A British radio comedy show in the 1950s and 60s. Acknowledged spiritual forefathers of Monty Python, the Goons were:

The Goon Show pioneered the use of sound effects in radio comedy, and if you know enough about 50s British culture it's fucking hilarious. Especially if you like silly voices.

The Goon Shows have been making a comeback on mp3 old time radio shows web sites everywhere.

The BBC has been dribbling out these shows by the ones and twos for the last 30 years. In just under a year 155 of them have been released on the net.

There are now 155 shows in the stream of collectors of the 2xx shows known to have been broadcast.

With the recent flood of available shows there have been hundreds of new goonatics being born .
Originally started as the "Crazy People" (featuring Radio's own Crazy Gang -- the Goons) in 1951 on BBC Radio. It starred Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and also initially Michael Bentine. Its name was quickly changed to "The Goon Show" (which had been the cast's original choice). The name was a cause of some confusion with one BBC executive reported to have asked about "This Go On Show". After two seasons Michael Bentine left and that just left the core three players. The show finished at the start of 1960 after about 250 shows had been made.

The show was very surreal with extreme off the wall comedy where anything was possible:

  • sailing away in Dartmoor Prison (leaving a cardboard replica behind)
  • cutting the knot off a rope to stop it being untied
  • searching for pieces of the lost International Christmas Pudding
Famous characters include Eccles, Bluebottle, Minnie Bannister, Henry Crun, Moriarty, Grytpype-Thyne, Major Dennis Bloodnok, and Neddy Seagoon.

Spike Milligan was very particular about the sound effects for the show and pushed very hard for much more interesting items than just doors and footsteps. There was particular fun trying to get the sound of things like someone being hit with a sock full of custard.

Writing most of the scripts was very wearing for Milligan and he went through depression and at least one nervous breakdown during the lifetime of the show. He is quoted as saying "I gave my sanity to that show."

As well as the radio series they also released several records of comedy songs including the "Ying Tong Song", and "I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas (across the Irish Sea)".

Prince Charles is an avid fan of the series and there are picture of him as Bluebottle etc. In fact apparently when one of his brothers first heard the "Ying Tong Song" he thought it was Charles as he'd heard him sing it so much.

The cast got back together in 1972 to make "The Last Goon Show of All". This was transmitted on TV as well as radio. All the old characters were back. It was attended by Prince Philip and Princess Anne, but Prince Charles was on naval duty and sent an hilarious letter ("My knees dropped off with envy at the thought of my father and sister attending the show.").

Due to live nature of the program and chaos of the BBC Archives there are only some 150 episodes still extant (others still occasionally turn up from far and wide). The BBC has released about 60 episodes on tape and CD.

That leaves only one thing to say:

"Ying Tong Iddle I Po."

Quoting incessantly from the Goon Show is one of those things that people either love or hate... I and a bunch of my self-confessed goonatic friends can, and will, go on for hours along the lines of "Saying 'Thing' is a cure for monkeys on the knee". OTOH the same technique will cause my girlfriend to leave the room within nanoseconds.

If done to annoy people, as in the latter example above, it works best with co-conspirators... my flatmate is shaping up to be quite a satisfactory sidekick in this regard.

And now I, as Dhericean, have only one thing to say...

"Nick knack, paddywack, give a dog a bone..."
"What are you doing, Min? Dog's had four bones already... three of them are mine."

The comedy show that influenced the pythons and just about every British comedy group or individual for many many years, The Goons were Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan. After being demobbed from the army after the end of World War 2 the trio of entertainers hooked up and were commissioned to make a comedy show for BBC radio.

Over the next quarter of a century they literally rewrote the rules and redefined the meaning of comedy. They were probably the first comics with a mainstream audience who did more than stand up and tell a series of jokes: The Goons used sketch formats and surreal humour to brilliant effect.

Despite the fact that they were recording nearly 50 years ago, much of their comedy is still amazingly funny, a testament to the power of the writing. Peter Sellers (who was once romantically linked to Sophia Loren) is sadly no longer with us, and Secombe is now a born-again Christian presenting religious programmes on TV, but Spike Milligan -- one of Britain's finest ever comics -- is still alive and well and still being subversively comic: upon receiving a "lifetime achievement award" at the BAFTAs a few years ago and being told there was a telegram of congratulations from Prince Charles he memorably said (on national TV) "That obsequious bastard? I wish he'd stop writing to me all the time".

The main characters of the Goons were Eccles, called the original goon played by Spike, Bluebottle played by Peter, Ned Seagoon played by Harry, Henry Crun played by Peter, Minnie Bannister played by Spike, Major Denis Bloodnok played by Peter. There were however hundreds of characters. A tv version of the Goons was made, called the Telegoons.

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