Goon Show Script

The History of Communications

Series 4, Episode 18

Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, produced by Peter Eton. Transcribed by Darius Pranckunas. Corrections by thegoonshow.net



[Opening missing]

GREENSLADE:
… Nevertheless, we shall now proceed to labour the point with:

ORCHESTRA:
Short fanfare

SECOMBE:
The History of Communications!

SELLERS:
Man’s first communication with man was made, naturally enough, through the medium of the human voice. For instance:

SECOMBE [TWIT]:
Hey, Fred.

MILLIGAN:
Allo.

[Short pause]

SELLERS:
But this was only – only practical at close quarters. For long-distance communications, man developed this method:

SECOMBE [TWIT]:
[Shouts] HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYY! FRREEEEEEEEEEED!

SELLERS:
Centuries past, and then:

MILLIGAN:
[Shouts] HEEEEEELLOOOOOOOOOOO!

SELLERS:
The first important method of communication over long distances was the Runner.

GREENSLADE:
The most famous of these messengers was the Greek Goonican, who ran 300 miles to Athens, bringing news of a great victory.

GRAMS:
Running, slows and stops (for 15 sec.)

ECCLES:
[Puffs]. My lords, greetings. I come from the great warlord, Arnold Princiopolies. 300 leagues have I run! Over the Ionicous, down the plains of Olympus, through the snowy wastes of Sabrina, across the arid deserts of Xerxes and I did swim the boiling waters of the Hellispont and over…

SECOMBE:
Yes, yes, yes, but the message?

ECCLES:
Ooh. Ooh, then I’ll nip back and get it.

GREENSLADE:
In the nineteenth century, came the innovation of the first penny post, thus, after nearly 2000 years, finally dispensing with the Runner.

ECCLES:
[Out of breath:] About time too.

SELLERS:
The first stamps issued for the penny post were only very weakly adhesived, and so a new issue was made.

MILLIGAN:
Letter for you, Dae.

SECOMBE:
Thank you. Hey, looks like this new glue is too strong.

MILLIGAN:
Why, boy?

SECOMBE:
There’s somebody strung underneath the stamp!

GREENSLADE:
At first, the average Britain did not take to the penny post, as it was very infrequent.

MIN:
Ooooh! Oh dear, dear. I haven’t heard a word since John left.

CRUN:
Why not?

MIN:
He took my ear-trumpet.

GREENSLADE:
But after time, the post became universal, and deliveries were made to the most outlandish spots.

SELLERS:
Such a place was the lonely Isle of Lurgi, where only one family lived. To reach their house, the postman had to row three miles across the straits of Lurgi, and proceed on mule-back up the rugged mountain side, and finally tramp for eight miles across the plateau, until:

FX:
Knock on door. Door opens

POSTMAN (SECOMBE):
Mrs Jones?

MRS JONES (SELLERS):
Yes?

POSTMAN:
Nothing for you today!

MRS JONES:
Thank you.

GREENSLADE:
A few years later came the parcel post and, for the first time, people were able to send appropriate gifts to loved ones far away.

FX:
Knock on door. Door opens

MRS SMITH (SELLERS):
Yes?

POSTMAN:
Parcel for you, Mrs Smith, from your son-in-law.

MRS SMITH:
Whom, ‘im? Parcel?

FX:
Door closes. Rattling paper under next line:

MRS SMITH:
That good-for-nothing. I wonder what he sent me.

GRAMS:
Short explosion

GREENSLADE:
And, somewhere in London, an unknown man is seated in a tiny workshop. Before him on the table, almost completed, is the greatest invention of them all; the wireless set. He looks up, weary and haggard as his wife comes in.

WOMEN (SELLERS):
Darling, you’ll kill yourself working like this.

SECOMBE:
I must go on! I must go on! Don’t you understand?

WOMEN:
What?

SECOMBE:
I feel I - I feel I’m nearly there.

WOMEN:
Oh.

SECOMBE:
Wireless. That’s what I’ll call it:Wireless! Yes, Wireless! Ohoho. If only I could reveal the secret of the baffled coiled baluns.

GREENSLADE:
Thousands of miles away, you merely lift up your phone and say:

SECOMBE [TWIT]:
[shouts] HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYY! FRREEEEEEEEEEED!

MILLIGAN:
[shouts] HEEEEEELLOOOOOOOOOOO!

ORCHESTRA:
‘ Introducing Max Geldray’ link

GREENSLADE:
Introducing Max Geldray.

MAX GELDRAY & ORCHESTRA:
" Buckets and Spades"

GREENSLADE:
The Goons have said for some time that these programmes lack colour and…

ELLINGTON:
Yeah!

