When did Monty Python start on United States television?

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telical
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When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by telical » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:25 pm

When did Monty Python start on United States television?

This article says 1974 but growing up in NY I thought perhaps earlier than that.

http://tellyspotting.kera.org/2009/10/0 ... rica-1974/

The Wikipedia article wasn't helpful for something this important in broadcasting.

The Google responses are getting very poor and extremely outdated on questions.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Jim Reid » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:29 pm

The first US station to run it was KERA here in Dallas in 1974. It caught on pretty fast because I remember seeing it on our PBS station in Tulsa in 1975.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:40 pm

As I recall, they ran some bits on The Midnight Special (I remember the milkman sketch, where Carol Cleveland was collecting milkmen) and then ABC made a couple of specials out of episodes but edited them so heavily that that was what inspired the Pythons to try to run the whole show somewhere-- PBS as it turned out.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:53 pm

telical wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:25 pm
When did Monty Python start on United States television?

This article says 1974 but growing up in NY I thought perhaps earlier than that.

http://tellyspotting.kera.org/2009/10/0 ... rica-1974/

The Wikipedia article wasn't helpful for something this important in broadcasting.

The Google responses are getting very poor and extremely outdated on questions.
KERA PBS is generally accepted as the correct answer when it comes to that show being on TV.
They did appear earlier in two ways: They re-shot season 1 highlights for a film, "And now for something completely different" in 1971. This was their first attempt to get a US audience.
Earlier, the Cambridge Circus was in New York in 1965, that was Monty Python in embryonic form. Audio of the TV program exists. And How to irritate people was shown in 1969, but shorter than it is now on DVD.

Or maybe there were clips on variety shows. Finally, it's possible that you saw Marty Feldman, whose material was coming from the pythons too. He appeared on Dean Martin's show almost regularly starting 1970.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Okay, did some more digging and they actually appeared live on The Midnight Special in 1973, though I mainly remember the milkmen bit which was on film. You can see a clip here (including Neil Innes doing an in between bit, since they didn't have animation in live performance):

http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=137120

The subsequent 90-minute ABC programs led to a court case over how much ABC had chopped up the shows, against the Pythons' contract with the BBC, which is said to have helped establish the notion of artistic moral rights:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilliam_v ... anies,_Inc.

The summer replacement one year for Dean Martin was a thing called The Golddiggers in London, confusingly also featuring Dean Martin, which had Marty Feldman and Gilliam's animations, so the latter were familiar when I finally saw Python.

http://www.theofficialmartyfeldman.com/ ... d-feldman/
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:12 pm

ABC's cut-up version was after the PBS run, right?
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:37 pm

My earliest memory of seeing it was on CBC-TV while we were still living in Calgary, which was from 1971 to 1975. I can't place exactly when I would have seen my first Monty Python episode, although I remember the show quite clearly, with a silly courtroom sketch with the "Anything goes in, anything goes out" song, and six or seven year old me was quite delighted with it (plus the animated bits, of course). I'm guessing it was around 1974 or 1975, and it was a weekend afternoon slot, and not a late night slot (when PBS tended to air it), which I wouldn't have been allowed to stay up and watch.

Shortly after we moved to Halifax, I also remember seeing the Python offshoot The Goodies, featuring their Footlights friends Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden (with whom they all worked with on various pre-Python TV and radio shows), which CBC ran in an after-school slot. Fun show which has thankfully been reissued on DVD in the UK, after being hard to track down for so many years. I believe some PBS affiliates ran it, but not in the same numbers at Python.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:09 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:37 pm
Shortly after we moved to Halifax, I also remember seeing the Python offshoot The Goodies, featuring their Footlights friends Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden (with whom they all worked with on various pre-Python TV and radio shows), which CBC ran in an after-school slot. Fun show which has thankfully been reissued on DVD in the UK, after being hard to track down for so many years. I believe some PBS affiliates ran it, but not in the same numbers at Python.
Yes, it FINALLY came out only recently.

Hmm... I wonder what the chances are that there are still some home recorded Goodies tapes in the US?
Two episodes only exist in b/w, but there's this process to transplant colour signal onto a sharper picture. It was used for a few Doctor Who episodes.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Hamilton's Grandson » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:39 pm

Spamalot with Eric Idle is still going strong on stage and will be playing throughout the USA this year.

