» Feb 2010
* THE GOODIES FAN CLUB CLARION AND GLOBE *
* THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF 'THE GOODIES RULE - OK!' *
Issue No. 171 12th February 2010
Newsletter enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
General enquiries: email@example.com
'The Goodies Rule - OK!'
P.O. Box 492
Rosanna VIC 3084, AUSTRALIA
THE LADS AND LASSES OF THE C&G
- Brett Allender <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ACE REPORTER & FEATURE ARTICLE WRITER:
- Lisa Manekofsky
- Linda Kay
- John Williams, Jeffers, Raymond
1. QUIZ & QUOTE - Goodies brainteasers for you and you and you
2. BOFFO IDEAS - The latest club news and happenings
3. SPOTTED!!! - The latest Goodies sightings
4. 2001 AND A BIT - Tim, Graeme and Bill sightings post-Goodies.
5. FEATURE ARTICLE – Slapstick 2010
6. GOODIES MUSIC REVIEW #42 – Melody Farm
7. QUIZ & QUOTE ANSWERS
1. QUIZ & QUOTE
(by "Magnus Magnesium")
QUOTE: "Can't you say anything but 'Nyaaah'?!"
(a) Which Goody says this quote?
(b) What response does he get from the other two Goodies?
(c) Which episode is this quote from?
QUIZ: This month's questions are from the episode "Camelot"
(d) Why has Tim never been to visit his uncle before?
(e) Which location do Tim's uncle and family go for their holidays?
(f) Which Goody is dressed as a jester at Camelot?
(g) Complete this quote from the jester's routine: "Once a knight, always a knight …"
(h) Which animal continually chases after the female guest during the Goodies guided tour of Camelot?
The answers are listed at the end of this newsletter.
2. BOFFO IDEAS
You can make it happen here. Liven up the club with a boffo idea for bob-a-job week. E-mail <email@example.com> with your comments, ideas or suggestions - meanwhile these are the boffo ideas which our club has been working on this month:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAEME!
Our Goodiest wishes go out to Graeme Garden, who is about to celebrate his 67th birthday on February 18th. Happy Birthday Graeme, from everyone at Goodies Rule OK!
Last month's poll confirmed t'long-held theory that t'best way t' defend oneself against any sort of Goodies-themed peril is t' take one's black pudding and beat t' flippin' 'eck out of any mitherin' clutterbuck who barley grummits that they're about to be KOd for their trouble! The second most popular option for repelling would-be attackers was Rolf being sick on them … I'm sorry, I'll read that again … hmmm, near enough actually!
What is the best mode of defense?
- Ecky Thump! 69 votes
- a giant cod and Max Bygraves records 20 votes
- trandem jousting 0 votes
- a Dodo with a fighter plane 7 votes
- a Graeme-designed defense system 12 votes
- other 1 votes
- sic the Rolfs on them! 22 votes
Total votes: 131 votes
And now it's on to a true election vote – your choice of candidate for favourite female guest character in the show. It truly is a quality field featuring many of the strongest and most memorable guest roles throughout the various series, so before the Matron and her army of babies take over the world, or before Mrs Carthorse shrieks for everyone to "Stop it! Stop it!", make sure that you don't get caught up in Caroline Kook's "neo-reactionary backlash of a repressed adolescent subculture" and cast your vote today. You know it makes sense!
Who was your favourite female guest character in "The Goodies"?
- Miss Heffer (The Playgirl Club)
- Penelope Fay (Come Dancing)
- Delia Capone (Come Dancing)
- Mrs. Carthorse (Gender Education)
- Matron (Way Outward Bound)
- Mildred Makepiece (Cunning Stunts)
- Caroline Kook (Punky Business)
- Marge & Tina (Politics)
- Scatty Safari Rolf (one was the mother...)
More exciting than getting your wig-spotters badge! If you've seen the Goodies recently, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> with the details. Here's where we've Spotted!!! the Goodies this month:
(Lisa Manekofsky – 15th Jan)
* Sat, 16 Jan - "The Goodies" on Comedy Central Extra (UK) at 2:00. Another repeat is scheduled for the following Saturday, 23 Jan, at 01:50. Check local schedules for details.
* Mondays, Thursdays & Sundays - SKY NZ's New Comedy Central channel is repeating "The Goodies". Check the station's schedule for other dates/times (Thanks for raymond for this info!)
BRING BACK THE GOODIES!
(Lisa Manekofsky – 23rd Jan)
(Lisa Manekofsky – 15th Jan)
* Sun, 17 Jan - The "Comedy Connections" episode about The Goodies is repeated on Watch at 01:20 (and possibly again at the same time the following Sunday - check your local listings to verify the correct date and episode).
