The Telegoons

Telegoons People...

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The Telegoons came into existence principally through the efforts of Tony Young, who was assisted by Wendy Danielli and a long list of puppet makers, puppeteers, film crew, set builders, properties people, sound people, film editors, a script editor, and last but not least, the Goons themselves.  The production company was Grosvenor Films Ltd. The films were produced in association with BBC tv. Grosvenor Films was founded by Tony Young and Wendy Danielli in 1951.

The Telegoons Producers, Voice Actors, Puppeteers, and Crew
Click the following links:
Cyril Brown, 2 Len Harris Peter Sellers
Bob Bucknell Pauline Klotz Doreen Soan
Wendy Danielli Bert Marotta Terry Thompson
John Dudley, 2 Spike Milligan, 2 Richard Wheeler
Jock Egon Stanley Moore Edward White
Jim Elderton Harry Orchard Michael Wilson, 2, 3, 4, 5
Ann Field, 2, 3, 4, 5 Ann Perrin Maurice Wiltshire
Joan Field, 2 Violet Phelan, 2, 3 David Young, 2, 3
Ron Field, 2, 3 Jane Phillips Ralph Dawson Young, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Mike Fox, 2 Violet Philpott Tony Young, 2
Bill Freshman Dudley Plummer  
Joan Garrick, 2 Pat Ronald  
Philip Grindrod, 2, 3 Harry Secombe  
 
Telegoon characters mentioned in this section
Click the following links:
Eccles, 2, 3 Miss Minnie Bannister, 2 Grytpype-Thynne, 2
Bluebottle, 2, 3 Mr. Henry Crun, 2 Moriarty
Neddie Seagoon, 2, 3 Major Dennis Bloodnok, 2, 3  
 
A partial list of Grosvenor Films' contractors & suppliers
Click the following links:
Kays Laboratories Ltd. Stage-Decor Ltd. On-the-Spot Equipment Ltd.
 
Other people & shows mentioned in this section
Click the following links:
Larry Stephens  Eric Sykes Jimmy Grafton
Roberta Leigh  Space Patrol, 2 (1962) Sarah and Hoppity, 2
Gerry Anderson  Fireball XL5 Torchy the Battery Boy
    The Adventures of Chippy

 

