The Baron Watches Monty Python's Flying Circus and Tries to Create a Timeline for It

I've always been a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus, but given the nature of the show, it struck me as absurd to try to create a "timeline". Naturally, I am going to try to do so. As an added "bonus", I will also be posting my trademark Baronial superficial insights into each episode as I watch it.  Enjoy!

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33: Brian Cohen is crucified.

 

932: King Arthur and his knights go on a quest to seek the Holy Grail.

 

1126: Icelander Erik Njorl journeys to the English town of North Malden.

 

1583: Superintendent Harry Gaskell finds himself temporarily living the life of Sir Philip Sidney.  Shakespeare's Gay Boys in Bondage is released.

 

1723: The highwayman Dennis Moore attempts to re-distirbute the wealth in Wiltshire.

 

1781: The plans for the Montgolfier Brothers' hot air balloon are stolen by a man claiming to be the King of France, who tries to sell them to King George III.

 

1806: While Ludwig von Beethoven is composing his Fifth Symphony, his wife hires Colin "Chopper" Mozart to help deal with an infestation of rats.

 

1880: Queen Victoria and William Gladstone are filmed at Osborne.

 

1895: Oscar Wilde and his friends gather to exchange bon mots.

 

1900: Ferdinand von Zeppelin attempts to promote his airship.

 

1912: The Spanish Inquisition raids a home in Jarrow.

 

1943:  Ernest Scribbler writes the funniest joke in the world.

 

1944: Soldiers on both sides are not taking the war seriously.

 

1953: The film Ivanhoe is released.

 

1958: Ken Russell's Gardening Club is released.

 

1967: The film Rogue Cheddar is released.

 

1969:

October

  • First appearance of the It's Man.
  • It's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart! showcases various deaths, including those of Genghis Khan and Admiral Nelson.
  • Whizzo Butter launches a new ad campaign under the slogan "Buy Whizzo Butter and go to Heaven!"
  • It's the Arts features interviews with Sir Edward Ross and Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.
  • A sheep named Harold learns how to fly.
  • The BBC interviews Arthur Frampton regarding his claim to have three buttocks.
  • On The Epilogue, Monsignor Edward Gay wrestles Doctor Tom Jack over the existence or non-existence of God.
  • The World Around Us airs a report on the mouse problem.
  • Mister Larch is brought to court over a parking offense.
  • F. G. Superman begins operating as Bicycle Repair Man.
  • An episode of Storytime goes badly wrong.
  • Newscaster Michael Queen is kidnapped and dumped into the sea.
  • Arthur Lemming of the British Dental Association helps to capture the Big Cheese.

 

November

  • Confuse-A-Cat Ltd. opens for business.
  • Charles Atlast advertises his "Dynamo Tension" bodybuilding program.
  • It's the Arts presents a profile of Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern -schplenden -schlitter -crasscrenbon -fried -digger -dangle -dungle -burstein -von -knacker -thrasher -apple -banger -horowitz -ticolensic -grander -knotty -spelltinkle -grandlich -grumblemeyer -spelterwasser -kürstlich -himble -eisen -bahnwagen -gutenabend -bitte -eine -nürnberger -bratwurstle -gerspurten -mit -zweimache -luber -hundsfut -gumberaber -shönendanker -kalbsfleisch -mittler -raucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.
  • Inspector Praline of the Hygiene Squad arrests Mister Milton, owner of the Whizzo Chocolate Company.
  • The word "splunge" is coined.
  • Alien blancmanges from the planet Skyron turn nearly everyone in Britain into Scotsmen in hopes of winning Wimbledon, but are defeated by Mister and Mrs. Samuel Brainsample, also of Skyron.