RARE GOODIES FOOTAGE REDISCOVERED
(Lisa Manekofsky – 20th Jan)
ABC Researcher extraordinaire John Williams has found another piece of missing footage from "The Goodies" (John is the one who recovered the censored "Commonwealth Games" footage). He's kindly provided the following information about the newly discovered clip, "Dreaded Wheat":
This 30 second clip from the second series episode 'The Lost Tribe' is a parody of a breakfast cereal advertisement [I believe that it might have been for the UK product Shredded Wheat, I'm sure that Andrew Pixley could identify the exact advertisement satirised - I think that we had a similar ad here in Australia many years ago] that features a young mother sees off her husband & son as they leave for work & school, the commercial's jingle refers to the "men in her life" which suddenly grows from two (referring to the husband & child) to a long procession of males (beginning with the milkman) running into & out of the house (in fastmo). It ends with a slightly disheveled young mother in the front doorway being embraced by an amorous Tim Brooke Taylor, the door slams shut.
The item was compiled along with other Goodies material (including the 'Commonwealth Games' cuts) and was listed by the National Archives Of Australia as being from the episode 'Pollution'. I did not recall this piece of footage from various episodes that I had seen, including the episode 'Pollution'. I sent a copy of the DVD to Andrew Pixley to review just in case there was anything on it that might not be accounted for. Thankfully, Andrew's expertise has helped identify yet another missing piece of Goodies footage by checking BBC paperwork to identify the 'Dreaded Wheat' clip. The episode of origin for the clip was positively identified as being 'The Lost Tribe'."
(Lisa Manekofsky – 23rd Jan)
THE GOODIES PODCAST
Those of us who want to get their Goodies fix in audio form (which makes for a far nicer commute in the car, train or bus) can get their hands on the new and gloriously free Goodies Podcast.
In the five episodes so far, there have been interviews with John Williams (who discovered the long-lost 'Dreaded Wheat' Goodies mock ad, cut from The Lost Tribe) and the Clarion & Globe's own Brett Allender. A chat with Goodies' musical director Dave MacRae is slated for the near future; stay tuned.
They also have Goodies news and listen-along commentaries for episodes like 'Scotland' (The Loch Ness Monster), 'Camelot' and 'Kung Fu Kapers', with dozens more commentaries on the way.
The hosts are GROK members Jeffers and Jane, who quickly started recording the half-hour installments in January 2010 after discovering a huge gap in Goodies fandom where there should be a swathe of audio offerings. Other than a short run of three great commentaries made in 2007 by early podcasters Helen and Clair, they couldn't find anything else Goodies-related to listen to!
Their shows are coming out at a rate of around one a week and can be easily downloaded manually at http://goodiespodcast.libsyn.com/ or - even better - subscribed to in iTunes. Just search the iTunes store using 'Goodies Podcast'.
It's also easy to find their pages on Facebook and Twitter (Google them!), but if you've successfully avoided social networking stuff on the net, you may want to simply email Jane and Jeffers at email@example.com instead.
Any Goodies fans who want to contribute with audio or just give suggestions and/or feedback are keenly encouraged to get in touch!
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE …!
Thanks to Jeffers of the excellent Goodies podcasts for the following new items:
* Kaleidoscope, The Classic Television Organisation, will be showing the two recently recovered Goodies clips (including the "Dreaded Wheat" mock ad) at their event in Stourbridge, UK on Saturday, March 6th. Details can be found at http://www.kaleidoscope.org.uk/
* John Howard Davies, who produced "The Goodies' from 1970-1972, will be appearing at The Space in Brighton, England on March 4th (for a "Meet John Howard Davies" interview and Q&A). Details about the event can be found at http://www.thespace.me.uk/#/john-howard-davies/4535445465 , from which you can also make an online booking.
The venue's Contact Us page gives these phone numbers, for Creative Director Wayne Imms: 01273 682612 or 07932 981028 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Space Event will be held at:
24 Kensington St
Venue Telephone: 01273 699 733
(for venue only, not for event booking)
4. 2001 AND A BIT
If you've sighted Tim, Bill or Graeme in a post-Goodies role, e-mail <email@example.com> so that we can tell everyone where to spot a Goodie nowadays. Large files (such as scans of articles or photos) for posting on the club's website can be sent to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Those of you seeking radio and tv alerts between issues of the C&G should consider signing up for the Goodies-l mailing list (more details available on the club website), as our crack (cracked?!) team of reporters attempt to post alerts as the information becomes available.
** (All items in this section contributed by Lisa Manekofsky, except where otherwise credited) **
Please note: BBC RADIO SHOWS listed below can be heard online via each station's website (www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 or www.bbc.co.uk/radio7) and then for a week after broadcast from the BBC iPlayer (aka Listen Again). Radio shows on the iPlayer can be heard worldwide.
* Sun, 17 Jan - "Green Balloon Club" is a repeat of an episode which includes an appearance from Bill. On CBeebies at 17:00.
* Sun, 17 Jan - "Outtake TV" (with a clip from one of Bill's nature shows) is repeated on Watch at 18:20.