  • Maurice Wiltshire was script editor. All in all, Maurice re-worked twenty-six of the original Goon Show scripts for The Telegoons. Out of the scripts used, fifteen were written by Spike Milligan, while the remaining eleven were collaborations between Spike Milligan and (variously) Larry Stephens, Eric Sykes, and Jimmy Grafton (see Tele-Goonography). Scriptography & more  
  • Spike Milligan did the voices of Eccles, Miss Minnie Bannister, and MoriartyFilmography & more
  • Harry Secombe did the voice of fall-guy and prize-chump Neddie SeagoonFilmography & more
  • Peter Sellers did the voices of Bluebottle, Mr. Henry Crun, Major Dennis Bloodnok, Grytpype-ThynneFilmography & more
  • Tony Young was producer for all but one episode of The Telegoons (#2 of the 1st Series), and directed all but eight episodes (#3, #4 and #7 in the 1st Series, and #3, #8, #11, #12 and #14 in the 2nd Series). Tony Young's film directing career spans 1951 to 1963. Filmography & more
  • Wendy Danielli was associate producer, except for the second episode,  for which she was producer. Wendy's family put up the bulk of the money for the construction of puppets, a short Telegoons test film and The Telegoons pilot. Filmography & more
  • Bill Freshman directed six episodes of The Telegoons (#3, #4 and #7 of the 1st Series, and #3, #8 and #12 of the 2nd Series). Filmography
  • Philip Grindrod was director of photography except for the pilot film. After a varied career in cinematography that spanned more than thirty years, Phil's health was fast deteriorating, mainly due to the effects of alcohol. During the 2nd filming series of The Telegoons, it got so bad that Phil was taken ill and hospitalized for several weeks. In Phil Grindrod's absence, camera operator Mike Wilson was upgraded to lighting cameraman (three episodes in the 2nd Series #1, #4, and #9; see also entries for Michael Wilson and Mike Fox, below). Phil Grindrod unfortunately died of alcohol-related illnesses soon after the filming of The Telegoons was completed. Filmography
  • Harry Orchard was director of photography for episode #2 of the 1st Series of The Telegoons.
  • Edward White composed all of the music tracks for the The Telegoons, including the signature tune, Telegoon Toon. Ed's company was Musicus Ltd. Musicography
  • Bert Marotta was production supervisor for The Telegoons. Filmography
  • Bob Bucknell was film editor for The Telegoons. Bob's company was Caledonian Film Editing Services. Filmography
  • Michael Wilson was camera operator for The Telegoons, except for episodes #1, #4 and #9 of the 2nd Series where he was lighting cameraman (Director of photography Phil Grindrod was taken ill and spent several weeks in hospital during these episodes. Note: The title of lighting cameraman probably allowed credit to be given for doing the DP's job without stepping on any toes) Mike Wilson also directed episodes #11 and #14 of the 2nd Series. Filmography
  • Mike Fox was focus puller for all of the first series, and was upgraded to camera operator for three shows in the 2nd series (#1, #4 and #9) during which Phil Grindrod was in hospital, and during which Michael Wilson was lighting cameraman (see above). Quotation: "As a long-standing, dedicated, fan of The Goon Show, it was an absolute pleasure to go to work every day and listen to the [dialogue] tapes over and over again. I never got tired of them and have a large selection of the BBC Goon Show tapes in my collection. My favourite character: hard to choose, but I think it is Major Dennis Bloodnok, if not Willium Mate." Mike Fox's film industry career started in 1954, and is still going strong in 2005. Filmography & more
  • Len Harris was camera operator for the two episodes that Michael Wilson directed (episodes #11 and #14 of the 2nd Series). Filmography
  • Dudley Plummer of Sound Films Limited was sound engineer. Filmography
  • Cyril Brown was dubbing mixer/dubbing editor. Prior to working on The Telegoons, Cyril Brown was sound recordist on Roberta Leigh's Space Patrol, 1962 (UK video release, episode numbers 9, 10, 12-15, 17-21, 25, 27-39). Filmography
  • Kays Laboratories Ltd. (situated at Finsbury Park, 8 km from Grosvenor's studio space in Kensal Road) was responsible for the soundtrack dubbing and processing, under the careful supervision of Cyril Brown (see above). It was reported in Television Mail, October 18, 1963, that the Kay's lab staff are still relatively sane, despite the out-of-the-ordinary complexities of The Telegoons job.
  • Doreen Soan did continuity for all 25 episodes of The Telegoons following the pilot film. A seasoned continuity person well before The Telegoons went into production, Doreen became a sought after script supervisor during a film career that spans more than thirty years. Filmography & more
  • Stanley Moore designed the settings.
  • Stage-Decor Ltd. provided the scenery and properties.
  • Ralph Dawson Young, described by his son Tony as an 'inventor', together with Ron Field (see below), designed and built the Telegoon puppets. Ralph and Ron were assisted in this by Ralph's younger son, David.
  • Ron Field of Ron and Joan Field's Marionettes (husband of Joan Field, and father of Ann Field) developed the method of automatic electronic puppet lip-synch used in the 2nd filming series of The Telegoons (twelve episodes) (uncredited), a technology for which he was awarded two British patents, numbers 965,916 and 965,917 (filed June 22, 1962, published Aug 6, 1964). Apart from a few extra puppets provided by John Dudley, all of the puppets used in the production were designed and built by Ron Field and Ralph Young (see above). They were assisted in this by Ralph's younger son, David. However, despite Ron Field's pivotal role in designing and building the puppets, a dispute with the producers arose over the terms of use of Ron's electronic lip-synch technology. The result was that Ron Field did not receive a screen credit for his puppetry in the pilot, nor for his role as co-designer and constructor of the puppets. In the revised version of the pilot (broadcast as episode #2 of the 1st Series) Ralph Young was credited as animation controller & designer. Later episodes went even further than this, and said that the puppets were designed and constructed by Ralph Young. If and when The Telegoons are ever released on home video, I believe that this wrong should be put to rights, especially since for the later episodes, the producers went ahead and used Ron's lip-synch system regardless, apparently claiming that they were using an American system. Newspaper reports at the time are said to have mentioned "patent pinching.Click here for a detailed biography of Ron Field.
  • David Young (brother of Tony Young, and son of Ralph Young) was puppets supervisor for the series. He also helped build the puppets.
  • The pilot film that secured The Telegoons series from the BBC (The Lost Colony), involved the entire Field family, all of whom were well known professional puppeteers and puppet makers:
  Ron Field  The puppets, including the latex rubber rod puppets, and the electronic lip-synch mechanism were developed by Ron Field and Ralph Young. Ron was also lead puppeteer on the pilot film.
  Joan Field  In addition to being one of the puppeteers on the pilot film, Joan advised on the puppets' costumes and adapted Major Bloodnok's uniform to ensure he could meet the requirements of the director (Bloodnok's uniform was too stiff).  
  Ann Field One of the jobs Ann had during the filming of the pilot was the stringing of all of the marionettes.
Note: Due to a dispute with the producers over rights to Ron Field's electronic puppet lip-synch technology, apart from Ann (who was a puppeteer for the first filming series), none of the Field family got screen credits despite their important role in the genesis of The Telegoons
  • Episode #2 of the 1st broadcast series (The Lost Colony), was a modified version of the 33 minute pilot film. The changes included the cutting of more than 17 minutes or footage, and the addition of a 1:26 opening sequence. These changes made the pilot episode uniform with the other episodes, and brought the run time down to the required 15 minutes. The added opening sequence used the following team of puppeteers:
  Joan Garrick Prior to The Telegoons pilot, Joan Garrick worked as a puppeteer on a number of television productions, including The Adventures of Chippy and Roberta Leigh's Sarah and Hoppity (both Associated Rediffusion). She also worked on all 39 episodes of Roberta Leigh's Space Patrol. Space Patrol was filmed in 1962, and aired against Gerry Anderson's Fireball XL5, June - Dec. 1963. Filmography
  Jane Phillips Prior to The Telegoons pilot, Jane Phillips worked as a puppeteer on Torchy the Battery Boy (2nd series only; 26 episodes produced by Roberta Leigh). Jane also worked alongside Joan Garrick (see above) on the pilot for Roberta Leigh's Sarah and Hoppity. Biography
  Pat Ronald No details known.
  • The following table gives the number of episodes for the puppeteers who worked on the 1st and 2nd filming series of The Telegoons, colour-coded into their usual teams, in credits order. The entire series consisted of twenty six episodes:

