October 05, 2019

Python 50

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

I don't believe there's been ANYthing that's been more influential in my sense of humor, and possibly my entire life, than Python.  At the age of nine, every Sunday night at 930pm you could find me camped out in front of the television at the Old Home Pond.  Then, after staring at a blank screen for a while, I'd actually turn it on.
What came forth from that box would change me forever.  I knew types of cheeses that didn't exist yet.  I learned that hedgehogs hated gangsters.  I learned that penguins were electric and had long stinging tentacles.  Musical instruments played by whacking mice with hammers.  I learned what a fjord was, and that certain types of parrots pined for them.  I learned what a twit was.
As it turned out, very little of this would help me in the formal sense.  I knew the winners of the 1949 FA Cup but I couldn't do math.
Despite this, there's no question that my life, and that of countless others, has been...
...improved by Monty Python being in it.  It's a debt I can never repay, nor would I want to... who has that much gouda?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:05 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 The Pythons are one of the three media forces that shaped the sense of humor of my young, impressionable mind. From them I learned that absurdity can be a powerful tool for entertainment, but you need to sell it just right or it falls flat.

(The other two: George Carlin, from whom I learned that words have meaning and power, and The Marx Brothers, from whom I learned... well, the power of well-disguised innuendo if nothing else.)

Posted by: GreyDuck at October 06, 2019 01:48 PM (rKFiU)

2 And for the current generation, it seems harder than ever to access, given the Wealth(?) of entertainment sources we have today.

Posted by: Mauser at October 06, 2019 07:38 PM (Ix1l6)

3 Oooh! You can listen to the Goon Show on the BBC!
They also did a documentary about these two crazy comics who were actually predecessors of the Goons, and did that style of comedy onstage right before, during, and after WWII. There was also a nice audio doc about Spike Jones.

So yeah, the Goons did their stuff in their own way, and Monty Python did Goon-type stuff.
Also, the legendary George Martin produced the Goon Show original albums, back when he was low man on the totem pole and was doing whatever the other producers didn't want.

Which was why the Beatles were ecstatic to work with him, because they wanted to do all sorts of crazy sounds too, albeit more seriously than the Goons and Spike Jones.

Everything is connected....

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at October 17, 2019 08:46 PM (sF8WE)

4 Oh, BBC Radio 4 Extra just put out a 6 part comedy radio drama on the history of the band KLF! It's called "How to Burn a Million Quid."

They've also got a fair amount of dramas and stuff, nothing really sweet right now, but you can look back into the past in the full schedule and listen to anything that's a week or two old. (Even if you live in the US, as is not usually the case with their TV stuff.)

"I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again" is another pre-Python thing, with John Cleese and his Cambridge buddies. It seems to have some eps on YouTube as well as on the Beeb streaming radio.

On regular BBC Radio 4, they have David Tennant doing Chekhov with a multi-part "Wild Honey."
And if you really want odd stuff, CBeebies is the kids' radio drama, talkshows, and "soothing sounds", and every UK language group has local radio you can access.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at October 17, 2019 09:21 PM (sF8WE)

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