Channel 7 followed up its two-part drama Molly (reviewed here) with a short, oddly premature obituary-feel documentary about Ian “Molly” Meldrum the following week.
Molly’s brother Brian tells us that Molly loved music from day one. He moved in with Ronnie Burns’ family when his just wouldn’t do, he was a journalist at GO SET magazine, then on the television music shows The go Show, Kommotion (1966). Uptight (1968) and Happening 1971. Again, like Vivienne Westwood, Ian Meldrum was a young person with nothing but passion and a lot of nerve who blazed a trail through a wood that no-one knew was there.
Molly was on our tv screens years before Countdown, something which TVC had forgotten or been too young to notice. Famous peeps who obviously barely knew him – (Hugh Jackman, Dolly Parton) tell funny little stories, pretending to a greater acquaintance than they really had. Those who knew him well -( Ronnie Burns, Johnny Young, Michael Gudinski, Lindsday Fox) – reminisce with a sort of wistful resignation. Delta Goodrem makes sure it’s all about her. Shane Warne makes sure it’s all about him. Interestingly, there is not a word from Elton.
Everyone likes Molly. Everyone’s “in the know” about stories which cannot be told (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
We see Molly and his adopted son, Molly falling over on the footy field, Molly in the dressing rooms after the 1966 St Kilda grand final, Molly pitching Countdown,Molly trying to meet the Beatles by “assisting” the police with crowd control (he got thrown out of the concert when it got to be too much for him and he fainted years later when he met John Lennon),
We are reminded that the bumbling, excitable, stammering man we think we know blitzed the field in the celebrity charity episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. (Dame Edna made sure the cameras were on her after Molly’s modest acceptance of his win by announcing that she would donate the same amount to charity. It’s not all about you, either, Barry Humphries). But that’s the thing about Molly. He’s a kind of catalyst or litmus paper. He shows us in our true colours and changes us on his way through, although he is always Molly. Whoever that is.