Today marks the birthday of Terence “Spike” Milligan, a British writer and comedian, who came to fame on radio and during the earliest days of television. Spike would continually confound the BBC radio censors with the innovative, ribald humor of the “Goon Show.” The Goon Show would be one of the first popular radio shows to be tried on the new medium of television. It Like all early Television, “The Idiot Weekly”, and “The Show called Fred” was performed live. I guess saying that the conservative BBC censors had a full time job with Spike is the polite way to put it.
Born in India, where his father was serving in the British Army, Spike himself served in the Army during World War II. After returning to England, was was declared ‘stateless’ by Britain, and Spike chose to be Irish. Adored across Britain, Spike would go on the set the standard and inspire the humor of Monty Python and Benny Hill. He was America’s first glimpse at “British Humor”, and opened the door for Milton Berle on this side of the pond.