 

December

  • Dino and Luigi Vercotti attempt to extort money from a Royal Army base.
  • Someone says "mattress" to Mister Lambert - twice!
  • Mister Praline attempts to return a dead parrot to a pet shop.
  • Gangs of old ladies terrorize Bolton.
  • Sir George Head, OBE, plans an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • A barber expresses his desire to become a lumberjack.
  • On It's a Tree, Arthur Tree interviews a block of wood.
  • Ron Obvious attempts to be the first person to jump the English Channel.
  • Mister Phipps applies for a library job while dressed as a gorilla.
  • The World of History features segments on the Black Death, social legislation in the 18th Century, the Battle of Trafalgar, and Pearl Harbor.
  • Footballer Jimmy Buzzard is interviewed.
  • Interesting People features Howard Stools, Ali Bayan, the Rachel Toovey Bicycle Choir, Thomas Walters, Ken Dove, Don Savage and Tiddles, and Keith Maniac.

 

 

1970:

January

  • Spectrum discusses what is going on and what it all means.
  • A man calling himself "Mister Hilter" stands for office in the North Minehead by-election.
  • The 127th Upper Class Twit of the Year Show is held at Hurlingham Park and is won by Gervaise Brook-Hampster.
  • The Right Honorable Lambert Warbeck delivers a party political broadcast on behalf of the Wood Party.
  • Historical Impersonations airs.
  • Probearound reports on the use of magic by the British police.

 

September

  • Face the Press features the Minister for Home Affairs and a small patch of brown liquid.
  • Mister Pudey applies for a grant from the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • Ethel the Frog airs a report on the criminal careers of Doug and Dinsdale Piranha.
  • Twentieth Century Vole releases The Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights, having previously released such films as Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp, Gunfight at O.K. Corral in Morse Code and The Smoke Signal Version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
  • An armed man attempts to hijack a plane to Luton, but ends up on a bus that is hijacked to Cuba.
  • The poetry of Ewan McTeagle becomes popular.
  • It's the Mind discusses the phenomenon of déjà vu.

 

October

  • C. of E. Films release The Bishop.
  • Blackmail debuts.
  • The Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things disbands.
  • The Dibley School fo Boys presents Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
  • Boxer Ken Clean-Air System trains to fight Petula Wilcox.

 

November

  • Programs airing this month include It's a Living, Timmy Williams Coffee Time and The Attila the Hun Show.
  • L. F. Dibley releases his film If.
  • The Silly Party wins heavily in the British election.
  • Britain suffers an outbreak of killer sheep.
  • The BBC begins offering programs aimed at parrots, gibbons and wombats.
  • The BBC airs a report on the role of idiots in society.
  • Mrs. Scum wins a blow on the head on a game show.
  • Professor Lucien Kastner and Sir Robert Eversley are interviewed on Archaeology Today.
  • The BBC airs a profile of mosquito-hunters Hank and Roy Spim.
  • Michael Baldwin joins the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolloomooloo.
  • The Batley Townswomen's Guild re-enacts the first heart transplant.
  • BBC Radio airs The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Chief Inspector Jean-Paul Zatapathique wins the Eurovision Song Contest with "Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong".

 

December

  • Kenneth Longueur releases his film Le Fromage Grand.
  • Chris Conger reports on the filming of Scott of the Antarctic.
  • Conquistador Coffee suffers from a disastrous advertising campaign.
  • Arthur Crackpot inherits control of Crackpot Religions Ltd.
  • Alexander Yahlt is charged with publishing a fraudulent Hungarian phrasebook.
  • World Forum features Karl Marx, Lenin, Che Guevara and Mao Tse-Tung.
  • Paintings at the National Gallery go on strike.
  • The Royal Hospital for Overacting opens.
  • Flower Arrangement with D.P. Gumby debuts.
  • Vikings invade the Green Midget Cafe in Bromley.
  • Welsh coal miners go on strike over an historical dispute.
  • Programs airing this month include The Toad Elevating Moment, Fish Club, and The Naughtiest Girl in the School.
  • Saint Pooves Hospital begins using "active recuperation techniques". 

 

 

1971: Sam Peckinpah's film Salad Days is released.

 

1972:

October

  • Programs airing this month include Njorl's Saga,Stock Market Report, How To Do It, Farming Club, TrimJeans Theatre Presents and It's.
  • Mrs.Premise and Mrs.Conclusion go to Paris to visit Jean-Paul and Betty-Muriel Sartre.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris set out to prove that Surbiton was originally populated by people from Hounslow.

