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View Full Version : Comedian Eric Sykes dies aged 89



goodiesguy
05-07-2012, 09:13 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18704263

Wrote quite a few of the Goon shows and had success by himself with his series "Sykes" and silent films like "The Plank".

Cicero
05-07-2012, 09:36 AM
I liked old Eric!

kenj
05-07-2012, 09:50 AM
He sure was a funny guy...especially "The Plank" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVc9vr2Ov2A

Ken

John H
05-07-2012, 10:05 AM
Who is left now worth watching or listening to? Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Hattie Jacques, now Eric Sykes - all has gone, and we will probably not see their like again. I see in a Guardian article that Sykes reckoned we won't get any decent comedians and script writers back until there is conscription again:

Sykes, who described his career as "... living in a world that doesn't exist", believed that the only way Britain would get another crop of writers like Milligan, Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Speight and himself would be through the reintroduction of conscription:

"Take 'away the necessity of earning a living," he said, "provide food and bed so that you can just sit on your backside for two years and you will find that the violinist will practise his violin, the language student will learn a language and the comedian will create comedy. It's no good expecting it to come from people who are in boring, undemanding jobs, for they have already half-settled for what they've got. Conscription is an obvious staging post. A war is even better if you can keep alive."

mzee
05-07-2012, 10:20 AM
Why do the modern comedians resort to sex and bad language to raise a laugh?
These old comedians were funny without being vulgar. Possible exception being Frankie Howard. At least John Cleese is still with us.

John H
05-07-2012, 10:28 AM
Why do the modern comedians resort to sex and bad language to raise a laugh?
These old comedians were funny without being vulgar. Possible exception being Frankie Howard. At least John Cleese is still with us.

Well, Frankie Howerd, Dick Emery, and Benny Hill always seemed to focus on double entendre and busty babes in (or out of) bikinis, but I don't think they were ever in the same rank as Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Hattie Jacques, and Eric Sykes. Just my taste; others will strongly disagree.

And you are quite right to remind us of Cambridge Circus and Monty Python. I hadn't thought about it until you raised it mzee, but there was very little sex and bad language with them, was there? Apart from the full frontal of Brian's mother in Life of Brian, and the John Cleese schoolmaster sex lesson in (?)... Cambridge Circus is still the funniest thing I have ever seen - I thought the woman next to me at the theatre was going to die. My ribs and stomach were aching for hours afterwards.

And of course we have lost Graham Chapman from CC/Monty Python as well. Sigh...

Richard
05-07-2012, 11:56 AM
And don't forget the late Peter Cook.

Terry Porritt
05-07-2012, 12:02 PM
Clive Dunn is still with us.

I remember seeing him at The Cambridge Theatre in 1960 with Michael Bentine and others in a Goon type show...he looked just as old then as he does today :)

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=clive+dunn&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=N9n0T5L4L4XZigfQhbziBg&sqi=2&ved=0CGQQsAQ&biw=1147&bih=740

B.M.
05-07-2012, 12:13 PM
Ronnie Barker, Tony Hancock, absolute legends.

PaulD
05-07-2012, 12:21 PM
but there was very little sex and bad language with them, was there? Apart from the full frontal of Brian's mother in Life of Brian,

You need to watch Life of Brian again with your glasses on. Brian's mother was played by Terry Jones so it's just as well that the full frontal was by Judith Iscariot, one of the People's Front of Judea rebels.

John H
05-07-2012, 12:22 PM
And don't forget the late Peter Cook. And Dud when he was with Peter, but not on his own...

John H
05-07-2012, 12:23 PM
Yes, you are right. I remembered the woman in Brian's house but forgot which character she was. I guess I was bushed at the time.

mikebartnz
05-07-2012, 12:23 PM
Why do the modern comedians resort to sex and bad language to raise a laugh?
The pork advert guy here comes to mind as a foul mouthed prat.

John H
05-07-2012, 12:34 PM
The pork advert guy here comes to mind as a foul mouthed prat.

Does he (or anybody else) consider him to be a comedian though?

Cicero
05-07-2012, 12:49 PM
There have been 2 comedians in NZ, Billy and J Clark.

mikebartnz
05-07-2012, 12:55 PM
There have been 2 comedians in NZ, Billy and J Clark.:thumbs:

mikebartnz
05-07-2012, 12:56 PM
Does he (or anybody else) consider him to be a comedian though?:thumbs:

Richard
05-07-2012, 02:02 PM
And for us really old guys, remember with affection, the late Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Oh the days of Chums Club at the Regent on a Saturday morning!!

goodiesguy
05-07-2012, 02:24 PM
Well, Frankie Howerd, Dick Emery, and Benny Hill always seemed to focus on double entendre and busty babes in (or out of) bikinis, but I don't think they were ever in the same rank as Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Hattie Jacques, and Eric Sykes. Just my taste; others will strongly disagree.

And you are quite right to remind us of Cambridge Circus and Monty Python. I hadn't thought about it until you raised it mzee, but there was very little sex and bad language with them, was there? Apart from the full frontal of Brian's mother in Life of Brian, and the John Cleese schoolmaster sex lesson in (?)... Cambridge Circus is still the funniest thing I have ever seen - I thought the woman next to me at the theatre was going to die. My ribs and stomach were aching for hours afterwards.

And of course we have lost Graham Chapman from CC/Monty Python as well. Sigh...

