Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe perform four episodes of The Goon Show.
"The Thing on the Mountain" (S8 Ep15 from 6 January 1958). In which Dai the Hair encounters a terrible apparition on Snowdon and it appears that the Mayor of Llandahoi is a Pakistani gentleman. Seagoon steps forward to rid the mountain of the terrible monster but Moriarty and Grytpype-Thynne have other ideas.
"The Collapse of the British Railway Sandwich System" (S4 Ep24 from 8 March 1954, re-recorded on 12 January 1958). Where's the mustard? Where's the cress? Where's the curly bread? Captain Gladys Seagoon investigates to discover that young Timmy Bluebottle (arch criminal and master of the Teddy Tale Junior Disguise Outfit, price two shillings at all good chemists) may be to blame.
"The Great Statue Debate" (S8 Ep26 from 24 March 1958). The leather statue of James the second is to be replaced with a compressed tobacco one of Walter Raleigh. Events are cut short as the MP's are evicted by H Grytpipe-Thynne, landlord of the Houses of Parliament.
"The Silver Doubloons" (S10 Ep5 from 21 January 1960).
I used to listen to The Goon Show quite a lot as a lad. Not, I hesitate to add, during the '50's and '60's but during the 1980's - I suppose it was retro enough to be cool in a geeky sort of way. It's been a while now and, in reacquainting myself, it is been a joy to discover that the comedy is as fresh and funny now as it was then.
The Goons can probably lay claim to the title of progenitors to pretty much all of modern day comedy. The anarchic and surreal style certainly influenced Monty Python
and can be detected in more recent offerings such as The Young Ones
, The Fast Show
and League of Gentlemen
Written largely by that comedy genius Milligan, it is a testament to his abilities as a writer and, with Sellers and Secombe, as performers, that despite being carefully scripted (he believed that the writing workload was a big cause of his mental breakdown) it sounds so organic, free-form and natural. In fact the whole thing sounds like a bunch of mates mostly just having a laugh. However, if you look (listen) carefully, you will actually discover that the humour is, under the surface, very sophisticated indeed; recursive, transcendental and avant-garde with (for the period) ground-breaking use of special effects.
All of the old favourites are here: Seagoon, Eccles & Bluebottle, H. Grytpype-Thynne & Count Jim Moriarty, Henry Crun and his Modern Min and Major Bloodnok. Wallace Greenslade comperes and Max Geldray and Ray Ellington provide musical interludes. If you've never heard The Goons but love quality comedy, this is for you.
BLOODNOK: (About Eccles) He comes here every day for a swim.
SEAGOON: But there's no water here.
ECCLES: Well that's ok - I can't swim. I never had a chance to learn.
SEAGOON: Why not?
ECCLES: Oh, there's no water here. You can't swim without water my man. Who is this idiot?