The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 15, 2001 · Page 58
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 58

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, April 15, 2001
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Page 58
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Culture The outback's original su Forget that TV show. PAUL IIOMN # who's back with a new Crocodile Dundee movie, tells us which outback legends to believe. (Did you know kangaroos aren't as cuddly as they look?) BY MARK MORRISON L ONG BEFORE ANYONE had heard of Russell Crowe or followed TVs Survivor series into the sun-scorched outback, Paul Hogan was the universal image of Australia — the real-deal embodiment of the bush and the beach. Now, 15 years after his big-screen splash as Crocodile Dundee, the still-wiry 61- year-old actor is back in theaters in Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. And with the new interest in Down Under cultiu-e, he's here to set the record straight about his homeland. come to your '^''^'"^Sfe'^K house, have dinner and want to come back, it's because I like your company, not your furniture." 4* Australians don't take themselves too seriously. "Russell Crowe likes to have a drink and a bit of a fall-about [to relax]. Mel Gibson had it, too: He went through a period when he had a 'wild colonial boy' reputation. And that stands by actors when they make it on the world stage; they've still got that 'Don't get carried away with yourself' thing from back home." f* Australia is the new America. "Australians were brought up on Happy Days and Archie Bunker. But Americans knew nothing about Australia except it's got kangaroos and some good tennis players. Now, a lot of Americans have been there and started to look upon TRUTHS 1« You're never far from the outback. "You just turn your car inland, drive for a couple of hours and you're in the outback. There's no development. Under half a million people live in the middle. Today, Australia has more urban attractions than it used to. But the bush is still the same." 1* Crocodiles are a protected species. "There are farms where they breed them for waOets, belts and shoes. They're not allowed to touch the ones in the wDd. Now, they catch them if they get on the beaches and take them back to the wild. It's pretty unnerving having a crocodile swimming alongside you." 3» Australians know how to party. "Australia has a culture of worshiping the weekend. It starts with drinks on FViday night—'blowing the froth off a couple.' It's the people who make [it] a holiday culture. If I CLICK ON LINKS w Join us Monday at 1 p.m. FT as USA WEEKEND Magazine and usatoday.com co-host a live chat with Paul Hogan. To ask a question or just view the discussion, come to usaweekend.com. us as the way America used to be — cleaner, fresher, more outdoorsy." MYTHf 1* The outback Isn't as dangerous as it looks. Survivor "is a television show. They try to make it look sexy, but they don't want anyone to die on camera. They're in the North Queensland outback, which is close to where the crocodiles and most poisonous snakes are. But you don't come across them too much there. In real crocodile country, they'd be walking up your ankles." 2* Crocodile Dundee is a typical Australian. "I represent the outback bushman pioneer Aussie, the Down Under Texan. Which is not very accurate, since most people live in the city or along the coast. It's a myth we perpetuate, because we cling to our heritage — the self- reliant bushie who tells it like it is. There's a tradition of keeping your , word and doing deals vnthout lawyers. I When I started, I never had a contract. I had a handshake." 3* Kangaroos are a national treasure. "Survivor is not in the area to see them. I But it's not hard to find 'roos. There's more than one for every peraon — about 19 million. That's if they kill 2 million every year. Which they do. They either make dog food or they're exported to Asia. They're a high-protein, low-fat meat, but you don't eat them in Australia because they're Uke six-foot rats to us." 4* Wild pigs are a cinch to catch. "The pig they killed on Survivor was little. I've seen a wild pig charge a jeep and knock it sideways. You won't see people surrounding a full-grown razorback with a stick trying to kill it." 5» Aussies adore the queen. "The majority of the population has no allegiance to England. The [Irish] convict heritage people probably add up to 6 or 7 million. A great nmnber comes from Asia. Australia only kept the queen as head of state in the last election because they couldn't come up with a system everyone was happy with. It's a matter of time." C3 MAKK MORRISON is the West Coast editor of In Style. 12 USA WEEKEND • April 13-15,2001

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