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Pixie Hale – Dancer, Singer and Actress

Posted by ken On July - 5 - 2011

The dance studios of the late 1950’s through the 1960’s and beyond have been a wonderful resource for TVW-7, providing dancers and choreographers for Children’s Channel 7, Stars of the Future, Invitation to the Dance, The Nutcracker, The Good Oil, In Perth Tonight, Teen Beat, Club 7 Teen, the Christmas Pageant, and lots more. ABW-2 and STW-9 also benefitted in this way with their variety shows.

Prominent dance teachers of the day were Shirley Halliday, Sharyn Woodhouse and Norma Atkinson. The Ballroom dance fraternity also played a role with the Gilkison and the Wrightson dance studios, who amongst others performed in the 1963 Brian Williams directed dance extravaganza “Invitation to the Dance”.

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Pixie Hale with Marilyn Trembath

One lady who gained her early dance training with Norma Atkinson and often performed with Marilyn Trembath is Pixie Hale, who went on to be a singer and actress, performing at His Majestys, the Playhouse, the Hole in the Wall, many Night Club appearances, TVW Channel 7, ABW Channel 2, STW Channel 9, and in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and New Zealand.

Pixie Hale – Dancer, Singer and Actress

WA TV History
Pixie Hale is a dancer, singer and actress, who performed at His Majesty’s, the Playhouse, the Hole in the Wall, many Night Clubs, TVW Channel 7, ABW Channel 2, STW Channel 9, and in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and New Zealand.

At age nine, Pixie’s stage career began, playing the daughter of Frank Baden-Powell in “The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker” a play about a man who lives a dual life with two company offices, two wives and two families with a combined total of 17 children, in different cities, who know nothing about the other’s existence.

At age 14 she was not only ballet dancing but appearing in Australasian Post as a pretty pinup girl.

At age 15 Pixie was Perth’s youngest professional actress playing Principal Girl in the pantomime, “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

As a 16 year old, Pixie joined the Theatre Guild working for the Education Department, touring the high schools performing Shakespeare in “The Merchant of Venice”, which was one of the plays selected that year for the junior certificate examination.

That same year, Pixie appeared in Colleen Clifford’s production of “South Pacific” at His Majesty’s. In this musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Pixie performed the role of Liat, the beautiful daughter of matchmaking Bloody Mary.

South Pacific.jpg

In between these performances, Pixie was also making cabaret appearances, dancing with Brian Smith (who went on to be TVW’s choreographer at the height of the Perth Entertainment Centre era). When not performing, Pixie worked with an advertising firm and appeared in many advertisements and modelled in magazines.

When Pixie was 18 she went to Melbourne and joined the Black and White Minstrel Show which toured Australia and New Zealand for 18 months.

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Pixie Hale in the Black and White Minstrel Show

In 1959, Pixie starred in Colleen Clifford’s production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Oklahoma” at His Majesty’s, a musical about a couple of wholesome young people playing courting games, with sinister undertones provided by a brooding hired hand.

In 1966, Pixie joined Peter Harries, Veronica Overton, the prominent musician Peter Piccini, Ron Blaskett and his mischievous ventriloquist doll Gerry Gee and station newsreader Alan Graham (who played an amiable buffoon named Useless Eustace) on the Channel Niners Club, the popular STW-9 children’s program.

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Alan Graham, Peter Piccini, Pixie Hale, Gerry Gee & Ron Blaskett, Veronica Overton, Jeff Newman, Peter Harries and Lloyd Lawson

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Mad Hatter (Alan Graham), Dormouse (Peter Piccini), March Hare (Peter Harries) and Alice (Pixie Hale)

There were also pantomimes and children’s plays such as Edgar Metcalfe’s “Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Circus” in 1967 at the Playhouse, with Pixie in the role of Goldilocks.

