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Are there any fans of Spike Milligan or surrealism in the house? If so, and you can transport yourself to the National Film Theatre on London's South Bank on Friday, your most surreal dreams may come true. Here is what the BFI have to say:

Heroes of Comedy
The Storytellers and the Surrealists, Sep 27, 2013 6.20pm NFT2

The Storytellers and the Surrealists. We look at the masters of the absurd, from Spike Milligan, Max Wall and Ken Dodd to Eddie Izzard, Harry Hill and The Mighty Boosh.

British comedy has often been enlivened by a vein of zany or surrealist humour, delivering a pleasingly absurdist view of life. Tonight we look at some of the crazy characters who delighted in such flights of fantasy (Robb Wilton, Spike Milligan, Max Wall, Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper, et al) and we'll see how the legacy lives on through the bizarre comedy of Eddie Izzard, Harry Hill, Ross Noble and The Mighty Boosh.

Total running time c100 min


Contact BFI Southbank

The Box Office is open daily from 11:30 - 20:30.

Tickets can be booked online (except for free events) or by telephoning the BFI Southbank Box Office on 020 7928 3232.

For daily information call 020 7633 0274.

When we rang on Tuesday 24th, it was between half and three quarters full.


From Peter Black in New Zealand by email :
"I'd be interested in finding out about the newsletters over here, also, is there a NZ group anywhere around.
(there's an idea - see Tony Wills email below). And my favourite characters are Eccles and Bluebottle."

From John Gray, stalwart member of the
North West Branch 
"On the subject of cassette tapes: I am sure I am not the only one with storage problems. Now that I have the Encyclopaedia Goonicus, and also digital copies of (almost) all extant recorded shows, I have a cache of redundant cassette recordings, which I could really do to dispose of, I do not want to simply dump them - is there a good home for them anywhere? Does anyone want some cassette recordings?"

Does anyone recognise this? From the owner, Terry Smith--
see image below 'Spike in a bath'

From Keith Winch: "Does anyone know why the China Story is missing from the new Compendium No:2 ? Is it because the BBC doesn't own the copyright? Are there any other show's likely to be missed off? Also, will there be a Volume 26 in the 4 x episode CD sets?"  For an answer, see the BBC page

From Kate Lees- The search is over--they found what they wanted, so thanks to everyone out there.
"The BFI were looking for 'missing' reels of the old Goon films to put together onto a DVD. They're now found."

From Peter Gilham by email
My favourite line comes from
"The Spanish Suitcase" where at the end they're all locked in gaol and for fun they "stand on each others shoulders and look through the crack in Eccles' head."

Request from Tony Wills -   New Zealand (by email)
"I am considering creating (or re-creating in case it has been created before) an NZ branch of the Goon Preservationists Society on behalf of the few colonial Goonoligists here-abouts. Does anyone remember a Russell Ward, who used to live in Auckland? As I understand that he was once the GSPS contact for this country. I thank you in anticipation."   
   
Request from Greg McCarry--Sydney, Australia (by email)
"I am a new member who used listen to the Goon Show here in Australia  in the 1950's. I partially recall three sequences and I am wondering  if any one can tell me which Shows they came from. The first took  listeners to the top of a London bus where two people were conversing  about a bird, which had a "head at one end, a tail at the other and a  body plumb in the middle". The second sequence was a variation on the lost  key sequence in  "The Whistling Spy Enigma". In the one I recall, a  ladder was put up to a first floor window and various people went in  and out by that route. Finally the key was thrown down and went  down a drain. The third sequence bore some rough similarity to the escape sequence in "The Affair of the Lone Banana.".  Neddy and two  others escaped by one standing on the shoulders of another, the third  standing on his shoulders and then the  first on the shoulders of the  third and so on, so that, caterpillar like, they ascended the wall to  the window."

Reply from Neil Trickey  - Author of the Encyclopaedia Goonicus
According to the Encyclopaedia Goonicus (every household should have one), the sequence about the bird is contained in show 5/19 The Missing Scroll. The keys down the drain appears in 6/23 The Great Tuscan Salami Scandal and the standing on the shoulders routine appears in 7/SP1 Robin Hood and V/11 The Great Bank of England Robbery(See the  Encyclopaedia Goonicus  page for details of how you can order your copy).

"Thanks for the warning about the Telegoons on DVD, although for me it came too late, as I sent my money off to some web site based in America and the swines never sent me my disks--so buyer beware is all I can say. Keep up the good work. Hey! Do you think his name could have been Grytpype Thynne?"  Very probably.
 

"Does anyone know the origins of the 'Prison Song'? 'In a prison cell where I belong is a most accomplished fellow--his name is Eccles and he sings all day and his voice is rather mellow'." 
[This is also known as 'The Raspberry Song' and is printed at the back of 'The Lost Goon Shows' scripts book but it is more usually called 'Eat More Fruit' and was performed in an episode of 'Q' by John Bluthall et al.] Web master.
 
"Has anyone seen the sad state of Spike's gravestone lately. The carved writing on the face has all but worn off. After such a long wait to get the stone raised in the first place, it seems sad that it is fading so fast."

"Are the Telegoons shows available on DVD?"
[Well, not really. You might think you've found them for sale on certain internet auction sites, but let us assure you - they are not commercially available anywhere!!! So if you find them, then think twice before you buy. We prefer to lobby the people in-the-know about these things and keep pushing until such time as they are commercially available…] Web master.

"What are your all-time Ten most favourite lines from the Goon Show episodes?"
[Well - that's a good one - let's have a vote of some sort. What are your Ten Most Favourite lines from the Goon Show? Or maybe, What are your all-time Ten Most Favourite Goon Shows?] Web master.
"My all time favourite line is spoken by Moriarty in The Last Of The Smoking Seagoons, (it may also be in other shows) --it is; 'we'll see you get a fair trial, and a fair hanging…'."

"The GSPS newsletter has what is called "The Three Goons" logo on its front cover. Why is this when there were four goons originally? (Michael Bentine is missing)".
[Ah! Yes. This one has come up before and has been debated within previous newsletters. For this web site we have used "The Four Goons" cartoon provided by one of our members (who is a commercial cartoonist). Much has already been said in the past about this subject and it's a matter of some delicacy as to which way we should go. Perhaps others of you out there have an opinion you would like to share?] Web master.

"In response to the 3 - Goons logo and whether it should really be the 4 - Goons logo question; I think that it ought to be just the three of them. As we all know Benters' left after a very short time with the group and in the following years the Goon Show developed into what we know it today. The structure and characters becoming fixed in radio history. After all - Pete Best left the Beatles early on and now no-one would think of ever calling them 'The Fab Five'. Don't you think?"