Cottingham.tv remembers – The Goons!

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe record cover? (aka The Goons and also available in ‘vinyl’) – do you have this or other collectible albums stashed in your loft?

Escape from the War!

The ’50s witnessed the blossoming of British creative talent leading into the ’60s

Following the narrowest of escapes many years later, even after Dunkirk*,  like the Goons, our intrepid editor is delighted to report that all appears to be well, following a successul rear guard action – his mad antics will be described later – stay tuned  🙂

 

The Goons featuring

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Harry Secombe

–  the other fabulous foursome!

First there came Spike Milligan

* Following the media repression and misery of the war years, they burst out from the constraints of authoritarian wartime Britain into Radio like a un-coiling spring, as an outrageously funny irreverent foursome to poke fun at the ‘wooden’ establishment that had held them in check for so long!

Although a jazz vocalist-turned-entertainer of the troups during wartime Britain, Spike Milligan could be considered as the lyrical / satyrical / anti-war / anti-authority ‘John Lennon’ founder of this particular fabulous foursome, along with co-writers Larry Stephens and Eric Sykes. Spike wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of concerts to entertain troops during the war years as a signaller in the Royal Artillery 56th. Armoured Division. Hmmm.. dad must have known of him as a member of a similar Division. The editor also remembers reading one of his amazing books  quite early on – which together with Waugh’s Scoop and Voltaire’s Candide probably didn’t do him much good either, speaking as a ‘sensible citizen‘ of questionable sensibilities, that is  🙂

Peter Sellers and Ian Carmichael as sensible citizens, tongue in cheek, in “I’m Alright Jack” – another hilarious attempt of the social classes to return to civilian life in post-war, re-uniting Britain! The whole nation’s returning soldiers appeared to be suffering from a form of collective PTSD – for which manic humour and a liberal measure of ‘for God’s sake pull yourself together man’ were prescribed! Hence – ‘I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re OK’; I’m alright, We’re alright, You’re alright, Jack?

Note: this clip doesn’t do the film justice – watch the whole film to get the full comedy including the ‘you’re not the detergent type’ Ian Carmichael clip – and Peter Sellers as the union shop steward! Sellers went to work on the character and role of “Fred Kite” with all the obsessive and meticulous attention to nuance and detail he lavished on Dr. Stragelove! When the social classes eventually and inevitably collided as Carmichael dated his pretty daughter in the spirt of the times (the new progressive and socially-mobile ‘swinging’ ’60s), ‘war’ threatened to break back-out again, but it was held in masterful restraint as ‘preventative internecine warefare countermeasures’ by union man Sellers in his hysterically funny portrayal!

Each to their own: Fred Kite – father and union man

The role of ‘sensible citizen’ as “reluctant comedian” in The Goon Show (as in real life) was played by ex. RAF intelligence officer Michael Bentine

On the editor’s young adult reading list

Serious dutiful absentee citizen Bentine (above) – then along came  Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers (below)

The editor particularly remembers the radio dialogues between Sellers, Secombe aka ‘Neddie Seagoon’ and Milligan!

The Goons was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1951

 

Nick  🙂

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