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BENNY HILL SHOW: complete and unedited!


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#41 of 197 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted August 30 2004 - 12:50 AM

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Does anyone know if this set has any of Jane Leeves' episodes on it? Thanks in advance!

That won't be for some time yet. Her episodes aired around 1982.

#42 of 197 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted August 30 2004 - 12:56 AM

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Benny was vilified in the UK because he stood for everything the "alternative" fraternity hated. There was a huge movement in the 1980s to clear the decks of old stagers and basically anything to do with variety. Michael Grade at the BBC and John Howard Davies at Thames had got all excited over the young upcoming comics from the Edinburgh Fringe and Cambridge Footlights and basically they didn't want their upwardly mobile channels polluted by old farts from the music hall/ clubs circuit. Suddenly folk like Benny couldn't get arrested. Tracy Ullman was instrumental in getting Benny thrown out when she did a sketch about him on her show with Lenny Henry and David (not that one) Copperfield. Ben Elton gets a lot of flak for being anti-Benny but he wasn't that bad - it was the execs to blame

John Howard Davies is often criticised for his decision to "retire" the Benny Hill Show and is painted as the "new guy" who was putting his stamp on Thames.

In Mark Lewishon's excellent book Funny, Peculiar (no true Benny Hill fan should be without it: probably the only non-biased Benny Hill biography out there), you finally get to hear Davies' side of the story. To him, the main reason for Benny's sacking was twofold: the production costs were escalating far in excess of their profitability.

Under Thames' previous boss, Philip Jones, Benny and Dennis (Kirkland) usually just told him they needed more money for the next series and it was basically handed to them. When Davies examined the books and saw how Hill's costs were steadily increasing, he examined whether or not it was financially viable to continue on this path, also taking the American syndication market into account. With over 100 half-hours in syndication, he didn't see it as worth it to continue at such high production costs, especially when a new series of Benny Hill would only yield 4-6 new half-hours for syndication.

#43 of 197 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted August 30 2004 - 04:25 AM

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It's great to get the skivvy on this DVD from you guys. I think its important for all of us Benny Hill fans to let A&E know what kind of bonus features we want on the upcoming Benny Hill sets.


I'd like to see the Biography episode on Benny Hill. I don't think it's that old, and it deals with his decline after being cancelled and his sad passing. They might also include that Genesis video where he played Fred Scuttle. Can't remembr the song.

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Anyone want to discuss why Benny is essentially dissed in England? The documentary on disc 3 of the new set addressed it, and that was made back in 1991, but I experienced it first hand when I was in London earlier this year.


While I suspect our UK posters have provided the better explanations, I must point out a magazine column I once read. I can't remember the magazine, but it was British (and not a film magazine), in which the British columnist thoroughly trashed North Americans for liking THE BENNY HILL SHOW and ARE YOU BEING SERVED, shows which he at least admitted had their place in British television history, but were hardly representative of all British comedy. I guess his problem was that he believed that the ONLY British comedy people were exposed to was these two shows. It was a remarkably elitist stance, but I supposed I tolerated it becuse it was an editorial.

I'll admit Benny Hill WAS my first exposure to British comedy, but I discovered MONTY PYTHON very, VERY soon afterward, and then a string of PBS staples: NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS, AYBS?, DAVE ALLEN AT LARGE, THE TWO RONNIES, SORRY!, KEEPING UP APPEARANCES, NEVER THE TWAIN, YES MINISTER, plus a great many shows aired on the CBC and Global up here in Canada ON THE BUSES, SOME MOTHERS DO 'AVE 'EM, RISING DAMP, THE FALL AND RISE OF REGINALD PERRIN, FATHER TED, MOTHER AND SON (an Aussie show, I think) and countless others.

I've only watched the third disc of the set so far but words can't describe how happy I am to have this stuff in my permanent collection. Sure, some of it seems increasingly dated with each new viewing, but it brings back so many good memories of staying up late on the weekends (and sometimes during the week) when I was little. I used to get seriously bummed when 11:30 would roll around and that comforting Thames logo
wouldn't appear on screen.