Stage production comedy with Eric and you can see it live.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:16 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:37 pm
My earliest memory of seeing it was on CBC-TV while we were still living in Calgary, which was from 1971 to 1975. I can't place exactly when I would have seen my first Monty Python episode, although I remember the show quite clearly, with a silly courtroom sketch with the "Anything goes in, anything goes out" song, and six or seven year old me was quite delighted with it (plus the animated bits, of course). I'm guessing it was around 1974 or 1975, and it was a weekend afternoon slot, and not a late night slot (when PBS tended to air it), which I wouldn't have been allowed to stay up and watch.
I watched it living in Toronto in my middle teens -- it was considered a bit racy for my age -- which would confirm the early 1970s, but CBC showed it fairly late in the evening. Certainly not before 9 p.m. And absolutely, definitely NOT in an afternoon slot!

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:20 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:16 am
s.w.a.c. wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:37 pm
My earliest memory of seeing it was on CBC-TV while we were still living in Calgary, which was from 1971 to 1975. I can't place exactly when I would have seen my first Monty Python episode, although I remember the show quite clearly, with a silly courtroom sketch with the "Anything goes in, anything goes out" song, and six or seven year old me was quite delighted with it (plus the animated bits, of course). I'm guessing it was around 1974 or 1975, and it was a weekend afternoon slot, and not a late night slot (when PBS tended to air it), which I wouldn't have been allowed to stay up and watch.
I watched it living in Toronto in my middle teens -- it was considered a bit racy for my age -- which would confirm the early 1970s, but CBC showed it fairly late in the evening. Certainly not before 9 p.m. And absolutely, definitely NOT in an afternoon slot!
I likely wouldn't have been able to watch it after 9 p.m. (although I did catch a few Kolchak the Night Stalker episodes in its original run, which scared the bejeebers out of me). I suspect it might have been a one-off airing during a rain-delayed sports event, or something like that (which is also how I first saw Monty Python & the Holy Grail). Perhaps the technician in charge of substituting programs for delayed/postponed live events was a Pythonite?
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:12 am

ABC's cut-up version was after the PBS run, right?
It appears they were more or less in parallel. Both were under the license from the BBC to Time-Life. Beyond that I haven't seen definitive dates. I'm 90% sure the ABC showings were before it ran on the Wichita PBS station, because I distinctly remember the ABC showings being something new and weird, not something we were already getting—but that was probably due to the Wichita station being a latecomer to Python.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by silentfilm » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:07 pm

I remember that it came on late on Sunday night on KERA, the PBS station that aired it in Dallas. I want to say 10 p.m. because it was outside this teenager's normal viewing time.

In 1978, it was so popular that I did the "argument sketch" with a couple of friends in the senior talent show. I still have the sketch memorized to this day.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:17 pm

Two or three segments only exist today thanks to PBS showings (the undertakers' sketch, party policial choreographer). Although they probably would have turned up in b/w somewhere, it's the colour version that survived only in the US.

Seriously, if any of you have really old off-air tapes, it's worth taking a final look before binning them just to check for this kind of thing (Python/Goodies/Doctor Who).
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:34 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:17 pm
Two or three segments only exist today thanks to PBS showings (the undertakers' sketch, party policial choreographer). Although they probably would have turned up in b/w somewhere, it's the colour version that survived only in the US.

Seriously, if any of you have really old off-air tapes, it's worth taking a final look before binning them just to check for this kind of thing (Python/Goodies/Doctor Who).
I still have 15 (!!) Beta tapes of the half-hour version of SCTV. Think I might have had to throw out one of them when I found it had become sticky.

I've also got a bunch of of Betas of the original Benny Hill Show half-hours. At least half of the sketches never made it to the DVD compilations.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:14 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:34 pm
I've also got a bunch of of Betas of the original Benny Hill Show half-hours. At least half of the sketches never made it to the DVD compilations.

Jim
Ah, the b/w years? The colour stuff is all on DVD, at least I think it is.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:05 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:14 pm
Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:34 pm
I've also got a bunch of of Betas of the original Benny Hill Show half-hours. At least half of the sketches never made it to the DVD compilations.

Jim
Ah, the b/w years? The colour stuff is all on DVD, at least I think it is.
No, the colour stuff. I have some of the DVD compilations and was surprised to find that some of my favourite sketches weren't included. I particularly remember a fire station skit done Keystone style -- it was probably left off because even by Hill standards it was incredibly sexist. (Well, everything he did was... but this sketch especially.)

I do have that "Missing Years" DVD, BTW.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:04 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:05 pm
No, the colour stuff. I have some of the DVD compilations and was surprised to find that some of my favourite sketches weren't included. I particularly remember a fire station skit done Keystone style -- it was probably left off because even by Hill standards it was incredibly sexist. (Well, everything he did was... but this sketch especially.)

I do have that "Missing Years" DVD, BTW.

Jim
I had hoped that the "complete and unadulterated megaset" would be true to its name...

But yeah, that sort of recording in other cases could actually not only be good to have, but might also be wanted to help in restoration. Marty Feldman, for example, or Cook & Moore (I believe they appeard under "Kraft Music Hall Presents" in the US).
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by MikeH0714 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:17 pm

Python began in earnest in the US in October 1974 on 23 PBS stations, of which New York City's was one, as was Dallas'. Earlier that year, sketches from the first series were included in Dean Martin's Comedy World, a summer replacement for Dino's usual variety show that also included bits from Marty Feldman's show, and vintage comedy clips from films like Chaplin's Modern Times.

In 1975, the ABC Network bought the 4th series, which hadn't reached PBS yet, to create two 90-minute specials for its late-night Wide World of Entertainment program. The shows were, of course, edited to accommodate commercials and clean up the off-color humor for commercial TV. The first of these aired in October, one year after the PBS debut.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Jim Reid » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:14 pm

One a recent special on KERA, they said that the PBS airings were negotiated by the KERA program director. Then KERA would distribute it to other PBS stations who bought it.

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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:19 pm

Jim Reid wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:14 pm
One a recent special on KERA, they said that the PBS airings were negotiated by the KERA program director. Then KERA would distribute it to other PBS stations who bought it.
There's some archive footage from the Pythons at KERA with the man who started it off:
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Scoundrel » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:49 pm

From THE DIGITAL BITS:

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/columns/m ... 20419-1230

And finally today, the chaps of Monty Python are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus this year, and they’ve teased something they’re working on that could potentially be very cool. The image below appeared on the group’s official Twitter feed late last week.



Now, there are a lot of things this image could be, but it seems to us that one of the most likely is an HD remaster of the entire series from the best available source material. This makes sense, as the BBC has recently been remastering its older classic series for upsampled/remastered release on Blu-ray, including most recently The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and vintage seasons of Doctor Who. So while we’ll have to wait for an officially announcement, color us excited. Any chance to see this series looking better than ever would be welcome indeed.
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:06 pm

Scoundrel wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:49 pm
From THE DIGITAL BITS:

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/columns/m ... 20419-1230

And finally today, the chaps of Monty Python are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus this year, and they’ve teased something they’re working on that could potentially be very cool. The image below appeared on the group’s official Twitter feed late last week.



Now, there are a lot of things this image could be, but it seems to us that one of the most likely is an HD remaster of the entire series from the best available source material. This makes sense, as the BBC has recently been remastering its older classic series for upsampled/remastered release on Blu-ray, including most recently The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and vintage seasons of Doctor Who. So while we’ll have to wait for an officially announcement, color us excited. Any chance to see this series looking better than ever would be welcome indeed.
Bear in mind that ownership of the TV series no longer rests with the BBC. This was in part a result of the court case mentioned above.

Long overdue, anyway. For an exceptionally long time there was no R2 DVD set to speak of, and the US 14 disc set had several defects (censhorship and some missing sketches).
Let's hope they finally include some of the potential extras.

I don't care for a new documentary though. I've recently calculated that there's just as many hours of the original TV series as there is of documentary (making-of, featurette, retrospective etc.) about Python. Now that's silly!
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Re: When did Monty Python start on United States television?

Unread post by wich2 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:18 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:06 pm
I've recently calculated that there's just as many hours of the original TV series as there is of documentary (making-of, featurette, retrospective etc.) about Python. Now that's silly!
I'd bet the ratio of Chaplin Film to Film About Chaplin would be similar.

Analogous situation.

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