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Spike Milligan
Under The Influence...
More Pictures of Spike
Drawings of Spike Milligan
Drawings by Spike
The Life and Times of Spike Milligan
Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite
Spike Tudor-Pole
Everything Goes Back To Spike
OK Again, After Spike Of Success
For One Week Only
The Ugliest House In The World
Comedian, Campaigner and Philosopher
Pythons' Tribute To Goon Legend Spike
Did You Hear The One About...
Comic Genius
Spike: An Intimate Memoir
Me and My Dad, Spike
Fry's Milligan memories
Parsons Toasts A 'Comic Icon'
The Prince And The Comic
Stars Pay Tribute...
Gospel According To St Matthew
Sonnet XXX
Here's That Rainy Day
Guide Me
A Truly Remarkable Interview
Simply Spike
Slan Leat, Lance Corporal Milligan
Goon But Not Forgotten
Goon But Not Forgotten...Take 2
In Memoriam
Ever The Old Flatterer!
Crystal Palace Bulletin Board Messages
Danny Bakers Message Board
Spike Milligan Messages
Rename The Thames...
Medics Win Spike Milligan Trophy
His Part In Our Lives
Compassionate Comic Genius
Australian Reviews - Three Books On Spike Milligan
The Spoof
London Statue
Woy Woy Peninsula
Draining The Mirror
Spike Milligans Great Grandfather?
The Ex Nanny
The War
On The Stage
It's Behind You! Mother Goose
Mukkinese Battle Horn
Down Among The Z Men
Watch Your Stern
Invasion Quartet 1961
What A Whopper 1961
Postman's Knock
The Bed Sitting Room
The Magic Christian
The Three Musketeers
Ghost In The Noonday Sun
Great McGonagall
Beau Geste
Digby - The Biggest Dog In The World
Scene 17
Misc Spike Stuff
On Music
78 Not Out
Bill Hall Trio
The Goon Show
Goon Images
The Telegoons
Under The Influence...
The World Of Beachcomber
Curry And Chips
An Apple A Day
The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine
Cure For The Common Cold
On The Muppet Show
An Evening With Spike Milligan
Multimedia And Downloads
My Brief Encounter With A Genius
Spike and Milligan
Poke A Penguin
Contact Us & Related Links
Spikefest UK 2004
Buy Limited Edition Prints
And Finally

...Of The Goons



We all listened to "The Goon Show", Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, at various times in our lives. We heard a lot of those shows. They impressed us when we started doing radio ourselves, because they sustained characters in a really surreal and weird kind of situation for a long period of time.

They were doing that show for 10 years, all the way through the 50s. So we were just listening to them at the end. It was that madness and the ability to go anywhere and do anything and yet sustain those funny characters. So when we first did written radio, where we would sit down and write half hour skits and do them once a week, which we did in the fall of 1967, we did things that were very imitative of "The Goon Show" and learned a lot of voices from them and such.


I'm just a fan. I was introduced to them through the group and I loved them and that's just it. We loved the surrealism that was in the group so much that we got enthusiastic about it and did our performances in that style. It was just a part of our live performance from a "Goon Show" point of view.

Only then did I parody some of those approaches, like in "Tile It As It Is". We did a lot of English type characters so I would take inspiration from the kind of wild, fast high voiced approach to things. Some homage work.


When I was in England in 1965, I was writing for "Not So Much a Program, More a Way of Life", which was the antecedent to "That Was The Week That Was".

I went to see Spike Milligan who was performing in a play called "Oh Blow Off". He was improvising it so that basically it became his one-man show. I went backstage to say hello. I didn't know who these people were. I had no idea who the Goons were, I just thought Spike Milligan was marvelous. We made a great contact and decided to write together.

We started to put together an article for Queen Magazine. I don't know if the magazine still exists. So we spent some time together in London and it was really quite wonderful.

I have two Spike Milligan stories. One is that we were walking down the street once and we went by an undertaker's establishment. He walked in, there was nobody there in the front. He laid down on the counter, put his hands over his chest, hit the bell and yelled, "Front".

The other time we went into a restaurant and we ordered a bottle of wine. And as it came to the table he picked it up and yelled, "Waiter, waiter! There's no ship in this bottle!" So it was wonderful working with him. He was a great genius.

I really didn't know the Goons material until I got together with the Firesign in Los Angeles and Austin and Ossman were very much Goons fans. Since then I've gotten a collection of the Goons Comedy songs. They are certainly the peers of, to my idea, funnier than Spike Jones. But certainly Spike Jones and the Goons were the only ones that were able to turn out what I think were truly, truly funny comedy songs.


I've been a devotee of the Goons since I first heard them, in Fresno, in the 50s, when they were played as part of an NBC Radio weekend program called Monitor.

When I went to work at KPFK, working my way up to Drama and Literature Director, one of my jobs was to program the "Goon Shows" from a huge library of transcription discs that KPFK had received from the BBC. I've heard all of them hundreds of times. I could do all the voices and still have to be told firmly to stop doing them all the time.

When we started out doing kind of multi-voiced things, the only, I wouldn't call it rivalry at all, the only example that we had to follow was really "Stan Freberg's History of America" album, and our knowledge of "The Goon Show".

Actually the Firesign Theatre, granted, has a deeper sort of more intellectual cast to it, but there is nothing for sure abstract humor like Spike Milligan's writing. That's it. And of course he had the cast of doom with Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers, and himself.

You can't talk about the Goons, I feel, without pointing out that Spike Milligan is the greatest genius of the kind of humor that so neatly enfolds the Firesign Theatre. You either like to loon around or you don't. The Python loons, for instance and so does Firesign Theatre.

We are so in debt to the Goons, all of us, that I years ago just resigned myself to the fact that Milligan is my master and I'm really just following behind him. Perhaps I'm walking backwards for Christmas, across the Irish Sea, but that's Spike up ahead of me and I'll never catch him.

This was borrowed from the Firesign Theatre website - Thanks