Can't wait for future volumes.

Favourite bit so far, and one I've seen a million times: "Fun In The Kitchen With Johnny and Franny Craddock." Benny and Bob Todd spoofed this pair on several occasions, barely making it through each and every one of them with straight faces. I particularly like the "German" version of it, where "Johnny" slams his hand down into the bowl of sauce: "you mus gibben it ein schmecken in da middle!". Classic stuff!

#44 of 197 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted August 30 2004 - 05:01 AM

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words can't describe how happy I am to have this stuff in my permanent collection.
Ditto! Like I said in my first post in this thread on the previous page- I totally was not expecting this DVD set. I hadn't seen this thread before I bought the set and I had no word it was coming out. A couple of years ago when I posted my review for the Best of Benny Hill at Amazon.com I said the following:

"I am very much hoping that I can get some more Hill programming on DVD from the 1970's, as presented on this DVD because as I said this is but a mere taste of Hill's early era of original and very funny yet risque humor. There's a lot more he did back in the 70's which hasn't made it to DVD yet. A lot more."

Exactly one week before I bought this DVD set I had had a rough time during a road trip, some of you might have read my account in the after hours forum. Well once again the concept of yin and yang plays an important part in my life. One week I'm going through hell and the next week I'm being rewarded by being blessed with this DVD set of Benny's early years. I needed to laugh and this set was theraputical to a large extent.

I'm a huge Star Wars fan but I think for me this release ranks as comparable and as important as the upcoming trilogy- if not moreso! Simply for the fact that I thought this stuff wouldn't see the light of the DVD day for a very long time if ever.

I guess my trip to London earlier this year also dimmed my hopes as to the possibility of Benny's early years appearing on DVD. I kind of put it out of my mind and didn't get my hopes up.

I love surprises like this! Posted Image
(although not a surprise to most of you in here)

Btw I'm not sure how many people know this or not but Bob Todd was briefly seen in the beginning of Superman 3.
Posted Image

#45 of 197 OFFLINE   Dan Hitchman

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Posted August 30 2004 - 06:57 PM

You'd think they would have gone back to the original filmed stock that made up most of the outdoor footage and restore it (if it's still surviving) and match it up with the remastered video taped segments.

Or, intercut the better looking filmed sequences from the Best Of sets with the new video sequence restorations.

All in all it looks like a good, yet uneven quality set.

I'll have to consider that one.

#46 of 197 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted August 31 2004 - 01:03 AM

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You'd think they would have gone back to the original filmed stock that made up most of the outdoor footage and restore it (if it's still surviving) and match it up with the remastered video taped segments.

Original film inserts of this vintage (especially for British television companies, notorious for junking things) almost certainly don't exist anymore for Bneny Hill.

Quote:
Or, intercut the better looking filmed sequences from the Best Of sets with the new video sequence restorations.

My guess as to why the filmed inserts look worse on the new set: they were using the original master tapes of the individual episodes and did little (or no) restoration, and the tape assembled for the compilations had a more thorough cleanup job.

As to why A&E couldn't intercut the film footage from the compilations? Well, for a start, the compilation DVDs won't contain every filmed sketch, particularly from the earliest episodes, and secondly, that master tape would be in the possession of whichever company distributed the compilations (it wasn't A&E).

I'd rather have complete, unremastered episodes than edited compilations any day!

#47 of 197 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted August 31 2004 - 06:18 AM

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As to why A&E couldn't intercut the film footage from the compilations? Well, for a start, the compilation DVDs won't contain every filmed sketch, particularly from the earliest episodes
Ironically, the lackluster-quality filmed segments that appear on the new set are just about all seen on the Best of Benny DVD as well. Realistically they could have used the same filmed elements from the Best of DVD for the following that all appear on the new set:

1) Lower Tidmarsh Hospital Service

2) The Short Life of Maurice Dribble
-in this case a slightly edited version appears on the 'Best of' DVD while the full version appears on the new set. The edited footage is very minimal however.

