Saturday 13th August 2022 - 16:22:20 

Spike Milligan


Genius, they say, is next to madness. Never was this saying truer than with Spike Milligan. What appeals to me about Spike Milligan's style is imagination in creating surreal images. I cannot think of another comedian who produced such a stream of original material. Research almost any other comic’s material and you will find their ideas or routines belong to stars of a previous generation.

Spike Milligan Quips

After five days in hospital, I took a turn for the nurse.

I have the body of an eighteen year old. I keep it in the fridge.

I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens.

Is there anything worn under the kilt? No, it's all in perfect working order.

Spike Milligan and the Goons

One reason that Spike Milligan is revered by Englishmen of a certain age is that Radio was Spike's best medium. As a boy back in the 1950's radio was all we had, there was no TV. In those days the goon show had us spellbound in a way that Harry Potter captivates the current generation. To tell the truth back then, I did not think of Spike Milligan but only of the characters he brought to life: Eccles, Fred Fu Manchu, and Bowser. Later I discovered that it was Peter Sellers who played Bloodnok, Bluebottle and Henry Crun, while Harry Secombe played Neddie Seagoon. Even later I discovered that other characters were played by all manner of people; two of note were Michael Bentine and surprisingly, Ray Ellington.

Snippets from the Goon Shows

Bloodnok: I'll turn a deaf ear.
Seagoon: I didn't know you had a deaf ear.
Bloodnok: Yes, I found it on the floor of a barber's shop.

Seagoon: We've come to disconnect your phone.
The Red Bladder: I haven't got one.
Seagoon: Don't worry, we've brought one with us.

Seagoon: Any cases of frozen feet?
Eccles: You didn't order any cases of frozen feet!

Seagoon: For an hour we ran in French, which I ran fluently.

At a distance of 50 years, it's hard to express how the goons buffoonery became a cult of the era. To give one example, the nonsense song Ying tong reached number 3 in the hit parade in September 1956. As then, once you read the verse a few times you cannot get it out of your mind.

Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle i po,
Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle i po, yiddle i po,
Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle i po,
Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle i po, yiddle i po.
Yiiiing, tongy tongy tongy, yiddy diddy diddy da doh, ying diddy,
Ying tong diddle, yiddledy boo,
Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle, ying tong yiddle i po,
Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong yiddle i po, yiddle i po, oh!

Remember in those days a half an hour listening to the radio, followed by a kick-about with a ball in in the street and boys were happy with the simple pleasures of life.

Spike Milligan's Irreverence

Comedian's are notorious for gently taking the Mickey out of politicians and any other dignitaries that they meet. Perhaps the incident which best sums up Spike Milligan's irreverence and ability to shock was when in 1994 he called the Prince of Wales, "a grovelling little bastard". However, while the phrase is widely quoted, it does require context. The Prince of Wales had been a Goon fan since childhood, Spike Milligan and Prince Charles first met in 1969 and the Prince of Wales. The quip was in response to a letter that the Prince of Wales wrote congratulating Spike on his lifetime comedy award. Nevertheless, it was a shocking thing to say live on stage.

The best measure of Spike Milligan's genius was then number of people who imitated him. John Cleese and the Monty Python gang freely admit that Spike inspired their sketches, Eddie Izzard called Spike Milligan the 'godfather of alternative comedy'.

More Spike Milligan Quips

Spike Milligan: "How are you at Mathematics?".
Harry Secombe: "I speak it like a native".

Many people die of thirst but the Irish are born with one

All men are cremated equal

Apéritif:: French for a set of dentures.

Sad Hamlet to Ophelia: 'I'll do a sketch of thee, what kind of pencil shall I use?
2B, or not 2B?'

Selected Spike Milligan Credits

The Goon Show (Radio)

Q - (1970's TV Program)

Adolf Hitler - My Part in his Downfall (Book)

Puckoon - (Book then Film)

The Great McGonagall - (Film)

Build your own satellite and have it launched into Space.

AmbaSat-1 is a tiny Space satellite kit that you launch yourself

Quotes for Today:

I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected.

I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

I earn a seven-figure salary. Unfortunately, there's a decimal point involved.

The idea is to die young as late as possible

Don't worry about old age, it doesn't last that long.

Every now and then I throw in one of those typos to see who's paying attention :-)

Give me the grace to see a joke, to get some humor out of life and smiling it on to other folk.

Have a great Day and Laugh, "Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many".

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