Flashback to Variety Today Issue 1 – December 1990
After 20 months and 661 shows, multi award-winning entertainers The Four Kinsmen have taken their final bow as stars of Conrad Jupiter Casino’s multi million dollar production, Hollywood Legends.
In what was certainly one of the most lucrative contracts of their career, The Four Kinsmen sang, danced and clowned their way through 661 shows of the two-hour production, filling roles as the Marx Bros, Spike Jones and the City slickers, the `invisible dog’ trainers and their own 30 minute cabaret performance for a record-breaking 20 month season, the longest run for any show ever staged at the prestigious Gold Coast venue.
Speaking from South Australia, where they are currently playing to packed houses (booked out six months prior to their arrival and with 1000 people still on a waiting list to see the show), the four Kinsmen said their time spent on the Queensland Gold Coast in Hollywood Legends would always be regarded as a true milestone in the group’s history.
“It not only gave us a rare opportunity to settle down for almost two years but also to entertain international audiences at a truly superb venue,” group spokesman Scott Radburn said.
Group members who include George Harvey, Robert Pearson, Graham Wilson and Scott Radburn, did just that in a show that was designed around their talents.
Producer Jim McDonald was well aware of the group’s extensive talents.
“Jim picked out the skits that best suited his format and then structured the rest of the show around us,” Scott said.
The idea of starring in a major production show at one venue for almost two years, after spending the majority of their career touring Australia and overseas, was at first a little daunting.
“It was something we hadn’t really thought about before, but it was an opportunity to broaden our skills and we jumped at it.”
And, despite a demanding workload of eight shows a week, The Four Kinsmen never missed a performance.
“We came close a couple of times,” Scott recalled.
Scott, as the unofficial clown of the group, undertakes physically demanding activities such as backflips, standing on his head and sliding off the stage into the audience.
“During the past two years I’ve broken my hand and my toe at different times but still managed to go on and do the show.”
Regular television appearances for which the group is in great demand, were also responsible for occasionally cutting fine their arrival on stage at Hollywood Legends.
“After our last appearance on Hey Hey It’s Saturday in Melbourne recently we came close to missing the plane, but after somewhat of a record breaking dash to the airport, we made both the plane and the performance,” Scott said.
When the curtain came down on their final performance in Hollywood Legends on November 25, applause exploded from all areas of the packed auditorium, with perhaps the loudest emanating from the stage itself.
There were a few tears as fellow performers, who still had three weeks to run in the show, farewelled four of the country’s leading `live’ performers.
“One thing about working in a show like that for so long, is that it’s like living with 60 other people – you become really close, part of a big family. We’re already missing that,” Scott said.
“Within 48 hours we were in South Australia doing our own cabaret show once again. We were on our own again and it took some getting used to,” Scott said.
Careerwise, the extended season at Jupiters Casino has opened up new doors for the talented foursome, who plan to pursue opportunities in Las Vegas in the near future.
“With an estimated 25 percent of all audiences at Conrad Jupiters Casino being Asian, The Four Kinsmen proved their act could transcend all language barriers and be appreciated and enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
“I was able to spend more time with my fiance, Cheryl, and even bought a pet budgie, Pino – and if that isn’t settling down, I don’t know what is,” Scott said.
Graham Wilson took to the books to learn a few words in Japanese and Robert, along with other members of the group, devoted hours each day to workouts in the local gym.
Recently, they completed their first album in several years entitled simply `The Four Kinsmen’.
Featuring the group’s unique harmonies in a fabulous selection of contemporary songs, the latest recording has already sold hundreds during performances in South Australia.
Asked what is ahead for The Four Kinsmen, Scott replied: “1991 is an open book.”
“There are a couple of places in Australia we could call home and the Gold Coast is one of them, so we are pleased to say we will be returning this month for a two week season (Christmas-New Year) at Twin towns Services Club, Tweed Heads.
“Then we are back on the road again for a National tour, and to see and perform for people we haven’t seen in two years, since settling into the show at Jupiters,” Scott said.
He added that `live’ variety performances were coming back in a big way in Australia, just as they were in England and the USA.
“The future is bright for variety because people want to see more live performances – both in cabaret and theatre,” he said.
Scott added that because of the increased demand and interest, there was also room on television for a variety show such as the old favourite Bandstand, which introduced and established many of today’s great Australian entertainers including Col Joye, Johnny O’Keefe, Little Patti, Judy Stone, Sandy Scott, The Bee Gees, etc.
“You have to be professional and to survive you have to keep updating your material and be original. People want to see something new and different all the time or otherwise entertainment becomes ho hum.”
The Four Kinsmen work under this formula – always writing new material and updating routines and harmonies.
It has proved successful for them and no doubt will contribute to the group attaining even greater successes in the future.
Editors Note: True to their word The Four Kinsmen headlined at the Hacienda in Las Vegas six years later in 1996, being the first Australian group to have a resident act on the Las Vegas Strip. Followed in May, 2009, by Human Nature at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino.