JON: “You’ve got to be joking
with this purple faced loonie on the sax!” I said to
Now Ron had a little set-up that we used to call his “Music Shop”. This was simply his tenor sax, his alto and his flute, which he used to put on these wonky little stands in front of where he stood playing. He would throw the most terrible tantrum if one instrument even fell over by itself, let alone be knocked over by someone else. As mentioned before, Teen Time was a live-to-air show with a live, dancing audience. That day the audience was larger than usual and instead of being set up on our normal centre rostrum, we were over to the side of the studio on floor level. We were backing Wayne Cornell who was one of the guest artists that day. Just as Ron ripped into the sax solo, one unfortunate teenage dancer got his feet tangled in Ron’s ‘Music Shop’ and brought the alto and the flute crashing to the ground!
Ron was doing a solo, so the camera was on him for a close-up. The unfortunate teenager was also in the close-up. Ron stopped playing his solo and grabbed the offending nerd by the throat, yelling “You stupid little bastard!” and proceeded to throttle him while the camera was still on him! I guess this added a little violence to the Sydneysiders’ usual 5pm time slot but it didn’t do anything at all for Dig’s “Mr. Nice Guy” image. Ron Patton was definitely shaping up to be not the full quid!
There were actually quite a few incidents of
dancers getting their feet tangled up on things. When we were set up on the
centre rostrum, some kid would inevitably trip over the power-lead to our
amplifiers, leaving only the sax and drums playing. The floor-manager, not
knowing what had happened, would leap up and down and make frantic cueing signs
as he yelled out “Band, band!” The R’Jays always had to play at least one
instrumental on each show. Half way through Walk Don’t Run, the
enthusiasm of the dancers not only kicked out the plugs for guitar and bass,
they also bumped the drum rostrum and
During our stay on Teen Time the
communication between band and singer sometimes went awry. For instance, one
memorable Teen Time with Jay Justin and Dale Wayne on which the sound
person Weston “more reverb boys?” Baker had decided to give the Drummer some
headphones to improve the aforementioned communication. Unfortunately, Jay
Justin, whilst singing the Bobby Rydell hit Sway sang out of time, as
usual, and of course
The R’Jays and the floor manager had a “plan” for giving singers heart failure on the last number of the show or when going to a commercial break. The floor manager would signal to the band, when we’d gone off air and then we would play all the worst possible notes we could, go out of time and scream. The singer would think we’d gone crazy and ruined his act. The poor bugger thought he was still out there in TV land. Nobody had bothered to cue him!
One guest artist, BRYAN DAVIES, making his
first appearance on television on September 27, 1960, brought along his father
who had gone to the trouble of writing out the music for the song that
“Sure!” said Bryan who, much to Jon’s relief,
played us Elvis Presley’s record of Treat Me Nice. As the record
finished we immediately launched into the song with
As we went to a commercial break,
JON: Teen Time continued throughout 1960 and into 1961 and we met a whole bunch of really interesting people during that time. For the record, here are some of the artists that we backed on the show throughout that period: Warren Williams, The Allen Bros, Steve Shaw, Billy Mosten, Ian Crawford, Lonnie Lee, Lucky Starr, Maori Hi-Five, Dale Wayne, George Karren, The Graduates, Johnny Byrell, Ray Melton, Rob E.G, Little Sammy, Booka Hyland, The DeKroo Bros, Wayne Cornell, Adam, Johnny Devlin, Bryan Davies, Judy Cannon, Buddy Lane, Jody & Dody, Barry Stanton, Noeleen Batley, Rhett Walker, Bruce Gillespie, Tony Brady, The Crescents, Johnny Borg, Candy Williams, Sandy Davis, Diane Jorgenson, Barry Greenwood, Jay Justin, Patti Markham, Les Meade, The Sapphires, The Windjammers, Billy Cannon, Lana Cantrell, The Acoustics, Grade Wicker, The Hall Bros, John Payne, Roland Storm, Neil Sedaka, Laurel Lea and Tuffy McFrigg.
The support singers for our dances were mostly: Sandy Davis, Wayne Cornell, Ian Crawford, Little Sammy, Barry Stanton, George Karren, with occasional appearances from: Joy Landis, Judy Cannon, Noeleen Batley, Bruce Gillespie, Buddy Lane, Trevor Ford, Paul Dever, Eddy Jerome, Rod Stanton, Eddy Neville, etc. Plus comedy relief from some unsung heroes: Alf The Arm, Ted The Leg and Bobby Dazzler.
