‘Heil Honey, I’m Home!’: You won’t believe these racially insensitive vintage UK sitcoms!*
01.31.2014
12:08 pm

Topics:
Race
Television

Tags:
Nazis
Spike Milligan
sitcoms


 
[*Look, if you’re going to post something like this, WHY NOT give it a jaunty Upworthy-worthy click-bait title?]

It used to be that we Americans only knew British television via Monty Python, Doctor Who and Masterpiece Theatre. UK TV was kinda classy compared to American television. Except when it wasn’t, but we didn’t get those sorts of misfires over here. Here we got Upstairs, Downstairs. Brideshead Revisited. The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

There are a lot of completely demented UK TV shows that most Americans have probably never heard of, but that now can be found on torrent trackers and YouTube.

Take for instance the short-lived Spike Milligan sitcom Curry & Chips from 1969. Milligan—never a man known for his racial sensitivity to begin with—donned blackface to play “Kevin O’Grady” (or as he is also called on the show “Paki Paddy”) a “foreigner” from Pakistan who says that he is Irish.

The producers claimed the show was supposed to combat prejudice—and that it was the English characters who looked the dumbest—but essentially the series relied upon… unvarnished racial abuse for the laughs. “I’m with Enoch!” is but one unfunny punchline the studio audience chortles along to. Milligan’s “Irish” character says he left Pakistan because of “the wogs.” It just gets worse from there.
 

 
Have a look for yourself, this is the full first episode of Curry & Chips:
 

 
Curry & Chips was cancelled after just six episodes, but it still fared far better than Heil Honey, I’m Home! a severely misguided 1990 attempt to get a few laughs out of the notion of Hitler and Eva Braun moving in next door to a Jewish couple, The Goldensteins.

Hilarity ensues!

Or does it?

Heil Honey, I’m Home! has but a single decent idea (one used to far better effect in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) and this is the conceit that the series was a “long lost” American sitcom from the 1950s. The show begins with a card reading:

To most people the name of TV executive Brandon Thalburg Jnr. merits no more than a three word footnote in the annals of American Situation Comedy.  Yet it was Brandon who, some years ago, sought to break new ground when he commissioned the series Heil Honey I’m Home! under the billing ‘not so much a sit com, more a hit com.’ Unfortunately, neither Brandon nor the series were heard of again. Until now!

A chance discovery in a Burbank backlot has revealed the lost tapes of: Heil Honey I’m Home!. Tapes that we believe will vindicate Brandon’s unsung comic vision.

Hey, not so fast on the posthumous vindication, there. It starts to suck right after the above words leave the screen (yes, I just gave away the best part). Even the title sequence is fucking terrible, they couldn’t even get that right, and the eponymous catch phrase is surely the worst of all time and will never, ever be topped for its abject shitness.

All in all, Heil Honey I’m Home! just stinks! Writing at Splitsider, Matt Schimkowitz said the show was the “Holocaust meets The Honeymooners” and that gets it about right. Imagine the fucking pitch meeting!
 

 
Don’t get me wrong, Nazis can be funny, just ask Mel Brooks (or Mitchell and Webb), but Heil Honey I’m Home! is plain awful. It was killed after only one episode aired, but there were seven more in the can. If The Day The Clown Cried ever gets released after Jerry Lewis dies, Heil Honey I’m Home! would probably make a good opener on a Nazis comedy double feature.

Here’s Heil Honey I’m Home! in all of its… er, glory.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan & John Cleese star in a ‘Goon Show’ TV special, 1968

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Peter Sellers once received a letter from a fan requesting a “singed photograph of yourself.” Sellers obliged, delicately burning the edges of a B&W 8x10 with a cigarette, before sending the portrait off. A week or so later, the fan wrote back asking Sellers if he would be so kind to send another photograph, as the last one was “signed” all around the edges.

This tale of probable dyslexia captures something of the humor of The Goon Show, that classic radio comedy series, which launched the careers of Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan.

With its unique brand of surreal humor, The Goon Show started modern British comedy and inspired generations of comic performers. It is difficult to imagine how Peter Cook, Firesign Theatre, Monty Python, The Bonzo Dog Band,  Eddie Izzard, and The Mighty Boosh would have developed their own particular brands of comedy without The Goons.