 

November

  • Programs airing this month include The Money ProgrammeErizabeth I, Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror, The House-Hunters, The Bols Story, Party Hints by Veronica SmallsThrust, The Adventures of Biggles, and Storage Jars.
  • The church police investigate the death of the Bishop of Leicester.
  • The Argument Clnic opens for business.
  • The Pantomime Horse is a Secret Agent Film is released.
  • The All-England Summarize Proust Competition is held.
  • The film A Magnificent Festering is released.
  • The Royal Navy mounts an expedition to Lake Pahoe.
  • Bert Tagg leads an expedition to climg the north fac eof the Uxbridge Road.

 

December

  • On the morning of the 19th, Michael Norman Randall murders twenty people.
  • Mister Pither goes on a cycling tour of North Cornwall.
  • A housing development is built by characters from Nineteenth Century English literature.
  • Mortuary Hour airs on BBC Radio.
  • Television programs airing this month include Probe and Is There?.
  • Francisco Huron of Paraguay and Don Roberts of the UK compete in the Olympic Men's Hide-and-Seek Final.
  • A probe of the planet Algon (Aldebaran V) reveals that everything is extremely expensive there.
  • The Tudor Job Agency is raided by Superintendent Harry Gaskell.
  • Reverend Arthur Belling becomes vicar of Saint Loony Up the Cream Bun and Jam.
  • The film Dr. E. Henry Thripshaw's Disease is released.

 

1973:

January

  • Programs airing this month include Boxing Tonight, The  Great Debate, George I, Prejudice, A Book at Bedtime, No-Time Toulouse, Frontiers of MedicineSpot the LooneyThe British Show Biz Awards, Charwoman, Backchat and Grandstand. 
  • The fifteenth annual Ideal Loon  Exhibition is held
  • The military unit known as the Queen's Own McKamikaze Highlanders is founded.
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini releases his film The Third Test Match.

 

1974:

October

  • Programs airing this month include The Golden Age of Ballooning, Decision, The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation and The Milll on the Floss.

 

November

  • Programs airing this month include University of the Air, Up Your PavementShow Jumping, Nationwide, A Room Polonius's House and Conjuring Today.
  • Chris Quinn buys an ant.
  • The Robinsons airs on BBC radio.
  • The Queen Victoria Handicap is held at Epsom.
  • Mister Neutron arrives on Earth. The U.S. government calls on Teddy Salad for help in finding him.

 

December

  • The Jodrell family of Durham win the Most Awful Family in Britian competition.

 

1983: Francisco Huron finds Don Roberts.

Mister Creosote explodes.

 

1984: Angus Podgorny becomes the first Scotsman to win Wimbledon.

 

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Season One, Episode One: "Whither Canada?" First aired October 5th, 1969

Some memorable bits right out of the gate with the funniest joke in the world, the Whizzo Butter campaign ("You try that around here and we'll slit your face!"),  the cycling painters, and my favorite, the interview with Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.  Good stuff!

Season One, Episode Two: "Sex and Violence" First aired October 12th, 1969.

This is the first episode I remember seeing.  It was also the first one filmed, although it was aired second.

First use of "And now for something completely different", first use of the footage of the Women's Institute clapping. first appearance of the lovely Carol Cleveland.

A bit more of a mixed bag - my favorite bit in this is probably the "working class playwright" sketch.

Fun dialogue: "...A man with nine legs."  "He ran away."  "Oh, bloody hell."

 

I remember when I saw this. I was a kid, and had never seen anything like it.  It exploded my sense of what comedy could be.

I would love to watch these along with you, but Tracy would never stand for it.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

I would love to watch these along with you, but Tracy would never stand for it.

 

 

Maybe if you let her sit down?

on a ....... Comfy Chair! ...maybe.

Season One, Episode Three: "How to Recognise Different Types of Tree from Quite a Long Way Away". First aired October 19th, 1969.

 

This one has a number of old favorites, including "Bicycle Repair Man", "Nudge Nudge", "Storytime", and the "Dirty Fork". The Knight of the Rubber Chicken gets alot of airtime in this.

