To any child of the ’60s and early ’70s the name Nancy Cato (pictured) will invoke memories of classic Australian children’s TV.
An aspiring actress from Swan Hill, Cato came to fame as the host of children’s program GMV Juniors from GMV6, Shepparton, in the early ’60s.
She became a national TV identity in 1964 as the host of The Children’s Show and its successor The Magic Circle Club, a popular and lavish children’s series produced at ATV0, Melbourne, for three years.
Her career came to a halt at the end of 1966 after an accident on the set of The Magic Circle Club left her confined to a wheelchair for almost a year. She made a comeback to TV in September 1967 as host of ABC‘s Adventure Island, a series loosely based on The Magic Circle Club which ATV0 had axed earlier in the year.
In an article published in The Age newspaper Cato, now 73, has gone public about a secret she’s held since those early days in television. She was, and still is, profoundly deaf and for all those years nobody was the wiser. She communicates with the help of lip-reading.
Her condition caught the newspaper’s attention after she used social media to report an incident where she was asked to leave a supermarket because she had a guide dog that assists her in alerting her to things that she can’t hear. The supermarket manager was not convinced that she was deaf and asked her and the dog to leave — but to be sure to pay for the groceries on the way out! (She left the groceries behind and walked out)
She wrote about the incident on her blog, Nancy Rants. The blog also includes stories from her early days in television.
The full newspaper article by Lawrence Money is published at The Age.