In loving memory of Ralph William Baker who sadly passed away on 14th July 2020
Loved and Loving husband of Mariam.
Adored father & grandfather.
Will be sadly missed.
Family and friends are invited to Celebrate the Life of Ralph William Baker, ONLY VIA LIVE STREAM on SATURDAY July 18, 2020 at 11:00am.
Ralph Baker 29 July 1939 - 14 July 2020
Ralph Baker, Deadly Earnest, puppeteer and television producer died yesterday.
Ralph Baker was born 29 July 1939 in Melbourne. He started having elocution lessons at the age of twelve and through his early teens he was a contestant at Eistedfods and other functions.
He got involved with amateur theatre and took jobs at GTV-9 then ATV-0 (now ATV-10).
He appeared in sketches in In Melbourne Tonight at GTV-9. As a floor manager at ATV-0 he worked on legendary music shows The Go!! Show, Kommotion and Uptight and read a part for the pilot of The Magic Circle Club.
In 1966 the-then Independent Television System (now Network Ten) began a revival of the TVW-7 Perth horror host Deadly Earnest, introducing B-feature horror films for a late night audience.
Ralph was selected to play the character to his own interpretation, dressing himself in top hat and gloves from the ATV wardrobe department.
Ralph's debut was on Friday 20 October 1967 at 10.30pm, introducing 1955 shocker The Beast with a Million Eyes. Simultaneously he adapted scripts for, then produced the comedy Good Morning Mr Doubleday, and wrote continuity links for the station.
After the film package was exhausted in 1971, Ralph introduced episodes of The Outer Limits for four months and was let go by ATV in May 1973.
He then purchased a cleaning business & then later on Ralph joined Lorrie Gardner and her Gardner Puppet Theatre and later formed his own Pinnacle Puppet Theatre.
The Gardner Puppet Theatre was Ralph's further contribution to the arts for 30 years. At its peak in the 19080's they were performing 500 shows a year. Ralph's contribution inlcuded performing, co-directing, script editing, puppet building...just to name a few things. Ralph was a consummate performer and extremely popular with the kids. Faultless in his delivery his charm, wit, impromptu quips and quick thinking when needed helped him become a stand out in his frield and a great friend. Laurie Gardner was soo very lucky she snapped him up all those years ago!
Ralph continued to make appearances as Deadly Earnest and put on puppet shows, delighting children and those young at heart.
In 2011 Ralph appeared at Horrorpalooza! and was a nominee for the 2020 Horror Host Hall of Fame.
Ralph was diagnosed with myeloma in 2014, succumbing to the disease on Tuesday, 14 July 2020. He was 80 years of age, two weeks short of his 81st birthday.
He is survived by son Davin Baker, daughter Naomi Miller and second wife Mariam and her daughter Melina Macdonald.
- Martin Dunne is Deadly Earnest's biographer and is writing a thesis on the character.