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At Last, the 1967 "At Last, the 1948 Show" Show
October 10, 2007 6:16 PM   Subscribe

In 1967, before "Monty Python", before "The Goodies", and before "Marty", John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman teamed up to create a groundbreaking show that influenced (and provided sketch material and dialog for) much of what we know today as British Comedy. Most of the material was erased when its owner, Rediffusion London, disappeared in England's 1967 TV franchise reshuffle. Here is almost all of what survives of "At Last, the 1948 Show".
posted by ubiquity (17 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
The framing skit for "Reptile Keeper" is eerily prescient. When Aimee held up the sign to show where you could send funds for the "make Aimee a wealthy lady fund" I was jolted to note that it wasn't a URL.

Also, there is some funny shit in there.
posted by localroger at 6:39 PM on October 10, 2007


Oh thanks. I haven't seen any of this before. Quite funny so far.
posted by defenestration at 6:46 PM on October 10, 2007


Ooo! The Four Yorkshiremen sketch sounded eerily familiar - Monty Python performed it during their Live at the Hollywood Bowl concert.

On preview: the youtube video poster notes that very fact in the description so you probably know that already.
posted by ooga_booga at 6:51 PM on October 10, 2007


Ooo! The Four Yorkshiremen sketch sounded eerily familiar

Richard Jeni's "we were armless, legless lint suckers..." routine could have been lifted straight from that sketch.

I've tried searching for the Jeni clip, but haven't been able to find it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:24 PM on October 10, 2007


Very nice, ubiquity. A similar radio show of that era (1964-1973), with Cleese, Brooke-Taylor, and others, was I'm Sorry I’ll Read That Again. Fan pages on the Internet, plus an episode guide. And of course excerpts on YouTube (although being a radio show it's not really that visual).
posted by LeLiLo at 7:29 PM on October 10, 2007


Oh man! I remember years ago finding out that most of that stuff had been erased. I'm thrilled to find quite a bit of it's survived.
posted by Kattullus at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2007


Lovely, thanks ubiquity. If we're going to talk comedy influences let's not forget that other radio show from Marty Feldman Round the Horne.
posted by tellurian at 8:57 PM on October 10, 2007


Who-hooo! We have the DVDs :) Sad that there isn't much left, but brilliant that something is.
posted by andraste at 10:33 PM on October 10, 2007


I've just been watching the DVDs for the show. I saw the original when I was 20 in 1967 and remember just about every sketch. You should also watch "Do Not Adjust Your Set" with Palin, Jones, Idle...
posted by scotty at 3:30 AM on October 11, 2007


The b&w Four Yorkshiremen skit may be one of my earliest memories of t.v. comedy (parents were big fans of PBS, thus the BBC influence on my youth) and I thank you for reminding me of the original.
posted by squasha at 6:19 AM on October 11, 2007


In V For Vendetta (the comic book, not the movie), Alan Moore includes a song performed by the title character and one of the lyrics is "At last, the 1998 show." I'd never heard of the 1948 show, so had no idea Alan was making a reference. (Though in general he's very fond of them).
posted by Clay201 at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2007


There is no funnier person on the planet than John Cleese.
posted by bbbaldie at 7:11 AM on October 11, 2007


The problem with this show is it that it reveals, in ever more vivid detail, that the Pythons were from a different, funnier planet, and us mortals can never hope to compete.
posted by JHarris at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2007


You should also watch "Do Not Adjust Your Set" with Palin, Jones, Idle...

No, you shouldn't; it's absolutely terrible. If for any reason at all, watch it to remind yourself that all the funniest Python sketches were Chapman/Cleese creations.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:02 AM on October 11, 2007


all the funniest Python sketches were Chapman/Cleese creations

YAAARGH! No! nonononononononono NO! Repeat after me: Just because I have an opinion on art doesn't mean it's the objective truth. Just because I have an opinion on art doesn't mean it's the objective truth. Just because etc. etc. (you get the idea).

However, to answer you substantively, it is possible that all the your favorite Python sketches may be written by Chapman and Cleese, but it's impossible to know for a fact because:

a) Aside from some of the most famous sketches, such as Dead Parrot (Cleese/Chapman), Spanish Inquisition (Palin/Jones) and Nudge Nudge (Idle) and a few others, the members of Monty Python have rarely divulged the information as to who wrote which sketch.

b) Even though they had recognizable styles, the different Pythons would deliberately write pastiches of each other, which would often end up in the show. Thus, not every thesaurus sketch is written by Cleese and Chapman, not every song is by Idle and not every sketch featuring vikings (or other random historical figures) is by Palin and Jones.

That aside there are a whole lot of brilliant sketches in the fourth (truncated) season and Cleese had gone by then. The fourth season isn't as great as the other three, but it nonetheless has some absolutely stellar moments. Let's Talk Ant is one of my favorite sketches, but I recognize it's pretty bizarre, even for the Flying Circus.

For the record I like all the Pythons, I couldn't choose a favorite if I tried.
posted by Kattullus at 5:03 PM on October 11, 2007


No offense to this show's wonderful place in the history of British Comedy, but the Goons were doing it first.
posted by davros42 at 5:17 PM on October 11, 2007


No offense to The Goons place in the world of British Comedy, but J. B. Morton was doing it first.
"As schoolboys, my brother and I - both Irish, by the way - worshipped Beachcomber ... and used to paste his paragraphs in a book, and that led to the birth of the Goon Show." Spike Milligan
posted by Dr.Pill at 4:49 PM on October 12, 2007


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