In 1968, eight years after The Goon Show had finished, Sellers, Milligan and Secombe reunited for a specially televised recording of one of their classic scripts “Tales of Men’s Shirts.”  The trio were ably joined by a young John Cleese as the program’s announcer. Though not as brilliant as the original radio production (the visuals distract from imagining the comedy, and Milligan and co. appear to be enjoying themselves a tad too much), there is, however, more than plenty to enjoy.
 
More from The Goons (& Cleese), plus bonus documentary, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan: Their rare and historic interview at Cinema City, 1970

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An incredible moment in TV, Film and Comedy history: Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan interviewed by Tony Bilbow. Recorded at the Roundhouse’s Cinema City, London, for BBC TV’s Film Night, which aired on November 8th, 1970.
 

 

 
With thanks to NellyM
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Peter Sellers vs. Spike Milligan: ‘The Running, Jumping & Standing Still Film’, 1960

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Peter Sellers was bored. It was 1959, and he was tired of appearing in The Goon Show with Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.

While The Goon Show was still the biggest and most influential comedy show on British radio, Sellers was now a movie star, with a successful stage and TV career, and the offer of a tenth Goons series was too much to contemplate. He said:

‘I think we should leave it now before the standard goes down - we [Sellers, Secombe & Milligan] aren’t adding anything new and the original drive and enthusiasm has gone.’

Sellers was more of an anarchist than Milligan. Sellers wanted the unfettered life, to be free of all responsibilities. Milligan was far more predictable, he was enthralled by the success of his legacy.

Sellers pretended not to give a fuck. While Milligan’s ambitions meant he was often a shit to those people closest to him.

When The Goons first started, the rivalry between Milligan and Michael Bentine forced the latter to leave the group. Similarly, when Milligan worked with Goons co-writer Larry Stephens, he did everything in his power to belittle him. ‘Larry Stephens was small beer…’ Milligan once said:

‘He was never really a writer…Larry would occasionally think of an idea, but by then the show was over.’

TV writer, biographer and Goons expert, Roger Wilmut disagrees with Milligan’s opinion about his co—writer.

‘Stephens’s plots tend to have a beginning a middle, and an end; whereas Milligan’s tend to have a middle.’

Milligan was great at coming up with original, often brilliant ideas, but he needed someone to help structure these ideas into a coherent script. At first he had Jimmy Grafton, then Bentine, Stephens and Eric Sykes. He also had his producers, like Peter Eton who later said:

‘Spike used to have the marvelous lively extrovert ideas, and Larry used to bring them down to earth. Larry was the strong man. Spike used to have these paradoxical ideas and wrote them down in the form of one line gags. Most of it was rubbish, utter rubbish. It was Larry who used to pull it into shape and make sketches out of it.’

The seeming anarchy of Milligan’s Q series now seems like a collection of unfocussed gags. Yet, I have always preferred Q to The Goon Show.

By 1959, Stephens’ untimely death (he suffered a brain hemorrhage while driving a car, and died in hospital days later) left Milligan to write the final Goons series on his own. As he later viciously said:

‘Larry Stephens died conveniently, it was very nice of him, and I went on to write them on my own.’

Milligan’s response to his past life often depended on his mood, he also claimed (falsely and tearfully) that Stephens had died in his arms at a restaurant.

With no Stephens to fret over, Milligan turned on his fellow Goons, in particular Peter Sellers, whose film career, and successful stage and TV work, had greatly dimmed Milligan’s own success. It was up to Harry Secombe to act as peace-keeper.

Sellers wanted to do something new. Something different. Something with film. He bought a camera for £75, and suggested to Milligan they make a short movie together. The tried the camera out at Sellers home, then asked Dick Lester to direct, and over 2 days The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film was made.

When released in 1960, it was an incredible success, award-winning no less, and a direct influence on The Beatles to hire Lester to direct (and ask Leo McKern to star in) their fab movies.

But Milligan wasn’t happy. The success of The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film niggled, and he felt aggrieved over who was the real talent behind the film. Of course, he had to wait until after Seller’s death in 1980 to claim the film as his own:

I said to Peter [Sellers], ‘Look, films are being made for millions - I think we can make one (not very long) for - what’s the cost of the cameraman?’ He said, ‘Seventy-five pounds.’ So we paid that, and the sound engineer was fifty.

We had about twenty ragged characters in a van and we just drove up the Great North Road until we saw a suitable field…

We just went to the hill, and I wrote the script out, what I wanted roughly, and we had just to improvise how to do it.