3) Benny Quickie: Black Moor

4) The intro for Tommy Tupper in Tupper-Time

5) The Messenger

IMHO if they really wanted to the best job for the new set it would have been feasible to replace the bad quality film clips with those from the Best of DVD. The poor quality of the film segments on the new set are covered in much better quality on the best of DVD.

But I'm not complaining too much. I'm just suggesting that if they really wanted to I'm sure it could have been done.
Quote:
I'll have to consider that one.
Dan if you're a Benny Hill fan I wouldn't put too much of an emphasis on the quality of the filmed segments since the majority of Benny's shows were videotaped. But of course it's your perogative. Posted Image

#48 of 197 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

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Posted August 31 2004 - 07:05 AM

Any Benny experts here know on which seasons Eddie Buchanan appeared? Got to thinking about him whilst watching the musical guests in this current set. Some okay performers there (Trisha Noble, Kiki Dee, Petticoat & Vine) but it's interesting that after the first six or seven shows, the Ladybirds became the regular vocalists. Was this a financial decision? I know Buchanan appeared more than once, both as musical guest and as a performer in several sketches, but I'm just not sure which season. Were there any other "singers" between him and Louise English having a go?

#49 of 197 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted September 01 2004 - 01:11 AM

I think Buchanan will be in the next round of episodes.

Quote:
Dan if you're a Benny Hill fan I wouldn't put too much of an emphasis on the quality of the filmed segments since the majority of Benny's shows were videotaped. But of course it's your perogative.

I agree. Also, one should remember that no matter how rough the filmed segments may look, they look (and have looked) much worse on the TV broadcasts, so if you don't have the "best of", then this is the best you'll likely have ever seen the sketches anyway.

Quote:
IMHO if they really wanted to the best job for the new set it would have been feasible to replace the bad quality film clips with those from the Best of DVD. The poor quality of the film segments on the new set are covered in much better quality on the best of DVD.

Just guessing, but it probably would've been more time consuming (and perhaps just as expensive) to go through and replace all the film sequences as it would have been to properly remaster the complete version of the episodes in the first place.

Also, it wouldn't have necessarily been all that easy for A&E to get hold of the "best of" masters anway, as they are owned by another distributor. A&E would've had to licence the tapes from them, and that's even if the other video company would've been agreeable.

They should have spent the cash to brighten up the film sequences themselves.

#50 of 197 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted September 01 2004 - 09:23 AM

True, it probably would have been an issue of rights versus restoration. Unfortunately they opted to do nothing. In a perfect world they would have restored the filmed segments to produce an immaculate DVD collection.

Oh well, I hear that Rolling Stones song in the distance... Posted Image

#51 of 197 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted September 06 2004 - 07:04 AM

Now, before I answer some questions that I know something about, let me say that it was a revelation about the "Love Will Find A Way" sketch emanating from the second black-and-white show (Jan. 27, 1971); you wouldn't know it as the U.S. syndicated half-hours always showed it in sepia tone.

Any Benny experts here know on which seasons Eddie Buchanan appeared?
Mr. Buchanan, who died in 1987, first appeared in Episode #24 (first aired in Britain on Sept. 24, 1975), at the tail end of the sixth series; he remained through the last episode of the eighth series which ran on March 23, 1977 (Episode #31). Thus, his shows are more likely to be on the set after the next, in other words he'll probably be in Set Three. (I reckon Set 2 will cover up to 12 episodes, aired between Feb. 23, 1972 and March 12, 1975 -- before Mr. Buchanan joined.)
John Howard Davies is often criticised for his decision to "retire" the Benny Hill Show and is painted as the "new guy" who was putting his stamp on Thames.

In Mark Lewishon's excellent book Funny, Peculiar (no true Benny Hill fan should be without it: probably the only non-biased Benny Hill biography out there), you finally get to hear Davies' side of the story. To him, the main reason for Benny's sacking was twofold: the production costs were escalating far in excess of their profitability.

