Swayze had been battling cancer for many months a finally succumbed at the age of 57. While a solid actor who appeared in a number of successful movies such as Ghost and Dirty Dancing Swayze will not go down as one of the greats.
But I’m not here to denigrate the acting merits of Patrick Swayze, more to bemoan the lack of respect and appreciation paid to an Australian icon, Mike Leyland who’s death was announced yesterday.
While a picture of Swayze features of the front page of The Daily Telegraph there was no montage for Mike, just a passing reference to being one half of the Leyland Brothers.
Mike and Mal Leyland should be held in the highest regards in Australia, not just because of their pioneering documentaries, their love of travel, their promotion of Australia but because they were Dags.
Everything about the Leyland’s was daggy, even back in 1976 when Ask the Leyland Brothers commenced on the 9 Network they were daggy, those short shorts and tight t-shirts, fluffy hair, brightly coloured comby van and that theme song…Travel all over the country side, ask the Leyland, ask the Leyland, ask the Leyland Brothers.
The Leyland’s did not have the polish of today’s travel shows, they filmed everything on super 8. They didn’t travel the world to exotic places like Milan and Madrid it was strictly domestic. They went to likes Myrtleford and Mudgee.
Today’s travel shows take you to places their sponsors allow, there are contra deals and fluffy pieces on majestic sunny beaches. The Leylands never took themselves too seriously, and seemed to truly enjoy what they did. Mike and Mal were not merely presenters, they did everything, filming, writing and presenting, they even took along their families along for the ride.
The Leyland’s didn’t see the move in Australian culture away from the Dag and made the ill-fated decision in 1990 to open Leyland Brothers World, complete with a gigantic replica Uluru. While attendances were good it wasn’t enough to pay the bank loans and the park was taken over by receivers and sold in 1990.
Life style and travel shows are still very much in vogue and they owe a lot to the Leyland Brothers. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a place in the polished media world today for the likes of Mike and Mal Leyland. There is far too much weight given to image and sex appeal rather than content in today’s travel shows. Why else would Jenifer Hawkins be on The Great Outdoors? .
Since the 90’s Australians have started to lose their inner dag, scared of the ridicule that may be given if they go to the beach in a pair of budgie smugglers, Australia was a beter place when we were all a little more daggy, and it’s sad that a great dag was not given a more prominent send of in the polished and self absorbed media world.
The faux salutes the pioneering spirit, adventure and excellence of Mike Leyland a true Dag.