Spike Milligan

I seem to have a great gaping hole in my knowledge of comedy history. I had heard the name Spike Milligan, but never followed up on it to learn more. Of course, a quick visit to wikipedia to get started:

Terence Alan Patrick Seán “Spike” Milligan KBE (16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002) was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. Milligan’s early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the British government declared him stateless.[1] He was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles.

Milligan wrote and edited many books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After success with the ground-breaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

There is a wealth of material available on youtube, and I chose this because it’s done in silent movie style.

And this one is also silent:

And a musical number:

How come the English can do wordless TV animation?

Not long ago, Cartoon Brew posted some videos of the new Bugs and Daffy TV show.  As usual,  the producers hired a bunch of witty writers to come up with jokes for Bugs and Daffy.  Lots of attitude, but little action.

So why is it the English can turn out great TV animation that uses almost no dialog? What I’m thinking of are these two shows.  The Animated Mr. Bean, and Shaun the Sheep from Aardman. Here are samples.

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