Under Thames' previous boss, Philip Jones, Benny and Dennis (Kirkland) usually just told him they needed more money for the next series and it was basically handed to them. When Davies examined the books and saw how Hill's costs were steadily increasing, he examined whether or not it was financially viable to continue on this path, also taking the American syndication market into account. With over 100 half-hours in syndication, he didn't see it as worth it to continue at such high production costs, especially when a new series of Benny Hill would only yield 4-6 new half-hours for syndication.
The details of which seemed to remind me of the status of, say, The Jackie Gleason Show as of 1970: spiraling costs vs. declining ratings, combined with the age-old hobgoblin known as "demographics." Yet Mr. Gleason's variety show was entirely studio-bound; all the costs went to the pomp associated with the show, and in terms of lifestyle (i.e. money), The Great One was the complete opposite of Mr. Hill; he thought nothing of spending money like water for the most extravagant indulgences possible.

But Mr. Davies did indeed have his own kind of baggage, albeit different from Mr. Hill's: He produced the first four episodes of Monty Python in 1969; he produced the first series of The Goodies and Python alumnus John Cleese's Fawlty Towers; and as head of Light Entertainment for the BBC he aided and abetted the rise of the alternative-comedy movement in Britain. So in that context (and Mr. Davies' going on to produce the first few episodes of Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean) it's hard not to think of Mr. Hill being "fired," even though the exact details were more like what Mr. Lewisohn described. That, and Mr. Hill's de facto blacklisting from British television thereafterwards.

#52 of 197 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted September 06 2004 - 07:30 AM

Anyone want to discuss why Benny is essentially dissed in England? The documentary on disc 3 of the new set addressed it, and that was made back in 1991, but I experienced it first hand when I was in London earlier this year.

The cab drivers in England love the guy but the majority of 'uppity' citizens look down on him. When I mentioned to a couple of pals I was visiting in London that I like Benny Hill they looked at me like I had the plague. I had to keep in mind that one(?) of them was gay so perhaps that had something to do with it. Apparently he's too lowbrow. One night while in London I was watching a countdown of the funniest British comedy series in my hotel. Benny was mentioned as part of an afterthought, a sort of condolence as in "these shows didn't make the list because of their baudy, risque humor that isn't tollerated anymore". Another old British show I grew up watching in Australia called "Love Thy Neighbor" was mentioned in the same category. 'Comedies that we regret laughing at when they first aired'.

If Benny offended, he was an equal opportunity offender. Women, gays, blacks, white, Chinese, the elderly- Benny poked fun at them all. So why the majority of his home country of England turns their nose up at him is beyond me. The man was a comic genius.

I told one cab driver that I would open a Benny Hill museum in London to honor the man. Naturally he was all for the idea.
Funny . . . I noted similar dichotomies when I travelled to London in 1989 and 1990, to research old editions of The Spotlight (the British casting directory) to see what various supporting and bit players associated with Mr. Hill's show over the decades looked like, so when I saw such an individual I could say, "Oh, that's who it is" (that, and the fact that some people only appeared on one show). The older set loved TBHS while the younger ones -- brainwashed on the endless "Benny Hill bad" drumbeat -- turned their nose (indeed, I got the sense that they hated his guts for merely existing). I also noticed something else: a certain degree of hypocrisy and double standards. So-called "comedy" shows that got away with far worse than what Mr. Hill was merely accused of were high on their lists. I suppose one factor was that Mr. Hill wasn't an Oxbridge mafioso and therefore didn't wrap his particular brand of humor in hoity-toity pretense a la the Pythons.

But as to this Complete & Unadulterated set: the question I keep asking myself is, why did Comedy Central, when airing TBHS in the early-to-mid 1990's, bypass these earlier shows in favor of the later, more rote and tired, more T&A-dominated editions (which, B.T.W., are my least favorite, but not for the same reasons as those who objected to his show entirely; that is, the overreliance on that factor seemed to at first mask, then accentuate, the overall decline in quality and standards that marred his 1980's shows, that plus that it symbolized how far away from the show's original purpose it got)? That was how funnier those first eleven shows -- and in particular the three B&W editions -- were. Remember, as a New Yorker, I had been first exposed to Mr. Hill via his impersonations, his parodies of TV shows such as Starsky & Hutch, and some musical numbers like The Cotton Mill Boys' way-out rendition of "Orange Blossom Special" (from the May 30, 1978 special). So when they first started airing the Hill's Angels segments, I wondered to myself: Why are they airing this? And what's that got to do with the rest of the show? I suppose we've all since come to know . . .

