John George; photographs: Tony Barnett; visual design: Diana Jaffray.

Albert was a pianist, he played the pi-an-o:
He played it fast, he played it slow, he played it high and low;
He made it stop. And go. He played it for the love and glory -
And this poor long-forgotten verse is little Albert's story.

As soon as Albert was conceived, in southern New South Wales,
He started humming fast arpeggios and trills and scales;
He soon developed melody and harmony and rhythm -
He'd've played piano in the womb if only he'd had one with 'im.

Instead he sang: this boy soprano sang to his heart's content;
He warbled all the day, his foetal vocal cords unspent.
His parents couldn't sleep at night, they couldn't still their hearts
For all the din he made within his mother's private parts.

He carolled like an angel, he droned just like a druid:
To his task he warmed though he performed in amniotic fluid.
Arias and airs and chants, they tickled his wish to please,
And yet his fingers fairly itched to tickle the ivories.

Amidst the lullabies and serenades and hymns was strewn
A slightly weird and melancholic but yet a poignant tune ...
"Albert's Air", they christened it - a song of hope and doom,
The most melodic music ever written in the womb.

The birth was uneventful - this scarcely-new-born child
Emerged. He looked about him, yawned, and burpfully he smiled.
But when the midwife smacked his bottom, amidst the pain and trauma
He broke out not with a cry but with a full-blown Nessun Dorma.

Yet when he'd finished singing little Albert seemed quite bored;
His tiny fingers twitched and tried to play his umbilical chord -
Observed by Mum and Dad, who then went out and bought a brand-
New piano, fit for their son. It was, of course, a baby grand,

Manufactured locally, valley-born and bred:
Local timbers, local timbres, from Terry Rebbeck's shed;
Something of a honky-tonk, as everyone agrees,
But Albert loved it from the moment his hands first touched the keys.

Just one month old, this virtuoso played it like a dream;
He made those cedar ivories and blackbutt hammers scream:
Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Greig: and though he played them all with flair,
His favourite composition was the doleful "Albert's Air".

He played it sweetly, lovingly, and pianissimo,
This perfect little serenade he played adagio,
Performing with dexterity, sincerity and control;
Strong women howled and wombats wept; he touched one's very soul.

At two years old he played in church - the Protestant variety -
Though twice he went across the road to prove his general piety;
But then he ruined it all by supping with Beelzebub,
Playing at a meeting of the valley Lions Club.

At three years old he started doing gigs at synagogues,
Weddings, funerals, and special barbecues for dogs.
The puny runt was everywhere and no one dare gainsay it:
Wherever there was a piano little Albert was there to play it.

At five years old he gave a concert at the dairy farm,
Playing with great facility, felicity and charm.
Amongst the listeners were the minister, his mistress and his spouse,
Cedar-getters, pox-doctors' clerks, Dirty Dan's dad and cows.

Amid the cowpats and the steaming tubs of udder grease
The patrons heard the Moonlight and a charming Fr Elise.
"Maestro!" they hollered, "You bewdy pearler little Ozzie!"
As Albert played a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozzie -

And unctuous "Albert's Air", of course, which hushed the audience
And plucked their very heart-strings - and other ligaments;
No eye was dry, of young and old, of every lad and lass;
Even the cows were moved to tears and bovine methane gas.

Some folks opined the situation was iniquitous,
For Albert and his instrument were now ubiquitous;
The village elders cried "Let's pay for Albert to appear
In London, Paris, Rome, Vienna - anywhere but here!"

So Albert, all of twelve, for pastures even greener than
The fields of Kangaroo Valley, left home and thence became a man -
And megasuperstar, of which he was the very essence,
With actresses and groupies, all of it pre-adolescence.

He played the finest venues, from Carnegie Hall on down,
He even played in jazz clubs in the seamier side of town.
From Paris to Barcelona he held each audience in thrall;
The greatest triumph of all was Albert in Royal Albert Hall.

He supped from finest china-ware and sipped from jeroboam -
And yet he missed the village life, the green green grass of hoam.
He'd won more gushing plaudits than his heart had e'er desired,
So little Albert, though much loved, officially retired.

He had just one ambition now, one trophy yet to fall:
To play for silent movies at the Kangaroo Valley Hall.
At fourteen years of age he was a pianist unbeaten

No more travelling, no more groupies, Albert was content,
Living through his teenage years a youthful life well spent:
A 1920s Robert Constable, with skill and flair,
Improvising melodies and playing "Albert's Air".

Sometimes he played in Kangaloon and other foreign parts,
Once or twice in Berry and the Nowra School of Arts;
No more a life of glamour, champers, good-time girls and fun -
Now the quiet satisfaction of a job well done.

But then the talkies came. At once the silent movie biz
Fell silent. At once the industry had lost its pop and fizz;
At once a life that offered pleasures genial and abundant
Was gone, and unsuspecting Albert found himself redundant.

