AFRICAN INCIDENT

 

 

GOON SHOW: TLO 45270

8TH SERIES: No 14

BROADCAST: 30 Dec 1957

 

Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens

 

 

GREENSLADE: We present those friends of royalty, The Goons.

GRAMS: (Recording) Regal fanfare. Stops suddenly.

ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord.

SEAGOON: Yes folks. And now itís time for ME!

GRAMS: Cheers, applause.

SEAGOON: Stop! Stop!

GRAMS: Cheers, applause suddenly stop.

GREENSLADE: This week our story is set in the year 1914. England is at war and the script has been censored.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic intro.

Sellers: The German colony in East Africa under its brilliant commander Von Gutern was attacking the British forces with great success.

PLUCK: Yes. My name is Terence Pluck, M.O. I and my unit had been captured on the first day of the hostilities. We were all marched to a German prison camp five hundred miles two inches deep in the heart of the jungle. It was a comfortable camp and we were well treated. Trouble started the day a new batch of English type prisoners were brought in.

GRAMS: Battalion marching double time.

MAJOR SPON: (As Alec Guiness) Keep up men. Donít lag. Feet in line with the seats of the underpants.

SEAGOON: That was Major Spon, B.O.

MAJOR SPON: And that was Captain Seagoon our C.O. A brilliant soldier. When the Germans attacked Fort Blun he rallied his men round the white flag.

SEAGOON: Yes. Rather than surrender we gave ourselves up.

MAJOR SPON: And so we marched into the naughty German prison camp.

GRAMS: Battalion slow marching. Continue under.

MAJOR SPON: Thatís it men. Show them weíre still soldiers. Left, left, left left leftÖUm, whatís next?

SEAGOON: Right.

MAJOR SPON: Right. Company halt!

GRAMS: Recording of marching grinds to a halt.

PLUCK: Gad! What discipline I thought.

SEAGOON: Eyes front!

MAJOR SPON: Eyes are always at the front Mr Seagoon.

SEAGOON: Here comes the German camp commandant, and what luck sir, look, heís shorter than I am!

COMMANDANT: This camp will try to keep you occupied until the war is over. Tomorrow you will all start work on a railway bridge over the river Kapatee.

MAJOR SPON: Did you say work?

COMMANDANT: Ja.

MAJOR SPON: But weíre English.

COMMANDANT: Makes nein the difference. You must work.

MAJOR SPON: My dear fellow, according to article three etcetera etcetera of the Geneva convention it states categorically that officers must not work.

COMMANDANT: You refuse?

MAJOR SPON: Yes.

COMMANDANT: Then you will be shot!

MAJOR SPON: Ah well then, thatís much more reasonable.

SEAGOON: Major, Iíd rather work than die.

MAJOR SPON: You know what youíre saying?

SEAGOON: Yes. I speak the same language. Ahhh! Theyíre pointing a machine gun at us.

MAJOR SPON: How rude. Pretend we havenít seen them.

COMMANDANT: I will count up to one then I will fire. A quarter, half, three quarters, four fifthsÖ

SEAGOON: If you kill us weíll refuse to stand up.

COMMANDANT: Very well. I change my mind. But Iíll also make you change yours. (Gives orders in german.)

GRAMS: Shouting of troops.

SEAGOON: We were forced into a corrugated iron hut, one foot tall by three inches wide.

MAJOR SPON: No food, no water and the temperature inside was 130 degrees in the shade.

FX: Banging on door.

SEAGOON: Let me out! I canít stand it any longer. Weíll die. No water, no food! I canít stand it. Let me out you devils. Ahahahahaha!

MAJOR SPON: Steady! Steady! Weíve only been in here thirty seconds.

SEAGOON: Thereís a limit to what a man can stand.

FX: Door opens.

MAJOR SPON: Who the devil are you?

PLUCK: Itís alright, you can put your hands down. Iím British.

MAJOR SPON: So are we. You can put your hands down.

