The Last Goon Show of All (1972)
|Year Of Production||1972|
|Running Time||38:52 (Case: 40)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Goon Show ran on BBC Radio from 1951 to 1960, some 250 episodes in all. In 1972 the BBC celebrated its 50th anniversary and brought the Goons back for one last radio show, which was also recorded on video for television broadcast. The Goons originally included Michael Bentine, but most people associate the Goons with three main contributors: Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligna, the well known typing error. The radio shows were inspired lunacy which paved the way for generations of British comedy performers, and each of the Goons went on to successful careers afterwards, not always the case with comedy troupes. Sellers became an International Film Star, Secombe made many recordings with his lyrical Welsh tenor voice, and Milligan starred in several television series as well as writing books.
I wish I could write something about the plot of this programme, but I'm not sure there is one. The show was recorded in front of a live and appreciative audience (including a couple of Royals). All of the major characters are revived, such as Moriarty, Grytpype-Thynne, Bloodnok, Eccles, Bluebottle, Henry Crun and his wife Min, Little Jim and of course Neddy Seagoon. In addition there are two musical interludes, one with Ray Ellington and the other with Max Geldray. The announcer is the original announcer Andrew Timothy, not Wallace Greenslade who was the announcer on the shows from 1953 to 1960, but was excused from this programme due to death.
You can see that this was not a carefully prepared television broadcast by the people who walk in front of the camera before the programme starts. Shots of the audience are limited to a few glimpses of the Royal pair (Prince Philip and Princess Anne). Most of the shots are (mercifully) of the performers, who speak at the microphone with scripts in hand, and also ad lib a lot.
The only drawback of this release is the running time. At less than 39 minutes, this seems like not very good value for money, even though the material is unique. I would have liked the BBC to include some of the Goons' original radio programmes as extras. There certainly is plenty of space on the disc, of which only 1.73 Gb has been used.
The programme is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.29:1.
Being a video recording made 33 years ago, I was expecting something worse than what we get on this disc. Not that it is perfect, or doesn't have the full range of possible analogue video artefacts, but it is not as bad as other TV shows of the era that I have seen.
The image is reasonably clear and sharp, with an acceptable level of detail. As it is a radio show with pictures, there is no much in the way of anything other than several cameras pointing at a stage, so background detail is quite unnecessary. The stage is well lit, and contrast levels are quite good. Colour is muted, though as the performers are wearing pastel shades this is not a problem. Flesh tones are realistic, but blacks are not solid or clean, with some low level noise.
There are some occasional analogue video tracking errors plus cross-colouration, chroma noise and slight moiré effects. Shots of the Royal party are very grainy. There is some flaring from reflections on the sound equipment, and one of the side cameras exhibits some faint vertical lines at the extreme left of the frame.
This is a single-layer disc, and there are no subtitles, which is annoying as some of the dialogue is a little hard to understand.
The sole audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
The audio does the job and no more. Dialogue is well recorded, but as the actors speak quickly and not always clearly or close to the microphone, some of the dialogue is difficult to understand. Funny voices don't help with this, of course.
There are two musical numbers. Ray Ellington sings Tennessee Waltz, and Max Geldray plays some music on the harmonica with his band. I'm not sure what the tune is, though it is familiar.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The only other release has been in the UK, and the Region 2 appears to be identical to the Region 4.
Classic comedy, but very short measure.
The video quality is not bad considering the age and source of the material.
The audio quality is acceptable.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|