(BLOODNOK:
Aaeeoouugghh!)

GREENSLADE:
… lack colour and drama. And so tonight we present our idea of how education should be handled on the air, under the title:

SELLERS:
For the Gools!

ORCHESTRA:
Grand intro music

GREENSLADE:
The subject this week is history. The time: 1884. Place: The Sudan. The story: ‘The Siege of Khartoum’. But, let us hear this stirring tale in the words of that immortal poet and tragedian William McGoonigal.

ORCHESTRA:
McGoonigal link

McGOONIGAL:
Oooooooooooooooh, aaa-answer me oh.
‘ Twas in the year 1884 and in the month of June,
That Major Bloodnok and his gallant men were besieged in Khartoum.
Besieged by the Mardi’s savage men, they formed a thin red line,
But the Mardi did not care at all, for he was ‘Mardi-fine’.
And when the news reached England, the news of this tragic thing,
In parliament Mr Gladstone called an emergency meeting. And ooooooooh…

OMNES:
[Rhubarbs fading in, under:]

GLADSTONE (SECOMBE):
Please, please. Please, please! Honourable members, please!

OMNES:
[Rhubarbs stop]

GLADSTONE:
Now, are we all here? Conservatives?

MP1 (SELLERS):
Yes.

GLADSTONE:
Aha. Socialists?

MP2 (SELLERS):
Aha.

GLADSTONE:
Mmhmm. Lib… Where’s the Liberal Party?

MP3 (MILLIGAN):
He’ll be back in a minute!

GLADSTONE:
Oh, right. Now, gentlemen, the position is serious: Australia is being overrun with rabbits. Every year the rabbits increase by millions.

SELLERS [GAY]:
Well they’ve only got themselves to blame!

GLADSTONE:
Quite, quite, but that does not alter the fact that we must get rid of these rabbits.

MINNIE:
What about poor Major Bloodnok in Khartoum, eh?

GLADSTONE:
Madam, madam. he is perfectly safe.

MINNIE:
[jabbers] By the pooh bar yar.

GLADSTONE:
He is perfectly safe. There are no rabbits in Khartoum.

MINNIE:
I don’t wish to know that.

GLADSTONE:
But Australia is overrun with them!

BLUEBOTTLE:
I have an idea, my captain! How about separating the males from the females?

GLADSTONE:
We tried that, but we had thousands of complaints.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Who from?

GLADSTONE:
The rabbits.

BLUEBOTTLE:
I did not know that rabbits could write.

GLADSTONE:
They can’t. They dictated them to the kangaroos.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Ooh. I see, yeah. Finishes speech, sits down next to lady wearing boxing glove, turns out to be Lady Astor, thank you.

GLADSTONE:
Yes, yes, now, any questions?

MINNIE:
What about Major Bloodnok in Khartoum?

GLADSTONE:
Madam, kindly do not waste the time of the house of trivial matters, when we have important business to discuss.

MINNIE:
Pooh, pooh! [Continues under:]

GLADSTONE:
Now about these rabbits in Australia, I think we should…

ORCHESTRA:
McGoonigal link

McGOONIGAL:
Ooooooooooooooooh!
Yes, Gladstone spoke of rabbits, while in a distant land,
For Bloodnok was surrounded by a savage Arab band. And ooh how the battle did rage…

GRAMS:
Gunshots and explosions, under:

OMNES:
[Gibberish Arab calls]

BLOODNOK:
Aaaaaaaahhh! Aaeeoouugghh! And a dash of soda.

SECOMBE:
At once, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Thank you.

SECOMBE:
Here we are.

BLOODNOK:
What?

SECOMBE:
How’s the battle going, Major Bloodnok?

BLOODNOK:
How should I know? I’ve been hiding in this cupboard since it started.

SECOMBE:
I know, sir. Some of the officers are saying you’re a coward.

BLOODNOK:
Which ones?

SECOMBE:
The ones hiding under the beds.

BLOODNOK:
What, me a coward? You see these medals, lad.

SECOMBE:
Yes, sir.

BLOODNOK:
You know what I got them for?

SECOMBE:
No, sir, what?

BLOODNOK:
Ten bob the lot! I’m no coward.

SECOMBE:
Then why are you hiding in the cupboard, sir?

BLOODNOK:
Why? Because there’s no room under the bed, that’s why. You can’t say things like that about me – me, Major Bloodnok M.C.

SECOMBE:
M.C? I didn’t know you were an M.C, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Of course I am; listen…

ORCHESTRA:
Drum roll, followed by symbol crash

BLOODNOK:
Take your partners for a slow fox trot!!