Redundant! Albert!! International super-pianist,
Despite his rare achievements so off-handedly dismissed.
Playing under silent movies was for him quite destinal,
Its devastating loss demanding fortitude intestinal.

Stressed. Depressed. Distressed. Oppressed, his life now seemed a scourge
As "Albert's Air" became more like a soulful, doleful dirge.
His heart beat slow diminuendo, his vital forces slumped -
And, crossing Hampden Bridge one morning, suddenly he jumped.

And on a cold and windy night, even today, if you
Tiptoe among the trees downstream a blust'rous mile or two,
At twenty-three past midnight on a rising moon - beware:
The breezes rattle his bones and play a ghostly Albert's Air.

three shots from the visual track (photography: Tony Barnett; Photoshop: Diana Jaffray):

Sarah Butler has a BA in Drama from the University of NSW and a Master of Education in Creative Arts (Youth Performance Studies) from UTS. Over a period of thirty years, she has been involved with the establishment of performance spaces and the production of theatrical work in "non-theatre" settings, from cafs to pub music venues, inner city backyards to country halls. Sarah also worked as an actor at these venues and others including New Theatre (1986 -1997), Adelaide Fringe Festival (1992/1996), and the Performance Space, in addition to a sprinkling of guest roles and commercials for TV. Sarah teaches drama to young people and has directed and designed a number of theatre productions for her students, most recently: The Magician's Elephant (2012), Island (2011) and Tales from Outer Suburbia (2010). Her interest in new work has led to her writing and adapting stories for theatre (including Biding Time, Chair, Jabberwock, Where the Wild Things Are) and she has worked as a set and costume designer on many productions. Sarah is currently working on a group-devised theatre piece with fellow Kangaroo Valley actors - coming to a hall near you in 2014!

If we pointed out that male model John George - the thinking man's clothes horse - has enjoyed a glittering career on the catwalks of Europe, we'd be wrong. He hasn't. Not yet. But scuttlebutt has it that an agent from a leading international fashion house will be in tonight's audience, cheque book in hand. John is also in demand as an actor following his memorable performances as Froth in the Dirty Dan series.

Why the organisers chose Tony Barnett, a keen but very amateur photographer, to take the photos for Albert's Air is anyone's guess. But when Tony read, in the preview of this event in the Voice, that "Tony is taking the photos as we speak", he felt he could hardly refuse. The subsequent photographic session was entertaining, to say the least. If the photos are blurred, blame "Albert" for making Tony laugh so much.


6. In 1960, when black American singer/actor/human rights activist Paul Robeson visited Australia, local activist Faith Bandler showed him a controversial film - Their Darkest Hour - of aboriginal people near Warburton in Central Australia. It had been made by William Grayden, a war veteran from the conservative side of politics, who with Victorian Aboriginal activist, church pastor and football star Doug Nicholls, made a journey from Perth into Ngaanyatjarra country. They were on a mission to prove that Aboriginal residents of the Reserve were struggling to survive in an era of increasing defence and mining activity. The resultant film variously, and for different reasons, shocked and enraged audiences across Australia, as it did Robeson. Bandler said "He was so angry and he said to me, 'I'll go away now, but when I come back I'll give you a hand'. He was beautiful, but he died and he didn't come back."

The initial idea for this performance of Ol' Man River was to accompany it with sequences from Grayden's film, but it is such a sensitive issue, still, that that seemed ill-advised. Instead we have images collected from various sources that reflect the content of Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's powerful song (read Hammerstein's lyric here).

For an excellent article on the controversy, click here. See, also, Wikipedia. Watch a YouTube clip of an impromptu performance of Ol' Man River by Robeson at the Sydney Opera House construction site.


7[a]. The Wesley-Smiths' I'm a Caterpillar of Society (Not a Social Butterfly) appeared originally in a choral piece, Who Killed Cock Robin? (1979). It later made an appearance in their music theatre work Boojum!. In this work's first production, at the 1986 Adelaide Festival of Arts before HM the Queen of England, a male Caterpillar in a gold lamé suit performed a slow striptease that ended in a blackout just as the last item, a gold lamé jockstrap, was flung into the auditorium. The Queen was quite amused.

I'm a Caterpillar of Society
Not a social butterfly
I can run, jump, fight, wheel a barrow, ride a bike
Let me explain the reason why
I have a very healthy appetite
And I eat up all my greens
Such as cabbage, lettuce, peas and celery
Cucumbers and beans

Here I go:
Ah, delicious!
And so nutritious!

Here's a bean about to be a has-been
In you go ...
Ah, magnifico!

