Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/1/5/2
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleLaughing Matters with Michael Bentine (as broadcast)
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
DateMarch 1995
Duration2 hr. 0 min. 19 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 124)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionLaughing Matters' with Michael Bentine (edited programme as broadcast on British Airways Radio).
[00:04] Michael Bentine [M.B.] first realised he could make people laugh at Eton [01:40] Robert Atkins Shakespearean actor manager. [02:38] Went in the RAF. [03:15] Golden era of silent comedy. [04:40] West End of London, Hippodrome and Starlight roof, Julie Andrews bottom of the bill, [05:27] used publicity to help the Goons, Peter [Sellers] was doing radio work, Harry [Secombe], Spike [Milligan].
[05:54] The Goon Show, Jimmy Grafton the publican of the Grafton Arms. [06:15] Pat McNeil Dixon, [06:23] Peter Sellers was an impressionist, [06:27] Harry Secombe was doing his shaving act finishing by singing, Spike Milligan mad individual. [06:54] Clip from The Goon Show plays.
[08:36] Clip ends, M.B. discusses good-natured characters [08:47] Eccles was Goofy. [09:04] M.B. developed Crund, which the others took it on after he left, based on an Eton teacher called Jelly Churchill. [10:08] you won’t hear the first 39 episodes of the Goon Show which M.B. featured in.
[10:27] Laughing Matters Jingle. [10:40] all comedians at the time had been ex-servicemen or ex-servicewomen. [11:05] Harry and Spike had been in North Africa, Italy, Sicily. [11:57] M.B. knew most of the young comedians at the time, young Benny Hill emerging, [12:46] clip of Benny Hill plays.
[17:20] Clip ends, MB discusses Benny Hill, they both like silent comedians and visual humour. [19:35] Peter Sellers, [20:17] Clip of Peter Sellers plays. [26:17] Clip ends, MB discusses Peter Sellers and accents. [26:34] Wrote for French comedian Robert Derri. [26:54] Peter Sellers was creating a French detective character, based on Princess Margaret’s hairdresser Rene. [28:04] dinner with Britt Eckland and Princess Margaret. Rene’s accent inspired Clouseau.
[29:06] Laughing Matters Jingle. [29:18] Clip of Frankie Howerd plays. [35:54] Clip ends, MB discusses, old comedy partner Tony Sherwood did auditions for Joy Russell Smith, one audition was Frankie Howerd. [37:44] MB talks about going to America, [38:00] working for Ed Sullivan. [39:33] British material going to America didn’t happen until after the war with Ealing comedies.
[40:12] MB wrote for and worked with Jonathan Winters. [40:40] Carl Reiner, [40:51] 1964, show at the Old Capitan Theatre hosted by Gig Young. [41:37] Jerry Lewis had bombed there. [42:12] MB talks about Danny Kaye. Eddie Dukoff was Danny Kaye’s manager. [44:05] Clip of Danny Kaye plays.
[50:01] Clip ends, MB discusses. [50:18] Laughing Matters Jingle. [50:27] Billy Cosby [50:40] Clip of Billy Cosby plays. [53:47] Clip ends, MB discusses. [54:00] Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters has been trying to get Robin Williams and MB together for years. [54:42] Clip of Robin Williams from Good Morning Vietnam plays. [59:00] Clip ends, MB discusses. [59:30] British Airways radio jingle.
[01:00:13] MB talks about Michael Palin being influenced by his show It’s a Square World. [01:01:11] MB wrote the show with John Law BBC editor. [01:01:33] Clip from It’s a Square World plays. [01:03:00] Clip ends, MB talks about creating the flea circus. [01:05:29] Dad’s Army, written by Jimmy Perry, Arthur Lowe playing the captain. [01:05:57] Clip from Dad’s Army plays.
[01:11:57] Clip ends, MB discusses Clive Dunn. [01:12:31] Laughing Matters Jingle. [01:12:53] Clip of Jonathan Winters plays. [01:16:53] Clip ends, MB discusses working with Jonathan Winters. [01:18:18] Peter Ustinov [01:18:44] Clip of Peter Ustinov plays. [01:22:36] Clip ends, MB discusses.
[01:23:02] Dick Van Dyke, The Dick Van Dyke Show, written by Carl Reiner, [01:23:40] Dick Van Dyke had emerged on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie, [01:23:56] William Morris agency sent MB over to do a show, met Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke. [01:24:29] Carl Reiner has had a terrific career, Mel Brooks did as well. [01:24:58] Mel Brooks Pastiche of Hitchcock’s The Birds. [01:25:15] Young Frankenstein was a masterpiece, The Producers, MB was friends with Zero Mostel. [01:26:03] Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks worked together on a one-man show about the 2000 Year Old Man. [01:26:34] Clip from the 2000 Year Old Man plays.
[01:34:12] Clip ends, MB discusses Reiner and Brooks. [01:34:51] Carl Reiner movie Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid starring Steve Martin. [01:35:07] Clip of Steve Martin plays. [01:41:09] Clip of Steve Martin ends, MB first heard of Steve Martin through Wally Boag from the Golden Horseshoe western saloon at Disneyland. [01:41:38] Laughing Matters Jingle.
[01:41:53] Gilda Radner, one of the SNL crowd, fell in love with Gene Wilder, worked together on Young Frankenstein. [01:42:22] Clip of Gilda Radner plays.
[01:47:11] Clip ends. MB talks about musical comedy, Stan Freberg, Spike Jones [01:47:32] Clip of Spike Jones and his City Slickers Cocktails For Two plays. [01:50:28] Clip ends, MB discusses. [01:50:50] Satirists like Tom Lehrer [01:51:04] Bob Newhart [01:51:07] Clip of Bob Newhart plays. [01:59:00] Clip ends, MB discusses. [02:00:00] British Airways Radio Jingle. [02:00:20] Recording ends.
NotesLPCM wave 16 bit 48kHz. Digital Audio Tape (DAT) captured using a PC running Windows; SPDIF connection via RME PCI card. Digitisation engineer Adrian Finn, Greatbear analogue & digital media ltd. Digital file was topped and tailed.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsThis recording is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU for study/research purposes only. Access to audio-visual recordings is through digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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