SECOMBE:
Congratulations, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Thank you. Raaahh. Blast these mosquitos. Do you hear me? Ahh. Carstairs, blast those mosquitos, blast them.

SECOMBE:
Right, sir.

GRAMS:
Short pause. Explosion!

SECOMBE:
Mosquitos blasted, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Splendid.

FX:
Door opens

BURKE (MILLIGAN):
Aeough! Aeough! Whaaha! Aaahh! Major Bloodnok! Aeough, Major Bloodnok sir!

SECOMBE:
Great Scots! It’s Captain Burke Snail of the Third Athlete’s Foot.

BLOODNOK:
Burke Snail of the Third Athlete’s Foot?

SECOMBE:
Yes, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Doesn’t it get in the way?

BURKE:
Aeough! Sir, listen, listen, sir. I’ve run all the way from Fort Alababa…

BLOODNOK:
You you you, you poor fellow.

BURKE:
Yes I know, sir.

BLOODNOK:
You must be absolutely all in.

BURKE:
I am, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Here lad, drink this.

BURKE:
[Swallows] Thank you, sir…

SECOMBE:
Here, try a leg of this chicken.

BURKE:
[Tut tut tut] Thanks…

BLOODNOK:
Now swill it down with this coffee, lad.

BURKE:
[Out of breath] Thank you, sir. [Four pants] Thank you. [Normal] Well, goodnight, sir.

BLOODNOK:
I say, wait a minute! Haven’t you forgotten something?

BURKE:
No, sir, I left it under the plate.

FX:
Door closes

BLOODNOK:
I say, have a look, will you, Carstairs?

SECOMBE:
Yes, sir. Oh, it’s an envelope and there’s a message in-side.

BLOODNOK:
A message in-side?

SECOMBE:
Yes, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Curse it and I don’t speak a word of Sides.

GRAMS:
Morse code signal, [under:]

SERGENT (MILLIGAN):
Major, Major Bloodnok, sir!

BLOODNOK:
Yes, Sergent Docco?

SERGENT:
There’s a wireless message coming through from England, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Well take it down, man.

SERGENT:
Right, sir.

SECOMBE:
I say, sir, this is marvellous. News from England after all these years.

BLOODNOK:
Yes, yes, at last we’ll know about the relief column.

GRAMS:
Signal stops

BLOODNOK:
Well, have you got it, Sergent?

SERGENT:
Yes, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Well read it out, man.

SERGENT:
Right, sir. “Arsenal, 1; Sunderland, 4.”

BLOODNOK:
Football results? Football results at a time like this? I shall report this to her majesty Queen Victoria.

SERGENT:
Yes, sir.

BLOODNOK:
Signaller, send this message.

SERGENT:
Yes, sir.

GRAMS:
Sped up: Morse code signal, under orchestra

ORCHESTRA:
English-type link

FX:
Door opens

PALMERSTON (ELLINGTON):
Your majesty!

QUEEN VICTORIA (SELLERS):
Yes, Lord Palmerston?

PALMERSTON:
This news has just been received from Major Bloodnok.

QUEEN VICTORIA:
Pray read it.

PALMERSTON:
“ Arsenal, 9; Sunderland, 14.”

QUEEN VICTORIA:
Herbert?

HERBERT (SECOMBE):
Yes, Anna?

QUEEN VICTORIA:
Check your pools!

HERBERT:
Yes, Anna.

QUEEN VICTORIA:
Is there anything else, Lord Palmerston?

PALMERSTON:
Yes, ma’am, this:

RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET:
" Kiss Me Again" / "'S Wonderful"

GREENSLADE:
That was the Ray Ellington Quartet. The part of Ray Ellington was played by Herbert Wilcox, who is now appearing in ‘Anna Neagle Has Two Heads’. We now continue with our educational documentary, “The Siege of Khartoum”.

ORCHESTRA:
McGoonigal link

McGOONIGAL:
Ooooooooooooooooooh!
But the situation in Khartoum was getting very grave,
And was essential to send out a relief force:
Bloodnok’s men for to save,
And realising that something was very much amiss,
Field-Marshal McNaafi called a conference in the Whitehall war of seats. And ooooooooooh…

OMNES:
[Rhubarbs]

McNAAFI (SECOMBE):
Now, gentlemen. Now, gentlemen, are all the senior army officers here?

OMNES:
Yes…[rhubarbs]

McNAAFI:
Splendid, splendid. [Clears throat]. Now… Lieutenant Churchill, for the last time, put that cigar out.

CHURCHILL (SELLERS):
What? What did you say?

