"Whacko"

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Mark
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"Whacko"

Post by Mark »

Out of the 47 TV episodes, 45 were adapted for Radio, with 43 of them surviving ( 4ex ran 14 out of the surviving 19 from the first series) so we have a fair idea what they were like.

There doesn't seem to be much detail for two of the radio episodes other than cast ( including the first one, Arthur Howard was in the first two only) and no titles for two of the TV episodes, two other TV episode titles don't match any of the Radio adaptations ("The Missing Sculpture" and "The Variety Concert", the latter with Max Bygraves) so it makes working out the identity of the two missing radio eps very tricky.
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Re: "Whacko"

Post by ian b »

The Radio Times second-bills Howard for the opening three episodes...

23-05-61
30-05-61
6-06-61

The Times carries a report on 27th May that the day before Howard had been remanded in custody until 2nd June, for medical reports after pleading guilty "to a charge of persistantly importuning for immoral purposes at Dove Mews, and Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, S.W."

On the 3rd June it has this item...

"Mr. Frank Muir and Mr. Denis Norden, the script writers, were accepted by Mr. E. R. Guest, the West London Magistrate, yesterday as sureties each in £100, for the good behaviour during the next 18 months of Arthur John Howard, actor, of Gledham Gardens, Earls Court, S.W.
Howard, aged 51, a widower, who had spent a week in Brixton Prison after pleading Guilty to a charge of persistantly importuning for immoral purposes, was also fined £25."


There's a bit more detail in the Express of 3rd June 1961, which concludes with...

"Mr. Geoffrey Freeborough defending, told the magistrate: 'He is going to go away and take treatment. He will not be exposed to the public until the treatment is complete.'
As Howard, of Gledhow Gardens, Earls Court, London drove from the court building with his son, Muir and Norden talked of the problem they face 'with the show Whack-O!!'
'We understand Mr. Howard has asked the B.B.C. to release him from his commitments.'
A B.B.C. spokesman said later that Howard's part had been written out of the script of next Tuesday's 'Whack-O!' on the Light Programme."


So, it's likely that the first episode was recorded and was transmitted on 23rd May.

The great unknown is the second episode - due to go out just days after Howard's first court appearance, if he'd recorded it I'd assume it was taken out of the schedule and that something else went out in it's place. Or was it recorded, but with Roddy Maude-Roxby taking over Pettigrew's lines? Which is what happened for 1/3 onwards.

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Re: "Whacko"

Post by ian b »

From my notes...

Radio:
no details seem to be known for 1/1 and 2/4, (and maybe 1/2 was never recorded or transmitted in the first place)

TV:
Series 1 - four of the six episodes known to have been adapted for radio, uncertainty about tv 1/1 and 1/4
Series 2 - all ten adapted, but only if radio 1/2 was recorded and broadcast
Series 3 - all seven adapted
Series 4 - all six adapted
Series 5 - all six adapted
Series 6 - four adapted, uncertainty about tv 1/5 and 1/6
Series 7 - all six adapted



So we've got

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Re: "Whacko"

Post by Mark »

Thank's for that, very interesting.

I can confirm that 1/2 ( "The School Council") was broadcast, I've heard it!...and Howard is in it ( I was aware of the court appearance surrounding his departure from the series).

A big assumption, but "The Variety Concert" might be one of the episodes not adapted, as Max Bygraves might not have been available for it, although they could have re-written it for someone else I suppose, ( Vera Lynn was in both of hers though).

I always wondered if Arthur Howards appearance in an episode of "Ever Decreasing Circles" might have been a favour by Richard Briers, as they had worked together on the "Whacko" film.
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Re: "Whacko"

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Then I wonder if the THE SCHOOL CONCERT is actually the very first radio episode?

Annoyingly the one script I have from the first radio series is missing it's top page with all the recording info, so I don't know what the gap was between recording and transmission, (though I suspect it was only a matter of a fortnight).

I can't see the BBC of 1961 going ahead with the transmission of radio 1/2 when it's second lead had just made the news for being arrested for a sexual misdemeanour.

