37 years ago today, a show debuted on the BBC in England that would change the face of comedy forever. Very few people noticed it at the time, as it was relegated to 10:30 PM that night. But "Monty Python's Flying Circus" would gain a following that grows stronger even today.
George Harrison was an early fan of the show, and said that Monty Python had "captured the spirit of the Beatles." The show would run for four seasons on the BBC, and they would branch out into movies, and I became a huge, big time fan when the came over to PBS in 1977. (And I'm happy to see them back on PBS again, at 11:30 PM for two episodes every Sunday night.)
The above photo is from the first show 37 years ago, the "Coal Miner" sketch, when a young man has an argument with his playwright father about being a coal miner.
I've seen every Monty Python episode at least 500 times, and they never cease to make me laugh. On one of the most difficult days of my life, the first anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, I needed something to get me through the day, as I knew it was going to be a really rough day being at the remembrance at Ground Zero (and it was). Early that morning, I put on one of my favorite Monty Python episodes, "The Spanish Inquisition." It really helped. I even wrote to both Michael Palin and Carol Cleveland and told them both about it, and I received very nice replies back from them both. (I eventually met the lovely Ms. Cleveland in 2004, as she was incredibly sweet. I've also met Mr. Palin at three different book signings in New York. A very nice bloke indeed.)
I'm also currently reading "The Pythons Autobiography," which came out a couple of years ago. It is Monty Python in their own words. Very entertaining so far.
It's too bad Graham Chapman is no longer with us, but I'm sure wherever he is, he's raising a glass to his old friends today.
Long may they all reign.