As Zig and Zag, Jack Perry and Doug McKenzie, drove a toy car at their first Moomba parade in 1956 and that same year broadcast the first episode of Peters Fun Fair on Channel 7. It was the first children’s show ever broadcast in Australia. Also on Peters Fun Fair was Roy Lyons as Cousin Roy.
For more than 40 years Zig and Zag appeared every year as favourites on the Channel Seven Good Friday Appeal for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Everybody could sing their theme song You and Me and knew their catchphrase ‘no-o-o trouble’.
And publicly there was no-o-o trouble. They were even named joint Moomba Monarchs in 1999. That honour was withdrawn when it was revealed that Jack Perry had been convicted in 1994 of sex offences against his grand-daughter. The case had received no publicity and the comic team kept working with kids.
The scandal not only meant that one of Australia’s most famous clowns was a pedophile but that his partner, McKenzie, knew it and for years continued the charade as a comic duo with his child-molesting partner.
After the scandal was made public and they were stripped of the Moomba honours I’m told Zig and Zag never spoke to each other again.
I’m going back to this not because of Zig and Zag but to wonder how much McKenzie knew of Perry’s child-molesting – as far back as the 1960s.
Because it seems there was more than one pedophile in the cast of Peters Fun Fair. There were other predators who targeted young girls in the live audience for the show.
One of them: Cousin Roy. Roy Lyons.
One of his victims has contacted me to tell her story for the first time. She and her girlfriend were 11 years old when they were invited by her girlfriend’s older cousin to be in the studio audience in 1963 and 1964.
They were later separated and taken into separate rooms where, she says, they were made to undress. She said Roy Lyons touched her, made her touch his penis and then rubbed his penis up against the girls.
She remembers they were then taken to the Hotel Australia for a treat because the hotel had an ice-cream parlour.
More than 45 years later this woman, now 57, wants to tell her story because she wants people to know about these men and about that family show which hid a pedophile ring.
You wonder, over the years, how many people knew, and how many covered it up. These sick clowns hid behind those masks for decades. They were laughing at you. And all those trusting little kids. What a pack of bastards.