Milligan also claimed, at a Goons Appreciation Society meeting, that he had in fact directed the whole thing.

So, that is Milligan’s version of events. What actually happened was that Dick Lester directed and operated the camera, and the script was a concoction between Sellers, Lester, Milligan and Mario Fabrizi (an actor and friend of Sellers), which included some re-workings of sketches lifted from the TV series The Idiot Weekly Price 2d, A Show Called Fred and Son of Fred, which had been the first collaborations between Lester, Milligan and Sellers.

The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film was shot over 2 days, with Milligan only in attendance for one of these days. It was then edited by Lester and Sellers in a bedroom at the actors home.

Inevitably, because of his incredible influence on British comedy, The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film was ( and still is by many) considered mainly a Milligan film, when it truth, it should be seen as a film devised by Peter Sellers in collaboration with Dick Lester, Spike Milligan and Mario Fabrizi.
 

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Goons: The near impossibility of interviewing Spike Milligan

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Chaos ensues when presenter Bob Wellings attempts to interview Goons Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, about their single “The Raspberry Song” in this short clip from BBC’s Nationwide, in April 1978.
 

 
Bonus track from Spike Milligan, after the jump…
 
With thanks to NellyM
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘I am desperate to have some real fun again’: Peter Sellers’ final telegram to Spike Milligan

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Peter Sellers didn’t know he was dying, he believed he was going to live until he was seventy-five. That’s what his spirit guide, the ghost of Victorian Music Hall performer, Dan Leno had told him.

Sellers was terribly superstitious, his film career had often turned on the say-so of his clairvoyant, Maurice Woodruff. By the early 1970s, Sellers believed he was similarly able to communicate with the spirit world. He also recounted to his friends how he had been various famous people in various past lives. His colleague and friend Spike Milligan, poked fun at Sellers’ beliefs, pointing out that he was always Napoleon, or Ceaser, or Leonardo da Vinci in his past life, rather than some ordinary joe.

Perhaps Sellers should have listened to Milligan, for he may not have been so credulous. He may even have uncovered that his faithful clairvoyant Woodruff was in the pay of the film studios, and his advice on starring roles was not inspired by Tarot, but rather on the size of check Woodruff received. Similarly he may found out his beloved Leno had died babbling insane, a victim of tertiary syphilis.

If Sellers had stuck more to the real world, then he may have accepted Dr. Christiaan Barnard’s offer in 1976 of open-heart surgery and the bypass that would have certainly lengthened his life. Though he attended a heart operation and photographed Barnard at work, Sellers was fearful he would die on the operating table as he had in 1964, after suffering 8 heart attacks.

Come 1980, with the failure of his third marriage to Lynne Frederick, and a grueling work schedule, Sellers was physically exhausted. As before at such times, he reached out to those people who had created some of his happiest working days: his fellow Goons, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.

Two months before he died, Sellers wrote to Milligan in the hope that the 3 of them would once again work together on some new comedy shows. Sadly it wasn’t to be, as hours before the 3 men were about to meet, on the 22nd of July, Sellers suffered a fatal heart attack.

PADDINGTON

28 MAY 80

MR SPIKE MILLIGAN

DEAR SPIKE I AM DESPERATE TO HAVE SOME REAL FUN AGAIN WITH YOU AND HARRY. PLEASE CAN WE GET TOGETHER AND WRITE SOME MORE GOON SHOWS? WE COULD PLACE THEM ANYWHERE I DONT WANT ANY MONEY I WILL WORK JUST FOR THE SHEER JOY OF BEING WITH YOU BOTH AGAIN AS WE WERE.

LOVE

PETER

 
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Now a classic Goon Show sketch, “What time is it, Eccles?”
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The Paranormal Peter Sellers


 
Via Letters of Note, with thanks to Tara McGinley
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
On Location With Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques: Rare interview from 1973

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Here’s an interesting little curio for those who love British comedy - an interview with Eric Sykes on the set of of his little known feature film directing debut, You Better Go In Disguise in 1973. To the younger generation, Sykes may be best known for his performances in Harry Potter, The Others and even The Tele-Tubbies, but for those who grew-up in the seventies, he will always be remembered for his classic sit-com Sykes.

