17th MAY 2003: . The highly esteemed Goon Show Preservation Society (GSPS) is holding a Goons and Telegoons weekend in Egham, Surrey, 4th - 6th July 2003. It will be a celebration of all things Goonish! The list of special V.I.P. guests includes the three original Telegoons puppeteers and a member of the camera crew, as well as two of Spike's (now well grown-up) children. The legendary Steam Count will also be in attendance. The fun starts on Friday evening and will continue unabated until Sunday afternoon. There will be guest speakers, the presentation of a new "Goon Show", a Goon Show theme dinner, a GSPS Goonabilia auction, an optional excursion to one of the "puppet restaurants", and much much more! The cost is a very reasonable £125 (deposit of £50 required), which includes entertainment, accommodation, and all meals, tea, coffee, etc. Alcohol extra. Reduced rates if you don't need accommodation, or for those only staying on the Saturday night. So dust the cobwebs off your wallets and start planning now to attend this memorable event! Members and non-members are welcome!!!
18th FEB 2003: In an attempt to make the website easier to navigate, I have broken up the History section into a number of bite-sized chunks. A new feature has been launched in the Tele-Goonography section of the website: The use of captioned thumbnail stills from the films to tell the story. Hover your mouse of each still to get a snippet of dialogue. The first two episodes to get this treatment are The Booted Gorilla and The Canal. Note: Unfortunately this does not work in the 1.0 version of the Mozilla Firefox browser, which does not support the alt text box. The only work-around I know of is to do right-click / properties for each image.
26th JAN 2003: I have launched a petition to try and get The Telegoons released on home video, preferably DVD. When enough signatures have been received (perhaps 1,000), I will present it to the BBC. There are links to the petition site on this page. Please feel free to sign it, and leave some comments if you like. When you fill in the petition form, keep in mind that The Telegoons were first shown on TV in 1963 in the UK, and 1964 in overseas markets. Every signature will help make a difference!
25th DEC 2002: A newly published compendium of Spike Milligan's works presents two previously unpublished scripts, including number one, s01e01.
4th DEC 2002: Film Production section updated.
18th AUG 2002: Some of the fruits of my research into the earliest phases of The Telegoons production have been uploaded for your enjoyment. Significant new material and updates are flagged in the main menu and elsewhere.
Although new material is still being developed for the website (a process which will probably keep me busy for several more years at least), with this update I feel that, with one major exception, the job that I set out to do (uncovering the true behind-the-scenes story of The Telegoons) has now been essentially completed. I expect that most of what will follow will be mere embellishment.
If you've read this far, you're probably saying, "Hey, wait a minute, what was that major exception mentioned earlier?" Well, the absence of Telegoons DVDs in the video shops indicates that my not-so-subtle campaign for this has so far fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps the successful release on DVD of most of Gerry Anderson's catalogue will cause the BBC to scratch around in their archives, and do a similar release of the works of Spike Milligan. Until this happens, I don't consider my job to be fully done.
30th JUN 2002: What may prove to be the definitive book about Spike Milligan, the person, is now selling! You may purchase it by following this link:
21st MAR 2002: While I work on a higher-quality method of delivery, I have at long last put up a Telegoons video clip, from China Story (s01e06). I chose this scene because it is one of my favourites. Please e-mail me and tell me how well it worked for you. Please also recall for me some of your favourite or best remembered scenes, and I will do my best to locate them and post those on the site too.
27th FEB 2002: After suffering from
ill health for some time, the last surviving member of the Goon
quartet, Spike Milligan, died today at home surrounded by family. He was
83 years old. Widely hailed as the godfather of modern British comedy,
Spike was, in the words of Michael Parkinson (who interviewed Spike more
than ten times on television and radio), the "presiding genius"
behind the Goons.
26th JAN 2002:
After four extraordinary months of upheaval
and change, I am happy at long last to be back at the keyboard. Starting with world events in
September, which forced the cancellation of my 2001 Telegoons research trip to the UK, October and November saw me wielding
a paint brush while helping pack my household and company for a move 2,000 miles
west to Oregon!* Therefore, please accept my apologies for the non-functional links
in the main menu, especially the one that promises a Telegoons video clip. Due to
unanticipated problems in setting up a Real Video server, as well as some late
breaking revelations of a historical nature, these links got caught up in the
maelstrom, and it was not possible to take them down again. Please bear
with me, as the links should come to life in the not too distant future.
The "temporarily under construction" parts of the web site are currently being rewritten,
and should also appear soon. In this regard I am particularly
indebted to one of The Telegoons puppeteers, Ann Perrin (née Field), veteran of thirteen
episodes, whose family
was very involved with pre-production. Ann has provided a lot of new information
that has helped fill out the historical record. By-the-way, Ann's
wonderful puppet history web site, which mentions The
Telegoons more than once, is here.
Ann was introduced to me by her former colleague, puppeteer John Dudley,
who manipulated The Telegoons puppets for seventeen episodes (which is the record). A
lot of the material currently being put up on the website could not have
been developed without John's help.
11th SEPT 2001: The tragic events that took place this morning in New York City, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, U.S.A., will last long in our memories.