PLUCK: Thank you. I am Lieutenant Pluck. Iím the camp M.O. I had a word with General Von Gutern. Heís agreed that the English officers neednít work.

GRAMS: Massed male cheering.

SEAGOON: For the next three weeks the officers did nothing but gad, we did it magnificently. We did it magnificently folks! Hello folks!

GRAMS: Night sounds. Frogs, crickets etc.

GREENSLADE: It wasnít long before escape committees were organised.

MAJOR SPON: Now gentlemen, before we start are there any questions?

ECCLES: Yer. I want to know how I became a Field Marshal.

MAJOR SPON: Wouldnít we all. Now, Iíve studied the jungle around this camp and I find itís impenetrable.

SEAGOON: One of the men is determined to escape sir.

MAJOR SPON: Escape from this place? Is he mad?

SEAGOON: He has a certificate.

MAJOR SPON: It means certain death.

SEAGOON: Yes. Itís a death certificate.

MAJOR SPON: No. I wonít agree to it. Heíll die out there. Die for sure. Who is he?

ECCLES: Er, me.

MAJOR SPON: Goodbye and good luck to you.

SEAGOON: Well said sir. Itís the duty of every English soldier to try and escape. Iíve done it myself twice.

MAJOR SPON: Where from?

SEAGOON: Aldershot.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.

GRAMS: Night sounds continue.

OMNES: Massed military snoring.

SEAGOON: Pssst. Doc! Doc! Are you awake?

PLUCK: Yes. Thatís why Iím standing up.

SEAGOON: Whatís the time?

PLUCK: Letís have a look at your wristwatch. Ah, itís nearly midnight.

SEAGOON: By dawn I should be well clear of the camp.

PLUCK: Ah, good. Now listen. If ever you get to the stage that thereís no hope, swallow this little black capsule.

SEAGOON: WhatÖwhat is it?

PLUCK: Concentrated liquorish. It gives a man something.

SEAGOON: Thanks doc. And here to take my place is prisoner Max Geldray.

 

MAX GELDRAY

 

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link

GREENSLADE: Hello folks. Take your seat for part two of the wireless play ĎAfrican Incidentí. Long live the miracle of sound wireless broadcasting.

GRAMS: Many boots approaching at speed.

MAJOR SPON: Gather round chaps. Iím glad to say that we seemed to have scored a moral victory.

SEAGOON: Oh, good show.

MAJOR SPON: The German Commandant has asked me to take charge of this bridge over the river.

SEAGOON: Jolly good news sir.

MAJOR SPON: Oh. I thought youíd escaped.

SEAGOON: I did, but I came back for lunch.

MAJOR SPON: Jolly good. Then you can help. Just stand in this hole and read these statistics on the river.

SEAGOON: Well sir, the river is two thousand miles long.

MAJOR SPON: Two thousand miles. How wide?

SEAGOON: Three yards.

MAJOR SPON: Well that settles it. Weíll build the bridge across it. General, when is this bridge supposed to be completed?

COMMANDANT: It must be finished by April the first.

MAJOR SPON: Whatís the date today?

SEAGOON: April the fourteenth.

MAJOR SPON:So itís not going to be easy is it? If we wait for April the first to come round again it will be over a year.

SEAGOON: Well, letís work backwards. Then itís only a fortnight away.

MAJOR SPON: Thatís a very good idea. Field Marshal Eccles, have you any knowledge of trees?

ECCLES: I was born in one.

MAJOR SPON: Good, good. Well, see those wooden ones on the opposite bank?

ECCLES: Um, oh yer, yer.

MAJOR SPON: Do you think you could chop them down?

ECCLES: Um, not from here.

FX: Clubbing.

ECCLES: Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

GRAMS: Night sounds. Crickets, frogs etc.

SEAGOON: That night I made my second attempt to escape and succeeded in walking a thousand miles and swimming the bay of Tunis. I managed to get the Gibraltar where I am now recovering from hospital treatment.