And as to the question of why many of those in Britain who grew up, say, in the 1980's treat Mr. Hill like the plague to this day: I suppose that if you had grown up exposed day and night to an endless barrage of anti-Hill hit pieces in the media, and ongoing smear campaigns like Ben Elton's neo-McCarthyite accusations against his show, as these people had, wouldn't you?

#53 of 197 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted September 06 2004 - 08:00 AM

But as to musical guests before Louise English (and, for that matter, Eddie Buchanan; not to mention the late Diana Darvey "The late Diana Darvey?" "I said not to mention the late Diana Darvey!"), and besides The Cotton Mill Boys on the aforementioned May 1978 show, subsequent sets will doubtless have:
- Sylvia McNeil (from Feb. 23, 1972, Episode #12)
- The Mike Sammes Singers (from Oct. 25, 1972, Episode #14)
- The Orange Blossom Sound (from Feb. 22, 1973, Episode #16)
- Los Zafiros (besides their Oct. 28, 1970 appearance, they were also on the Dec. 5, 1973 telecast, Episode #18)
- Berry Cornish (also on Dec. 5, 1973)
- Anne Shelton (from Dec. 27, 1973, Episode #19)
- Design (vocal group; appeared on Feb. 7, 1974, Episode #20)
- Judith Durham (from March 13, 1974, Episode #21; a show which would be Nicholas Parsons' TBHS swan song)
- Dilys Watling (from Dec. 17, 1975, Episode #25, and March 23, 1977, Episode #31)
- Brenda Arnau (from March 24, 1976, Episode #27)
- Reflections (another vocal group; appeared on Jan. 26, 1977, Episode #29; one of that group's members, Linda Robinson, played Joanna Lumley's Purdie character in a parody of The New Avengers on that show)

I.M.H.O., a few musical numbers from some of the guests in question are as much my favorite as many of the sketches, parodies and impersonations. Los Zafiros' musical number from Oct. 28, 1970 somehow got into one of the U.S. syndicated half-hours, and I truly liked that number -- don't know what it is, and I can't understand what they're singing, but I like it. I also liked that Cotton Mill Boys version of "Orange Blossom Special." I've also become fond of the performance from Luis Alberto del Parana and Los Paraguayos as on the Feb. 4, 1970 show. The Ladybirds' numbers -- well, almost like watching an episode of Your Hit Parade, let's put it that way.

Speaking of which . . . I seemed to notice that on their last on-air appearance on March 13, 1974, they had a different member than on their previous shows. Oh, Marian Davies (the blonde) and Maggie Stredder (the bespectacled one) were still there, but it seemed that Gloria George had left (having last appeared with her 'Bird-mates on the Dec. 27, 1973 show). I was curious as to who replaced her at the time?

#54 of 197 OFFLINE   paul_austin

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Posted September 06 2004 - 08:05 AM

the video was "Anything She Does"

Posted Image
"My Hovercraft is Full of Eels"

#55 of 197 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted September 06 2004 - 03:27 PM

I'm trying to remember if I've seen that Genesis video or not.. hmmm... *scratches head

I'd like to point out that if you take the Benny Hill quiz on disc 3 there is a wrong answer that is counted as being right.