As a veteran of an earlier and no less horrific conflict, Spike Milligan tried to make light of his personal war experiences through writing The Goon Show. To this end he created Bluebottle, a happy-go-lucky, pimply-faced school boy character, who gets "deaded" in almost every episode. He also created Major Dennis Bloodnok, a likeable old military codger who nevertheless would rather rob the petty cash tin than go to the aid of his own mother. As for leading the troops into battle, despite being a devout coward, he will always do it is if there's a possibility of some cash. When the going gets tough, we hear lines from Bloodnok like, "Let me look in your wallets, men. Now stay here, while I go and see if these pound notes are forgeries." ...of course never to be seen again! However, less of Spike's soul went into these characters than into Eccles...the original Goon. A happy simpleton by trade, Eccles does not mind that the world thinks he's an idiot. Said Milligan (to his biographer Dominic Behan), "Eccles was really the innocent creature that I was--the one that didn't want to cause any offence and loved simplicity, which I still do. Yes, Eccles was the essential me."
Through humour, we sometimes find a way to cope with our pain. Therefore I intend to keep this web site going as an "island preserve" of one of mankind's lighter endeavours, in the hope that one day this planet we all share will become more civilized. Please browse my site awhile, so that it may lift your spirits.
5th AUG 2001:
Hello, everybody. After several very busy months, during
which time work deadlines shrank my spare time to almost nil, I'm back at
the keyboard. Fortunately, new information about "those scary
puppets" continued to accumulate in the interim, and as time permits,
will make its way onto the website. One of the more
unusual tidbits was that John and Cynthia Lennon's favorite TV
programme in 1963 was none other than the fabulous Telegoons
(this was found out by Kylie Porter, who is one of Aussie's most ardent Beatle People).
As a result, I am considering adding a page that explores the Beatles-Telegoons-Goon connection.
24th JAN 2001: Atomz search has been added to allow convenient searching of the entire Telegoons web site! Due to changes in the layout of this page, from now on, only the most recent entries in the site log will be shown here. Previous entries are still available at the link below.
19th NOV 2000: Having recently returned from another enjoyable (although wet) research visit to the UK, I wish to say a big thankyou to all of the wonderful people who helped make it happen. A lot of new Telegoons-related material was gathered, so much, in fact, that it may take me twelve months or more to sort through it all! Starting with today's major update of the Film Production section, many more updates will be posted to the site over the coming months.
1st OCT 2000: The Telegoons web site has moved to roomier quarters. For a limited time a redirection link will be left on the old web server, so update your bookmarks now to www.telegoons.org.
4th JULY 2000: Yippee! The Telegoons web
site now has its own domain name, The Telegoons web
site now has its own domain name, www.telegoons.org
(click the link and then update your bookmark). By way of celebrating the new name, I have
redesigned the main menu page (that's this page, folks!). Numerous small improvements
aside, I have added a lot of new material in the Goon Art, FAQs and Merchandise
sections. The site now gives a more complete coverage of the illustrative skills of Bill
Titcombe, famous for drawing The Telegoons comic strip
in TV Comic. Also new is the first in a series of photographic "X-ray"
views of the Goon Show Preservation Society's very own Neddie Seagoon rod puppet (go
in The Puppets section).
1st MAY 2000:
The Telegoons web site has been given a major
make-over and a good Spring cleaning. Several sections, including History
and Film Production, have undergone major rewrites. A major new section is
devoted to 1960s Telegoons-related merchandise.
"What?", you say. Well, a few months ago I would have said the same, but I think
this section speaks for itself. If there is anything else you would like included, please
drop me a line here. Also new to the site is an
example of the Telegoons artwork Bill Titcombe did
for TV Comic. Bill deserves an M.B.E. for producing a brand new two-page Telegoons comic strip every week for more than three
years. Due to copyright issues, I can't show a whole strip on the web site, but if you
simply must know how the story ends, drop me a line.
9th OCT 1999: A very enjoyable research visit to London yielded a lot of new information, much of which will end up on the website in due course of steam. My hosts were the highly esteemed Chris Smith (GSPS newsletter editor, and co-author of The Goons the Story) and the ever resourceful Steve Arnold (webmaster of the GSPS website and world-famous Britcom reviewer). The main achievement of the visit was the successful tracking down of the remnants of the Young dynasty, and some of the people who knew them. I also visited the former jazz restaurant which for many years featured a display of the Telegoon puppets, until it closed in the early 1990s. Last but not least, I wish to thank the GSPS for the opportunity to study (and take numerous photographs of) the Neddie Seagoon Telegoon puppet. This will eventually lead to a new technical puppet section on the site.
19th JUN 1999: The major event of the northern summer was a visit from Steve Arnold, the highly esteemed webmaster of the Goon Show Preservation Society (GSPS) website (who somehow also finds time to mastermind the Kenneth Williams Appreciation Society website). Steve is a wonderful resource of old-time radio things that are Goon but not forgotten. He brought with him an arm-numbingly heavy suitcase full of GSPS newsletters, and I did not have the heart to see him struggle back with them. Not to mention the futility of attempting to get them back through Her Majesty's Customs! So here they remain in Iowa, as a major historical resource for The Telegoons website! (Actually, the truth of the matter is that I requested the NLs. Thankyou very much Steve.)
2nd JUN 1999: A batter-pudding, hurled from Goon Show Preservation Society (GSPS) headquarters in London, U.K., enclosed a message that The Telegoons website is now Official.
10th FEB 1999: After several months in development, The Telegoons website was launched into cyberspace.