It’s now 60 years since the broadcast of a ground breaking radio comedy, one that was destined to have an effect on British comedy for a long time after the show had ceased being produced.
The Goon Show, created by Spike Milligan, and performed by himself, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe (and Michael Bentine in the first two series), first went out in May 1951, entitled “Those Crazy People”. Before long, its surreal ‘sound cartooning’ caught on and by the end of the 17th show in the series, had a reported audience of 2 million listened to the BBC Home Service.
The show ran each winter, 26 episodes per series, until 1960. It took a toll on the health of scriptwriter Spike, but in the end, it was the springboard for his future success. Co-stars Sellers and Secombe always looked forwards to Sunday recording sessions as to them it was so much fun.
Of course, I’ve been a devotee for years and indeed, it doesn’t date. For me it’s not laugh out loud funny but very enjoyable to listen to and create the pictures in my mind…
For some clips to typical excerpts, catchphrases and jokes, I would recommend Bloodnok to give you some idea as to the vocal virtuosity of the gang. The show inspired Peter Cook, Monty Python and others to cast free the shackles of the past comedic offerings and just go mad.