Question #12:
Posted Image

The quiz has the correct answer as being C) Orson Buggy but in fact the correct answer should be A) Tommy Tupper.
Quote:
The older set loved TBHS while the younger ones -- brainwashed on the endless "Benny Hill bad" drumbeat -- turned their nose (indeed, I got the sense that they hated his guts for merely existing).
I can tell you that the few friends I hung out with in London earlier this year, most of which despised Benny Hill, were also mostly gay men. In that case, if you're a gay man or perhaps a lesbian woman, I can understand why you wouldn't like Benny Hill. His humor was very more geared towards the heterosexual members of the audience, while he very often poked fun at gay men(or poofs). Likewise his shows were 97% girl watching or girl grabbing or girl fondling, groping, the list goes on. So for most hetero's he was funny as hell, but for gay folks he's not only unfunny, he's offensive, insulting, etc.
Quote:
the question I keep asking myself is, why did Comedy Central, when airing TBHS in the early-to-mid 1990's, bypass these earlier shows in favor of the later, more rote and tired, more T&A-dominated editions
Well a local channel here in L.A. aired the 30 minute shows late at night long before Comedy Central did. If I understand your question correctly, William, I think it was just a matter of cutting away 'the fat' or in this case all the musical numbers and various comedic monologues Benny performed in order to make it more of a sketch comedy show, like Saturday Night Live. There's no doubt that Benny made reference to a lot of people that only Brits would know. So basically they 'Americanized' his show. Also, Comedy Central had no problem with shows that featured a lot of T&A humor since it was a cable channel.

Before I got this DVD I had forgotten how much of the Benny Hill Show was a variety show, with outside musical acts, in-house musical acts, and so on. I hadn't seen a complete 50 minute show since Australia in the 1970's. So for me to see the Ladybirds again was like "Oh I remember them!" Hadn't seen'em in an awfully long time, before I came to the US in '78.
Quote:
I suppose one factor was that Mr. Hill wasn't an Oxbridge mafioso and therefore didn't wrap his particular brand of humor in hoity-toity pretense a la the Pythons.
Speaking of Monty Python, I'm much more of a Benny Hill fan than a Python fan. I guess you might compare them with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, with Benny being the Stones(he did Mention Mick in one sketch) and Python, the Beatles(we know how much George loved Python). Although that musical analogy doesn't mean that much for me because I'm much more of a Beatles fan, but I still love the Stones.
Quote:
Remember, as a New Yorker, I had been first exposed to Mr. Hill via his impersonations, his parodies of TV shows such as Starsky & Hutch,
Reminds me, I am so waiting for the particular episode of TBHS in which he played all the 70's cops in one sketch like Ironside, McCloud, um.. Columbo I think, a few more I can't think of. Anyway I'm hoping that I'll see that in the next boxed set. This set is fantastic but I'm really looking forward to the next set or two to come because if I recall correctly the mid-70's Benny Hill shows were excrutiatingly funny. He hit his comedic stride and formed a much more tighter picture for his show then.
Quote:
Los Zafiros' musical number from Oct. 28, 1970 somehow got into one of the U.S. syndicated half-hours, and I truly liked that number
It's a catchy tune! Posted Image
Quote:
The Ladybirds' numbers -- well, almost like watching an episode of Your Hit Parade, let's put it that way.
I don't much like the Ladybirds' singing myself, but it's a great reminder of a period in time when popular music was put through a sweatener and presented on TV, radio or in department stores, definitely elevators! Benny's comedy is timeless, the Ladybirds are very much of the period. But that's not necesarily a bad thing in my book. Part of the reason I love the fact that they're releasing his entire episodes is that they are time capsules.

#56 of 197 OFFLINE   William B.

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Posted September 07 2004 - 03:20 AM

Well a local channel here in L.A. aired the 30 minute shows late at night long before Comedy Central did. If I understand your question correctly, William, I think it was just a matter of cutting away 'the fat' or in this case all the musical numbers and various comedic monologues Benny performed in order to make it more of a sketch comedy show, like Saturday Night Live. There's no doubt that Benny made reference to a lot of people that only Brits would know. So basically they 'Americanized' his show. Also, Comedy Central had no problem with shows that featured a lot of T&A humor since it was a cable channel.
I was referring more to the time period of hour-long shows Comedy Central aired -- May 30, 1978 through May 1, 1989 (with the Feb. 11, 1981 show mysteriously missing).

