Ex-Australian PM Malcolm Fraser leaves Admiral Benbow Inn episode out of memoir

The name Malcolm Fraser might not ring a bell for Memphians at first glance. But if I were to describe him as the former Australian prime minister who was involved in the notorious "Memphis Trousers Affair," that might help jog the old memory.

Fraser was about three years removed from his political career when he showed up in the lobby of the seedy Admiral Benbow Inn in Memphis in 1986. He was wearing only a towel, and was confused as to what had happened to his pants. The incident was widely reported, but was never explained. Now Fraser, who is 80, has released a new political memoir, but while there is plenty in the book about his controversial rise to power in 1975, there is nothing about the "Memphis Trousers Affair."

The incident was such a laugh in Australia that it actually inspired the name of a long-running TV show: "Roy & HG's Memphis Trousers Half Hour." Here's another little anecdote about the imbroglio from a veteran Australian journalist, writing in 2002:

It is 16 years since I last wrote about Malcolm Fraser. It was after he lost his trousers, and a lot more, at the Admiral Benbow Inn in Memphis, on October 14, 1986. Back then, when I called the former prime minister to tell him I had the Memphis story, there was a silence, then, after a few exchanges and another long pause, he said: "I wish I'd never been to bloody Memphis."


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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.