SELLERS: Then suddenly Lieutenant Seagoon was summoned to British Hind Quarters at Aden.

ORCHESTRA: Bloodnok theme, fast.

BLOODNOK: Ohhhhh!

FX: Door opens

SEAGOON: Lieutenant Seagoon reporting from the front sir.

BLOODNOK: Pull up a chair man and sit down.

SEAGOON: Iíd rather stand.

BLOODNOK: Well stand in a chair then. We respect these old Welsh idiot customs you know. Now, this man in the shredded vest is our French A.D.C. Count Moriarty, ex-actor and has played the male lead in over fifty postcards.

MORIARTY: Ah, mon pleasure mon ami, mon pleasure.

BLOODNOK: Yes, yes. We want you to take a raiding party and destroy that bridge theyíre building. Boom, boom, boom. Crash, thud, bang. UmÖbang, bang, boom, thud, crash. One of those combinations should prove fatal.

SEAGOON: Iíve only just escaped from the place. Itís too dangerous. Apart from which Iím a married man.

BLOODNOK: Iím ordering you to go.

SEAGOON: Canít I see my wife before I go?

BLOODNOK: No.

SEAGOON: But I love her.

BLOODNOK: So do I! Thatís why Iím sending you.

SEAGOON: Alright. Iíll go. But one last favour. If I donít come back could you give this to my father?

BLOODNOK: Oh. Your cheque book.

SEAGOON: Yes. He always wanted it.

BLOODNOK: Donít worry. Iíll get it to him, even if I have to cash every cheque in it myself.

MORIARTY: Now come Seagoon. We leave at dawn tonight by legs on feet on ground.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.

GREENSLADE: Meantime a hundred miles away in the German camp a soldier lies dreaming on a palm leaf.

ECCLES: (Sings rubbish) I canít stand this singing. I wish Iíd escaped with Lieutenant Seagoon. I wonder if he got back to the base.

SEAGOON: Yes I did.

ECCLES: Oh. Where are you den?

SEAGOON: Iím a mere six hundred miles away.

ECCLES: Oh goodie. I wonít tell anybody.

BLOODNOK: Seagoon you fool. Stop talking to that man six hundred miles away.

SEAGOON: Itís alright sir, heís one of ours.

BLOODNOK: I know, and I wish he wasnít. Now then, according to British intelligence April the first is only three days away.

SEAGOON: Gad! How do those chaps get the information?

BLOODNOK: They captured a German calender Ė alive! Well men, forward!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic safari link.

GRAMS: Cutting through jungle sounds.

GREENSLADE: For a hundred miles Bloodnok and his party hacked their way through the jungle that ran alongside the arterial road. En route they had managed to enlist ten Mabutu women to help carry their supplies.

BLOODNOK: We were just good friends you understand, nothing more.

MORIARTY: Nevertheless it was a mistake having women porters. On the second day of the trip Lieutenant Seagoon became terribly amorous.

GRAMS: (Recording) Hawaiian guitar.

SEAGOON: You - very beautiful. Hahahahahah. Iíve seen lots of girls in my time but you Ė much prettier than any white girl.

BLOODNOK: I know I am and it gets very embarrassing at times I can tell you. Whereís Moriarty?

SEAGOON: The native girls were having a bathe and heís guarding their clothes.

BLOODNOK: It was my turn for that! Whereís my binoculars?

MORIARTY: (Approaching) Sapristi! Thereís a patrol of German colonial troops coming this way.

BLOODNOK: What!

SEAGOON: We must stop them. No shooting now.

PLUCK: Meantime, back at the camp Ė the German POW camp, (thatís an abbreviation of prisoner of war. I say POW so it saves the necessity of saying prisoner of war. Itís much shorter. Takes less time.) At this camp we were having a party. Weíd completed the bridge and all the lads were having a sing-song to celebrate.

GRAMS: (Recording: Massed singing of ĎBlighty is the Place for MeĒ. Sped up. Quick burst of applause.)