At age 22, Pixie took the lead in the Colleen Clifford production of Irma La Douce, the naughty romantic comedy about a French policeman who falls madly in love with a beautiful young prostitute. Miss Clifford selected Pixie for the role because she had the perfect blend of little-girl innocence and good old-fashioned sex-appeal.

Pixie also performed at the Hole in the Wall and the Old Time Music Hole.

Pixie, who is now Pixi Burke, was married to Andrew Burke, who at the time they met and since, has been writing and publishing poetry, short stories, literary journalism and book reviews. Andrew was working in advertising and at the Hole in the Wall Club, which was attached to the theatre of the same name in Newcastle Street Perth, at the time they married. They have three children, Miles, Charlie and Alice. Sadly, Pixi and Andrew have since parted.

On Thursday 16th June, 2011, veteran Perth television director Gordon McColl, was in transit to visit Pixi to conduct an oral history recording session, but on stopping off at an East Victoria Park shopping centre for supplies, all manner of excitement erupted. At first he was blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding until a helicopter began hovering over the district and police descended on-masse to cordon off an area and question shoppers.

Nandos shooting interrupts oral history recording session

WA TV History
Veteran Perth television director Gordon McColl explains all.

On finally catching up with Pixi, Gordon was quizzed about the police activity earlier that day.

Later in the day, a 23-year-old man was charged with one count of attempting to strike a person with a projectile and one count of possession of a firearm, following a brawl and a shot being fired at a Portuguese themed chicken restaurant in East Victoria Park, Western Australia.

6 Responses to “Pixie Hale – Dancer, Singer and Actress”

  1. Jenny says:

    Ken and Pixi and Gordon, This is absolutely splendid! A start to a movie about Pixi, that will win an Academy Award for sure. Who to play Pixi? I am thinking Cameron Diaz as there is nobody in Hollywood who is nearly as beautiful as our Pixi or actually looks anything like her, so Cameron is the next best thing. Who will play Ken, Gordon and Me?

  2. Murray Jennings says:

    Too much Nando’s, not enough Pixie, Ken.
    Oh, and Channel 7 ought to know that East Vic Pk isn’t a southern suburb, it’s eastern.
    Bloody north-of-the-river people! What DO they know?
    Ask Gordon if he remembers Simon Robbins and if so, does he have any news of him since I last saw him in 1965?

  3. ken says:

    Dear Jenny, A cross between Paulette Goddard, Vivien Leigh and Liz Taylor would best suit the role of Pixi, whilst a cross between W.C. Fields and Paul Newman for Gordy. Dolly Parton in her best concert attire would be perfect for you and Fatty Arbuckle for me. When do we start shooting, and after how many cold refreshments?

  4. ken says:

    Hi Murray, Gordon has lost contact with Simon, but still muses over his antics of using discredited Scientology techniques to play with people’s minds. Though I don’t think he ever cracked Mike Brand, who was excellent at masking his annoyance. Mike was a former wrestler and built like a well tuned battleship with incredible strength. He was a friend of Alf Wood, when he was moonlighting as a wrestler named the Doctor, on World Championship Wrestling in the 1960’s. He wore a mask to hide the fact from the ABC. Recall Mike going on to run Mulligans of Milligan Street and King Henry the Eighth’s steak house, before going east to act in variety of national TV drama shows. The reason there was less Pixi in the video was due to the fact that three bottles had been polished off and the oral history aspect was becoming less of a priority. It was a great afternoon.

  5. Peter hale says:

    My sister gave me an early introduction to television and I enjoyed using the channel9 pool, Peter Hale

  6. Kaye Kemp says:

    Hi Pixie,
    My name is Kaye Kemp, although you new me as Kaye Smith. We were friends in the 50’s going to school, speech classes and dancing at Norma Atkinson dancing classes. The last time I saw you was on a bus when we were about 18 years of age.
    I saw you on television a couple of months ago when you were defending Ralf Harris and thought I would look you up on google.
    Best wishes,

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