A Multi-Talented Person

My memories of Denzil date back to the early 1940s when we were both employees of Radio 3YB Warnambool.

Denzil had come from Melbourne to take up the positions of Studio Manager, Senior Announcer and Assistant Radio Engineer at 3YB. It was war-time and all staff had multiple tasks. My roles were Office Manager, Lady Announcer and Copy Writer. Our working hours were demanding as we were always available for outside broadcasts and evening studio duties.

Denzil was a multi-talented person and became a wonderful asset to 3YB’s staff with his resonant voice, acting ability, engineering training and play-writing skills. He wrote many plays which we enacted on radio and in 1947 he wrote and produced a short film “Footsteps in the Sand”. Filmed in Warrnambool, it was screened at Warrnambool Town Hall for the City’s Centennary. The sound was produced on record and there was great difficulty in synchronising sound and film. Eventually Den decided to do a recorded commentary of the story and Mary Bourke and I spoke our lines at the first showing from the sound booth at the theatre!

Many radio plays had hilarious moments with sound effects (such as a bag of glass) being dropped at the wrong cue, instead of a later cue for a car accident. We all “packed up” with laughter but the ever-professional Den faded in the music and the show went on. This was in a serial play “The Silver Fish” which Den had written.

Den and I were members of The Arcadians Theatre Group which produced plays at the Warrnambool Town Hall, and he was a polished actor in those performances.

“Warrnambool On Parade” was a popular weekly night-time live-to-air musical, drama and comedy program compered by Denzil. It was very successful, due to his many talents.

It was no surprise to those who knew him in Warrnambool that he would go back to Melbourne and achieve greater fame in television and stage productions.

During Den’s time in Warrnambool, Leo and I became good friends with him and this friendship extended to Dot and family and our family over many years.

The older members of our family have happy memories of holidays with Den, Dot, Paul and Clare and fondly remember Den’s wonderful studio in East Malvern and visiting the set at GTV9 during rehearsals of the famous Christmas Pantomimes Den had written and produced.

Leo and I delighted in watching Denzil’s many appearances on TV in a great variety of roles, and were present at the Atheneum when he featured in “Amadeus” and at the State Theatre to see him in “Me And My Girl”.

We feel privileged to have known Denzil and will always remember his clever sense of humour, dignified manner and great talents which endeared him to radio, television and stage audiences for many years.

We consider his greatest achievement was to find his soul-mate, Dot, who supported him so generously in all his successes. It was a wonderful partnership.

May he now rest in peace.

“Terry” Howard
Warrnambool, December 2005

Terry Howard worked with Denzil in radio in Warrnambool in the 1940s.