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A Dear Friend Not Forgotten

If there ever was a person completely devoted to the film, television, radio and theatre industry, that person would have to be Denzil Edward Howson.

I read somewhere and I quote “a person’s death is like a library burnt”, and that is what Denzil was — a library full of knowledge about the industry that he loved so much, the entertainment industry. Apart from that he was an excellent writer, with a flair of being precise whatever the subject, from a comedy sketch to an instructional film about the use of a weapon in the Army.

I first met Denzil in 1957 when I joined GTV Channel 9 in Melbourne as a staff photographer, and many times I was asked to supply photographs for some of the projects that he was producing. Somehow we struck up a friendship that was to last for 48 years.

Our real friendship started when he left GTV9 to take up the position of Program Manager in a country television station in Albury. At that time I had just been transferred to a subsidiary animated film company by the name of John Wilson Productions.

For a period Denzil and I seemed to have lost contact except for the occasional Christmas Card. Then one day the phone rang and a voice said “How would you like a job in the country?”. Sure enough it was Denzil. I told him to let me mull it over and that was that.

At this time John Wilson Productions was changing its name every second month, ending finally with the name of Fanfare Films. However, with its demise appearing imminent, I thought I had better get out while the going was good. So I decided to contact Denzil and ask him if his job offer was still open. Denzil’s response was “when can you start?”

When I arrived at AMV Channel 4, Albury, I couldn’t help notice the Howson influence — the station was already producing a daily children’s show called “The Cohn’s Cobbers Club” with Denzil making a comic appearance as Mr Sludge, a character inspired by the studio’s gardener. On top of that he was producing a local Talent Show, all of this on top of his main duties as Program Manager. Added to all of this he was also a member of the local theatre group.

When in Albury I met Denzil’s wonderful wife Dorothy and I became a frequent visitor to their home where he had a theatrette and film and recording equipment.

Denzil and I had a very good working relationship and we produced film commercials and documentaries for the station until he accepted the challenge of a position with STW9 Perth, and that was when we parted company for a couple of years.

Later, when I was producing training films for a Target System Company in Albury, Denzil scripted all the training films for me. His technical knowledge proved invaluable. This assistance continued when I was subsequently managing an Audio-Video Studio for the Army near Wodonga.

What can I not say about Denzil, a dear friend for so many years, except that I miss him terribly, even the political arguments that we used to have that drove poor Dorothy out of her mind.

Like many of your friends, and you had many, I wish you goodbye for you are gone … but not forgotten.

Vic Anastasi
Albury, November 2005

Vic Anastasi worked with Denzil at AMV Channel 4 and later as a professional film maker in Albury.
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