A Conversation for The Goon Show

Hooray for the goons!

Post 1

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Well done Binky! What a lovely bit of work!

But let's not forget the inimitable Valantine Dyall (last seen as The Dark Guardian, on Doctor Who), the very soul of menace, or our long-suffering announcer Wallace Greenslade... Or the music and mayhem of Ray Ellington, The Wally Stott Orchestra, or Max Geldray's jazz harmonica interludes.

One of the saddest facts an aging human has to face is that the world isn't dotted with tributes to the Goons, God bless 'em.

smiley - smiley


Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 2


Interestingly enough, (perhaps) during the falklands war, the british soldiers refered to the locals as "goonies", after the goons. However the locals got their revenge by charging EXTREMELY high price. And hating their guts.
Ah well

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 3

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Yes, a nicely concise history as JTG says, and since you've added all the other personnel I was going to suggest, JTG, I'll just mention an occasional guest whose name I can't remember, but who played a dipsomaniac character called Colonel Chinstrap. His catchphrase was "I don't mind if I do", whereupon the sound of an impossible amount of liquid being poured would go on...and on... and on. Any ideas, Goon Sleuths?

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 4


I'm stumped - I don't know as much as my name suggests. I want to learn more, as soon as I get hold of more episodes...

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 5


Superb article! smiley - smiley

I've been a fan of the Goons since I was about 6, when I learned the whole of Napoleon's Piano by heart - it was downhill from there!

Eccles: (Very slowly and carefully) Comm-ent t'all-ez vouz?
Seagoon: (Very quickly) Bien, merci. Et vouz?
Eccles" Oh ho! That's the end of that then!

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 6


It was early morning at Beaulieu Manor. Breakfast had just been served, and I was standing at the window, looking in. With the aid of a telescope I was reading the paper on the breakfast table when an advertisement caught my eye. It said (Grytpype speaking) "Will pay anybody five pounds to move piano from one room to another. Apply: The Bladders, Harpiapipe, Quants."

In needle-of-no time, I was at the address, and with the aid of a lump of iron and a piece of wood, I made this sound: (FX door knocker).

Moriarty: Sapristi Knuckoes! When I heard that sound, I ran downstairs, and with the aid of a doorknob and two hinges, I made this sound (FX door opening squeakily).

I could go on. And on. smiley - smiley

BTW, the sound effects were created and performed live by a superb 2-man effects department in a booth - very sophisticated at the time - reel tapes, gramophones, etc.

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 7


The Mystery of The Mary Celeste - Solved! has to bo one of the best.
Pull up a bollard!

Hooray for the falkland goons!

Post 8

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Excellent article.

It takes me back to when I was a young chap listening to it every Monday night on the transister radio I had smuggled into my room and hidden under the bedclothes. smiley - bigeyes

Hooray for the goons!

Post 9

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

Super article, comprehensive and not a word wasted!

When I went to England 30 years ago, all my new friends made sure I learned about the Goons. They said there was no way I could possibly understand British Culture without Goons.

Which was the show that took place in a prison, with the interminable footsteps and clanging of doors, and ended with the sentence, "Never mind, I'll smoke one of my own."?


Hooray for the goons!

Post 10

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Probably "Tales of old Dartmoor".

The sound effects guys really did have their work cut out for them.

There were what were called "spot" effects, which were live performances with tables laden with noise-making bits and pieces such as cutlery, slapsticks, bells and horns, etc, as well as specially-constructed full-sized doors and windows in wooden box frames, all miked up for that up-front sound and played in real time with the actors from the script.

But today's theatre techs used to playing CDs or MiniDiscs when background or specially-created effects such as Bloodnok's explosions are needed would have a hairy fit at the technology of the 50's. Some material would have been played from tape, but we're talking about a machine the size of an Aga cooker and 10" reels of tape running at 15 inches per second with leader tape to seperate individual effects. But the primary source for recorded effects would have been gramophone decks - again machines that looked like something from a fitter's workshop - and the sound effects records would have been 78's. Each 78 disc would only have had a small selection of sound effects, perhaps even only one, on it, and to be 100% accurate when playing it in, you used to mark the groove where the sound began with a chinagraph pencil. This would all be going on in the control room, or "cubicle" as the Beeb still quaintly calls it, so the audience hearing the often hilarious effects over the PA system (probably all of 30 watts) would have had little idea of the mayhem behind the scenes.

