The life of the party – well almost
John Stevens was one of the most succesful TV programmers this country has produced. First steering the Nine Network to national dominance for many years then joining the Seven Network and heading its program department until his retirement.
I first met John when he was the program manager at TNT 9 Launceston during my adventure in Tasmanian television. A few years later when I was working for SAS 10 in Adelaide John took on the role of program manager on his rise to the top.
John and I had our differences in the Tassy days and it was at his Christmas party one year that “Bear’ as he was affectionately known found out who his friends really were.
Well into the night with the drink flowing freely John decided to do a party trick. His wife Bunny had bought him snorkelling gear to go diving.
John thought it might be funny to put it all on including wet suit and walk back into the crowd. Of course everyone would fall about laughing.
Unfortunately for John I had to visit the toilet when I saw him in the laundry putting on the outfit.
I dashed back into the party and went round to all 50 or 60 revellers and worded them up. “Bear’s coming out dressed up in his snorkelling gear, Let’s pretend nothing’s different.”
Minutes later out he came in all his aquatic splendour. He walked up to the first group and just stood there….No reaction. Up to the next…nothing. The next, “Hi John, do you want some dip?” Absolutely no response from anyone.
There was this pathetic figure all six feet four of him standing in snorkel, goggles, wet suit and flippers. And nobody so much as blinked.
He stormed out of the room (flip, flap,flip flap) slamming the door, at which time we all collapsed in raucous laughter, we laughed til our sides ached. We were still laughing when he walked back into the room fully dressed….and we kept on laughing as he told us all to leave.
It seems he was upset because no one would tell him what the joke was.