I am so waiting for the particular episode of TBHS in which he played all the 70's cops in one sketch like Ironside, McCloud, um.. Columbo I think, a few more I can't think of. Anyway I'm hoping that I'll see that in the next boxed set.
That was from the March 24, 1976 show (Episode 27), so it'll probably be in the third box set. In that sketch, "Murder on the Oregon Express" ("A Quinn Marton, Barton, Harton, Larton & Fargo Production"), he'd played not only Ironside and McCloud, but also Cannon, Kojak & Stavros, and Hercule Poirot (a la Albert Finney). Bob Todd (in what was to be his last appearance on TBHS until Feb. 6, 1980) wore a bad rug to play Barnaby Jones, Jenny Lee-Wright (in her first appearance on the show since Dec. 27, 1972) "impersonated" Angie Dickinson's "Sgt. Pepper" (shades of The Beatles, eh?) character from Police Woman, and little Jackie Wright wore an even worse rug to play Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo. Personally, I thought in that context Ms. Lee-Wright's participation in the sketch was a tad ironic -- being as back in 1970, she'd appeared in the John Cassavetes film Husbands, one of whose co-stars was . . . Peter Falk. We'll be more likely to see the opening segment (with reference to such strange-sounding stuff like "Extra-Special Co-Guest Star") on that coming set than was the case on Benny Hill's Video Revue (formerly The Best of The Benny Hill Show, Vol. 1) whereby that whole opening sequence was taken out and it started just as the train was pulling out of the station.

I'm really looking forward to the next set or two to come because if I recall correctly the mid-70's Benny Hill shows were excrutiatingly funny. He hit his comedic stride and formed a much more tighter picture for his show then.
Funny, I thought the March 24, 1971 show (in Set 1) was the turning point in that regard. He'd begun to hit his comic stride in that one, and it reached its zenith in the aforementioned mid-1970's period (right up to the time Mark Stuart produced his last TBHS in 1977). As I said, I expect that Set 2 will consist of 1972 through 1975, Set 3 will probably be 1975 through '79, and the remaining box sets will doubtless chronicle the artistic, creative and overall decline of the show.

Although I'm waiting to see which of the sets, if any, will feature the following programs produced outside of the boundaries of TBHS:
- Eddie in August, a half-hour silent comedy which Mr. Hill not only wrote and starred in, but also co-produced and co-directed (to the chagrin of the technicians' union); he played a loser in everything -- not just love. First aired June 3, 1970. Some portions of this show were scattered amongst the initial U.S. syndicated TBHS episodes.
- Benny Hill Down Under (a.k.a. Benny Hill in Australia), produced by Network Ten of Australia and aired there on Oct. 11, 1977 and in Britain on April 12, 1978. This was the show that featured "Archie's Angels," the saga of Benny Kelly (descendant of Ned Kelly), the routine of the two men who tended to Lady Godiva's horse, and the sketch of Mr. Hill as the old man whose main catchphrase was "Cut out the middleman! That's how I made my money -- by cuttin' out the middleman!" As with Eddie in August, selected sketches were sprinkled onto various syndicated half-hours; in addition, many of these same sketches were also on Benny Hill's Video Sideshow (formerly Best of Benny Hill, Vol. 3). I suppose that would be to his oeuvre what the German-made Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus was to that troupe.
- And this may be a long shot, but his very last work, Benny Hill's World Tour: New York!, aired in the U.S. a year before his death (and in Britain, two years after and in two parts).

Speaking of Monty Python, I'm much more of a Benny Hill fan than a Python fan. I guess you might compare them with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, with Benny being the Stones(he did Mention Mick in one sketch) and Python, the Beatles(we know how much George loved Python). Although that musical analogy doesn't mean that much for me because I'm much more of a Beatles fan, but I still love the Stones.
Mr. Harrison's connections to the Pythons are indeed very well known -- but I read somewhere that John Lennon, some months prior to his death, said he watched Benny Hill. Go figure.

But not only did Mr. Hill mention Mr. Jagger in the sketch you may be referring to -- back in the BBC days around 1965, he actually impersonated him (and, for that matter, in closeups the other members), albeit referring to the band as "The Strolling Ones."