* Weekdays Mon, 18 Jan - Tues, 26 Jan - repeats of "Birding with Bill Oddie" on Blighty at various times (check your local listings).
* Weekdays starting Mon, 25 Jan - repeats of "Bill Oddie's How to Watch Wildlife" on Blighty at various times
* Sorry that I didn't know about this in advance, but I've just seen some postings saying Bill appeared on ITV1's "The Alan Titchmarsh Show" yesterday. I thought I would pass along the info in case our UK members were able to catch a repeat of the show (either broadcast or online).
I'M SORRY I HAVEN'T A CLUE (ISIHAC) and
I'M SORRY I'LL READ THAT AGAIN (ISIRTA)
* Thursdays - I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" on BBC Radio 7 is a run of Bill, Tim, & Graeme's 1960's radio series (which also starred John Cleese, David Hatch, and Jo Kendall). Some of the "new to BBC 7" episodes are rare ones which haven't been heard for some time.
* Sundays - "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" on RTE Choice at 09:30 (and possibly other times - check your local listings).
BBC Radio 7 continues its repeat run of "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" on Thursdays with reconstructed versions of early, rarely heard episodes.
In addition, due to technical problems with the Listen Again version in December, Radio 7 repeated the ISIRTA Christmas Edition from December 1969 earlier this week. That show is available online until Monday morning, 8
* BBC Radio 7 is airing an interesting interview with Keith Wickham, the man responsible for the restored episodes of "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" currently being broadcast on that station.
* A February 5, 2010 article from This is Plymouth (http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/features/Live-Apollo/article-1805742-detail/article.html ) says that Tim & Graeme will be participating in a tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton at the Hammersmith Apollo on April 25th. While the article erroneously says that will be on the first anniversary of Humph's passing I found at least one additional website confirming the date of the tribute as April 25, 2010.
The Clue Bible Review
"The Clue Bible: The Fully Authorised History of "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue", from Footlights to Mornington Crescent" by Jem Roberts (with forewords by Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, and Tim Brooke-Taylor)
The gibbon should have been a clue...
Before getting my copy of Jem Roberts "The Clue Bible" I assumed the 350+ page book would focus on the radio show "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", with the usual brief explanation that the show spun off from the earlier series
"I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again". The book's cover reinforced that assumption since the artwork primarily showed things related to Clue, other than a token gibbon representing the earlier show (yes, friends, the gibbon jokes started on ISIRTA years before The Goodies encouraged us to do, do, do The Funky Gibbon). This is one of those occasions when I'm very happy to be proven wrong.
"The Clue Bible" does provide a thorough telling of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue's story. Luckily for us Goodies fans, author Jem Roberts devotes the first half of the book to Clue's pre-history, which contains a great deal of Goodies pre-history as well.
The book begins with the inevitable meeting of many of the key players at Cambridge University. In addition to the future Goodies and Pythons, we also learn about people like Humphrey Barclay, who played a major role in the story (but may be little more than a familiar name to many of us). Throughout the book we are given mini-biographies of the major characters. Making use of interviews and other source material, Jem covers in detail "how the gang got together" to create the Cambridge Circus stage show (including information about its tours to New Zealand and New York), how that evolved into "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", and how that series progressed over its 10+ year history. Also covered are many of the players' early television efforts (including sections on "Twice a Fortnight" and "Broaden Your Mind"). While "The Goodies" series gets many mentions this book doesn't delve into the specifics of how that show came to be, but for that we have Robert Ross's two books (and hopefully the long-awaited book from Andrew Pixley will be published by the end of this year).
The second half of Jem's book focuses on "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" itself, including how various people came to be involved in the show (including performers and producers) and how it evolved over its long history. Sections are devoted to many of the popular rounds, discussing their origins and development. As in the first half of the book, Jem explores contemporary radio shows, examining which series may have influenced or been influenced by ISIRTA & Clue.
As a Goodies fan, as well as an enthusiastic listener of "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" and "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", I heartily recommend this book.
5. FEATURE ARTICLE
(by Lisa Manekofsky)
On January 21-24, 2010 I attended the Slapstick 2010 festival in Bristol, England. Among the special guests taking part in the events were Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and their friend and "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" cast mate, Barry Cryer.
Over the course of four days the attendees were treated to wonderful films, interesting & informative speakers, and live accompaniment for the silent films from world class musicians.
In the following article I am focusing upon the events in which Tim, Graeme, and/or Barry were involved. A full list of the festival events can be found at http://www.slapstick.org.uk/events.htm, or by downloading the festival brochure from http://www.slapstick.org.uk/gala-event.htm
SLAPSTICK GALA WITH MICHAEL PALIN (Something Almost Completely Different):
The festival was launched with a gala evening featuring Graeme Garden interviewing Monty Python's Michael Palin about his career in comedy. After the two men settled info comfy chairs on stage Graeme recap parts of Michael's career, interspersed with related question and collections of clips from his work. As to his early influences, Michael said the comedies he saw while growing up were Laurel & Hardy, the Three Stooges, Abbot & Costello, and the cartoons shown along with movies in those days (which he noted were more violent than the live films & shorts).
