Monday, 16 September 2013
Surfer Doll/Surf Dance/I Still Could Care/Let-A-Go Your Heart
Sir Robert Helpman was a world famous ballet dancer, choreographer, stage director and movie star. What you may not know was that he was also a Top 40 pop singer.
Helpmann enjoyed and exploited his notoriety. In 1963 he made headlines and the airwaves with a bizarre disc of surfing songs which he recorded in a studio in Honolulu on his way to Australia. It is now a coveted collectors’ item. His flamboyance challenged the stultifying conservatism of 1960s Australia. On one celebrated occasion, with eyebrows plucked and fingernails painted red, and sporting Oxford bags, pink shirt and purple tie, he strolled with a friend on Bondi Beach. Before long they were being trailed by a large, silent crowd, ‘like mourners behind a cortege’. Eventually some macho lifesavers picked him up, carried him to the surf, and unceremoniously dumped him in. More headlines!