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BENNY HILL SHOW: complete and unedited!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by AndyMcKinney, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    I actually know a guy from Hong Kong who talks like Chow Mein and then gets exasperated when you ask him to repeat what he said. After a bit, he gets frustrated and says: "What's the matter, don't you understand English?".
     
  2. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I noticed the ladybirds when they replaced the one singer, IIRC, they were singing "Say A Little Prayer".

    The one time I remember the ladybird with glasses not wear glasses was when they were decked out in Shakespearean garb, with coned hats. It made sense for her not to wear glasses. They were singing a narrative to a story which involved BH playing a king and a pauper impersonator (your Grace, say your Grace!...for what I am about to receive..) Anyway, she did look great without glasses.

    Jane Leeves appeared in 2 sketches shown on one of the Golden Greats DVD sets. They were both casting her as a naive young girl who makes a few blunders to Benny's embarrassment.
     
  3. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

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    I did notice that one of the quickie sketches Ms. Leeves did -- as a patient told that by Dr. Benny that she had "Egyptian flu -- you're going to be a mummy" -- was a remake of the routine in the "Look #7" portion of the B&W episode from Dec. 27, 1970, whereby petite blonde Sue Bond was the patient in the original.
    But as for the second series, besides three of the episodes being in B&W, I noticed quite a few things that distinguished this series from the others:
    - The complete and total absence of Henry McGee (who'd come back in Series 3 and increase his presence from then on), and conversely Nicholas Parsons' fronting the supporting cast in all five shows;
    - Except for the "Love Will Find a Way" sketch in Episode 7 (Jan. 27, 1971) and the outdoor sequences of Episode 9 (March 24, 1971), all other exterior segments were videotaped instead of filmed (which would also be the case on the May 30, 1978 show, Episode 32, as well as his 1991 show whereby the exterior shots were all taped in New York);
    - In the "Wind of Change" sketch in Episode 5 (Oct. 28, 1970; with Benny as 'Sir Roland Butter M.P.' and Dan Jackson as 'Cy Nomore - Immigrant'), they shot it in B&W, being as the picture would "go negative" in the middle; that it was in B&W was, I.M.H.O., an unintentional and ironic forerunner of things to come, given the long strike which followed;
    - In two of the B&W shows, Benny performed songs which seemed to highlight the condition he was forced to tape his shows in: The chorus of "In The Papers" as performed in the "Top of the Tops" sketch in Episode 7 goes, "I know it's true/I know it's right/It's in the papers/In black and white"; and on the "Pepys' Diary" number from Episode 8 (Feb. 24, 1971): "Oh, we know it's right/It's in black and white/And it's all written down in his diary."
    To say nothing of his short, bald Irish stooge being billed as Jack Wright for the first time (as of Oct. 28, 1970); in both the final BBC series in 1968 and the first Thames series he had been billed as "John" Wright.
     
  4. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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  5. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    In one of the later shows he did (early 80s?), there was a routine that BH did in a standup comic fashion. He was explaining his type of humor and how a reporter called him an enigma (you know where he went with that!). Anyway, I thought he would make a great standup, he's not just a visual comic.Too bad he didn't do more of that.
     
  6. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

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    One problem (certainly from Mr. Hill's end) was that: a) he was not so comfortable doing stand-up, from what I've read, and b) he absolutely, positively hated performing before live audiences, and did so on his shows only under duress (again, from his end, that is). Still, that routine (actually from 1986) does have some stuff to recommend it . . .
     
  7. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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  8. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    Yeah, I liked the Hill's Angels for obvious reasons. Although it was kind of seen one, seen them all, Benny often mixed comedy routines in with their dancing. It's good to change a long running show every now and then. That said, I think I enjoy the 1969-71 stuff on the new set as much as anything else he did. Look forward to the next set. Always loved Benny's big disco wigs.
     
  9. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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  10. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    I saw a commercial for the set on A&E. Benny's back on TV albiet in the form of an ad. Also they have a few clips from 80's shows in the commercial taken from the documentary even though they make it clear it's from '69-'71. Who were the ad wizards that came up with that one?
     
