The 57th annual Logie Awards will take place this coming Sunday, so start looking forward to the red carpet procession, those strange looking statues, and the local and international celebrities. And sure, it’s easy and a bit predictable to bag out the Logies (even many of the guests who attend the awards do so live on social media), but what’s far more interesting is the Logies oft forgotten history.
Some facts about the Logies are well known. Bert Newton has hosted the ceremony 19 times. Kylie Minogue made history in 1988 by being the youngest star to win the Gold Logie. The awards were held on an ocean liner (twice) and, in 1970, a special Gold Logie was awarded to the astronauts on the Apollo 11 for providing TV’s greatest moment, the telecast of the moon landing.
Other Logie related facts are not so familiar. While the official Logie’s website has a comprehensive list of the award winners, it’s far less expansive on the colourful events and controversies that have occurred at Australian television’s night of nights. For that information, one has to dig deep into the Internet and, in particular, the bowels of YouTube, where various unknown individuals have preserved snippets of Logies ceremonies passed.
The first Logie Awards were held in 1959, just a few years after the introduction of television in Australian (Googie Withers was guest presenter and the Gold Logie went to Graham Kennedy and Panda Lisner). Throughout the sixties, the awards remained a much smaller affair than today and received far less attention. It was televised for the first time in 1961, with the ABC screening a half an hour package of highlights. Coverage in the media was usually limited to a couple of pages in TV Week magazine listing the winners and there was no comment about what actually transpired on the night. It was only in the early seventies that the Logies Awards show took off as a must see television event, arguably because the Logies was the first place anyone heard the word ‘shit’ on Australian television, which is where we start our alternative, and very non-TV Week history of the Logies.