I'm red, black and yellow
A fine-looking fellow
All because I eat my greens

I'm a Caterpillar of Variety
I can juggle and sing and joke
As well as run, jump, fight, wheel a barrow, ride a bike
I am a clever kind of bloke
As a dancer I am dynamite
When I don my dancing shoes
I can disco, tango, jive and rock'n'roll
Just read my reviews

Here I go:
On tippy-toe!
What a show!

I can tap, I'm a clever kind of chap!

I'm red, black and yellow
A fine-looking fellow
All because I eat my greens

I'm a Caterpillar of Virility
I'm as strong as any lion
I can run, and fight, and ride a bike
'Cos I'm always pumping iron
Thirty press-ups? Easy! Thirty-five!
That's no sweat!
Why not buy my Illustrated
Caterpillar Work-Out Cassette!

Try this for thighs!
It's great exercise!

See me flex all my splendid pecs!
What condition!
What definition!

I'm red, black and yellow
A fine-looking fellow
All because I eat my -
Oh how I love my -
All because I eat my greens

Banish the blues with a bowl of greens!

Download the music (voice & piano) for free here.


[b] Adele has had great success with Bob Dylan's song Make You Feel My Love (read the lyric here).

[c] The Wesley-Smith's Trust is from the expanded version of a musical about Noel Coward's visit to Hong Kong in 1931. The song has not been previously performed in public, so far as we know. It is set in the Far East in the days when the term "boy" was used by the colonials to refer to the chief steward or manservant in the household:

There should be trust
Between the master and the boy
It's most unjust
If there's suspicion
Or some noisome exhibition
Of disloyalty by those in my employ
There should be liking and respect
I am entitled to expect
That the must-
Ard is sep'rate from the soy
There should be trust
Between the master and the boy

There should be trust
Between the mistress and the maid
The upper crust
Must be contented
Neither envied nor resented
And submissively, devotedly obeyed
There should be deference and esteem
Though nothing special or extreme
But robust
Subservience displayed
There should be trust
Between the mistress and the maid

There should be lust
Between the master and the maid
And some disgust-
Ing times together
Using rubber, silk and leather
Each perversion of the Orient surveyed
There should be failings of the flesh
And vile depravities afresh
And we must
Mix the lotus with the jade
There should be lust
Between the master and the maid

There should be lust
Between the mistress and the boy
Impassioned thrust-
Ing in the after-
Noons and gales of bawdy laughter
No restraint, no prudishness, no acting coy
There should be naughty knockabouts
A hundred ins, a hundred outs
It's a cust-
Om devoted wives enjoy
There should be lust
Between the mistress and the boy

There should be lust
Between the master and the boy
A most combust-
Ible admixture
Should be quite a household fixture
So debauchery and sodomy don't cloy
There should be humping on the hearth
And some buggery in the bath
With a clust-
Er of friends from the Savoy
There should be lust
Between the master and the boy

There should be lust
Between the mistress and the maid
When not indust-
Riously cleaning
Then the maid should be convening
Steamy interludes when both of us get laid
There should be couplings on the bed
The maid has made an hour ahead
Feather dust-
Ers for use when passions fade
There should be lust
Between the mistress and the maid

There should be love
Between the husband and the wife
And some discov-
Ery of kindness
With a hint of mutual blindness
When the other's imperfections threaten strife
There should be no undue dispute
If they enjoy forbidden fruit
And recov-
Er the gaiety of life
There should be love
Between the husband and the wife

Download the music (voice & piano) for free here.


Cleopatra and her manservant as portrayed by
Jacinta Perry-Powell and Patrick Powell

8. Libby Turnock writes that the germ of the idea for Cigarette Advertising Through the Ages came from the Eighth Buster Keaton Silent Movie Festival, which screened Keaton's The Three Ages as well as several advertisements from the 1920s. The Three Ages depicted how romance might have played out in three distinct eras of human history, while the old commercials, unlike those of today, were long enough to develop a story.

In Cigarette Advertising Through the Ages, six different eras are represented, from the Garden of Eden to the present day. The six vary in length and style, each attempting to tell a story humorously (sometimes blackly) while promoting a particular brand. Almost all the filming took place in Kangaroo Valley, including at the Pioneer Farm Museum.

Dirty Dan and Fluff make a guest appearance, and many other locals have lent their acting talents to the project: (in alphabetical order) Lance Brown, Janet Bundey, Sue Bunn, Wendy Caird, Dan Cole, Jan Cole, Dorothy Curnow, Diana Dorrington, Jim Dorrington, Robert Farnham, Sam Fritz, Terry Hennessy (who also helped with props), Irene Huetter, Keith Learn, Nigel Lewis, Trish Livesey, Derek Lucas, Rick Lytzki, Les Mitchell, Louise Morgan, Peter Morgan, Chris Nobel, Lauren O'Connor, Jacinta Perry-Powell, Patrick Powell, Peter Stanton, Rosemary Stanton and Barbara Woodney. (The Turnocks' son-in-law Aaron Ward also played a part.)