I'm lost in admiration for the people who made these shows, and they're probably the reason I work in broadcasting today! My only regret is there isn't a show like it any more.

Give me excess of it...

Post 11

The Wisest Fool

If you can expand the 'spot effects' info to fit a separate entry , then let me know and I'll see if I can get it accepted and then link to it from the main Goon Show page. It's interesting stuff. If not, I could maybe add a bit to the main Goons page. Please let me know.

Hi Anyone reading this,
Post any more Goons info here in this forum and I'll look to adding to the article in the near future. I think that The Goons are important enough to warrant a hefty article. A pretty good case could be made that h2g2 wouldn't be here but for they. NB please don't paste entire scripts here - we won't be able to get copyright on them, the same goes for audio samples - great, but we can't use it!
I'm particularly interested in any info researchers have on good Goons websites / fan-clubs around the world.

Then I can look forward to hearing the Goons page talk back to me,
"You dirty swine! You sub-edded me again..."


P.S. Needle-Nardle-Noo.

Give me excess of it...

Post 12

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

You silly, twisted boy.

Glad you found the Spot effects stuff interesting, TWF. I don't speak from personal experience of working on the Goon Show, but I've been in broadcasting since the 70's, so I know how it would have been done, if not the exact details. If you want me to expand a bit more on the equipment and the techies, I could do that.

Moriarty, time for your 'ow'.

Colonel Chinstrap!

Post 13


Colonel Chinstrap was not a Goon character, he was in ITMA* which was a mainly wartime programme. He was played by Jack Train who I don't recall doing a lot else. He didn't strike me as a performer of much talent or attractiveness. I think he was in 'Twenty Questions', a long-running panel game of rivetting banality.

ITMA may well be worth an entry (if there isn't one already). If anyone is interested, I have a set of 5 12" 78s of ITMA which I no longer have the wherewithall to play - any offers?

*Note ITMA stood (allegedly) for It's That Man Again, 'That Man' being Tommy Handley.

Where's my reply?

Post 14


That's weird, I replied to this comment about Colonel Chinstrap earlier this evening and it's vanished!

What I was saying was that Colonel Chinstrap was played by Jack Train but not in the Goon Show, but in ITMA*, a mainly wartime show.


Post 15


Wasn't it more like, 'Sapristi niakos'? On some occasions it became, 'Sapristi yabbabakakka'.

It's done it again!

Post 16


That's the second time a reply has vanished!

What I was saying this time was that I think it was more like 'Sapristi niakos!'.

Where's my reply?

Post 17

Binky the Doormat

Colonel Chinstrap made a guest appearance in an episode called (I think) Shifting Sands. I assume he was played by the same blokey. He was the one whom Bloodnok would open a bottle of brandy for (with a loud pop) every time he appeared ("Thank yew, don't mind if I do...")

Where's my reply?

Post 18

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Yep, that makes sense. ITMA was probably running at the same time as the Goons, so they probably had Jack Train as a sort of guest star. Clearly he didn't appear as often as I imagined. Maybe I'd been on the sauce myself.

Jack Train and the Goons

Post 19


No, ITMA finished way before the Goons started and without being categorical about it, it would amaze me if the Goons would have ever 'used' Jack Train. Don't forget that Sellers started out as an impressionist, or at least was an accomplished mimic, so maybe he did a voice that has confused you.

I don't want to start a new thread but ITMA was written by Ted Kavanagh and after the success of ITMA the Beeb gave him another chance with a pathetic series called 'The Great Gilhooly (sp?). I hardly remember anything about it other than it lasted about a month and then vanished without trace. Kavanagh's son was a successful broadcaster for many years.


Post 20


Ah! I stand corrected!

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