It seems no sooner have we said farewell to one former companion and colleague we are informed of yet another departure. Unexpected. Surprising. Another blow to us as an industry. Depressing.
So today we say goodbye to yet another long term colleague. Colin "Mad Dog" Ray.
Mad Dog was already a fixture at ATN 7 at Epping when I first arrived from Adelaide in 1987.
Incredibly, to me, he looked like the TV character ALF. And he had the same Alf-ish sense of humour.
He was our audio engineer in an era where our voice overs were recorded on tape by a professional engineer then dropped into the story in the edit booth.
Mad Dog was a card! A 100 per cent individual. Hardly striking in appearance, never classified as handsome, but with a tremendous sense of humour and an oafish way of sending you up.
He joined chief cameraman, now News Chief of Staff, Andre Blunden as a news shooting team, and that was where we saw the real "Mad Dog".
Because despite his nick-name, usually synonymous with crazed criminals and bank robbers, our Mad Dog was a puppy!
He was terrified by the sight of his own blood.
He was chronically allergic to needles. Not just getting a shot but the very sight of a needle would drop him to the floor out cold!
A re-enactment shoot of Doc D'Arcy injecting Mad Dog with a flu shot left the poor old Dog unconscious on the floor! Oh how we laughed when ambulance officers dragged a guerney into the building to secure Col for treatment.
The whiff of a chemical in the air likewise sent him crashing to earth like a large sack of potatoes. I recall shooting a chemical spill with Andre. We arrived, pulled out the gear. Mad Dog took one sniff and BANG! Down he went.
Oh it was comical at the time. Looking back on it now we can sympathise with Col's weak stomach, but as ever on the road a laugh is a laugh!
Mad Dog had moved from channel 7 working overseas, returning to channel 9 as a link truck operator.
And as with some terrible coincidences Mad Dog and several of his old colleagues caught up to say goodbye to our old mentor Bernie Keenan.
It was then we noticed Colin was not in great shape. His colour was shocking to say the least, a terrible jaundiced yellow that shocked us to our socks. He assured us everything was okay, but clearly it was not.
Late last week Andre called to say Mad Dog was going to be rushed to hospital. Overnight our former audio man passed away.
Yet another dedicated professional operator in this business has now left us.
It's like small pieces of the picture of your past are being chipped away as one by one former colleagues and friends join our other mates working on God's television news and current affairs service.
Mad Dog will now be recording audio for the likes of Paul Lockyer and Sean Flannery. Gary Ticehurst will buzz them to jobs in his brand new chopper.
And Bernie Keenan will command the desk making sure those guys cover every aspect of the story!Sleep well Dog.
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