As to the second set, we're likely to see:
- The Woodstick festival for the elderly (from Oct. 25, 1972; Hugh Paddick's only Thames TBHS appearance as straight man, as apparently neither McGee nor Parsons were available at the time)
- How differing films, plays and TV shows would've handled the story of Little Bo Peep (with the Ironside "episode" "The Case of the Stolen Sheep") (from Dec. 27, 1973; also featured Fred Scuttle supervising construction of the Channel Tunnel)
- His parody of My Little Chickadee and gender-reversal takeoff of Baby Doll (from Feb. 7, 1974)
- "Coalpits," the parody of the British action show Colditz (from March 13, 1974, Nicholas Parsons' last show; also featured Fred Scuttle as head of an escort service)

#57 of 197 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted September 07 2004 - 09:17 AM

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I was referring more to the time period of hour-long shows Comedy Central aired
I'm in the dark about Comedy Central airing Benny Hill. For some reason I remember they aired his shows but I don't recall watching many, if any at all. Must have been during the period when I didn't watch TV very much.
Quote:
That was from the March 24, 1976 show (Episode 27), so it'll probably be in the third box set.
Oh ok, yeah it featured all the big 70's cops/detectives of the TV era. Very funny bit. I remember Benny as Ironside slamming his wheelchair into everybody and naturally, prodding women with it.
Quote:
I read somewhere that John Lennon, some months prior to his death, said he watched Benny Hill. Go figure.
Interesting, I wouldn't doubt it.
Quote:
But not only did Mr. Hill mention Mr. Jagger in the sketch you may be referring to -- back in the BBC days around 1965, he actually impersonated him (and, for that matter, in closeups the other members), albeit referring to the band as "The Strolling Ones."
Sounds very funny. Posted Image So apparently Benny was more aligned with the Stones than I originally thought!

2 Btw's:

1) Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge on this subject, William. Interesting stuff. Posted Image

2) Cheapest price I've seen so far for this first set at a store is at Costco: $29(compared to Borders $49- ouch!).

#58 of 197 OFFLINE   Jerry R Colvin

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Posted September 08 2004 - 06:29 AM

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I don't much like the Ladybirds' singing myself, but it's a great reminder of a period in time when popular music was put through a sweatener and presented on TV, radio or in department stores, definitely elevators! Benny's comedy is timeless, the Ladybirds are very much of the period.


I never could stand the Ladybirds either, when I first watched Benny Hill back in the day. But I've been watching this set recently, and they now seem fascinating to me in a surreal way, esp. the lady with the glasses. I noticed in one sketch she was singing without her glasses and she looked really hot, so now I'm kind of obsessed with her.

#59 of 197 OFFLINE   Jerry R Colvin

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Posted September 08 2004 - 06:35 AM

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I'm much more of a Benny Hill fan than a Python fan. I guess you might compare them with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, with Benny being the Stones(he did Mention Mick in one sketch) and Python, the Beatles(we know how much George loved Python).


It is possible to like both the Beatles and the Stones equally. These days, you're more likely to either like both or neither... I think that relates to whether you are old or young (ha).

(But mark me down for preferring Beatles and Benny)

#60 of 197 OFFLINE   Eric F

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Posted September 08 2004 - 07:43 AM

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I can tell you that the few friends I hung out with in London earlier this year, most of which despised Benny Hill, were also mostly gay men. In that case, if you're a gay man or perhaps a lesbian woman, I can understand why you wouldn't like Benny Hill. His humor was very more geared towards the heterosexual members of the audience, while he very often poked fun at gay men(or poofs). Likewise his shows were 97% girl watching or girl grabbing or girl fondling, groping, the list goes on. So for most hetero's he was funny as hell, but for gay folks he's not only unfunny, he's offensive, insulting, etc.
Therefore, if we extrapolate this data we must conclude:

If you don't like Benny Hill you must be gay.

Makes sense to me. Probably explains why I have the urge to purchase the Magnum PI set...


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