SERGEANT MAJOR: Right men. Settle down! Now, here ÖfromÖ.Major Spon.

MAJOR SPON: Thank you men. Well as you can see weíve taught our captors how we English can build a wooden bridge over a water river. So let us stand, raise our right legs and sing our national anthem.

GRAMS: (Recording.) Male voice choir singing La Marseillaise. Fade behind.

BLOODNOK: Seagoon! Over here. I can hear men in the camp singing the French national anthem.

SEAGOON: Nonsense. Thatís the British national anthem in disguise. They didnít want it captured.

BLOODNOK: Good lads!

MORIARTY: Psssst! Information. The first German puff-puff goes over that bridge at dawn.

BLOODNOK: What! Action. Hereís the explosive, men. Off you go. I would come with you myself if it werenít for this terrible hand-painted wound on my foot.

SEAGOON: Then weíll need one more volunteer. How about you?

BLUEBOTTLE: Let go of me, man! Let go! Iím not working this week. Iím on christmas hols. Iím doing a bit of carol singing. (Sings)

Good King Wenceslas looked out,

on the feast of StephenÖ

FX: Slapstick

BLUEBOTTLE: Ohhee! Right on my music stand!

SEAGOON: Lad! Lad! Little looney lad. Help us destroy that bridge and you can have this ĎJunior Rock-and-Rollí set.

BLUEBOTTLE: Cor! Yes.

SEAGOON: Out of tune bakelite banjo and a pair of genuine Tommy Steele earplugs.

BLUEBOTTLE: Cor! Thank you. That will make me the centre of attention at the school party. Thinks, that Eileen Shoulders likes rocking and rolling. Let me try that for that Eileen Shoulders. (Sings feeble rock and roll over timid foot tapping.)

GREENSLADE: Now while Bluebottle is deliberating, Ray Ellington will play a melody devine in a clockwise fashion.

 

RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET

 

ORCHESTRA: Exotic jungle link.

GRAMS: River running strongly.

SELLERS: In the darkening night Seagoon and his saboteurs dived in and attached limpid mines to the bridge over the ice-cold river Kapatee.

SEAGOON: And thereís nothing worse than a cold Kapatee!

ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C. Cymbal snap.

SEAGOON: Thank you folks! Thank you.

MORIARTY: Shhhhh! The German guards will hear us.

BLUEBOTTLE: Itís alright. They donít understand English.

SEAGOON: Turn the wireless on and letís hear the rest of the show.

GRAMS: Wireless tuning into frequency.

BLOODNOK: Ohhhh! Oh. Itís nearly dawn. Well, I wonder when Seagoonís coming back.

NATIVE GIRL: White man is not really worried about them?

BLOODNOK: Oh, not really you know. Itís just that I donít really want to be caught like this.

NATIVE GIRL: Is this what English call Ďembarrassing situationí?

BLOODNOK: Yes. I mean, after all, me half way up a tree dressed as Timon of Athens - you whitewashing the grass; well, no one would believe us.

NATIVE GIRL: Oh, come Major. Let us dance.

BLOODNOK: Yes. After all, even though we are in the jungle weíre still civilised arenít we? Iíll put this record on my portable military gramophone.

GRAMS: (Recording) Romantic string tango.

BLOODNOK: What a strange sight it must have been. Me and the dusky beauty tangoing through the dense jungle on foot.

NATIVE GIRL: I only had eyes for him and he only had eyes for me.

BLOODNOK: That explains why we fell over a cliff.

SEAGOON: Major! Major Bloodnok! Where are?

NATIVE GIRL: Heís here with me.

SEAGOON: Great spondilikons! Well anyhow, weíve laid the detonation cable. Weíre all ready to blow up the bridge.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link

GREENSLADE: Meantime on the bridge, Major Spon walks across to make sure all is well.

FX: Hollow footsteps.

MAJOR SPON: Iím walking across the bridge to make sure all is well. Thatís why Iím walking across the bridgeÖfor christmas.