On bigger shows such as the Trocadero, Rockdale Town Hall and the Stadium etc., we backed other guest artists supporting Dig, including: The Delltones (Noel, Warren, Brian and Pee Wee), The Crescents (Col, Kel and Mike), The Allen Bros (Peter and Chris), Patsy Ann Noble, Caroline Young, Johnny Devlin, Digger Revell, Kevin Todd and Jade Hurley (sans green gloves!).
During this Teen Time era I spent most of my time burning around in my first car – a 1954 FJ Holden ute, grey with a pink flash down the side. I purchased it from a friend of Ryanny’s at Ace Car Sales. It cost £495 and it was my pride and joy. Now all you people better lock up your daughters because the goose is on the loose!
Marathon sexual events were becoming rather commonplace at most of the dances. The Hornsby Pacific Cabaret was one place where the fans showed their appreciation in more ways than one. It was also the place where I learned a very valuable lesson.
THE LONG ARM
While all this depravity was going on there was a law in force that I don’t think any of us had heard of and certainly not I. It was called “Having carnal knowledge with a girl under the age of sixteen years”. Now most of the girls that were throwing themselves at us backstage were around about sixteen I don’t think that they had ever heard of this law either. If they had, it didn’t appear to worry them!
Unfortunately, one of these girls was picked up by the law on suspicion of being “Exposed to Moral Danger”. Another trap for young players! She told the police that she regularly attended the dance at Hornsby and gave them a long list of boyfriends – with my name at the top of the list!
Into the dance and straight backstage strolled two burly detectives. “Do you know (the aforementioned plaintiff)?”
“Sure,” sez I, always helpful to the constabulary with their inquiries, “No worries.”
“Have you ever had sexual intercourse with her?”
“Sure!” I replied. How was I to know that sex was illegal?! I was only seventeen myself. “Are you aware that this girl is fifteen years of age?” they asked. “I’m really not sure how old she is, mate. Why don’t you ask one of the other guys?”
“It’s you we’re talking to son and I’m not your mate!” Well, this was becoming quite obvious. The interrogation continued and the guys had to go on stage without me. As I was being escorted from the dance with a cop on each arm, Dig made the announcement, “Err, Jon has to go home, err, his mother is sick.”
I was taken to the Hornsby Police Station, fingerprinted like a criminal but allowed to sit outside the office rather than be locked up until the dance finished and Dig and the guys came down to bail me out. Bail was set at £30, which was lucky as this was the proceeds of the dance and no one else had any money.
Somebody found me a good lawyer and my court appearance was set for a few days ahead at Redfern Children’s Court. Ryanny came along to post bail and go surety for me. I can assure you sports fans, I was crapping myself. Redfern Children’s Court is a dark, dingy, dank, sombre and very frightening place, the scene of many trials where you could be sentenced to a maximum of fifteen years for Carnal Knowledge.
The judge before whom I was scheduled to appear was known as the “Hanging Judge” for carnal offences… GREAT! Thank heavens it turned out to be only a hearing and the next appearance was set for Central Court. No “Hanging Judge” this time!
Central Court was the next day. Ryanny came along to post bail again and this time brought a friend. It was Barry Greenwood, guitar player and singer for the Thunderbirds, that very large Melbourne group. I was upstairs in my lawyer’s office next door to the court and he didn’t seem to be in a big hurry to make the scheduled ten o’clock appearance. “Don’t worry, he’ll just remand it till a later date anyway,” said my trusty mouthpiece.
Meanwhile, down in the courtrooms, Ryanny and Barry Greenwood were searching for me to post the bail, if required. They wandered into a few courtrooms, finally found the right one and waited through one case. Barry finally got impatient and ambled up to the bench and said, “Hey, Judge! When’s Jonnie Hayton on man?” Just like it was a show or something. The judge was horrified. “Bailiff, throw this man out!” he roared. Barry and Ryanny were escorted from the court forthwith.
When I finally got into court my mouthpiece mumbled some legal jargon to the judge and the case of The People Vs Clever Jon, (Sex Fiend) was remanded again. I found Ryanny and Barry looking bewildered in the hallway.
This little episode was enough to put you off sex forever! Well, it wasn’t quite forever. After exactly three days, I met a nice girl called Irene. After inquiring about her age, we whipped off in my beloved FJ Holden ute to a place called Tunks Park, the one under that castle-like bridge at Northbridge. During a very heavy petting session under the canopy of the ute, it started to pour with rain. The canopy filled up with water and finally collapsed on us during the crucial moment. I had to drive Irene all the way home to Cheltenham and we were both soaked. Soaked but happy. Irene was just what I needed. And she was over sixteen!