When the discussion reached the latter half of the 1960's Graeme mentioned the television show "Twice A Fortnight" (which he and Bill Oddie worked on along with Michael and his writing partner, Terry Jones); Michael told Graeme "you probably remember more than me about it because you were in it". "Broaden Your Mind" (Tim & Graeme's show which also included contributions from Palin & Jones) also got a passing mention before "Do Not Adjust Your Set" was cited as the next step in Michael's career. At this point, Graeme explained they were going to show a few clips on the large screen behind the stage (the first of many clips shown that evening) including footage from "Twice a Fortnight" and "Do Not Adjust Your Set". There were the Palin/Jones short film "Battle of Hastings" from TAF and a brief sketch from DNAYS of two men (one of them being Michael) carrying a patient on a stretcher in which it's revealed that one of the carriers is also the patient.
Moving into the Monty Python's Flying Circus years, the clips included a montage of three appearances of Michael as the "It's" man (a bedraggled, bearded figured who'd try to introduce episodes by saying "It's" before being cut off), the man with a tape recorder up his nose, the Spanish Inquisition (which got a cheer from the audience), and the Fish Slapping Dance (which got a huge laugh). Also included was the lecture on slapstick from "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl" (with Terry Gilliam hitting Terry Jones and Michael Palin with a plank to demonstrate lecturer Graham Chapman's scholarly discourse on physical comedy).
As their conversation resumed Graeme made an interesting remark, as one comedy professional observing another's work – he said that with "Monty Python's Flying Circus" Python had good branding, both via the use of Terry Gilliam's graphics and the way they ended sketches without a punch line. He asked Michael if it made it harder or was more freeing to work without a traditional structure. Michael replied that it was more freeing, because if the writers had some really funny sketch fragments they could graft them together and still use them.
For the next part of Michael's career they showed the Biggus Dickus clip from "Life of Brian", a scene from "Brazil", and the scenes from "A Fish Called Wanda" in which his animal-loving character kept killing off an old woman's dogs in his attempts to murder her; these were spread out throughout the montage, between the other clips, creating a running joke which successfully revved up the laughs for the final sequence.
Graeme concluded the interview portion of the evening by telling Michael, "I could sit here talking to you for...money" (which earned him a big laugh) and then brought on Neil Innes, who had a gold envelope which would reveal who won the Aardman/Slapstick Silent Comedy Award for Excellence in the field of hilarity – not that there was much suspense, given that Michael was the only visible candidate. In addition, this announcement was followed by the playing of a number of congratulatory videos for Michael, which started with an on-screen title saying Michael had won the award! ;)
Among the people appearing in the videos were Sanjeev Bhaskar (from "The Kumars at No. 42") who, like many to follow, said how funny Michael's travel shows are; Sanjeev then held up his previously hidden hands to show they were bound with rope and asked if he could be untied now that he'd done as he was told. Terry Jones was next and also did a joke about Michael's travel shows. Terry Gilliam said some nice things, and then pretended he thought it was a memorial video. This was followed by Barry Cryer, who was seen from the back, sitting in a chair talking to an off-screen interviewer and apparently just learning he was being asked to talk about Michael Palin, not Sarah Palin. He then obligingly said how he remembered Michael from "The Goodies" and "The Black & White Minstrel Show" before turning around to face the camera and wishing sincere congratulations (before pretending to try to return to talking about Sarah Palin and being cut off). There were recorded phone messages, first from Alan Bennett and then from Paul Whitehouse, who said nice things but then pretended to try to get Harry Enfield, who was with him, to say something nice but apparently failed in the attempt. Due to sound problems that evening (which I know the organizers did their best to correct, as I was seated behind the sound board and noted their efforts throughout the evening) it was very difficult to hear the phone messages. Tim Brooke-Taylor finally got his turn, being his charming and enthusiastic self. In his congratulatory video he explained that the character he played in "Absolute Power" was based on Michael; he also gleefully thanked Michael for writing the lecture on slapstick sketch which was used in "Cambridge Circus" theatrical run, allowing him to hit Bill & Jonathan Lynn with a plank every evening.
After the videos Neil Innes returned to stage and, after milking it a bit, finally opened the golden envelope to reveal…that Terry Gilliam had won the prize for the "most obscure" tribute. Of course, that was quickly revealed to be a joke. Two men, including one from Aardman, came out to give Michael the award. It was shown on the screen - in a glass globe was Aardman's Morph character customized to look like Michael's Monty Python's Flying Circus It's Man (in tattered suit and holding a bomb, as was shown in one of the clips earlier in the evening, in a nice piece of coordination). Michael seemed sincerely delighted and touched when he noticed this. He said he would treasure this always, but then couldn't resist doing a fake trip and pretending to almost drop the award when walking away from the microphone.