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Re: "Whacko"

Post by Mark »

Could well be then, one tantalizing credit for the first episode is Deryck Guyler as the School Inspector, so if that character is in it, that's the one.

It may be that the Beeb had no choice but to go ahead with the 1/2 broadcast, the surviving recording is not in the Sound archive, and there is no TS of it, so it must be a home recording.

I wonder what the reason was for not adapting two of the TV scripts?...it's the same with "The likely Lads", with 16 of the 20 adapted.
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Re: "Whacko"

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Very few radio adaptations used every episode of the original tv original - off the top of my head I can only think of ALL GAS AND GAITERS, BROTHERS IN LAW (though that's an easy transition of a standard run of 13 into 13).

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Re: "Whacko"

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ian b wrote:Very few radio adaptations used every episode of the original tv original - off the top of my head I can only think of ALL GAS AND GAITERS, BROTHERS IN LAW (though that's an easy transition of a standard run of 13 into 13).
Yes, we were lucky to get the full run of "All Gas", which is such a great series.

The radio version of "As Time Goes By" only got to an early point in it's TV run, and curiously one or two episodes combined two TV equivalents, and the entire sub plot of lionel's family and the country house were left out altogether.
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Re: "Whacko"

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4ex is repeating Series 2 at the moment, and it includes a previously missing episode, "In For A Dime".

They are TS recordings again of course, so hopefully there's a good chance the missing series 3 episode, "Madison Avenue", is still around after all.
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Re: "Whacko"

Post by ian b »

R4X are doing that annoying thing of starting a new run of a programme only to end it partway through and beginning something else, (the third series ofSOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT is suffering that at present).

So only six eps of WHACK-O!...

Laughterlog reckons 2/4 is the missing one - co-incidentally the episode with the barest of info in the contemporary Radio Times) - the one second series episode not taken by Transcription Services. But all six so far broadcast by R4X have carried the “Whack-O! is presented by the BBC” end announcement which is a giveaway as to their origins as TS recordings...

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Re: "Whacko"

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I hadn't spotted the Laughterlog entry on the series, 3/1 "Madison Avenue" is in the sound archive, with the rest as off airs, so that's complete.

4ex have a different order for s2, with "Mr Phipp's Bet" ("The Wager") down as 2/4 and "In For A Dime" as 2/5, the other way around in the ep guide.

I haven't got up to "In For A Dime" yet, so I assumed it was the missing one, as it's not on the guide, if there is one missing from TS it must be from the final 6 then?

That would mean the only one missing is the very first.

Didn't realise we were only getting the first 6, that's a shame, I'm enjoying this run, ( there was only 5 "Life With The Lyons"), although I had spotted the 'Presented by the BBC' TS giveaway with "The Clitheroe Kid" which also has Jimmy's final chat to audience removed.
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Re: "Whacko"

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Series two...

Laughterlog says, (the titles taken from the front pages of the original tv scripts apparently)...

2/1 March 1 1962 The Russian Visitor (TS 14)
2/2 March 8 1962 Jim’s Attempt To Win Respect (TS 15)
2/3 March 15 1962 The Recording Guest star: Vera Lynn (as herself) (TS 16)
2/4 March 22 1962 details unknown
2/5 March 29 1962 Mr. Phipps’ Bet (TS 17)
2/6 April 5 1962 The Factory (TS 19)
2/7 April 12 1962 Pools Win (TS 20)
2/8 April 19 1962 Chiselbury Experiment (TS 21)
2/9 April 26 1962 Mildred’s Little Bit (TS 22)
2/10 May 3 1962 The New Master (aka Minimum Wage) (TS 24)
2/11 May 10 1962 The Old Lag (TS 25)
2/12 May 17 1962 The Cross-Country Cup (TS 26)


https://laughterlog.com/2009/01/04/whack-o/#more-401


The R4X broadcasts have/will be, (using the descriptions from it's online schedule)...