Christmas was coming up and I had no idea what horrors the New Year had in store for me but at least I had a legitimate girlfriend to comfort me. Irene and I had an “on again, off again” relationship for the next four or five years.
I FOUND A NEW LOVE
LEON: It was a beautiful barber shop quartet chord that echoed against the brick walls and reverberated down a Kings Cross lane into the stillness of the night of Friday, November 25, 1960. Johnny O’Keefe sang the bass note, Ryanny sang the third, I sang the fifth and Lonnie Lee sang the top note. Suddenly without warning – SPLAAASH! An enormous bucket of water, thrown from a second floor apartment, engulfed the entire quartet who was sitting in the gutter celebrating goodwill to all men. Ten seconds later as we staggered to our feet, another bucket landed right on target!
It was then that I realised the vodka had taken its toll. It was Lonnie Lee’s bucks’ night and JO’K and myself had been chosen as best man and groomsman. It was our duty to see that Lonnie had a good time on his final night as a freewheeling bachelor. The end result would suggest that we failed miserably. The night started innocently enough at the Chevron Hilton in Macleay Street. Johnny O’Keefe had discovered a new drink called a “screwdriver”, a drink which I mistakenly judged to be a harmless mixture of vodka and fresh orange juice.
Meanwhile, I noticed there was a guy in the corner, with a huge mop of curly hair, who had obviously recognised Johnny O’Keefe. JO’K gave a wink and immediately went into one of his routines. He walked straight towards the guy and shook his hand. “Jerry Lee Lewis!” shouted JO’K. “What are you doing here?” The poor guy was dumbfounded. “But I’m not Jerry Lee Lewis!”
“But that’s amazing! You look just like him. Are you sure you’re not his brother?” This routine continued until JO’K eventually had the guy auditioning for 6 O’Clock Rock in the middle of the lounge bar. Our Jerry Lee Lewis look-alike was really getting in to the swing of it as he pretended to play the piano while singing Great Balls Of Fire at the top of his voice, much to the delight of our vodka-swilling table whom JO’K had introduced as the talent co-ordinators for Channel 2.
The next day, Saturday November 26, 1960, a bleary-eyed bunch turned up for rehearsals for 6 O’Clock Rock where Lonnie was to sing his appropriate song for the day I Found A New Love. Maybe it should have been “I Found A New Drink!”
The wedding of Lonnie and Pam was quite the social event of the day. Ryanny and the Leemen formed a guard of honour with their guitars outside the church and, after a short photo session, we all ran off to our respective gigs for the night. Lonnie and JO’K went off to 6 O’Clock Rock and I jumped in my FJ Holden panel van with Lonnie’s beautiful sister (and bridesmaid), Liz and drove down to the Goulburn Lilac Hall for our show with Dig & the R’Jays. (I found a new love myself!).
Our spirits were pretty high that night and our guest artists for the show were compere, Keith Walshe, Sandy Davis, Joy Landis and Bruce Gillespie. Bruce was a lovely Indian guy who had just released a successful record called Velvet Waters, which was covered by Tony Worsley & the Blue Jays a few years later.
Dig really needed a hit record to sustain us through the next year. Our list of 1960 recordings was less than formidable. They included Annie Laurie b/w South Of The Border (December 1959), EP, Ain’t She Sweet? (February 1960), Comin’ Down With Love (April), LP, Bad Boy (May), Little Lover b/w Quarrels (July), My Baby’s Not A Baby Anymore b/w You Gotta Love Me (October), EP, Dig & The R’Jays At The Melbourne Town Hall (October), Dinah and What’cha Gonna Do? (December). Luckily for us, our reputation for good live shows was still intact but a top 10 record would keep the momentum going through the next year.
The New Year rolled in with a big show at festival Hall in Melbourne. This auspicious event began with Sydney acts, Booka Hyland and Barry Stanton, who were backed by the Dee Jays and followed by Lonnie Lee & the Leemen. Dig & the R’Jays were about to go on stage as the Leemen ran off into the dressing room but there seemed to be a big commotion going on out front. The crowd kept cheering and laughing.
“Oh no!” said Ryanny, the Leemen’s bass player, “We forgot to lead Claude off the stage.” The Leemen had never played on a show as big as this and were so excited with the reception they received that they had forgotten about their blind pianist, Claude Papesch, who was still stumbling about on stage trying to find his way off. The guitarist, Peter Bazley, ran back on stage to rescue Claude amidst great roars from the crowd as somebody introduced Dig Richards & the R’Jays.
Johnny O’Keefe & the Dee Jays finished the show off and we all returned to the stage for the finale. The Melbourne crowd went wild and streamers were thrown all over the stage. Roll on 1961. Claude was the star of the show!