Long before Schwarzenegger and De Vito, Sykes and the wonderful Hattie Jacques were the original comedy twins. Over 9 series, Eric and Hat were essential Monday night viewing, and were the perfect neighbors, and the kind of relatives I always wishes I had.

Sykes was a comedy genius, who started his career writing brilliantly surreal monologues for Frankie Howerd, his first script was the tale of Frankie taking two elephants on a journey by train. Sykes then went onto write The Goons, when Spike Milligan was indisposed, and formed a legendary writing group with Milligan and Alan Galton and Ray Simpson (the talent behind Tony Hancock and creators of Steptoe and Son). Then in the 1950s, Sykes started a partnership with Hattie Jacques that would last until the beautiful Hat’s untimely death in 1980.

Hattie makes an appearance in this clip along with sixties TV ‘tec, Stratford Johns who looks like he’s being interviewed by a giant. Of course, Johns was best known for his role in Softly, Softly, Barlow and Watt and Brond. Sykes gives a purposely confusing description of You Better Go In Disguise, which bombed and was later remade in a slightly different version by Eric in 1981 as If You Go Down to the Woods Today.
 

Eric Sykes interview after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Spike Milligan’s Meaning of LIfe: An Autobiography of Sorts

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For thirty-six years, Norma Farnes was Spike Milligan’s manager, agent and Mother Confessor. She was also his friend. Since Milligan’s death in 2002, Norma has shown a loyalty to their friendship, which our world of social networks, Friending, Following and +1ing may never replace. For Ms. Farnes has been collating and editing the millions of words written by the late, great comedy genius, into a series of books - Box 18: The Unpublished Spike Milligan, The Compulsive Spike Milligan, Memories of Milligan - and now, Milligan’s Meaning of Life, his “autobiography of sorts”.

Who else but Norma Farnes could have edited together this fabulous collection of loose threads, extracts, and letters, which make Milligan’s Meaning of Life, such a brilliant autobiography.

As Norma explains in her introduction:

‘A sort of autobiography’. Yes, Spike would have liked that. I can hear him saying, ‘Yes, well, I suppose I’ve had a sort of life.’

...His many followers will, no doubt, find gaps, but it wasn’t my intention to give a complete account - rather an impressionistic journey. I did my best, but as Spike used to say to me: ‘That’s what worries me.’

Farnes should have no fears, as she has compiled a marvelous book, cherry-picking from the best of Milligan’s various writings. Farnes has a terrific eye for the telling phrase and revealing sentence, which presents Milligan as a bruised, sensitive, mercurial, inspired and very funny man. A man who had long bouts of severe depression, suffered terrible nervous breakdowns, was riddled with shyness and insecurities, yet through it all produced some of the our best, funniest and most memorable comedy.

During his life, Milligan produced over eighty books, ranging from poetry (Silly Verse for Kids to Small Dreams of a Scorpion), prose (most notably Puckoon, one of the best comic novels written), and his 7 volumes of War memoirs, starting with the hilarious Adolf Hitler - My Part in His Downfall, plays (The Bed-Sitting Room and countless radio scripts form The Goons and his own classic comedy series Q. In very real terms, Milligan produced more work, and of a higher quality, than most novelists or writers ever achieve in a lifetime.

Milligan’s Meaning of Life Edited by Norma Farnes is available from Penguin Books / Viking Books. Check here for details
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The Paranormal Peter Sellers


Michael Bentine: The Goon who got away


 
More from Milligan, plus bonus clips, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Writers’ Bloc: Places where writers and artists have lived together

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Home is where the art is for four different groups of writers, who lived and worked together under one roof, experiencing a cultural time-share that produced diverse and original works of literature, art, and popular entertainment.
 
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The February House

Between 1940 and 1942, “an entire generation of Western culture” lived at 7 Middagh Street, Brooklyn. The poet W. H. Auden was house mother, who collected rents and doled out toilet paper, at 2 sheets for each of his fellow tenants, advising them to use “both sides”. These tenants included legendary stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee, novelist Carson McCullers and a host of other irregular visitors - composer Benjamin Britten, singer Peter Pears, writers Jane and Paul Bowles and Erika and Klaus Mann, Salvador Dali, a selection of stevedores, sailors, circus acts and a chimpanzee.

Auden wrote his brilliant poem New Year Letter here and fell obsessively in love with Chester Kallman, and attempted to strangle him one hot, summer night - an event that taught Auden the universal potential for evil. On the top floor, Carson McCullers escaped from her psychotic husband, and wrote Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, while slowly drinking herself to an early death.

