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Graeme Blundell (on bike as Alvin Purple)
, c. 1973

by Rennie Ellis

type C photograph (sheet: 62.0 cm x 47.0 cm, image: 44.0 cm x 29.3 cm)

A sequence of Alvin at school in which schoolgirls fight for his attentions and run after him as he flees on his bike sets up the film’s premise: described in Man magazine as the ‘hilarious adventures of a male stud, Alvin . . . a fairly ordinary and inoffensive sort of bloke, except that . . . women find him irresistible’. Made possible by a change in censorship laws, Alvin was a hit. Documentary photographer Rennie Ellis was also on hand to capture the film’s climatic chase sequence in which a bevy of ‘hot-eyed damsels’ chase Alvin, wearing nothing but a wig and his underpants, through Melbourne’s CBD. Post-Alvin, Blundell found himself an unexpected pin-up, and was pursued in the streets by fans.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
Accession number: 2006.70