Many thanks to Tony Barnett, Sarah Butler, Robert Constable, Amelia Cormack, John George, Terry Hennessy, Diana Jaffray, Carl Leddy, Derek Lucas, Kangaroo Valley General Store, Michael Moore, Peter Morgan, Peter Stanton, Rosemary Stanton and all those who contributed to tonight's supper, Libby Turnock, Paul Turnock, Belinda Webster and various Wesley-Smiths, including Rob (who claims he's the only person in the hall tonight who has shaken hands with Paul Robeson).

Remember: daylight saving starts at 2am tomorrow!

excerpts from post-event emails:

Dear Martin et al, Thank you so much for a very enjoyable night last night. The Not the Buster Keaton Silent Movie Show was just as much fun as the Buster Keaton Silent Movie Shows. I loved the variety ... lots of it made me laugh (loved the Tri Hards), Waterdrawn sent me into a trance it was so beautiful ... and what can I say about Pete's Ol' Man River with those almost unwatchable photos ... a great night enjoyed by all ...

Congratulations to you and all involved in creating last night's show - arguably the best yet seen in the Valley. I don't want to be selective by copying this email only to those for whom I have email addresses, but the contributions of Robert Constable, Peter W-S, Belinda and Libby clearly deserve special mention. And I can't imagine why I got a bio in the program, when Diana and Sarah contributed so much more to the success of Albert's Air.

A hard act to follow, but I'm sure you'll aim to outdo it next year.

Thanks for a great evening! It went really well, and was fascinating in many respects. Good turnout! All your hard work paid off! I hope it raised some decent dosh for ET. Loved Libby's fillum. I hope you were pleased, and that you had enough help to pull it all down.

Now you can relax!

Martin and Peter, we really enjoyed the show last night, lots of variety, lots of laughs and heaps of talent. Enormous amount to organise for you guys so good on your for pulling it off. Amelia was wonderful, we are confirmed fans. Sarah Butler was amazing, good writing Pete. Films were great too, and PMs piano was lovely, thanks Robert. Libby's ads were very funny, she is a crazy talent for sure. Anyway all great, the Old Tries done good too.

... Well done lads ...

Congratulations on a fantastic show and slick production and thank you for inviting me to be part of it! It was an honour and pleasure!
Hope you raised lots of money for the cause and enjoyed your success!

(We) want to say thank you for such a fabulous night!! we really enjoyed ourselves and had a lot of laughs!

You must be relieved all that organising is over!

Many many thanks to you and the creative team that brought such joy yet again to our community. Images supporting Ol Man River were thought provoking and a poignant reminder of the savage treatment dealt to indigenous peoples throughout the world.
Good on you for pushing us out of our comfort zone and challenging us to connect the dots of ongoing brutality taking place in West Papua.

Dear Martin,
We've been remiss in not contacting you earlier to say how much we enoyed last Saturday night's entertainment and to express our appreciation for the tremendous work you put into the event. Please pass on our thanks to Peter and Robert Constable for their major contributions to a fabulous night. As is so often said we are blessed to have such talent in Kangaroo Valley ...

It was a happy, involved and satisfied audience. (We) certainly enjoyed the creativity and efforts of the performers and organisers.

Very enthusiastic response overall ... Libby's film had universal approval and it sparked ongoing conversation and merriment ... Other highly praised items were Sarah Butler's rendition of Albert's Air, Peter (Stanton)'s Ol' Man River and certainly, not least, Robert's playing ... I probably most enjoyed the performances where the parts were blended to produce a greater whole (the joys of symbiosis). Albert's Air was a wonderful example of this: Sarah's narration, Robert's improvising, Diana's and Tony's on-screen immortalisation of John George (did any of us realise what a sensitive soul he really was) and of course Peter's epic poem. That's one I hope we see again ... A few people weren't happy with some of the slides accompanying Ol' Man River. Actually ... it provided the opportunity for discussion around the topic ... unlikely to change attitudes but at least providing the opportunity for friends to realise that they do not agree about certain things in the world around us ... (I heard) comments like "how lucky we are in this community", "I always look forward to anything Martin puts on" etc, etc... ad nauseam ...

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to tell you how much my sister and I loved your recent 'not the Buster Keaton' show, it was fantastic!!! So glad you kept one Buster Keaton film in there but it was also great to have such variety this time. Robert Constable is a genius, I could listen to him play all day ... I really enjoyed all the items - thanks so much for organising it and especially for letting me know ...

Care to share your thoughts/comments/criticisms/suggestions for future events? If so, email Martin Wesley-Smith.

To see the flyer for this event, click here.


some previous Annual Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Silent Movie Shows:

2003 | 2003 prog | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009
2010 program | 2012 prog | 2012 poster | 2012 poster 2 | 2012 review (no websites for 2010-2012)

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