On the first floor, Gypsy Rose Lee created her legend as the world’s most famous stripper, wrote her thriller The G-String Murders, offered a shoulder to cry on, and told outrageous tales of her burlesque life.

Known as the “February House”, because of the number of birthdays shared during that month, 7 Middagh St. was a place of comfort and hope in the desperate months at the start of the Second World War.
 
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The Fun Factory

The scripts that came out of 9 Orme Court in London, changed world comedy. And if Spike Milligan hadn’t gone mad and attempted to murder Peter Sellers with a potato peeler, it may never have all happened.

Milligan was the comic genius behind The Goons, and the stress of writing a new script every week, led to his breakdown. The need for a place to work, away from the demands of family, home and fame, brought Milligan to share an office with highly successful radio scriptwriter, Eric Sykes. 

The first Fun Factory was above a greengrocer on the Uxbridge Road. Here Sykes, Milligan, comedian Frankie Howerd and agent Scruffy Dale, formed the Writers’ Bloc Associated London Scripts. The idea was to bring together the best and newest comedy writers under one umbrella. Milligan saw ALS as an artists’ commune that would lead to political and cultural change. Sykes saw ALS as a business opportunity to produce great comedy. Frankie Howerd saw it as a source of finding new material.

When Milligan asked two young writers, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson to come on board, the central core of ALS was formed.

This merry band of writers expanded in the coming years to include: Johnny Speight (Till Death Us Do Part); Barry Took and Marty Feldman (The Army Game and Round the Horne); Terry Nation (Dr Who and the Daleks); John Antrobus (The Bed-Sitting Room); and with a move to the more suitable offices of 9 Orme Court, ALS was established as the home of legendary British comedy.

Milligan continued successfully with The Goons, before devising the groundbreaking Q series for television. Sykes began his long and successful career with his own TV show. While Galton and Simpson created the first British TV sitcom, Hancock’s Half-Hour, and then the massively influential Steptoe and Son.

9 Orme Court was once described, as though Plato, Aristotle, Galileo and Leonardo Da Vinci were all living in the same artist’s garret.
 
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The Beat Hotel

A run-down hotel in the back streets of Paris was unlikely setting for a Cultural Revolution, but the Sixties were seeded when poet, Allen Ginsberg William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and Bryon Gysin moved into the Beat Hotel, at 9 Git le Coeur, in the late 1950s.

The literary revolution that started with Ginsberg’s Howl in America was formalised and expanded in the cramped, leaky, piss-smelling hotel rooms at 9 Git le Couer.

Ginsberg wrote part of Kaddish here, as he came to terms with the madness and death of his Mother. First to arrive, Ginsberg was also be first to check out, travelling in search of enlightenment to India. 

The wild and romantic Corso produced his best books of poems “Gasoline” and “Bomb”, whilst living the life of an American abroad.

But it was Burroughs who gained most from his four-year on-and-off stay in Git le Coeur.  Here he completed Naked Lunch, and wrote the novels The Soft Machine, The Nova Express, The Ticket that Exploded, and together with Bryon Gysin devised the cut-up form of writing, indulged in seances, Black Magic and tried out Scientology.

Like Middagh Street, the Beat Hotel was a cultural and social experiment that sought to inspire art through shared experiences. 
 
Passport from Pimlico

It started with a bet. Three young writers sitting watching Mick Jagger on Top of the Pops, in a flat in Pimlico during the 1960s. The bet was simple, which of the 3 would make the big time first?

It was the kind of idle chat once made soon forgotten, but not for these 3 young talents, Tom Stoppard, Derek Marlowe and Piers Paul Read.

Read and Marlowe believed Stoppard would hit the big time first, but they were wrong, it was Marlowe in 1966 with his cool and brilliant spy thriller A Dandy in Aspic, made into a film with Laurence Harvey, Mia Farrow, Tom Courtney and Peter Cook.

Stoppard was next in 1967, with his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Then Read with Alive the story of Andes plane crash in 1974.

