When I was a kid, in the eighties, all things Australian were huge. Crocodile Dundee had us getting all metaphysical on the definition of knives, Yahoo Serious was taken seriously, and Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion” was the only version we had ever known.
So it wasn’t totally surprising that when a strangely exuberant Australian man named “Jacko” appeared in an Energizer commercial, he skyrocketed to fame within the span of a few months. Apparently he had been a football star or something in his native Australia, but we Americans only knew him from this:
Anyway, after single-handedly teaching the word “oi” to millions of Americans (at least, the ones who had never been skinheads), he wound up getting cast in various health-related commercials and caught the public’s attention enough to land a role in a weird show called The Highwayman. The plot, I shit you not, revolved around a futuristic truck that had all these dohickeys in it including a helicopter and a bunch of fancy guns (and I think it could go through time). It was like The A-Team with less humor, or Knight Rider with an even less believable robotic car (less believable everything, actually).
This thing stank so bad, it sealed Jacko’s fate for good. I remember a Mad Magazine at the time coming out with a humorous fake history article, something along the lines of “The Year We Ended Bad Taste,” and one entry was something like “April 7th, 1988–Jacko’s green card is revoked.”
But my friend Jason, years later, still defended Jacko, saying he must have been a punk rocker because he used the word “oi” so much. And I guess he was sort of right–years earlier, in his native Australia, Jacko had a peppy single that came out and went to number one! It’s kind of like Jilted John meets eighties Talking Heads meets the incidental music from Night of the Comet, but not nearly as good, but hey, it’s still better than Tim Curry’s albums: