In January 1960, 9 years and 250 episodes after first being introduced to a baffled but delighted audience, The Goon Show’s final installment was broadcast on BBC radio, much to the dismay of its many fans. Written chiefly by Spike Milligan, the show’s 10 series had been a surreal mixture of sketches, music and general nonsense that went on to make stars of its 3 main actors—Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe—and become one of British comedy’s most influential and adored creations. Judging by this touching telegram, sent by an ill Sellers to his ex-co-stars in 1980, it wasn’t just the listeners who mourned The Goon Show. Tragically, two months after sending it, hours before a planned reunion dinner with Milligan and Secombe, Sellers suffered a heart attack. He passed away two days later.
This, and 124 other fascinating pieces of correspondence, will feature in the second volume of Letters of Note, a beautiful “coffee table book” to be published in October 2015. Pre-order the special edition here!
(Source: Milligan’s Meaning of Life; Image: The Goons, via the BBC.)
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.