He was one of the biggest stars of Australian TV, as the face of long-running variety show Hey Hey It’s Saturday which entertained families for more than 27 years from 1971 to 1999.
However there is a long-standing rumour that host Daryl Somers made a bizarre demand of his co-stars, including Red Symons and John Blackman, when he was on set.
Now Symons has put the rumour mill to rest, admitting the myth that Somers wore slippers with bells on was in fact true, as he sat down for an interview with Studio 10‘s Craig Bennett.
“There was this crazy rumour, Red,” Bennett said. “Maybe you can put it to bed… or take the covers off it?
“Daryl would wear slippers with bells on them so people would skedaddle when they knew he was coming?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Symons replied, laughing. “I’m not sure what his intention was, but it was useful to know he was coming!”
Bennett’s interview with Symons was recorded just two weeks before the tragic death of his son Samuel, who passed away last week at the age of 27 following a lifelong battle with cancer.
Discussing his son’s initial diagnosis as a young child, Symons told Bennett: “He had an 18 per cent chance of survival at that age.”
“At four he had a brain tumour,” he added. “He had a meningioma when he was nine or 10. When he was 14 or 15 he had thyroid cancer.
“At the end of last year there was a recurrance of his original tumour. He’s still with us, he’s still pushing on.”
Following the sad announcement of Samuel’s death, which was confirmed in a heartbreaking statement on 3AW, Somers paid tribute to the brave youngster and recalled the moment he learned of his diagnosis for the very first time back in the 1990s, during the show’s heyday.
Sharing a sweet photo of Red alongside his two of his sons, Daryl wrote: “You may be aware of the passing of Samuel Symons, son of Red. Sam passed away early this morning surrounded by family after battling cancer that first appeared when he was just four years of age.
“I remember it well as it was during the heyday of Hey Hey and we were all shocked at the sudden diagnosis of a brain tumour. He fought bravely and we can only be thankful that he was able to enjoy another 22 productive and fulfilling years before succumbing to this awful disease.”