Best known to South African audiences as one of the country's outstanding comedians and actors, Hal Orlandini has enjoyed an extensive career in all media. In radio, he played in many long running comedy series, including several written by Donald Monat and June Dixon such as Son Of Livingstone (in which he played the title role), Carry On Caltex and The Bloodhounds, in most of which he frequently co-starred with Michael Mayer. He can be heard (deep in character as an Afrikaner policeman) in the Avengers clip from the Springbok Radio Silver Jubilee show, The Great Gong Robbery

He also often played in the popular afternoon children's adventure series Jet Jungle, which also starred Diane Appleby of The Avengers. There was one incident for which he has become infamous. The show was on air, and Jet, played by the late Brian O'Shaughnessy, was fighting against the Mafia. This was all well and good until Orlandini was heard in the background saying in a pronounced Italian accent: "Hi! I've got the biggest balls in Italy. Do you want to look at them? Here they are!" This prank was met by an angry call from Springbok Radio boss Jack Siebert to O'Shaughnessy (who also served as writer on Jet Jungle). 

In addition to a distinguished stage career, often in serious dramatic roles, Hal has also appeared in many American and British films that were made in South Africa, including Game For Vultures (1979), Purgatory (1988), Never Say Die (1994), Operation Delta Force (1997) and Burndown (1990), the cast of which also included Hugh Rouse.

He also formed Proscenium Productions in the early Seventies with Avengers co-star Gordon Mulholland. Among the productions staged by the company were Not in Front of the Kids and Hair Hair.

by Donald Monat with Alan Hayes


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