The Highly Esteemed Goon Show

Updated 2nd August 2009

Comedy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and you have to bear that in mind when things arrive for review. Take, for example, the latest DVD/Blu-ray to be released by the BFI - Penny Points to Paradise/Let's Go Crazy. These were not entirely new to me, as the GSPS had arranged a showing of Penny Points some years ago and I was working on the Newsletter at the time so did a little reading about the film and dug out the film stills from the society archives and scanned them (these appear in the extensive booklet that accompanies the DVD). I knew what to expect.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is an important release for fans of the Goon Show, as all three main protaganists are present and correct, and Penny Points has been unavailable for decades. Add to this the fact that is has been restored to the best possible quality you can, and as a collector it is a must have 'buy'. The film itself is rather second rate though, and if you are expecting anything remotely like a Goon Show you will be bitterly disappointed, but then anything other than a Goon Show just isn't a Goon Show.

For me, the second feature, Let's Go Crazy, was the more interesting. It is a selection of variety turns and improvised sketches, again all fully restored, and is a nice showcase for Sellers voices and characterisations, including Groucho, amongst the obligatory muscial spots that appeared in radio comedy shows of the time. The third and final film on the disc is The Slappiest Days of Our Lives - a feature-length silent comedy clip compliations with a voiceover commentary by Peter Sellers.

The whole package is rounded off with a 28-page booklet with details about the films, the restoration process, and Adelphi Films Ltd.