TeeVees Greatest

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The Benny Hill Show Themes and Sketches 1955 - 1991



The Benny Hill Show is a British comedy television show that starred Benny Hill and aired in various forms between 15 January 1955 and 30 May 1991 in over 140 countries. The show focused on sketches that were full of slapstick, mime, parody, and double-entendre. The Benny Hill Show features Benny Hill in various short comedy sketches and occasional, extravagant musical performances by artists of the time. Hill appears in many different costumes and portrays a vast array of characters. Slapstick, burlesque and double entendres are his hallmarks. A group of critics accused the show of sexism, but Hill said that female characters kept their dignity while the men who chase them were portrayed as buffoons. The show often uses undercranking and sight gags to create what he called "live animation", and he employs techniques like mime and parody. The show typically closes with a sped-up chase scene involving him and often a crew of scantily-clad women (usually with Hill being the one chased, due to silly predicaments that he himself caused), a takeoff on the stereotypical Keystone Kops chase scenes. Hill also composed and sang patter songs and often entertained his audience with lengthy high-speed double-entendre rhymes and songs, which he recited or sang in a single take. The show's theme tune, "Yakety Sax", which has gained a following in its own right, was written by James Q. "Spider" Rich and Boots Randolph. The show's musical director was pianist and easy listening conductor Ronnie Aldrich, and vocal backing was provided by session singers the Ladybirds (who also frequently appeared on camera from 1969 to 1974). The saxophone soloist on Aldrich's version of "Yakety Sax" was Peter Hughes. For three episodes of the 1973?1974 season, Albert Elms filled in for Aldrich as musical director. "Yakety Sax" first appeared on 19 November 1969 edition, which was also his first show for Thames. In the late 1970s, Thames Television purchased a week's transmission time on two stations owned by RKO General which were offering a "Thames Week" schedule and were in the two largest American television markets; New York City's WOR-TV and KHJ-TV in Los Angeles. This introduced the show to American audiences and was immediately popular; subsequent screenings involved a series of re-edited half-hour programmes culled from the ITV specials. Due to heavy editing, the U.S. versions of his show have far less risqué material than those aired in the UK. In late 1970, ITV's colour technicians went on strike, causing all ITV shows made during this period to be videotaped in black-and-white. The strike wasn't resolved until spring of 1971, causing three episodes to be made in this fashion. These episodes have not been shown in England since the 1970s and have never been shown in America. "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)" is an innuendo-laden comedy or novelty song, written and performed by the English comedian Benny Hill. The song was first performed on television in 1970, and released as a successful recording, topping the UK Singles Chart in 1971, reaching the Christmas number one spot. In 2005, the Thames specials began to appear uncut (including the original ad-break bumpers) on Region 2 DVD sets, each representing one year and entitled The Benny Hill Annual. To date, the Benny Hill Annuals, 1969?1989 have been released on DVD by Network. Two box sets were released of the 1969?1979 Annuals and 1980?1989 Annuals, with a set containing all the Annuals "double bundled up together" scheduled for 2011.

Posted by TeeVees Greatest on August 4, 2015 at 10:28 PM 1356 Views

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