Graeme turned to Neil, to ask how they got out of this (to get them off stage). Neil, with guitar, explained that as we were going into the interval they were going to sing Python's "The Philosopher's Song", to send the audience off to the bar. The lyrics were put on the screen for the audience, Michael and Neil sung along from the front of the stage (with Michael urging on the audience) while Graeme stood at the rear of the stage and consulted a printed version of the lyrics (reminding me of his singing along to "The Lumberjack Song" in "At Her Majesty's Pleasure").
After the interval Graeme returned onstage to introduce Buster Keaton's film "The Navigator" (and the live musical ensemble who would be accompanying the silent film). Graeme gave a little background and trivia about the film, including saying there was a non-PC part at the end in when a number of black actors played cannibals; he tried to mitigate that by explaining the actor playing the chief went on to use his income to found a company which made films for a black audience showing non-caricatured characters. Graeme left the stage, the film started to roll, and from where I was sitting I noticed slip into a seat in the audience to enjoy the film. At the conclusion of the movie he came back on stage to ensure the orchestra got their ovations (which the audience had been doing enthusiastically before then anyway) and to wrap up the evening.
LAUREL & HARDY: CLASSICS & RARITIES:
Hosted by Graeme Garden and silent comedy expert David Wyatt
As with other festival events over the weekend, hosting duties were shared by a witty comedian and a silent comedy historian. Graeme spoke about his earliest memory of seeing Laurel and Hardy on television, a scene from their film "Swiss Miss" in which Oliver Hardy and a slightly drunk Stan Laurel are trying to delivery their "signature prop", a piano, over a swaying rope bridge high in the Swiss Alps only to encounter a gorilla. The young Graeme was struck by the incongruity of a gorilla appearing in the Alps (rather than in a jungle picture); such surreal scenes were surely an inspiration for his future work.
Graeme and David spoke about Laurel and Hardy's separate paths to Hollywood and how they made films as solo performers before being teamed up. Rare film sequences were shown, including some that had been obtained from the British Film archives. In some cases the footage was the only remaining pieces from a film – for example, a very short colour scene with L&H that had been saved by an American projectionist from "The Rouge Song", from which very little footage survives. A portion of an early Stan Laurel solo film, "Pick and Shovel" was also screened, allowing Graeme and David to talk about what a different type of character Laurel had played compared to his more famous persona in the films with Hardy.
Another interesting film was "Putting Pants on Philip", an early pairing of Laurel and Hardy when their film studio was experimenting with combinations of its various actors. In this film, Hardy played a respected member of the community who was constantly embarrassed by his nephew Philip (played by Laurel), who had just arrived in the US from Scotland. In his introduction to the film Graeme mentioned we'd be seeing a kilted Stan Laurel in a fairly risqué variation of what later become an iconic image for Marilyn Monroe from her film "The Seven Year Itch", in which her shirt is blown up by air from a subway grating. Given that the film was from 1927 I wasn't expecting anything too naughty – boy, was I mistaken! Philip is walking down a city street and multiple times his kilt is blown up by street gratings, revealing his boxer shorts to the amused crowd following him (apparently fascinated by his attire and behavior). At one point Philip unknowingly loses his shorts; the next time he walks over a grating – off camera – we see the shocked reaction from the crowd, including several fainting women!
In speaking about surviving Laurel & Hardy footage, Graeme and David explained that some material was saved thanks to its inclusion in documentaries such as 1958's "The Golden Age of Comedy". Graeme humorously described his frustration at seeing such films because of annoying voiceovers, which would often spoil the jokes by prematurely saying things like "uh oh, he better watch out for that custard pie!". Speaking of which, Graeme and David discussed how hitting people with custard pies, which was credited as having been devised by Hal Roach, was already a cliché by Laurel and Hardy's time; the duo decided to take it to the ultimate ridiculous level with a massive pie fight scene in their film "The Battle of the Century", a portion of which was shown. Again, I got the impression that the thinking which went into "how can we do something new with this old chestnut?" in these early films was another source of inspiration for Graeme.
THE READ FRED KARNO
Hosted by Tim Brooke-Taylor and Tony Staveacre (author of "Slapstick!")
I'd noticed Tim in the audience for Graeme's "Laurel and Hardy" session; he slipped out a little before the end to dash over to a nearby venue for his hosting stint, which began shortly after the end of Graeme's. While waiting in line to enter the "Fred Karno" session we saw Graeme join the audience queue; Barry Cryer was also in attendance, seated in the front row.
If the Staveacre name sounds familiar, it is because Tony is the brother of Dermot Staveacre, a name often used in Tim's 1967 sketch series "At Last the 1948 Show". Tony the comedy historian joined Tim, whose quick wit and charm helped keep the session moving along, in telling the audience about the now largely forgotten Fred Karno, a showman and impresario who is credited with discovering Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, and others.
