“This is the BBC.” With those words, spoken by announcer Wallace Greenslade, I was unsuspectingly ushered into the zany world of Spike Milligan’s masterful creation. Though The Goon Show was originally broadcast in the fifties, its popularity still persists today.
In March of 1973, I happened to be searching the radio dial one evening for something interesting to hear. I stopped turning the dial when I happened on an episode of The Goon Show called Insurance: The White Man’s Burden.” I couldn’t believe what I heard. In this particular program, Neddie Seagoon had been given a deed to the English Channel and then sold an insurance policy against it ever catching fire. The puns, word play, and totally wacky humor of the show attracted me like steel to a magnet.
I became a regular listener to that station as they played The Goon Show each Sunday evening. Never once did I hear a program that didn’t weaken my loyalty to it. Not only was the style of comedy appealing to my warped sense of humour but each show had a story as well. It wasn’t just random jokes, as the routines of stand-up comedians use. The hilarious plots and richness of the characters left me thinking about what I heard days afterwards.
Inevitably, my new-found love of The Goon Show created conflicts with my friends. I’d often say something in jest or use tag lines from the show which left people wondering what I meant. As a result, I learned not to use “Goonisms” around them.
Decades later, I found a newsgroup dedicated to The Goon Show. For the first time in my life, I could post comments about my favourite British comedy show and receive replies from folks who knew exactly what I meant. Discovering this group of fans felt like the ugly duckling discovering he was a swan all along.
BBC 4 Extra still replays Goon Show episodes. One employee of the station replied to an e-mail I wrote, saying that young people were still discovering and enjoying the show as I did forty years ago. To any Goon Show fans reading this, I say ying tong iddle I po and you gotta go owww! And there’s more where that came from, Jiiiiiiim!
And that’s all for now, folks. Tune in again, yesterday evening at 9:00 A.M., for the Noon Report