Paul Holmes presents this episode of the show which honours and embarrasses famous people: this time the star is singer Rob Guest. The episode was made in 1998, at the height of Guest's career in Australasian musical theatre. It features excerpts from his starring roles Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, and appearances by musical colleagues, friends and family. Guest is good-humoured throughout. He gives a gracious speech and performs an impromptu song after the closing credits. Rob Guest passed away after suffering a stroke in October 2008.
Frankie Stevens impersonates himself as a judge on the televised musical talent show Aroha Bridge Factor in this sixth episode of Jessica Hansell’s animated web series. Kowhai and Monty (Hansell and Rizvan Tu’itahi) audition with a track from Kowhai’s musical meisterwerk The Phantom of the Hiphopera. But in front of the judges, the twins’ effort to “street up” their story comes back to bite them. The twins’ costumes by Wellington animators Skyranch and Scotty Cotter’s goofy cousin Ira are highlights of the episode.
This 1999 documentary see presenter Gary McCormick exploring the lives of New Zealand expats living in London. London Kiwis – including MTV Europe head Brent Hansen, Angel at My Table actor Kerry Fox, chef Peter Gordon, house-boaters Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan, and drunk backpackers at The Church – reflect on their overseas experience and the meaning of home. Produced alongside a companion documentary on Kiwis in Ireland, London Connection was a further collaboration between McCormick, director Bruce Morrison and producer William Grieve (Heartland).
Described by writer John Dix as "New Zealand's first television pop idol", Mr Lee Grant won hysterical fans while making regular appearances on 60s music show C'Mon, after winning a radio talent quest. Loxene Golden Disc winner 'Thanks to You' was one of three Grant singles to top the local charts. Born as Bogdan Kominowski to Polish parents in a WWII concentration camp, he reverted to his birth name after relocating to the United Kingdom. His acting career includes a minor part in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill, and the starring role on an Australasian tour of Phantom of the Opera.
This song and dance special screened in 1985, at the tail end of Rob Guest’s Vegas showman days. Guest was yet to take on his beloved role as the Phantom of the Opera, but his versatility and musical talent is clear. It’s a little cheesy (what entertainment show made at Avalon Studios in the 1980s wasn’t?), but Guest shines as the classy all-round entertainer he was. Singers Yolande Gibson and Jan Lampen join in for a medley of James Bond tunes. Also featured: The New Zealand Māori Chorale, and a leggy version of Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' with The Lynette Perry Dancers.
This NFU short features the first 'official' colour footage of the Waitomo Caves. Perhaps wary of playing its ace card too early, Waitomo finds time to showcase local beaches and hotel ping-pong tables before moving underground. A wave of Phantom of the Opera-style organ music accompanies the tour party as they enter Waitomo’s limestone grottos, then float down an eerie underground river. Meanwhile the narrator reimagines earlier cave explorations — by English surveyor Fred Mace and local chief Tane Tinorau — into a tale of one lone white man and his candle.
From his early days on the stage, Percy Hayes was known for singing and impressions; but it was as actor Rupert Julian that he made his name in Australia, then in the pictures in America. After earning a million dollars as director, producer, writer and star of The Kaiser, his directing career peaked with The Phantom Of The Opera in 1925, starring Lon Chaney. He stayed on in a mansion in LA's Hollywood Hills, until his death in 1943.Image: courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archive
Auckland-raised Meredith Braun began appearing on stage and screen at age five. She went on to act in TV's The Champion and tele-movie The Haunting of Barney Palmer, then at 17 got the first of many acting roles on London's West End. After Les Miserables and Sunset Boulevard, she starred as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Her UK CV also includes occasional screen roles, plus 2012 album Someone Else's Story.
English-born Rob Guest, OBE, started out as a pop singer. In the 1970s he sang on New Zealand shows like Happen Inn and Popco, before starring in a number of one-off TV specials, including 1985's Rob and Guests. After spending the first half of the 1980s performing in the United States, Guest relocated to Australia, to make his name in musical theatre. Following an award-winning role in Les Misérables, he began a record-breaking seven year run as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. He also hosted the Aussie version of game show Man O Man. Rob Guest died early in October 2008, after suffering a stroke.