After a brief introduction we were treated to a documentary about Karno which focused the luxury hotel (the Karsino) he had built on an island in the Thames River around 1912. The film gave an overview of Karno's career and had 1970's interviews with some of the people who had been among his stable of performers. The documentary concluded with the 1971 destruction of the now dilapidated Karsino building, which was being torn down after years of neglect. Prior to the wrecking crew moving in the hotel hosted its final grand function – a reception including some of Karno's alumni along with notables from the time. Briefly seen seated at one of the round tables were none other than Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor (I also may have spotted the back of Bill's head at the same table).
After the documentary we were treated to some other clips. Sadly there were no recordings of Karno's shows, but some of the sketches that were performed by his troops were adapted for films and, as Tony explained, were the closest we'd get to seeing the originals. Thus they showed a scene from a Charlie Chaplin film in which a theater audience is revolting against truly dreadful performers; Chaplin's character leaves his theater box to disrupt a performance, which meets with great appreciation and laughter from the on-screen audience. We were also shown a clip from a Flanagan & Allen film, with Tony explaining that the sketch from Karno's theatrical show had to be stretched out for the film, destroying much of the timing and humor of the original.
During the presentation Tim made some interesting observations based upon what he had read or heard about Karno. Tim said the man appeared to be extremely skilled in what he did, but not a particularly nice person to work for. As to the first point, Tim explained that he'd taken part in slapstick sequences (both on television and in performing in farces on stage); a director might seem to be making a picky point about exactly where to stand and where to look but Tim had learned that seemingly wild scenes had to be carefully choreographed or they didn't work correctly. Karno was certainly a master of this art. Tim also pointed out that Karno was claimed to be the inventor of the pie throwing gag, and even though Graeme and David Wyatt had just said in the previous session (on Laurel & Hardy) that Hal Roach had invented that iconic routine Tim was willing to fight them on that point (said with a big smile at his friend Graeme).
As to Karno not being a nice man, Tim gave an extremely illustrative example. He said that Karno informed his first wife he was leaving her by sending her photos of himself with his girlfriend in which both of them were in the nude and posed in a series of compromising positions. The conversation moved on and, about twenty minutes later, Tony was taking questions from the audience. Someone asked if he'd been able to interview any of Karno's family while writing his book, "Slapstick". Tony replied yes, he'd been in contact with (I believe) Karno's daughter, and then added that a member of Karno's family was in the audience; he asked her to raise her hand. It turned out to be a young girl (perhaps around 10 years old), who was a great great grandniece; she gave a big smile to the audience. Upon seeing how young she was I immediately thought of Tim's story – he must have as well, because as soon as he got an opportunity he explained that the story he told was something he'd read but didn't know about personally (poor Timbo!)
At the conclusion of the session Tony said that the gentleman he'd interview for the documentary we'd seen earlier, who had been one of Karno's performers, kindly left Tony his notebooks of gags. Tony started to say that it was important to speak with elderly performers while they were still around, to learn about their old material (in order to preserve it), when he noticed white-haired Barry Cryer sitting in the front row and immediately said, in an apologetic manner, something like "I didn't mean you, Barry". Never one to miss an opportunity, Barry immediately got up and pretended to walk out in a huff, earning him a huge burst of laughter from the audience. Barry turned before reaching the door with a huge smile on his face and happily returned to his seat.
It was mentioned during the session that Tony's book "Slapstick!" is long out of print but used copies can be found via Amazon and other retailers.
BARRY CRYER: THE LOST GENIUS OF KENNY EVERETT
Barry Cryer co-presented a session on Kenny Everett, a popular British DJ who went on to star in a successful television series featuring innovative visual humor. Barry demonstrated his incredible memory (and kept the audience well entertained) by recounting amusing stories of working with Kenny.
Barry's co-presenter explained it had been difficult to find clips of Kenny's television series to show during the session, despite the fact the series had run for many years. Barry said it was frustrating, he'd like to see Kenny's television series released on DVD as well as "The Goodies" and other shows – after all, the British people had paid for these with their television license fees and they deserved to see the shows that were locked up in the archives. I'm sure a lot of the audience was nodding in agreement!
DESERT ISLAND SLAPSTICK
Tim, Graeme, and Barry were invited by chairman David Robinson to answer the question, "If you were stuck on a desert island with only one silent comedy to keep you company, which would you choose?"
Graeme was up first, and explained he'd actually chosen a film that he wanted to see that evening as he'd only seen parts of it before. His choice was Harry Langdon's "Boobs in the Woods" (Graeme had to quickly explain that at the time the film was made "boobs" meant "idiots"). He spoke a little about how Harry Langdon used to be as big a name in silent movies as his contemporaries Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, but that Langdon's films had somehow fallen by the wayside. Graeme then rejoined the audience to watch to film with the rest of us.