 

Fun Dialogue:

  • "Mister Aldridge, I put it to you that you are dead."
  • "With a melon?"
  • "Never kill a customer!"

 

Cleese, playing a lawyer, makes a remark about not being able to find a "kosher carpark". From what I've read, this reflects a common British that Jews dominate the legal  profession.

 

Overall, a fun episode. Bicycle Repair Man (But how?) is one of my all-time favorite Python bits.

Season One, Episode Four: "Owl-Stretching Time". First aired October 26th, 1969.

The one has the first appearance of Chapman's Colonel that interrupts the show.

 

Two fun bits include Cleese instructing some men how to defend themselves from attackers armed with pieces of fruit, and "Lemming of the BDA", a parody of James Bond films.

 

For some reason, Idle's character's obsession with pointed sticks in the self-defense sketch amuses me endlessly.

 

Overall, an OK episode.  "Owl-Stretching Time" was one of the other names they had considered for the show, before settling on "Monty Python's Flying Circus".  Imagine if they'd ended up being known as the Owl-Stretchers!

 

Season One, Episode Five: "Man's Crisis of Identity in the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century". First aired November 16th, 1969.

 

This one has "Confuse-A-Cat", which was one of my mother's all-time favorites. I particularly like how Jones' housewife keeps shushing her husband (Palin).  There are some other good bits, including Management Trainee applicant, the head of the Careers Advisory Board who hates his job, and the encyclopedia salesman who poses as a burglar.

 

Also, this has a sketch that ends with one of the few proper punchlines the Pythons ever did:  "Blimey. Whatever did I give the wife?"

 

Overall, worth a look just for Confuse-A-Cat.

Season One, Episode Six: "It's the Arts", First aired November 23rd, 1969.

Anothe rold favoirte, as we get an interview with the last living relative of Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern -schplenden -schlitter -crasscrenbon -fried -digger -dangle -dungle -burstein -von -knacker -thrasher -apple -banger -horowitz -ticolensic -grander -knotty -spelltinkle -grandlich -grumblemeyer -spelterwasser -kürstlich -himble -eisen -bahnwagen -gutenabend -bitte -eine -nürnberger -bratwurstle -gerspurten -mit -zweimache -luber -hundsfut -gumberaber -shönendanker -kalbsfleisch -mittler -raucher von Hautkopft of Ulm. I particularly like Jones as the old guy struggling to get thorugh the name, only to die during the interview. The interviewer, Cleese, then fetches a shovel and starts to dig a grave for him!

 

Other classic bits include the Crunchy Frog sketch, the crooks that don't want to do anyhting illegal, and the Indian massacre in the theater.

 

Of course, there also was "The Dull Life of a City Stockbroker", which, in addition to being an amusing sketch, features a delightful young woman with no clothes on, which I must confess had rather a marked effect on my pre-adolescent self when I first saw this show.  Actually, it stil has a marked effect on my middle aged self!

 

This episode ends with the bit about the deranged movie producer which gave us the very useful word "splunge".

 

Overall, another enjoyable episode!

Season One, Episode Seven: "You're No Fun Anymore". First aired November 30th, 1969.

This one is largely taken up with an extended science fiction parody, in which alien puddings try to win Wimbledon.  This is one I remember quite enjoying when I was a kid, but which now seems a touch racist, and also a bit misogynistic.  Actually, alot of this early Python stuff would never get by today, although to be fair, from what I've read, British telelvision in general in those days was fairly racist, even by American standards.

Season One, Episode Eight: "Full Frontal Nudity". First aired December 7th, 1969

This one has a number of old favorites, including the Hell's Grannies sketch, the "mattress" sketch, and the first appearance of the Vercotti Brothers.  However, it's probably most noteworthy for the appearance of the Dead Parrot Sketch, which interestingly enough, is less funny here than it would be in their later live shows. Cleese's Colonle is nigh omnipresnet here, stopping every skethc.

 

Fun dialogue:

  • "Come to think of it, most people like a good laugh more than I do."
  • "This is an ex-parrot."

I need to watch my Monty Python videos again! 

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