  John Dudley
(Richard Wheeler)

(17 episodes) Puppet characters: Eccles, Bluebottle, Grytpype-Thynne, Henry Crun, Major Bloodnok, and assorted stock characters.

Quotation: "Eccles was definitely my favourite character."

Famous for The Dudley Marionettes, the largest touring puppet theatre in the UK during the 1960s. Some of The Telegoons background sequences used puppets from The Dudley marionettes. After devoting 55 years to variety, cabaret, and children's entertainment, these days Richard Wheeler (John Dudley is his stage name) lives a quieter life somewhere in North Devon, UK.
Click here for a more detailed biography.
  Ann Perrin 
(as Ann Field)
(12 episodes) Puppet characters: Mainly Neddie Seagoon.

Quotation"We were young and all mad and even madder doing the Goons everyday... By the way, I remember Spike coming to the set at one point."

Ann Perrin comes from a famous family of English puppeteers, active continuously since 1946. She worked in puppetry with her family, and as a solo performer, and also in a double act with her sister Judy. 

After a wide ranging career in puppetry and acting lasting more than forty years, Ann is currently recreating some of her family's better known puppet shows on digital video. 

Ann's father, Ron Field, was principal developer of the automatic puppet lip-synch apparatus used in the later episodes of The Telegoons.
Click here for a more detailed biography.

  Violet Philpott
(as Violet Phelan)
(15 episodes) Puppet characters: Eccles, Bluebottle, Neddie Seagoon, Minnie Bannister, (briefly) Major Bloodnok, and others.

Quotation: "...I think Eccles was my favourite. He was the most 'cartoony' looking. And of course, Bluebottle was funny. Henry and Min Crun were well realized, I think, for that kind of a character, little old people. I think the most successful [Telegoon puppet] was probably Eccles. Bloodnok was perfect of his kind, but...I had to give him up in the end because he was so heavy...because of his size. John [Dudley] took him over."

Violet Philpott has had a wide-ranging puppetry career spanning 50 years. Always noted for her voices, interestingly Violet's final puppet show (prior to semi-retirement, c.1998) had no dialogue, relying instead on mime. These days Violet lives a quieter life somewhere in London, UK.  Click here for a more detailed biography.
  Jock Egon (10 episodes) Jock Egon was the driver for the studio, and was not a professional puppeteer. Following the departures of Ann Field and Violet Phelan (which left John Dudley as the only professional puppeteer on the production), Jock took over as one of the puppet manipulators for the last ten episodes.
  Terry Thompson (10 episodes) Following the departures of Ann Field and Violet Phelan (which left John Dudley as the only professional puppeteer on the production), Terry Thompson took over as one of the puppet manipulators for the last ten episodes. 
  Pauline Klotz (8 episodes) Pauline Klotz was "discovered" in the prop making workshop, and was not a professional puppeteer. Following the departure of John Dudley, Pauline took over as one of the puppet manipulators for the last eight episodes. When not at work, Pauline was an activist in the campaign for nuclear disarmament. 

Most times throughout the series when small "puppet-sized" human hands were called for, they were Pauline's (wearing white rubber-gloves).

IF YOU CAN HELP PUT ME IN TOUCH WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE PEOPLE, PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT webmaster@telegoons.org

 I am particularly keen to get in touch with the following people or their relatives:

          Cyril Brown
              Robert (Bob) Bucknell
                  Wendy Danielli
                      Jock Egon (no bio on file)
                          William (Bill) Freshman (d.)
                              Joan Garrick
                                  Philip Grindrod (d.)
                                      Len Harris (d.)
                                          Pauline Klotz (no bio on file)
                                              Bert Marotta
                                                  Stanley Moore (no bio on file)
                                                      Harry Orchard (no bio on file)
                                                          Jane Phillips
                                                              Dudley Plummer
                                                                  Pat Ronald (no bio on file)
                                                                      Terry Thompson (no bio on file)
                                                                          Edward White (d.)
                                                                              Tina Williams (wife of David Young); David's daughters Michelle and Sasha
                                                                                  Mike Wilson

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