McNAAFI:
How many times must I tell you? Oh, I see… I see: twice. Now to business: the situation in Khartoum is grave. Bloodnok’s force is completely besieged and we must send out a relief force immediately and I have here the ideal man to lead this force. [calls] Mr Crun!

FX:
Door opens

CRUN:
Aaaaah. Nga niaaa… [Continues under:]

McNAAFI:
Ahh, Mr Crun, would you sit down?

MILLIGAN:
Yes, take a seat, Mr Crun.

McNAAFI:
Now, Mr Crun, are you familiar with camel transport and desert warfare?

MILLIGAN:
And the anti-tank precautions of the ‘mark-sen’ or telegraphic gun?

McNAAFI:
And altering the tactics in deployment of infantry in open and field warfare?

MILLIGAN:
And close combat?

McNAAFI:
And infiltrations?

CRUN:
… I’d rather stand up, thank you.

McNAAFI:
Splendid. Now, any questions?

MINNIE:
Yeeeessss!

McNAAFI:
What?

MINNIE:
What about the rabbits in Khar [fluffed line] …Australia?

McNAAFI:
Please, please, madam.

MINNIE:
I don’t think I can…

McNAAFI:
I don’t wish to know that.

MINNIE:
I..Neither do I.

McNAAFI:
Now, Mr Crun, have you ever worked with the government before?

CRUN:
Oh yes, yes. You know the royal mint?

McNAAFI:
Yes.

CRUN:
Well I used to drive! Ha ha!

McNAAFI:
Yes, thank you. [Clears throat]. I see and have you had any experience of life in the tropics?

CRUN:
Oh yes, yes. I used to be a forestry commissioner in North Africa. I chopped down every tree in the Sahara Forest.

McNAAFI:
You mean the Sahara Desert.

CRUN:
Aah, that’s what they call it now!

MILLIGAN:
Have you any idea, Mr Crun, what stores you will need for this operation?

CRUN:
Yes. Here I’ve brought a list of the stores we shall need.

MILLIGAN:
Splendid. Will you care to read them out?

CRUN:
Yes, I’ll read them out now. Have you got a pencil?

MILLIGAN:
Yes.

CRUN:
Right. Two thousand pairs of purple creosote bathroom socks with reinforced concrete knees and secret sliding panels...

MILLIGAN:
Absolutely vital, vital.

CRUN:
One octogenarian fruit dancer; twelve trained Moldavian nut lions...

MILLIGAN:
Yes.

CRUN:
One slightly soiled film test of Raymond Nevaro...

MILLIGAN:
A must.

CRUN:
Paul Adams…

MILLIGAN:
Yes.

CRUN:
One life-size statue of Jane Russell made of jelly, inscribed, "It must be jelly 'cause Jane don’t shake like that".

McNAAFI:
Mr Crun, you’re a genius!

CRUN:
I’m a genius...

McNAAFI:
The relief force sets sail tomorrow!

MINNIE:
What about the rabbits in Australia?

ORCHESTRA:
McGoonigal link

McGOONIGAL:
Ooooooooooooooooooh!
And sailed they did the next day, now Major Bloodnok had no fears,
For Crun was marching to the rescue with the third filth-muck Whitechapel fusiliers!

GRAMS:
Marching through sand

OMNES:
[Singing] ‘We’re soldiers of the Queen, my lad…’

McNAAFI:
Mr Crun! Mr Crun, cease and begorrah! Will you listen to me for a minute?!

CRUN:
What is it Trickleovsky?

McNAAFI:
We’re approaching a big river!

CRUN:
Approaching a river?

McNAAFI:
Yes! You’d better give the order to halt.

CRUN:
Yes, alright, just a minute... Company... Nya... Company...

GRAMS:
Series of splashes

CRUN:
...Halt! Company, tread water!

ORCHESTRA:
McGoonigal link

McGOONIGAL:
Ooooooooooooooooooh!
And meanwhile in Khartoum, the siege went on because,
Major Bloodnok fought like a tiger, like the true British officer he was

BLOODNOK:
[Snoring]

FX:
Knocks on door

BLOODNOK:
Marilyn Monroe, come back to me, dear. Where are you? Where are you gone?

FX:
Further knocks on door

BLOODNOK:
What what what what? Who is it, who is it?

ECCLES:
[Dopey singing] It’s me!

BLOODNOK:
And who are you?

ECCLES:
Um... I’m the intelligence officer. I’ve got a message for the Major.

BLOODNOK:
A message? Ohh. Well, slide it under the door.

ECCLES:
OK, but it ‘aint going to be easy.

BLOODNOK:
Why not?

ECCLES:
It’s in my head.

BLOODNOK:
Oh. Oh alright then, come in.