All 3 were outsiders, set apart from their contemporaries by their romanticized sense of Englishness, which came from their backgrounds. Read was a brilliant Catholic author, favorably compared to Graham Greene; Stoppard, a Czech-émigré, and Marlowe, a second generation Greek, who was for “heroes, though if not Lancelot or Tristan, heroes” who appeared “out of the mould of the time.” All three writers were to become the biggest British talents of the 1970s and 1980s.
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

A Dandy in Aspic: A letter from Derek Marlowe


 

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Paranormal Peter Sellers

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Many actors are superstitious. Some like Peter Bull kept a collection of Teddy bears to bring him good luck; others like Jack Lemmon said the words, “It’s magic time,” before filming each scene. But none were quite as obsessed with superstitions and the Occult as comedy genius, Peter Sellers.

Sellers’ introduction to the Occult came via fellow Goon, Michael Bentine, the Watford-born Peruvian, who had grown-up in a household where seances and table-turning were regularly practiced. Not long after they first met, Bentine told Sellers of his psychic abilities - how during the Second World War, when Bentine served in the Royal Air Force, he had been able to tell which of his comrades would die before a bombing mission. Bentine claimed if he saw a skull instead of his colleague’s features, then he knew this person would be killed. How often Bentine was correct in his predictions is not known. No matter, Sellers was impressed by the shock-haired comic and was soon obsessed with all things paranormal.

From then on he collected superstitions, as easily as others collect stamps. He refused to wear green or act with anyone dressed in the color. If anyone gave him something sharp, he gave them a penny. He read his horoscopes every day, to divine what he should do.

Sellers often said he had no idea who he was: “If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am.”  This was his way of renouncing any responsibility for his actions.  He claimed he found comfort and stability in consulting clairvoyants and fortune tellers, which again only underlines the fact he did know who he was - a control freak, who wanted power over his future. It was inevitable, therefore, that once under the spell of sooth-sayers and psychics, Sellers was open to fraudsters, tricksters and con-men.

The clairvoyant who had most influence over his life was Maurice Woodruff, the famed TV and newspaper astrologer, whose syndicated column reached over fifty million people at the height of his career. Woodruff received over 5,000 letters a week, asking for advice and had a Who’s Who of of celebrity clients, including Lionel Bart and Diana Dors. He also famously predicted the death of President John F. Kennedy and the end of the Vietnam War. Sellers was devoted to Woodruff, consulting him before he accepted any roles, and regularly had Tarot readings performed over the telephone. But Woodruff was heavily in debt and open to the persuasion of a little cash earner when film studios asked him to suggest film scripts for the actor.

One famous tale, recounts how Woodruff was asked to suggest the initials of director Blake Edwards as being very important to him. Unfortunately, Sellers failed to connect ‘B.E.’ with the famous director. On return to the Dorchetser Hotel, his usual residence when in London, Sellers was smitten by the sight of a beautiful, young blonde-haired woman at reception. When he enquired as to who this vision of loveliness was, he was told Britt Ekland. Sellers recalled Woodruff’s prediction and married Ekland within weeks.
 
More on the paranormal Peter Sellers plus bonus clip after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Forgotten film of Goons restored by BFI

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The British Film Institute has restored a long forgotten short film of Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan:

The BFI regards the restoration as a significant one, a “missing link in British comedy history”. The institute’s curator, Vic Pratt, said: “You are able to see them at the beginning of their careers. The film captures the moment as they are about to revolutionise comedy with the Goon Show and it’s really important for that reason.”

A DVD of the film will be released next month and while the movie is, as Pratt admits, “a bit rough around the edges”, it is not as bad as Sellers remembered.

Sellers, in particular, shines in his two roles as an old major and a smooth talking salesman, Arnold P Fringe. “In Peter Sellers, you see a talent that was fully formed from the beginning and he clearly knows how to use the camera,” said Pratt.

 

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In other news about Sellers, an insecure love letter written by the actor is being auctioned off that gives insight into the tempestuous union with his second wife, Swedish beauty Britt Ekland:

He wrote: “I have a dreadful fear at the back of my mind that you might leave me. I love you so desperately, and think you are so absolutely wonderful in every way, that I find it very difficult to understand why you married me. You who are just the most lovely thing in the whole world. What do you see in me? I’m not handsome. I’m not tall. I’m not special in any way.”

He described himself feeling “quite faint and ill and terrible and wretched and awful” as he imagined other actors wanting to sleep with his wife. “Without any doubt I am a raving idiot and I ought to have my head examined.”

Clearly feeling insecure about his marriage, he questioned why such a ?

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion