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DEADLY EARNEST

Melbourne - Ralph Baker

Last revised: March 26, 2012.

Way, way, back in the 1960's, way before Elvira,

a favourite amongst Australian students was
DEADLY EARNEST ,

the TV schlock horror host on the O-Ten Network.

Late on Friday nights, the atrocious old sci-fi and horror films became compulsory viewing, solely because of the gothic master of ceremonies.

RALPH BAKER played the role of Deadly Earnest in Gothic style on ATV-0. Taking on the role after moving to Channel 0 from GTV-9, Ralph had previously worked in the props department as well as appearing in comedy sketches on the original IMT (In Melbourne Tonight with Graham Kennedy).

Supporting Deadly were the unforgettable characters of

 

Robynne B asks:

Who does the good job on his face ?

The 'good job' is completely natural ...
with a smidgin of help from CLAW !


Allan says:

I remember seeing Deadly hacking away with an axe on an old hessian sack, apparently with a person inside it, then saying
" See...that's what you get for changing channels ! "
Then he turned to the camera and said meaningfully to the audience:

"Now think about it ..."

Steve writes:

Melbourne's Deadly occasionally evidenced a wayward, wilfull foot called 'Hoof' trying to lead him in directions he didn't want to go. 

As for 'Claw', one night Deadly had had enough of his shennanigans and nailed him to the table. This event was the stuff of schoolyard legend for years afterwards. 
"Remember the night when ...?" 

Peter G recalls:

I remember Deadly Earnest...

When I was very young..I used to sit up with my Dad on Friday nights to watch him...then try to stay awake through the horror films. Usually I did.

My memories of this time would be late 60's on. Deadly had Egor in the drain like grid in the floor. He would talk to him and Egor would be growling, Snarling , Howling...etc... with the mist and light oozing through the grill.   Claw would grab Deadly around the throat.   Something else I remember was the late night TV ads for "Kevin Dennis Holden"...


"Good Morning Mr Doubleday"

In 1969, a guest appearance was made by D.E. in this ATV-O comedy series, in the episode titled
"A Sidecar Named Desire". Ralph was originally Assistant Producer on the series, eventually becoming Producer.

Deadly also presented "The Outer Limits" in 1972, in the earlier time slot of 7:30pm.

A waxwork of Deadly was created in the 1970s by the wax works in St Kilda. After that closed, it moved to Echuca.

Paul E. advises that Echuca has now closed too, but he has tracked Waxy Deadly down to the
Gold Coast Wax Museum and they also have the Queensland Deadly !

If you are planning visit, check first to see if the Deadlies are on display.
Deadly - The Gay Blade

Deadly Earnest at_______
London
Wax Museum

Opposite Luna Park, Melbourne

 

In 1993, Ralph brought Deadly back from the grave for a personal appearance at a night held by The Sixties Appreciation Society.




Download Sound bites:

<Click portrait for full length shot

For a long time, many people believed that Ralph had since passed away, including silly old me, but rumours of his death are somewhat exaggerated ! --

Ralph Baker - underneath Deadly Earnest

Ralph is alive and well, and thoroughly enjoying life as a Puppeteer with his own puppet theatre:-

- Pinnacle Puppet Theatre -

In August of 2003, the current production was
"The Three Little Pigs With A Twist".



In 2011, Deadly resurrected to host "Horrorpalooza!" at the Astor Theatre as part of the St Kilda Film Festival.



1977 Interview
from Carol George's column "Theatre Scene" in the Melbourne entertainment newspaper "Scene" April23-29 1977...

Remember Deadly Ernest?

__How could you forget him! Horrible jagged fangs, vampirish voice, and Claw, his left handed buddy. Not to forget Igor, the man eating, roaring monster. Deadly Ernest was the creepy compere of those late night Channel 0 horrors.

__But more than that, he became almost a cult figure, with a huge following of fascinated viewers. Deadly Ernest has, of course, long been laid to rest, along with Claw and Igor. The terrible trio are now no more than just a dusty memory in most people's minds.

__But the man behind that ghoulish creation, Ralph Baker, lives on. And he still has fond memories of Ernest, the character a lot of his colleagues used to say was his "alter ego."

__"They all used to say that out at Channel 0," said Ralph laughing. "But honestly, Deadly was definitely not me."He was quite a change of character for me. I would never do or say the things Deadly came out with."

__Ralph's show business colleagues envied him a lot too. For as Deadly, he could do stacks of horrible things that they couldn't.

__"I could say 'This film is terrible' if I wanted - and get away with it. All those things that television people would love to be able to say - and can't - I could."

__For some odd reason - which neither Ralph nor Deadly could ever work out - Ernest, Claw and the unforgettable Igor attracted a strong following from the "student population." People often used to ask Ralph to ''do a Deadly Ernest.'' But strangely, he could never ever talk like Deadly unless he was in full drag.

__"It was odd," agreed Ralph. "I could never ever - and still can't - talk like Deadly unless I had the teeth in, and costume and makeup on."

Deadly Embrace
Deadly Embrace
__At the time of Deadly's reign on television, an odd incident took place. One night Ralph took his wife along to a costume ball. He was often invited to be the judge of the best horror costume and naturally, he always went along in the full gear.

__"After we arrived home, Beryl said to me that she felt like she hadn't been with me. She said I was a complete stranger to her when I dressed up as Deadly." "Like another person."

__The real Ralph spent nearly 15 years in television on the production side. He began on Channel 9 with the old IMT crew, doing the odd madcap sketch with The King as well as working in the props department.

__Ralph has also been heavily involved in amateur theatre for many years, mainly working as a producer for Festival. Now he's producing the Heritage Musical Theatre of Waverley's latest piece, Okalahoma, which will be on at the State College Theatre. Burwood, from April 21-23. (1977)


SO - what movies did Deadly present ? Click here to see the list.



Related Sites:

 


my email-id is rj4oz-web atw yahoo.com.au



Dead Links: ________(Gone But Not Forgotten)


This is an AMATEUR fan site, operating under FAIR USE provisions.
It is NOT associated with any professional organization the O-Ten Network, TV Scene, Brian's Speed Shop,
nor any of the artists, licencees or rights-holders of whatever kind, including Deadly Ernest himself !
All trademarks and copyright belong to their respective owners.
NO attempt is made to supersede copyright, etc, etc, etc.
Any other appropriate disclaimers too.
Apologies in advance to any-one I may have offended in the content of this or any other page.
The answer is 42. There's only one "O" in Melbourne, but there's 8 in Woolloomoolloo.