Director Peter Medak Plans to Resurrect The Ghost of Peter Sellers

It was 1973 and Peter Medak was a hot director on the rise. Following the success of The Ruling Class, which had earned Peter O’Toole an Academy Award nomination the previous year, United Artists offered him Death Wish. But when the studio insisted on casting Charles Bronson instead of Medak’s pick, Henry Fonda, Medak passed on the project.

Back in London, Medak ran into his friend Peter Sellers, who asked him to direct his next film, Ghost in The Noonday Sun, which was set to be filmed on the island of Cyprus. Somehow the idea of filming a 17th-century pirate comedy aboard real ships on the Mediterranean seemed a good idea at the time [ . . . ]

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How Peter Sellers and ‘The Goon Show’ Paved the Way for the Comedy Podcast

Celebrating Peter Sellers’s birthday by taking a look at The Goon Show’s massive impact on comedic podcasting.

In the wake of the Second World War, a small group of British comics knit the world back together with a revolutionary brand of comedy. The Goon Show—the BBC radio comedy child of Spike Milligan (the show’s primary writer), Harry Secombe, and Peter Sellers—has left a huge fingerprint on comedy as a whole. However, the most wide-ranging influence of the show can be found in the medium it was originally presented in: radio. Going further than radio, you can definitely see the influence in your favorite comedy podcast from Earwolf and other podcast networks. Seriously, what The Goon Show did for comedy broadcasting cannot be overstated.

But let’s step back. Before we see how the show has influenced the radio medium sixty years later, we have to know what the show really was. The Goon Show was a thirty-minute scripted comedy program that aired between 1951 and 1960. It was the impetus for Peter Sellers’s comedy career and many of Spike Milligan’s nervous breakdowns. The three actors would voice multiple characters throughout each episode, playing one leading character each, along with multiple background characters. In this way Sellers honed his skills in [ . . . ] More at Film School Rejects:


BBC launch archive of memorable programmes to help dementia sufferers

Many will feel a nostalgic twinge when they see clips of television from days gone by. But fond memories inspired by footage of Sir David Attenborough’s encounter with gorillas, Kenneth Clark strolling through Civilisations and the theme tune to the Old Grey Whistle Test have been shown to have a greater purpose: helping those with dementia.

The BBC has launched a permanent archive of pictures, audio and video clips as part of a project to help people with dementia, their family and carers, using their extensive archive to spark conversation. [ . . . ] More at source: BBC launch archive of memorable programmes to help dementia sufferers

The Beatles, “You Know My Name” from ‘Past Masters’ (1970): Deep Beatles

Since I began writing “Deep Beatles,” readers have challenged me to write about “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” one of the strangest tracks in the Beatles catalog. Never one to back down from a dare, I gladly accept the challenge! While the song can be dismissed as a throwaway or novelty, its roots can be traced back to music hall as well as the flourishing 1960s British comedy landscape. In addition, it was almost released not as a Beatles single, but as a Plastic Ono Band track.The majority of “You Know My Name” was recorded just after the Sgt. Pepper sessions. The Beatles were in a highly experimental mood musically and technically, with the recording studio becoming their artistic playground. According to Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now, John Lennon arrived at the recording studio chanting a kind of mantra: “You know my name, look up the number.” Paul McCartney told Miles that he thought the statement may have been aimed at Yoko Ono, but Lennon never verified that. “He brought it in originally as a 15-minute chant when he was in space-cadet mode,” McCartney remembered, “and we said, ‘Well, what are we going to do with this then?’ and he said, ‘It’s just like a mantra.’ So we said, ‘Okay, let’s just do it.’”

In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon agreed that the song was meant to be humorous, but did not suggest an Ono connection. “That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with the words, ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ It was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a Four Tops kind of song – the chord changes are like that – but it never developed and we made a joke out of it.” [ . . . ]

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