John Hamblin dies at 87: The Play School host’s wild unaired moments resurface


He was known for his impeccable comic timing as a television host.

And following his death this week at age 87, archive footage has resurfaced of John Hamblin’s loosest moments from his time as host of ABC’s Play School.

The funny samples, which never made it out for obvious reasons, were released for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2016.

Following his death this week aged 87, archive footage of John Hamblin's loosest moments from his time as host of ABC's Play School has emerged

Following his death this week aged 87, archive footage of John Hamblin’s loosest moments from his time as host of ABC’s Play School has emerged

“The mistakes were part of the magic formula, but there were some blunders that needed to be ironed out,” said a narrator when the clips first aired six years ago.

Hamblin wasn’t shy about innuendo, and in one clip he was shown lying on the floor as a producer interrupted the scene to give him a pillow.

The producer said, “We’re going to put a pillow on the floor for you,” to which Hamblin cheekily replied, “Who wants to be first?”

Hamblin also once tested a poorly constructed slide made of cardboard and tubes. Despite the co-hosts urging him to stop, he lunged at him, causing him to collapse.

The hilarious clips, which never made it out for obvious reasons, were released for the show's 50th anniversary in 2016.

The hilarious clips, which never made it out for obvious reasons, were released for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2016.

Children’s rhyming songs were also another part of the show, which led to some fun riffs, with speaking in tongues leading to the occasional profanity.

Hamblin died at the age of 87 on Wednesday.

The ABC paid tribute to his “comedic timing and wit”, saying he “helped establish Play School as one of Australia’s most treasured children’s programmes”.

Hamblin also once tested a poorly constructed slide made of cardboard and tubes.  Despite his co-hosts urging him to stop, he lunged at him, causing him to collapse

Hamblin also once tested a poorly constructed slide made of cardboard and tubes. Despite his co-hosts urging him to stop, he lunged at him, causing him to collapse

Hamblin joined the iconic children’s show in the 1970s and soon became a fan favorite. He appeared in more than 350 episodes of the program over a 30-year period.

He was affectionately known as “Naughty John” during his run due to his cheeky sense of humor and irreverent nature.

After retiring in 1999, Hamblin returned as a special guest for Play School’s 50th anniversary special in 2016.

Hamblin died at the age of 87 on Wednesday

Hamblin died at the age of 87 on Wednesday

Jennifer Collins, ABC’s director of entertainment and specialist, said in a statement: “John was an unforgettable presenter whose comedic timing and wit helped cement Play School as one of Australia’s most treasured children’s programmes.

“John had a wicked sense of humor and was not afraid of ambiguity. His presence always managed to keep both our target audience of young children and their parents equally engaged with the show.

“I would like to extend my condolences to John’s family at this sad time.”

The ABC paid tribute to his “comedic timing and wit”, saying he “helped establish Play School as one of Australia’s most treasured children’s programmes”. (Pictured with Benita Collings, left)

Hamblin joined the iconic children's show in the 1970s and soon became a fan favorite.  He appeared in more than 350 episodes of the program over a 30-year period

Hamblin joined the iconic children’s show in the 1970s and soon became a fan favorite. He appeared in more than 350 episodes of the program over a 30-year period

In addition to his role in Play School, Hamblin was also an accomplished actor.

He had roles in Number 96, Class of ’74, The Young Doctors and Case for the Defense in the 1970s, and in his later career appeared in Sons and Daughters, All Saints and Love My Way.

He memorably played Michael Chamberlain in the 1984 TV movie The Disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain.

He was affectionately known as “Naughty John” during his run due to his cheeky sense of humor and irreverent nature

News of Hamblin’s death led to an outpouring of tributes on social media.

“One of the best presenters on Play School,” one fan wrote on Facebook.

‘Vail John Hamblin. We have loved you for many generations in our family. Thanks for all your catchy good humor,” another tweeted.

“An iconic part of my childhood and so much more.” Thank you John Hamblin. It’s going well,” added a third.

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News of Hamblin's death led to an outpouring of tributes on social media

News of Hamblin’s death led to an outpouring of tributes on social media

“Thank you, John Hamblin, for your wonderful wit, love and joy in teaching young children and all the dual purposes of entertaining adults at the same time,” commented one viewer.

“It breaks my heart a little bit. John Hamblin loomed large in my childhood,” said another.

John is survived by his children Emma and Miles.

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“One of the best presenters on Play School,” one fan wrote on Facebook



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