COMMANDANT: Er, good morning Major Spon.

MAJOR SPON: Oh good morning Von Gutern. Cigarette?

COMMANDANT: Thanks. I have one.

MAJOR SPON: Ah, but von Gutern deserves another. Jolly English joke.

COMMANDANT: Definate German silence. You are early this morning.

MAJOR SPON: Well thereís an old English proverb, ĎThe early bird always catches the worm.í

COMMANDANT: Please, whatís the meaning of that?

MAJOR SPON: It means that Iíve had worms for breakfast.

GRAMS: Locomotive approaches. Whistles. Very fast.

COMMANDANT: Ah geblunden! I can hear the first puff-puff approaching. I must go and lay out the railway lines and my combined chair.

MAJOR SPON: Goodbye. There he goes, poor fellow. Little does he know Germany canít possibly win the war.

ECCLES: Ooo! Then Iíd better take this German uniform off.

MAJOR SPON: Field Marshal Eccles, why have you left your post?

ECCLES: It had woodworm in it. I didnít want to catch it.

MAJOR SPON: Look down there. You see it, down in the river?

ECCLES: Water!

MAJOR SPON: Yes, but just above it Ė a cable.

ECCLES: I wonder who itís from.

FX: Multiple slapsticks.

ECCLES: Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh !

SEAGOON: Watching from the opposite bank we all held our breath. As Major Spon went down the river bank we all asked ourselves the same questionÖ

BLOODNOK/ECCLES/SEAGOON: (Various questions simultaneously.)

SEAGOON: Heís spotted the cable!

BLOODNOK: Heís got eyes like a hawk.

SEAGOON: And legs like a kangaroo. I wonder what heís going to do?

BLOODNOK: Join a freak show perhaps.

SEAGOON: If he follows that cable it will lead him to Private Mate whoís waiting to press the dreaded plunger!

WILLIUM: Ah, theyíll never find me mate, in the master disguise. You see I got a lttle bit of twig stuck out all over me; me old plates stuck in two lumps of grass Ė I looks like a perfect tree dere.

ECCLES: Ah! Oooh! A perfect tree with boots on. Must be going somewhere.

WILLIUM: Go away mate, go away, and keep that dog off.

ECCLES: Dereís no dog here.

WILLIUM: Well you just watch what youíre doing then mate.

ECCLES: Urrrrr, whatís your name?

WILLIUM: My nameís Jim Coconut-Tree.

ECCLES: Oooo!

FX: Sawing

WILLIUM: Oh! Stop! Help! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp! (Fades)

ECCLES: (Distant) Timbeeeeeeeeeeeeer!

GRAMS: Tree falling.

SEAGOON: Major! Major! Theyíve chopped Willium down. I must go and help.

GRAMS: Boots running off.

BLOODNOK: I shall now keep the audience entertained.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.

GREENSLADE: And here is a brief resumť with piano accompaniment.

PIANO: Sellers awful arpeggios.

GREENSLADE: Willium lies chopped down; Neddy on his way to assist; Eccles eating coconuts; Major Spon approaching the felled Willium, and suddenlyÖ

SEAGOON: Hands up Major Spon!

MAJOR SPON: You!

SEAGOON: Yes itís me, you Ė or you, me Ė itís me. Weíve come to blow the bridge up.

MAJOR SPON: You canít. Itís got a puncture.

SEAGOON: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Willium, press yer old plunger!

GRAMS: Loud explosion. Splash in water.

LITTLE JIM: Theyíve fallen in the water.

MAJOR SPON: I donít know how weíd do without that lad.

SEAGOON: Well, thatís the lot for this week isnít it? Come on lads, back to the old brandy there.

GRAMS: Boots running away at speed.

GREENSLADE: Itís all in the mind you know.

ORCHESTRA: End theme

GREENSLADE: That was The Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Cťcile Chevreau, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the Orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens. Announcer Wallace Greenslade. The programme produced by Roy Spear.

ORCHESTRA: Playout.