Ivan Joseph Hutchinson, the renowned music arranger/pianist and television critic whose career spanned four decades, once described himself as the “definitive reluctant TV star”.
Born in Melbourne, Ivan’s father was an Anzac who had been wounded in World War I and continued in the Army until his retirement in the late 1950s.
Ivan grew up in Fitzroy where he attended the local St. Bridget’s Primary, St. Thomas’ Clifton Hill and, in his final year (1944), Parade College East Melbourne.
An accomplished pianist from his childhood days, Ivan joined HSV Channel 7 in 1960, in the pioneering days of Australian television. He plied his craft as a piano player with the station’s orchestra in variety shows including “Sunnyside Up”, children’s programs such as “The Happy Show” with Happy Hammond, and “Time For Terry”.
Aside from music, Ivan’s other passion was movies, with much of his spare time spent at cinemas and penning his own reviews. 1971 found him approaching Seven management with his own proposition, along with fellow Melbourne film critic Jim Murphy, to host what would become Australia’s first movie review program “Two On The Aisle”.
The loyal following this program generated made Ivan increasingly well known as an on-air movie critic, and when the show ended in late 1974, Seven executives suggested he become a movie presenter and host the midday movies.
The midday movie soon became “Ivan’s Midday Movie” (and in later years “The Afternoon Movie with Ivan Hutchinson”) beginning in February 1975 at the dawn of colour television in Australia. Ivan continued working until sudden and untimely illness forced him to retire in December 1994.
When he died, tributes that followed best reflected the depth and breadth of his influence, the affection he evoked and the high esteem in which he was held.
Peer Year 1944