Incorrect. Monty Python was far more filthy than any Frankie Howerd, Dick Emery, or Benny Hill show. All of them are tame compared to some of the stuff that went on on some of the Python's shows. Howerd, Emery and Hill's programs were always tounge 'n cheek, more or less poking fun at themselves and it's always them that are the butt of the joke. Remember too, the pythons were extremely hit and miss with Flying Circus, in which the majority of an episode is crap, and then their's that golden bit, which are the best known sketches. I'm unsure about Howerd's or Emery's programs, but Hill's programs (at least prior to the Hill's Angels years where it became a playboy fest 1979 onwards) are consistently funny from start to finish, with inventive monologues, movie spoofs where he plays all the characters, well written comedy songs etc..). At least Hill, is definitaley in the same rank as Milligan and the goons. Milligan and Hill both were pioneers in comedy in the late 50's and 60's years prior to python and both their influences can be seen in python sketches.

John H
05-07-2012, 04:19 PM
As I said, others will strongly disagree. Doesn't change my taste though!

gary67
05-07-2012, 04:34 PM
RIP Eric you will be sadly missed

Cicero
06-07-2012, 07:31 AM
And for us really old guys, remember with affection, the late Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Oh the days of Chums Club at the Regent on a Saturday morning!!

Are we forgetting Abbot and Costello, the three stooges and the Marx brothers?

gary67
06-07-2012, 08:21 AM
Are we forgetting Abbot and Costello, the three stooges and the Marx brothers?

Yes not the same league at all

Cicero
06-07-2012, 09:42 AM
You tell him Dick......

Richard
06-07-2012, 11:26 AM
Well Cic, I had a lot of time for Groucho (I would not join any club which would have me as a member.) ( Those are my principles, and if you don't like them, I have others.) (I have had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.) And many other quotes.

Abbott and Costello were good and followed on from Laurel and Hardy in many ways, but the Three Stooges were really a bit childish, and was 1930s 1940s type slapstick. We saw mostly their short films by which time they were probably past their best, and a bit dated.

Then came Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis which continued the L&H and A&C double act theme with some success.

John H
06-07-2012, 11:55 AM
Do any of you know the name of the Laurel and Hardy film that has Stan Laurel filling bottles of wine from a barrel, using a syphon hose? From memory it was something called The Swiss Maid, but I cannot find it. I think there was a song in it called "I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls" or something like that. The sequence of Stan on his own with the syphon gets steadily out of control, and I remember it from my childhood as one of the funniest things I had ever seen - probably because all of it was completely predictable even to a child. Humour of anticipation, and all that. I personally didn't have much time for Oliver Hardy, but Stan Laurel was brilliant.

Any ideas about the name of the film?

Richard
06-07-2012, 12:18 PM
The Bohemian Girl. Check it all out in Wikipedia John.

John H
06-07-2012, 01:32 PM
Ah, thank you Richard. I have checked with Alice in Videoland, and sadly they do not stock it. Darn, I will have to try somewhere else.

Richard
06-07-2012, 03:05 PM
John, It's probably better not to watch it again as it will surely disappoint you now. You may be happier remembering the joy you had with hindsight, rather than trying to recapture what was obviously a great childhood moment for you. Believe me. It will now seem very dated.

Cicero
06-07-2012, 04:03 PM
Very wise Richard, sound advice indeed.

Sad that we can't capture our youth.

Digby
06-07-2012, 04:54 PM
Yes, me and my parents all thought that Steptoe & Son were great.

Till a bought a DVD of their first series, I only watched one of two episodes, hardly a laugh in it.

Comedy like many things has to move on.

(But some things have moved on too much)

John H
06-07-2012, 08:49 PM
Richard - you are probably right. Sob...

gradebdan
06-07-2012, 08:54 PM
I can remember applying for tickets, and getting them for
the making of the show "Beyond the fringe" in London.
Can not for the life of me remember where it was. Somewhere
near Soho I think...Do not forget Alf Garnett and Tommy Cooper
(just like that) when his jokes went wrong.

WalOne
06-07-2012, 08:58 PM
Very wise Richard, sound advice indeed.

Too, too, true. Very wise of you both.


Sad that we can't capture our youth.

Mothers! Lock up your sons and/or daughters!

Ohhh ... you mean re-capture our youth :D

John Calvert
06-07-2012, 10:04 PM
This is so true. But it's a little unpredictable. Over the last couple of years I've been renting DVDs of many of the TV series I remember fondly from my youth, and some have been sweet nostalgia and others bitter disappointment, but it's amazing to be able to see them on-demand in all their original glory - sometimes better with re-mastering. Essentially this is a gift of computers and therefore appropriate to this forum. I watch them on my laptop in better resolution than I originally watched them (mostly in black and white back then!)

Fishb8
06-07-2012, 11:07 PM
RIP Eric Sykes - he was one of those understated, drool guys. I remember seeing the Plank as a short B movie during ....can't remember but may have been an early Bond film. I was aching laughing as a 14 y/o

John H
07-07-2012, 07:46 AM
Let us not forget that we enjoyed many of these great comedians thanks to the power of steam radio, including the trusty crystal set... And via that medium, hats off to Gerard Hoffnung and The Bricklayer's Story...

John H
07-07-2012, 09:21 AM
You can listen to it here - now referred to as The Bricklayer's Lament. Like Richard says, not as good as my memory of it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI8ft3oZAik

Cicero
07-07-2012, 09:55 AM
You won't have heard of this chap, but still enjoy even if a bit dated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXkWJ867was