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Jacket - L.P. Alexander, Gerry Gee, 1956 Object Reg. No: HT 25367

Summary:
Light grey woollen child's tuxedo style jacket, with a zip up the centre of the back, made by Melbourne tailoring firm L.P. Alexander in the mid 1950s.

It was made for ventriloquist Ron Blaskett to use on his doll Gerry Gee. It was used for onscreen performances, live appearances and promotional photographs until the 1970s. They were purchased by the donor at an auction of some items from Ron Blaskett's collection in 1992.

In 2006 it was exhibited at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, in a display celebrating the work of Crawford Productions, as part of the TV50 exhibition commemorating 50 years of Australian television
Description:
Light grey woollen tuxedo-style jacket, with long curved lapels and three pockets, two along the bottom of the front and one on the left breast area. The jacket is fastened by a single large cream plastic button, and there is a smaller decorative button on the cuff of each sleeve. The jacket's body is lined with a purple silk material, while the sleeves are lined with a cream material. It has a long metal zip inserted along the back, to give the operator access to the doll's controls.
Statement Of Significance:
This jacket is significant due to their connection to iconic Melbourne TV personalities ventriloquist Ron Blaskett and his doll Gerry Gee. Blaskett commissioned the doll from Frank Marshall of Chicago, USA (who also made the famous Charlie McCarthy doll), for the opening of Melbourne's GTV Channel 9, for which Gerry Gee was named, in January 1957. They appeared as one of the lead acts on the Happy Show, later renamed The Tarax Show to reflect their main sponsor, which ran from 1957 to 1965.

After the program was axed, Blaskett and Gee appeared for several years on local children's television in Perth in the mid 1960s, followed by two tours of Vietnam, as part of a group of entertainers sent there to entertain Australian and American troops. During the 1970s and 1980s, the duo made regular appearance on programs such as `Young Talent Time' and `Hey Hey it's Saturday', as well as performing at pubs and sports social nights, where they present more `adult' material.

The jacket is also significant due to its links to the Melbourne tailor L.P. Alexander, which had a store in Swanston Street from the 1930s to the 1970s. It was famous for its mechanical Tapping Man, which attracted the attention of passers-by by tapping on the window. The store registered the man as their logo in 1958, and had him feature in a jingle sung by Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee in radio and television advertisements. The jacket was provided as part of the sponsorship deal between them
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Michael Reason, 2010
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 500 mm (Height), 430 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: television production, australian television industry, puppetry, ventriloquism, retail display materials, advertising
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Information & Communication Collection, Leisure Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: COMMUNICATIONS
Secondary Classification: Television Programming & Production
Tertiary Classification: costumes
Inscriptions: Embroidered on cloth label inside jacket: L.P. Alexander/ "WHERE THE LITTLE MAN TAPS ON THE WINDOW"/ Tailoring Specialist/ 214 SWANSTON ST. MELBOURNE/ PURE WOOL
Manufacturer: L.P. Alexander, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1956-1960
User: Ron Blaskett, Australia, 1956-1980
User: Gerry Gee, Australia, 1956-1980
References: `You, Me and Gerry Gee', Ron Blaskett, 2001

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