ABC1’s "Johnny O’Keefe’: The Wild One," on 6 November at 9:30 p.m.


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Did you folks see: ABC1’s "Johnny O’Keefe’: The Wild One," on 6 November at 9:30 p.m.? I wrote the following prose-poem due to its nostalgia, my reminiscing and some features of O'Keefe's life that reminded me of mine.-Ron Price, Australia.:cool:


In October 1959, the very month I joined the Baha’i Faith in Canada, Johnny O’Keefe went to the USA hoping to break into the rock-‘n-roll industry where it had begun there some five years before, circa 1954. O’Keefe was not successful in that world of bigger and deeper rock sound, the American rock market. But he certainly was a hit in Australia where he was later dubbed the King of rock-‘n-roll. He was the biggest rock and roll artist in Australia’s and rock’s first wave. If you watched ABC1’s "Johnny O’Keefe’: The Wild One," on 6 November at 9:30 p.m. you would have seen this story, a story which ended on 6 October 1978 with O’Keefe’s death at the age of 43.

I had moved to Australia by then and was working in Ballarat and teaching the social sciences at what later became the university of Ballarat. I, too, had had my "nervous breakdowns," as this program called O’Keefe’s bipolar disorder. I, too, had bipolar disorder but, by 1978, I had begun to be stabilized on a series of medications that O’Keefe sadly seemed to have missed out on. O’Keefe could have kept going 24/7, as they say these days, if his psychiatrist and he could have worked out "a medication package," if he had got some good talk therapy and if those mysterious dispensations of circumstance and possibly Providence could have been different. "Such is life," as the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly is reported to have said in 1880 on his way to the gallows.-Ron Price, From My Memoirs, 7 November 2008.

As you said, Johnny, nothing before
five years ago ever, ever, happened.
It was as if a new age entered in the
fifties with Mr. Clean, Doris Day, Ike
the General, luxury without stress and
Negroes as well as all those genitalia...

Hollywood became like Egypt, full of
crumbling pyramids, or so David, the
big man, Selznick said back then as,
he went on, they would continue to
crumble with the wind blowing, as
Dylan later said it would, across the
last studio prop and across the sands
of western civilization in what Gibbon
said was the greatest and most awful
scene in the history of mankind, with
immensity and wonder—not his day
though, not his day, Johnny, but our
own time, our great climacteric of
history—the end time, the last stage
of history, little did you know, Johnny....
gudonyer, Johnny, gudonyer....!!!!

Ron Price
7 November2008