1: THE RUSSIAN VISITOR
Back from Moscow, headmaster 'Professor' Jimmy Edwards sets out to impress a Russian dignitary.
2: JIM'S ATTEMPT TO WIN RESPECT
The Headmaster’s given a week to prove he has the respect of his pupils.
3: THE RECORDING
The headmaster needs to raise £500 for a charitable cause. With special guest, Vera Lynn.
4: THE WAGER
Headmaster Jim needs to employ all of his guile if he's to win a bet.
5: IN FOR A DIME
Jim sees dollar signs when an American school opens in Chiselbury.
6: THE FACTORY
When Major Prosser takes advantage of rent arrears, Jim has to employ all his wiles to fight against the industrialisation of the school playing fields.


So, a couple of options: Laughterlog is wrong, having switched eps 4 and 5 around, (and also being wrong about IN FOR A DIME [presumably based on the tv episode THE NEW POST] not being issued by Transcription Services. Or, R4X has played those two episodes out of original sequence.

I think it's the former!

Laughterlog gives the title THE NEW POST as radio 1/16 - and that's an episode that R4X didn't repeat. They do however give it as TS show 18 - which would slot it neatly into the current R4X order, (which so far have been TS14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).

It's not unknown for Transcription Services to return to earlier, unissued shows and slot them into packages of later material, (which is what appears to have happened with WHACK-O! TS23 - which was radio 1/12), but I think what has happened here is that somewhere along the line TS18, THE NEW POST/IN FOR A DIME has been misplaced as a first series radio show when it's actually radio 2/5 - and TS17, MR. PHIPPS' BET/THE WAGER has been misidentified as 2/5 when it's radio 2/4.

Does that make sense?

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Re: "Whacko"

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Funnily enough, I was thinking about the front pages of scripts today and their reliability for tx information. Having seen a fair number (cataloguing the Monkhouse papers alone), quite a percentage would have amendments in pencil, either where the intended cast changed at the last minute, or a tx date was switched. In some extreme case the scripts would have pages renumbered, cut about, replaced,or removed, and probably bear no resemblance to the original other than the title and general theme of the show.

I don't know what the sequence was in terms of archiving scripts, but it wouldn't surprise me if the 'script archive' got their copies straight from the mimeograph, like cast and crew members. The difference being, those copies sent to production offices would reflect any further changes made during the production whereas those archived would be what was intended. This would certainly give rise to anomalies in transmission order and discrepancies in cast. The only reliable source for accurate information would appear to be the PasB records.

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Re: "Whacko"

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Mark wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:42 am
That would mean the only one missing is the very first.
No, I don't think that's right. My thinking...

1/1 went out, but then Arthur Howard's arrrest and attendant publicity meant that 1/2 was abandoned completely. Pettigrew was crossed out on the scripts, replaced by Roddy Maude-Roxby's Potter and the series continued with 1/3 to 20.

These eighteen were repeated by the BBC between October 1961 and February 1962. And of those eighteen Transcription Services took thirteen - and added another one from the remaining five to be issued with the twelve episodes of second series (making a total of twenty-six in all).

TS didn't take...
1/1 - off-air exists
1/2 - recorded in the first place?
1/6 - off-air exists
1/14 - off-air exists
1/16 - if Laughterlog's THE NEW POST is R4X's IN FOR A DIME then is there an off-air for whatever went out 5-09-61? And repeated 13-01-62.
1/20 - off-air exists


RX4 repeated the fourteen TS releases from the first radio series, (augmented with some restoration of lines from off-airs IIRC), [TS1-13 + 23] and now they've moved onto the second radio series [TS14-22, 24-26].

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Re: "Whacko"

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stearn wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:17 pm
Funnily enough, I was thinking about the front pages of scripts today and their reliability for tx information. Having seen a fair number (cataloguing the Monkhouse papers alone), quite a percentage would have amendments in pencil, either where the intended cast changed at the last minute, or a tx date was switched. In some extreme case the scripts would have pages renumbered, cut about, replaced,or removed, and probably bear no resemblance to the original other than the title and general theme of the show.

