TerryGilliam was responsible for the off-the-wall animation that would go off on bizarre, imaginative tangents. Some running gags culled from these animations were a giant hedgehog named Spiny Norman, who appeared over the tops of buildings showing, “Dinsdale!” The foot is appropriated from the figure of Cupid in Agnolo Bronzino's “Venus,Cupid, Folly and Time”. Gilliam was hired mainly as animator, and didn't even think of himself as an on-screen performer at first, but the others felt they owed him something, so he occasionally appeared before camera, usually in skits that no one else wanted to play, generally because they involved a lot of make-up or uncomfortable costumes. His most recurrent character was The-Knight-Who-Hits-People-With-A-Chicken, a knight in armour who would walk on-set and hit another character on the head with a plucked chicken when they said something really corny.
Michael Palin was regarded by the other members of the troupe as the one with the widest range, equally adept as a straight man or wildly over the top character. He portrayed many working-class characters and in contrast, also played, weak-willed, put-upon men, such as the husband in the “Marriage Counsellor” sketch, or the boring accountant in the “Vocational Guidance Counsellor”. He was equally good as the indefatigable Cardinal Ximinez of Spain the “The Spanish Inquisition”. One of his best and most famous creations was the shopkeeper who attempted to sell useless goods by very weak and ineffectual attempts at being sly and crafty, which are always spotted by the customer (often played by John Cleese), as in the “Dead Parrot”. Palin is also well known for his leading role in “The Lumberjack Song”.
For a short-lived troupe and show, their influence on comedy has been monumental. At the end of their BBC run, the show earned enough money and interest to allow it to be picked up in its entirety by PBS, although bits and pieces of it had run on American television for years. The Flying Circus went one to create and produce, “Monty Python's Meaning of Life”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, and “Monty Python's Life of Brian” among others. There have been stage shows and SNL's Lorne Michaels counts the show as a major influence on Saturday Night Live sketches. In computing, the terms spam and the Python programming language are both derived from the series. None other than Douglas Adams, the writer of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and a sometimes writer on the show, wished to audition for the part of John Cleese, and was saddened when he found the "part was already taken". Probably the highest accolade however is this: as of 2013, questions concerning the Pythons' most famous sketches have been incorporated into the examinations required of those seeking to become British citizens. Quite an honor, for a surrealistic comedy troupe!
BOOK RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT AND RAFFLE-COPTER!!!
From now until April 18th, I will be show-casing Aldrea Alien's newest release, Golden Dawn. This will include an raffle-copter (be sure and enter!) and well. . . I'll let her take it from here!
Family and blood.