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Wickety Wak farewells a `brother’

April 1, 2013

Latest news

Greg Doolan pays tribute to Wak’s Magic Moari

Greg Doolan


Pahnie Jantzen

THE Easter weekend was a time of reflection as tears welled in the eyes of renowned entertainer Greg Doolan, following the death on Thursday of Wickety Wak co-star and long time mate Pahnie Jantzen.

Pahnie Jantzen and the many faces of Wickety Wak

“Just thinking about him chokes me up,” said Greg as he struggled to gain composure.

“Only 10 days before his death, we were singing together on stage at Twin Towns Services Club, and despite being ill for quite a while and in a wheelchair he performed Louis Armstrong’s `What a Wonderful World’ with faultless precision … a true professional to the end.”

Greg said it was an impromptu performance that would be long remembered. “It was so incredibly powerful.”

“We were so glad Pahnie was well enough to join us on stage, an event that was witnessed and enjoyed by the 1000-strong audience who jumped to their feet and gave the much-loved performer an almost four minute standing ovation,” said Greg. “Four of his five sons were also on stage with him in what was a proud moment for them all.”

Greg said everyone in the show including Wak’s Rob Rosenlund and Tony Jeffrey and The Four Kinsmen’s George Harvey and Rob Pearson, and Greg’s wife Laura were fighting back tears while the man himself, Pahnie Jantzen remained the ultimate professional. “As always, he delivered and the audience loved it.”

Greenbank RSL had earlier in the month presented a tribute to Pahnie at which Greg had been unable to attend due to work commitments. “I so wanted to be there for him and felt terrible. But Pahnie knew the demands of show business and understood. So it was fantastic to be able to have him join us on stage one more time at Twin Towns.”

Pahnie and Greg’s friendship has endured the test of time. From the first time Greg heard him play bass guitar at a Brisbane night club in the Valley in 1975 he knew Pahnie was destined to become a part of the legendary showband Wickety Wak.

“I remember it well … Pahnie with one tooth missing, playing one finger bass but possessing this incredible charisma,” said Greg. “When he smiled even the toughest guys in the room were smiling back. I knew straight away he was right for `Wak’. We nicknamed him the `Magic Maori’ because he had the ability to charm the audiences … and the rest is history.”

On Wednesday the `Wak’ stars will reunite once again to attend Pahnie’s traditional Maori funeral service on his Brisbane property – a ceremony at which hundreds of the much-loved performer’s fellow entertainers, friends and family are expected to gather.

“All his mates from Wickety Wak will all be there for our `Magic Maori’,” said Greg, “ along with so many others including Adrian Woods who directed our television specials and radio DJ Wayne Roberts. “

Greg said although the original Wickety Wak is no longer, what he will miss most is the frequent get-togethers. “We could always sit around a barbecue and sing those harmonies we worked so hard on to perfect but now there is a `hole’ in those harmonies where Pahnies voice should be.”

There’s silence … Greg pauses, takes a deep breath … “we will really miss our Magic Maori.”

Go to www.wicketywak.com.au to see Pahnie Jantzen in a performance that will touch your hearts. Rest in peace Pahnie … and thank you for the wonderful memories.

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2 Responses to “Wickety Wak farewells a `brother’”

  1. Ann Says:

    Re:Wickety Wak farewells a “Brother”. Thinking about you both. Ann


  2. elizabeth Hartshorn Says:

    So many memories Greg and the boys. So many many memories.


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