You meet a lot of different characters in TV and radio. Some leave an indelible impression, others not.
Grantley Dee was a radio personality I’ll never forget. A couple of years older than me he came to prominence as a 16 year old DJ on Melbourne’s 3AK.
For one so young to get a break on cap city radio was amazing. What made it more remarkable was the fact Grantley was blind.
His commercials had to be typed in braille and he needed a special clock to tell the time – but other than that – Deedles (as he was affectionately known) was one of the rockiest jocks on the airwaves.
Grantley Dee also had a burgeoning singing career – his most successful song Let The Little Girl Dance in 1966.
As 3AK started to move in a new direction Grantley was left looking for a job and took a DJ position at 7EX in Launceston, and that is where our paths crossed,
I was a fresh-faced stumbling announcer on rival 7LA, a middle of the road station.
Although this was regional radio 7EX was a very professional unit and rarely employed novices like myself. They usually went for broadcasters with plenty of experience. (Sam Anglesey went to 7EX after a very successful career with 3UZ)
One day when looking through the local “Examiner” newspaper I saw an ad “Wanted old 45’s in mint condition. Will pay good money.”
As I had a pretty fair collection of singles (mostly “acquired” in my time at 3AW) I thought here’s an opportunity to make some beer money.
Little did I know that the person who’d place the ad was Grantley Dee.
I rang him and we arranged for me to go around to his place after he came off air a 6pm.
I must admit I was a little in awe of the meeting Grantley but he made me feel welcome as he met me at the front door with my box of 45’s. A common interest in pop music gave us plenty to talk about.
Grantley systematically went through my records putting them on his turntable and having a listen. Those he wanted he placed on one pile those he didn’t he put on another.
The process took some time and the early evening twilight rapidly ran out.
Before long we were sitting in total darkness .It didn’t bother Grantley of course and I was too embarrassed to say anything.
After about an hour the front door opened and it was Grantley’s wife who turned on the light and was quite amused that we’d been sitting in the dark.
I mumbled something about not noticing how dark it was, collected my money and records Grantley didn’t want and still red-faced, bid my goodbye.
I never saw Grantley after that and have never told the story until this very day.