FX:
Door opens and closes

ECCLES:
Right, there it is.

BLOODNOK:
Now let me have a look at it. Ah... “Enemy shelling increasing”? Ooh I don’t think this old fort is going to stand much more shelling.

ECCLES:
You’re dead right. Look at those nasty cracks on the wall.

BLOODNOK:
Nasty cr…Carstairs?

SECOMBE:
Sir?

BLOODNOK:
Who wrote those nasty cracks on the wall?!

SECOMBE:
I did, sir.

BLOODNOK:
You did? Well rub them off at once!

SECOMBE:
Oh.

BLOODNOK:
Now we must find out whether the... whether the Mardi intends to attack or not. Have you found out anything from the Arabs in the town here?

SECOMBE:
Well sir, last night I questioned the chief’s daughter for four hours.

BLOODNOK:
Did she talk?

SECOMBE:
[cheekily] I hope not.

BLOODNOK:
A lot of use that was. Eccles, I hope you did better?

ECCLES:
Ooh yeah, I questioned her for twenty-five hours.

BLOODNOK:
What? So you know her as well!

ECCLES:
I was having a good time. You know what she said?

BLOODNOK:
What?

ECCLES:
She said I bring out the maternal instincts in her.

BLOODNOK:
The maternal instincts?

ECCLES:
Yeah, I remind her of her mother.

BLOODNOK:
Eccles, you’re a stupid, ignorant idiot.

ECCLES:
Well I say this.

BLOODNOK:
What?

ECCLES:
Well I don’t say much, but what I do say don’t make sense.

BLOODNOK:
Take him away.

SECOMBE:
Major, Major, we might be able to get some news on the wireless.

BLOODNOK:
Splendid idea. Where’s my batman? Ellington!

FX:
Door opens

ELLINGTON:
Yes, Major?

SECOMBE:
This is your batman, sir?

BLOODNOK:
Yes. Why?

SECOMBE:
But, he’s not English.

BLOODNOK:
Not English? Of course he is. I say, Ellington, you are English, aren’t you?

ELLINGTON:
No, Major.

BLOODNOK:
Then what are you?

ELLINGTON:
I’m a white Russian.

BLOODNOK:
Well you certainly had me fooled, I don’t mind telling you.

[few seconds missing]

ELLINGTON:
..Last round

BLOODNOK:
Last round? Why?

ELLINGTON:
It’s closing time.

BLOODNOK:
In that case, I shall...

FX:
Door opens

MARDI (SECOMBE):
Haahaahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

BLOODNOK:
Who... Who are you, sir?

MARDI:
Me, I am the Mardi himself. Bloodnok, your time has come and remember, I am a profit.

BLOODNOK:
You’re a dead loss.

MARDI:
I challenge you to a duel. Swords or pistols?

BLOODNOK:
What? Neither swords nor pistols. I am an Englishman, sir and I choose the weapons of my country.

MARDI:
Name them.

BLOODNOK:
Conkers.

MARDI:
Conkers? I, the great Mardi, would never descend to the level of fighting with Conkers.

BLOODNOK:
You refuse?

MARDI:
Yes.

BLOODNOK:
You coward, you! Mardi, we must settle this like men. I ask you to step outside.

MARDI:
Right.

FX:
Door closes

BLOODNOK:
Quick, now he’s outside, bolt the door.

ECCLES:
OK.

BLOODNOK:
Phew. That got rid of him. Ha ha. Oh, I’d love to get my hands on one of those Arabs.

SECOMBE:
Which one, sir?

BLOODNOK:
Chief's daughter, she’s a smashing bit of...

SECOMBE:
Bloodnok, how can you think of women in times of danger?

BLOODNOK:
You find out yourself, it took me years of study. Ooh, I don’t care what I say. Now it’s time that this relief column was getting near.

OMNES:
Hooray!!

BLOODNOK:
What’s all that?

ECCLES:
It’s the relief column. We’re savéd.

BLOODNOK:
What? Let’s get outside!

FX:
Door opens and closes

OMNES:
Hooray!!

FRED NURKE:
Alright, lads! Settle down, lads. Quiet all you men and stand to attention. Mr Crun, the leader of the relieving troops has brought us a special message from Her Majesty the Queen.

OMNES:
Hooray!!

FRED NURKE:
Alright, quiet, then. Silence for Mr Crun, who will now read the message.

CRUN:
Nya. "Arsenal, one; Sunderland, four"!

OMNES:
Hooray!!

ORCHESTRA:
‘March of the Goons’

GREENSLADE:
That was The Goon Show, a recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott, script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, announcer: Wallace Greenslade, the programme was produced by Peter Eton.