Barry's turn was next – like Graeme, he had chosen a film he'd wanted to see rather than a favorite that he'd seen before. His choice was a film by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Barry and David briefly spoke about the sad tale of Arbuckle, who had been a huge star in the days of early cinema until he was accused of a crime involving an alleged attack on an actress who attended one of his parties. This lead to a huge scandal and the destruction of Arbuckle's career and reputation; by the time Arbuckle was found innocent after his third trial his films had been banned; to this day some people refuse to show or view them.
The Fatty Arbuckle film shown that evening was "Coney Island', whose cast included Arbuckle's protégé, Buster Keaton. This lead nicely to Tim's selection; he came on stage at the conclusion of the film to talk about his choice, which of course was to feature his hero Keaton. Tim spoke about how interesting Barry's choice had been because in "Coney Island" Keaton's character had laughed, cried, and showed other emotions; later Keaton would become known as "The Great Stone Face" for playing his classic physical comedy with a stoic, deadpan expression. Tim explained that Keaton had learned, while performing on stage as a child, that he'd get more laughs that way. He also spoke about his admiration for Keaton, including his amazing physical performances in which Keaton never used a stuntman. Tim's choice, which he had seen (and which he urged the audience to "vote for" with a cheeky smile), was Keaton's short "Neighbors" – if I remember correctly, Tim said it wasn't Keaton's funniest film but perhaps was one of his cleverest. A clip from this film was shown during Tim's BBC Breakfast interview (as seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bristol/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_8470000/8470005.stm).
After "Neighbors", all three panelists joined David on stage to wrap up the session (with Tim again asking the audience to vote for his selection in the non-existent election ;) and took a few questions from the audience (including Graeme answering that "The Goodies" was definitely influenced by Laurel and Hardy but that they didn't use L&H's technique of looking at the camera). Then they mentioned the final event of the festival, which was to following in the same venue after a short dinner interval – thanks to Neil Innes' participation in the festival they were going to show "The Rutles: All You Need is Cash", a parody of The Beatles story with Eric Idle and Neil. Barry said he was in "The Rutles" but "if you blink you'll miss me". With perfect timing, Graeme immediately said to the audience, "get ready to blink" (which got a huge laugh).
Neil Innes did introduce "The Rutles" and gave the best link they'd been able to come up with to justify the show's inclusion in the Slapstick festival. He explained the special had been a spin off from a sketch in Eric Idle's series "Rutland Weekend Television", which was a parody of a scene from The Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night", which in turn came from AHDN's director Richard Lester's silent 1960 short "The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film". Neil, if you ever read this, here's another tiny "justification" – in the Rutles film the cover of their "Tragical History Tour" album includes the song "W.C. Fields Forever". ;)
Even if there was only a tenuous reason to show "The Rutles" that evening there were obviously lots of Rutles fans in the audience who heartily enjoyed the show – and who gave a big cheer when Barry appeared on screen. At the end of the special Neil came on stage to perform what he called "[Rutle] Ron Nasty's Final Song", a parody of "Imagine" called "Imitation Song", and thus ended a wonderful festival.
Many thanks to all involved in putting on such a wonderful event!
6. GOODIES MUSIC REVIEW #42
Hi there pop pickers and welcome to another Goodies Music Review.
When we last left our intrepid music reviewers Emperor Caligula (aka Brett Allender) and Peaches Stiletto (aka Linda Kay) they were still making a vein, er … vain attempt to escape into the lingering haze away from the a-snort-ment of terrible dope-related puns that they weeded out for their reviews of I Wish I Could Get High. The Emperor huffed and puffed and snorted and sniffed and ultimately managed to leap up high in the air, but only because he'd accidentally put the lit end of the joint in his mouth and needed a quick shot of Coke (bubbles up the nose and all!) to quell the burning sensation (or quite possibly, even add to it!) Talk about making a hash of things – that's his new career as a juana-be hippy gone to pot at lightning speed.
Meanwhile Peaches decided to reach her high through musical means, but found that none of the Doobie Brothers, Rolling Stoned, Doctor Hookah or Fine Young Cannabis would do the trick, so she instead hit on the ultimate high note from certain young lady who the Goodies left locked up at the Music Master's hideout as her means of turning on, tuning in and dropping out while everybody else are blocking their ears in agony. So before she decides that she's "goona poonish" us by coming over and totally wrecking our office we'll quickly cross out to the countryside and your dung-splattered DJs with their music review of "MELODY FARM" by The Goodies.