  11. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

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    Dewey, Cheatham & Howe, perhaps?

    But in all seriousness . . . I checked A&E Video's website viz upcoming releases up to December, and there's no indication of Set 2 being released by the end of the year; probably after 2005 begins will (or may) it come out . . . and so, I'm wondering if this Set 2 would have 12 episodes (going up to the March 12, 1975 show) or only 10 (up to March 13, 1974). If they had a way for you to communicate with them about this, I'd have queried them by now.

    In addition, it seems that BBC America, when they start airing TBHS on Oct. 2, will only show the half-hour edited version instead of the full hours, based upon what I saw of the programming grid on their site.
     
  12. Cherri Gilham

    Cherri Gilham Auditioning

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    QUOTE>>>>>>But the doozy has to be on the Dec. 27, 1972 show >>>>(Episode 15) on which actress Cherri Gilham's name was misspelled "Cherry Gillam." To be sure, she'd had her first name spelled as such -- but the "Gillam" part was new, and apparently it may have led to some confusion at the time between her and another actress whose name was spelled similarly to how Ms. Gilham's was misspelled (based on what I could gauge from researching old editions of The Spotlight) -- and it was very likely as a result that beginning with the Feb. 22, 1973 show (Episode 16) and continuing for most of the rest of the decade, her stage name would be modified to Cheryl Gilham. (Whose most famous moment, I.M.H.O., came on the Feb. 7, 1974 show in which she played Mae West to Mr. Hill's W.C. Fields in the My Little Chickadee parody.) Only in recent years (since, say, the late 1980's) has she reclaimed her pre-1973 billing (as in her appearance in the Who Got Benny's Millions? documentary).
     
  13. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    If someone asked me at what point I figured an actual Benny Hill Show cast member might show up in this thread, I'd have guessed somewhere around page 12. Conservatively.

    Thanks for the update, and thanks for participating.
     
  14. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Would someone mind posting a pic of Cherri Gilham so I can see who we have in our midst? Semi-naked, fully clothed doesn't matter. [​IMG]
     
  15. Cherri Gilham

    Cherri Gilham Auditioning

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    My pic will be going up next week, when the admin people return from hols.
     
  16. Steve_Smith

    Steve_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    What a great way to start off the new year images/smilies/smile.gif Set 2 coming out in January (big props to TvShowsOnDVD for the news) images/smilies/thumbsup.gif LOL Thanks Gord for not sitting on this one images/smilies/biggrin.gif j/k After all these years of the Best of VHS I've forgot about how great the early shows were!!!!!!
     
  17. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

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    And I've already pre-ordered with Amazon. In that period ten shows were produced. Among those shows we see the late Diana Darvey join, and Nicholas Parsons bow out. I have a smile on my face already, eagerly anticipating the latest offering. Indeed, the first two shows in the set to come had portions that were in The Best of Benny Hill (i.e. Scuttle's "Keep Fit" brigade from Feb. 23, 1972, Chow Mein at the airport from the same show, the "Adjudication Panel" blooper from March 22, 1972 with the overemphasis on Lesley Goldie's stockings, Bob Todd's picking his nose [among others], and so on).
    And I also appreciate the info from Ms. Gilham, setting us all straight here (I was as pleasantly surprised as the rest of you about hearing from a Hill alumnus). Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, although I didn't mention it in my initial query (I was trying to be diplomatic in my approach), I had known all along about this "eponymous" Cherry Gilliam -- precisely because of that misspelling on the December 1972 show. Not long after studying the credits after one of its airings in the late 80's when I was researching who appeared on Mr. Hill's shows over the years (being as there were no truly comprehensive guides to his program back then, as opposed to all the books written on Monty Python even then), I went to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in New York, checked a vintage early 70's Spotlight -- and came across, in the index, this Cherry Gilliam. Who, ironically enough, at about the same time Ms. Gilham had agreed to her stage name modification as she'd mentioned, had her stage name modified . . . to Cherry N. Gilliam -- I suppose, in part, also because of Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame (with whose name, I noticed, the radio actress's had rhymed). Indeed, based upon that research, I initially thought it was Cherry Gilliam the radio actress who was on that December 1972 TBHS -- before noticing, in later Spotlights, the middle initial on her name. That, and coming across a Radio Times spread from early 1973 in connection with the late Frankie Howerd's short-lived Whoops Baghdad! -- upon which I began to put two and two together. And also, the credits on the post-February 1973 Hill shows. . . .
    And I could guess it was for the same reasons (i.e. British Equity) that a Hill's Angel who was on in 1982 had to have her stage name changed in the wake of the first of Benny's specials in that series (Jan. 6, 1982), because it was exactly the same as that of the Pythons' Terry Jones . . . the second show (Feb. 10, 1982) had her credited as "Tee Jay." And it proved to be the last show on which individual Angels' names would be listed in the credits . . .
     
