Whither Canada?

Filmed on 7 September and broadcast on 5 October 1969, the first episode is, by convention, divided into the following sections:

  1. 'It's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart'
  2. Famous Deaths
  3. Italian Lesson
  4. Whizzo Butter
  5. 'It's The Arts'
  6. Arthur 'Two-sheds' Jackson
  7. Picasso/Cycling Race
  8. The Funniest Joke in the World

However, there are other elements to this episode (as there are to most), including the pre-recorded links, the running gag (in this case Pigs vs. British Bi-peds) and, of course, Mr. Gilliam's exquisite animatory contribution.

What I'd like to read here is your humorous description, learnéd opinion, interesting fact or like/dislike rating of any, some or all of the sketches, links, gags and skits presented in Series #1, Episode #1 of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

I had hoped to post this in time for International Monty Python Day but I didn't think of it until today.

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Not that late: I can tell my experience as a person who have never seen Monty Python before. I was "What is going on?" half of the episode "Why do they have to kill pigs?" "Why do they change the name of the show every minute?" ... then The Funniest Joke in the World came and I couldn't understand anything: At first, the with writer, looked like it was a long time ago, then they have a tv news reporter and the policemen look modern, but later, they use the joke as a weapon in the World War II and there is an officer explaining to the camera what they are doing, my only worry was: "when is supposed to happen this?" and finally "Peace broke out".

I knew that I found something very special.

This happened four months ago.

the_thina at 6:05 am October 15

haha. my first python experience was life of brian, about 20 years ago. I was just a kid, hardly knew any english and had trouble keeping up with the subtitels, but the moment the three wise men goes back in the stable beacause they realized they were in the wrong one, and john pushes terry to the floor I was a python-fan for life. :)

mrsCutout at 2:53 pm October 16

Haha oh life of Brian was my first Python experience! I saw some clips of it on a tv show about movies.And they had the scene where Brian says"I'm not the Messiah" and the rest of the scene.I had never seen such humor beofre it was unique and still familliar.The was the scene where Brian falls and a spaceship picks him up and the Bright side of life scene! I was crowling on the floor with laughter! Bext thing I did was to buy the movie!

the_thina at 2:59 pm October 16

thats a great story! :) I was just sitting around and heard them say on the tv they were gonna show the comdey that mocked christianity so hard it got banned in norway after the news or something. I thought "that sounds interesting!" (even at that young age I was no fan of christianity) and digged out a blank video-casette and taped it. and Im very happy I did. it was a complete accident in other words that I saw it, even if I think I would have been introduced to them at some later point in my life if that havent had happened.

mrsCutout at 2:37 pm October 17

Hahaha! Good one! You had your reasons to watch it! I thought it would be interesting to watch a movie in wich there's a bunch of crussified guys on crosses singing Always Look on the right side of life in the end! I also saw the names of John Cleese and Terry Gilliam whom I had heard of and that was it.! The docu the Pythons on the dvd did the rest!!
But you recorde it?Just like that? Good! oh just a thing..It doesn't mick Christianity it mocks the way people get too fanatic in religions.All sorts of religions.You know christianity has some good things to teach like Love the others and respect them and we're all equal but those bloody bastards (the priests and all of them)just wanted to take advantage of the illiterate.That's why we all hate religions now.

the_thina at 5:24 pm October 17

yes I know it doesent mock christianity, but that is still what they said on the telly when they were going to show it. :P

Not that late at 6:16 am October 15

Well, I have seen Life of Brian in High School, but I wasn't paying attention, so it doesn't count. And in gets worse: it was in spanish, how does anyone dare to dub Pilate? or the mad-deaf guard? or Loretta? or Biggus Dickus???

Definitely, it doesn't count.

Here Comes Another One at 3:48 am November 01

Yeah, I can see that Pilate and Biggus Dickus would get lost in translation!!!

the_thina at 6:39 am October 15

oh, I HATE dubbed movies! ok, cartoons like disney I can understand/forgive when they dub them, but not real live-action movies with real actors. it just gets so out of sync and terrible! gladly here in sweden just some kids/family-movies gets dubbed, not "real" movies


I will just give a picture to illustrate what cracks me up the most in this episode: the moaning policemen! never knew why they werent in the movie-version of that skit

Not that late at 5:42 am October 15

Yes! that bit is very funny too!

Not that late: This post is sad and lonely, I'll write something.

This is my top 5 of this episode

5 - Michael dressed as a woman looking at the Cycling Race
4 - The soldiers telling the joke in german through the forest and the germans dying arround them.
3 - Sir Edward Ross interviewer
2 - Sir Edward Ross
1 - Arthur Two Sheds Jackson

genji at 10:27 am October 14

I'd have to put Mr. Palin's Pepperpot at the top of my list for this episode. The way he says, "he's German" cracks me up.

That said, what a way to open a new show - a new kind of show. 'Famous Deaths' introduced by W. A. Mozart was an inspired decision.

genji at 1:44 pm October 14

Although there is a wonderful moment, right at the start. When the It's man is still quite far out at sea there's a fast pull-back on the camera - a big zoom-out. That's really disconcerting and attention-grabbing. I don't know if it's an Ian McNaughton moment or if it's scripted or what but it's bloody brilliant.

genji: ''It's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart'
Caption introducing Mozart's TV show.

Famous Deaths
Review of famous deaths, presented by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Cleese). Deaths include Genghis Khan, Mr Bruce Foster of Guildford, and Admiral Nelson.

Italian Lesson
Italian language evening classes where the teacher (Jones), who is English, tries to teach a group of Milanese and Neopolitan Italians Italian.

Whizzo Butter
Following an animated advertisement for Whizzo butter, a group of Pepperpots are interviewed (by Idle) in a comparison test.

'It's The Arts'
Interviewer (Cleese) explores his pet names for film director Sir Edward "Eddie-baby" Ross (Chapman).

Arthur 'Two Sheds' Jackson
Interviewer (Idle) gets hung up on composer Arthur Jackson's (Jones) nickname.

Picasso/Cycling Race
Arts and sports presenters on Picasso's attempt to cycle along the A272 while painting a new work of art, link by studio-based anchorman (Palin).

Pigs Scoreboard
When a character sits down there is the squeal of a pig followed by another pig being crossed off on a scoreboard. The gag appears between the opening titles and 'It's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart', and between or before other sketches in the first episode. The episode ends with the final score: Pigs 9 - British Bipeds 4.