I don't know what the sequence was in terms of archiving scripts, but it wouldn't surprise me if the 'script archive' got their copies straight from the mimeograph, like cast and crew members. The difference being, those copies sent to production offices would reflect any further changes made during the production whereas those archived would be what was intended. This would certainly give rise to anomalies in transmission order and discrepancies in cast. The only reliable source for accurate information would appear to be the PasB records.
I notice from Laughterlog, there are a fair few scripts surviving for "Whacko!", Ian mentions one he has of the Radio series, comparing them to the recordings might be interesting.
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Re: "Whacko"

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ian b wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:19 pm
Mark wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:42 am
That would mean the only one missing is the very first.
No, I don't think that's right. My thinking...

1/1 went out, but then Arthur Howard's arrrest and attendant publicity meant that 1/2 was abandoned completely. Pettigrew was crossed out on the scripts, replaced by Roddy Maude-Roxby's Potter and the series continued with 1/3 to 20.

These eighteen were repeated by the BBC between October 1961 and February 1962. And of those eighteen Transcription Services took thirteen - and added another one from the remaining five to be issued with the twelve episodes of second series (making a total of twenty-six in all).

TS didn't take...
1/1 - off-air exists
1/2 - recorded in the first place?
1/6 - off-air exists
1/14 - off-air exists
1/16 - if Laughterlog's THE NEW POST is R4X's IN FOR A DIME then is there an off-air for whatever went out 5-09-61? And repeated 13-01-62.
1/20 - off-air exists


RX4 repeated the fourteen TS releases from the first radio series, (augmented with some restoration of lines from off-airs IIRC), [TS1-13 + 23] and now they've moved onto the second radio series [TS14-22, 24-26].
Good bit of detective work there!

The recording I have, listed as "The New Post" is "In For A Dime".

I wonder if the two Howard ones were recorded, and one was scrapped and then re-recorded with RMR at a later date and slotted in, possibly 1/16?

However, the one surviving Howard episode has RMR in it, which is down as the second one in the Radio Times.
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Re: "Whacko"

Post by ian b »

Thanks for confirming that NEW MATCH/DIME is the same show.

I'd be careful placing too much faith in the RT credits for WHACK-O! though - they are often out of whack, (pun intended), with the recordings.

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Re: "Whacko"

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Mark wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:25 am
I notice from Laughterlog, there are a fair few scripts surviving for "Whacko!", Ian mentions one he has of the Radio series, comparing them to the recordings might be interesting.
I'd hazard a guess that all (or nearly all) scripts would exist at Caversham in some form, but those would be what had been lodged through the internal system. The ones that are in private hands are the most interesting as they will carry any amendments and may contradict those held officially. Caversham would be the first port of call for any researcher as all the information will be in one place.

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Re: "Whacko"

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ian b wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:42 am
Thanks for confirming that NEW MATCH/DIME is the same show.

I'd be careful placing too much faith in the RT credits for WHACK-O! though - they are often out of whack, (pun intended), with the recordings.
Yes, it can be a bit confusing, it must have been chaotic at the start of the series.
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Re: "Whacko"

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stearn wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:01 am
Mark wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:25 am
I notice from Laughterlog, there are a fair few scripts surviving for "Whacko!", Ian mentions one he has of the Radio series, comparing them to the recordings might be interesting.
I'd hazard a guess that all (or nearly all) scripts would exist at Caversham in some form, but those would be what had been lodged through the internal system. The ones that are in private hands are the most interesting as they will carry any amendments and may contradict those held officially. Caversham would be the first port of call for any researcher as all the information will be in one place.
Yes I see what you mean, certainly that's the best way, any paperwork would be very interesting to see.
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Re: "Whacko"

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There's an old post ( on a Radio forum) about a couple of 12" 78rpm Acetates with the "Whacko!" theme on them ( 'False Start band 1', 'Wow Start Band 1', both on each disc), dated 3/4/63, which would be for the third radio series presumably, one labelled 'Rehearsal', and the other 'Trans'.
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