  18. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    Great news about the next set. Love the first one. I hope it sold well. I know it was prominantly displayed wherever I went. I wonder if they'll come up with more extras, having used that documentary in the first one.
     
  19. William B.

    William B. Stunt Coordinator

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    Given that Set 2 will have only ten shows (vs. the 11 on Set 1) -- after all, that was the total amount produced between 1972 and '74 -- it's a toss-up as to what would constitute "extras," such as:
    - A Who's Who gallery of TBHS performers (i.e. regulars, recurring performers, extras, walk-ons, musical guests, Hill's Angels) over the two decades he was at Thames
    - His silent half-hour special Eddie in August (first broadcast June 3, 1970)
    - His music video for "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)" which was produced for airing on BBC's Top Of The Pops in 1971, given his hatred of performing before live audiences
    - His 1977 Australian-made special, Benny Hill Down Under (a.k.a. Benny Hill in Australia), which aired in the U.K. in April 1978 -- and many of whose contents made it onto video compilations and U.S. syndicated TBHS half-hour episodes
    - Or maybe -- just maybe -- his Boxing Day 1967 ATV special, on which Nicholas Parsons, Rita Webb and Bettine Le Beau made their Hill debuts, and on which Hill's old writing and performing partner Dave Freeman finally bowed out, and only there as a performer. (Ironically, one of the musical guests on that show was The Seekers, whose lead singer, Judith Durham, would also be a musical guest on Parsons' final Hill appearance on March 13, 1974.)
    Certainly, if I were in charge of assembling the set, I'd have included any of the above . . .
     
  20. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Excellent idea!
    Any idea if this still exists, though? A lot of TOTP was wiped by the BBC. Also, there's the question of licencing the material (the Thames shows are owned by Fremantle, TOTP would be owned by the BBC).
    Hopefully, this will be included in its chronological order with either the 1977 or 1978 episodes in a future set (1977 if they use the original Australian air date, 1978 if they use the first U.K. air date).
    Well, this episode is presumed to exist, but from everything I've been able to find, no one has actually confirmed whether this still exists or not.
    And again, the problem of negotiating the rights for it from another company comes into play here (the ATV library is now owned by Granada, who gobbled up Carlton, the previous owner). Also, if it does exist, locating it may be a problem (don't think the ATV archive has been as extensively catalogued or neatly stored as the BBC one. Master tapes of "Sapphire and Steel" were found years ago propping open a door!).
    Yes, I agree, it'd be nice to have fan input on these things, but I guess it all boils down to:
    1. availability
    2. sorting out rights/clearances issues
    3. cost of the extras versus budget for the release
    It was a combination of these latter two things that kept Umbrella Entertainment in Australia from including a Christmas skit on their release of "Man About the House": they desperately wanted to use the sketch as an extra, but clearances and cost made it un-doable.
    Oh, here's my idea for something that A&E should do differently (whether they'd want to count it an "extra" or not):
    to retain the original ad-break captions on all the episodes, and to retain the ending Thames ident. From what I understand, all the adcaps have been removed and at the end, the vintage Thames ident was replaced. Of course, all these might've been edited out before they even got hold of them (as per foreign syndication packages), but they could request copies with the ad bumpers and endcaps on them...
     

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