The folks at the Duke Lemur Center are helpfully offering you the opportunity to figure out: what kind of lemur are you? [more inside]
Jake Cole of the film blog Not Just Movies discusses the semi-legendary hour-long debate about Monty Python's Life of Brian on the BBC Four program Friday Night, Saturday Morning. The debate features Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin on one side and opposite them broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark.
A few sketches aired during the original run of Monty Python were subsequently lost. Half an episode, the tenth of the third series, was censored by the BBC. All that survives is the script. Also, never shot, but written, was the King Brian the Wild scene from Holy Grail. Additionally, a few sketches were either slightly censored post-broadcast or erased for other reasons. A couple of those sketches have have been found on tape [Warning: Autoplaying video]. The two sketches are Political Choreographer (here with a short bit exhorting you to support Channel 11 in Chicago), and an interstitial animation by Terry Gilliam. Also, the uncensored Summarize Proust sketch.
Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9? 10 11 12 13) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
The Goon Show was a highly popular and immensely influential radio show on the BBC in the 1950s featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan. They would sometimes do live readings of episodes, here's a video recording of The Whistling Spy Enigma (parts 1, 2, 3) and a much later recording of Tales of Men's Shirts (parts 1, 2, 3). The first features Ray Ellington, musical director of the Goon Show, and the second John Cleese, who, like his fellow Pythons, was a huge fan of The Goon Show growing up. In the 50s BBC turned The Goon Show into a TV show with puppets, called Telegoons. A number of shows exist online: The Lurgi Strikes Britain (1, 2), The Nadger Plague (1, 2), Captain Seagoon RN (1, 2), Tales of Montmartre (1, 2), The First Albert Memorial to the Moon (1, 2), The Hastings Flyer (1, 2), The Affair of the Lone Banana (1, 2), The Africa Ship Canal (1, 2), The Booted Gorilla (1, 2), The Ascent of Mount Everest (1, 2), The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea (1, 2), Fort Knight (1, 2), The Terrible Revenge of Fred Fu Manchu (1, 2), The Lost Colony (1, 2) and, finally, back where we first began, the Telegoons version of The Whistling Spy Enigma (1, 2).
Bob Claster was a DJ on KCRW in Los Angeles. In the 80's he had a comedy show called Funny Stuff and he would interview comedians. He has many of these interviews online as mp3s. He interviewed Tom Lehrer, Douglas Adams, Danny Arnold (a.k.a. Barney Miller), Peter Cook, Terry Jones, two interviews with John Cleese, one solo and another with Michael Palin, Emo Philips, Billy Connolly, Mort Sahl, Quentin Crisp, "Brother Theodore" Gottlieb, June Foray and Bill Scott (a.k.a. Rocky and Bullwinkle and an epic five-part interview with Stan Freberg, the subject of my last post.
For those of us who thought the BBC's mammoth self- marketing campaigns were one of the symptions of modern marketing excess, a trawl on the Internet has turned up this John Cleese-presented advertisment on What Have the BBC Ever Given Us?. And it being the BBC, Spitting Image have the right of rebuttal... [more inside]
You want to waste as much time as possible before going back to work Monday morning, right? So, stay up late and watch 6 episodes of The Unpleasant World of Penn and Teller, their mid-90s show on British TV. Don't have time for all that right now? Then jump right to a card trick with John Cleese, or their unique version of the Card Stab trick. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to prepare for tomorrow's coffee break.
Waste some time on a lazy Sunday with Monty Python's Silly Walks Generator.
The Institute for Backup Trauma. Yes, it's a virulent viral ad, but it's also funny, geeky, techie and Cleesey! Certainly the finest John-Cleese-based institution since The Ministry of Silly Walks. What a Twain Weck!