"Melody Farm" can be heard on the 70s albums "The Goodies Beastly Record" and "The Goodies Greatest Hits"
Lyrics: sung by all three Goodies
(Yee-hah, yippee etc)
Everyone agrees a little country music, is what we love to hear today
Once you get the beat you can never lose it, and animals are born that way
Well I know a farm where they keep the beasts, in their natural state
From the day they're born would you believe, they all can syncopate
The geese all sing, the cows all swing
They even got a donkey that can croon like Bing
Now the hens are hummin' along like a charm
Down on Melody Farm
Grab the dancing shoes, hear the news
They got a one-eyed turkey that can sing the blues
The sheep are shufflin' and it's getting' warm
Down on Melody Farm
They groove, their hooves, stompin' out on the floor
Just dig, that pig, y'all
The chicks all cluck, start to cook
To the detonating rhythm of the dancing duck
Oh the pigs are pumpin', blowin' up a storm
Down on Melody Farm
Yee-hah! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Constance the singing chicken …
[clucking to rhythm]
A big hand now for that Welsh sheepdog Spot The Tune and those hounds of music, the Bark Chorale
[barking to rhythm]
When they, start to play, mice come out of their holes (eek eek)
Ducks flip, let 'er rip, and they sing … (quack quack quack)
Let me hear it now for Clara Sugaretta's cow on bass (yee-hah), Melham the yodelling cockerel (yee-hoo) and four hoofs in harmony, Julian the tap-dancing horse (yee-hah)
[mooing, crowing, tapping and neighing to rhythm] (Yay)
Cats all meet, beat their feet
You never heard an animal sing so sweet
The joint is jumpin' and it's gettin' warm
Down on Melody, down on Melody, down on Melody (eek baa woof meow)
Down on Melody Farm (Yee-hoo)
There's no doubt the Goodies were ahead of their time . . . and this song proves it! Organic farming is all the rage these days, with free-range chickens (imagine, giving chickens free stoves of their own!), crop rotation (okay, you string beans, allemande right!) and green manure (just how many peas must one eat to achieve *that*??) Well, what's more natural than music? And the animals of the Goodies Melody Farm are free to sing and dance to their hooves content. Farm-iliarity breeds contentment, and content animals are tasty animals! Singing for your supper is out . . . singing *with* your supper is in! If the critters are going to end up served with fritters, let 'em put on a show before they go! And while today's organic farmers might prefer folk songs (Kum-bah-ya), the Goodies also somehow predicted the resurgence of country music. And what a brilliant marketing potential we have here! It could usher in a whole new phase of environmentally-sound, wholesome organic down home entertainment! Square dancing isn't just for squares any more; now even the most progressive environmentalist can do-so-do something to help save the planet and shake a hoof while reaching their lofty goals! Just imagine stars like Billy Goat Cyrus, Carrie Udderwood, Chris LeMoo, Waylon Hen-nings, Sammy Cowshaw, Hay Walker and, of course, the Dixie Chicks. Farm Aid, here we come!
Old MacDonald may well have had a famous farm that has been immortalised in nursery rhyme song, but the good folks of Melody Farm have b-ranched out and ploughed all their moo-lah into a singing goldmine of unrivalled animal talent, barn none. From the sty-lish pumpin' pigs to the syncopating shufflin' sheep, they sure know how to at-tractor lot of attention with their cultivated choraling. The crooning donkey also no doubt keeps everyone in the farmyard entertained with stock Bing Crosby tunes such as "White Christm-ass", "I Heard The Bells On Christm-ass Bray", "Muleburn", "Don't Fence Me In" and "Thanks Fodder Memories", not to mention the Sinatra classic "Eeyore-k, Eeyore-k". However it's the frequent references to things getting warm that might just cause this musical menagerie to come a crop-per as the mass of methane and CO2 generated from their hopping, bopping and gyrating seems to be rapidly accelerating global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer. If Old Farmer Joe decides to reduce Melody Farm's carbon footprint by cranking up his spit roast and filling up his freezer, then the farmyard choir might wind up like Bill in The End: "Am I getting warm?" "You soon will be!" Eek baa woof meow … pass the mint jelly and the barbecue sauce please! "Mmmm, fill your tum, sing yum yum yum, it's spring spring spring" – that's one Goodies song that's definitely not part of the animal's repertoire if they can avoid it!
Using the Black Pudding Rating System:
IIII Officially Amazing (Peaches Stiletto)
III 1/2 Amazingly Goody (Emperor Caligula)
THE BLACK PUDDING RATINGS SYSTEM
IIIII - Superstar.
IIII - Officially Amazing.
III - Goody Goody Yum Yum.
II - Fair-y Punkmother.
I - Tripe on t' Pikelets.
7. QUIZ & QUOTE ANSWERS
(c) Invasion Of The Moon Creatures (accept Big Bunny)
(d) Because, in Tim's words, "he's a raving loony!"
(g) Twice a night and you're doing alright!
(h) A wild boar
8 Mastermind Of The Year
7 Goodies fan supreme
5-6 Clever clogs
3-4 Goody Goody effort
1-2 Time to watch some more episodes
0 Are you sure you're not Rolf Harris?!
NEXT C&G EDITION:
- #172: 12th March 2010.
- Mar / Apr: A Collection Of Goodies Themes – Goodies Relatives
- Apr / May: Goodies Music Review – Charles Aznovoice
Updated to C&G 162 (May 2009)
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