Whimsy: December 2012 Archives

Gerry Anderson, RIP

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Here's another "it's my blog, and I don't care if anyone else is interested" posts.

Below is some rare newsreel footage from 1951 of the recording of a British radio comedy called Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. The show began during World War II, and Much Binding was an RAF base in some obscure, presumably damp, locale in England. The show continued after the war with the same cast, but in new situations. In this clip you'll see the two leads, Richard Murdoch on the left and Kenneth Horne on the right, joined by Sam Costa (with the impressive mustache), Maurice Denham (as Mr. Blake with the west country accent and milquetoast Mr. Larkin), and Maureen Riscoe as Mrs. Larkin.

I'm impressed that the audience laughed at the Latin joke.

Kenneth Horne was not only a radio entertainer, he was a business executive, serving as sales director of Triplex Glass, managing director of the British Industries Fair, and managing director of Chad Valley Toys. After a stroke in 1958, doctors told him to choose between industry and comedy. He chose comedy and returned from his convalescence to star in Beyond Our Ken, a weekly sketch comedy show that ran from 1958 to 1964. Beyond Our Ken was followed by Round the Horne, from 1965 to 1968, with the same cast -- Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Bill Pertwee, announcer Douglas Smith -- but different writers -- Barry Took and Marty Feldman.

Each episode of Much-Binding ended with the theme song with lyrics customized to fit the episode's story and the news of the day. Here's the song that ended the show's 100th episode, from 1949.

Finally, here's Richard Murdoch talking about the origins of Much-Binding and a royal visit to the show's performance.

MORE: BBC Radio 4 Extra features comedy, drama, documentary, and radio productions of classic literature, available worldwide online. An episode of Much-Binding, Beyond Our Ken, or Round the Horne airs almost every week; this week you can hear the second episode of Round the Horne. And this week they've started serializing Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers in eight hour-long episodes. A three-hour special, Horne of Plenty, featuring two episodes each of Round the Horne and Beyond Our Ken, plus commentary by Jonathan James-Moore, will air at 3 am Central Time Saturday, December 22, 2012, and will be available on the BBC Radio 4 Extra website for a week.

When Match Game '74 came out, I was sure I could remember the earlier Match Game with a theme song that sounded a bit like "Wim-Oh-Weh." (It was Bert Kaempfert's "Swingin' Safari.") Thanks to the magic of the internet, I've got confirmation of a dim early childhood memory. Here's the pilot episode of the original Match Game, from 1962, with host Gene Rayburn and celebrity team captains Peggy Cass and Peter Lind Hayes.

You're more likely to have seen this version of Match Game. This particular show featured celeb panelists Orson Bean, Brett Sommers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Mary Ann Mobley, Richard Dawson, and Betty White. The game goes to two tie-breaker rounds:

And then there's this clip, featuring a cameo by Orson Bean, standing by to pinch hit for Gary Burghoff.

A more serious post about city government is in the works, but I couldn't get it finished as quickly as I'd like, so you get this instead.

What better way to break a week of blog silence than with a video of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, the Genius of the Carpathians, cheating at volleyball. He's the short guy in the white shirt and shorts pulling down the net almost every time he tries and fails to hit the ball over.

Later in the video, he is serenaded by Imelda Marcos, visits Universal Studios, and is praised by Jimmy Carter.

What got me started on this was a friend mentioning Ceaucescu's moment of truth, giving what was to be his final speech in front of what was supposed to be another staged rally. About 1:20 into this video, everything starts to fall apart.

(A few days later, Ceaucescu and his wife were allegedly tried and executed. But within a week, my wife and I spotted him at the Eastland Mall food court. He was incognito in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, enjoying a snack with a taller lady in a lime-green pantsuit with a beehive hairdo and Virginia Gregg cats-eye glasses. Despite the agricultural attire, his hair and build were unmistakable. Perhaps there is something to the rumor that he lived out his days as an Inola hay farmer.)

Earlier, my friend sent a link to a video of Ceaucescu being greeted with parades and mass demonstrations in North Korea in 1971.

No, that was not a preview of next January's inaugural.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from December 2012.

Whimsy: October 2012 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: January 2013 is the next archive.

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