A Great, Silly Grin: The British Satire Boom Of The 1960s

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Da Capo Press, May 29, 2003 - History - 408 pages
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A Great, Silly Grin opens at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival, where a staggeringly inspired satirical revue called Beyond the Fringe startled a public steeped in the polite, bland banality of the 1950s. From there it is a short trip to the coffee bars of London, where the appearance of a scruffy yellow pamphlet calling itself Private Eye overturned the way Britons looked at their world. The apotheosis of the satire boom, and the progenitor of so many American comedy acts, was the groundbreaking BBC television program "That Was the Week That Was," which combined elements of sketch comedy and evening-news broadcast to produce something essential, hilarious, and, on occasion, scandalous. Humphrey Carpenter's history of this tumultuous and exciting era introduces us not only to the people involved in its creation--Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Michael Frayn, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, and David Frost--but also their routines and sketches.
 

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Contents

Permission to speak
3
PART ONE Ive got a viper in this
15
Doing silly turns
17
This suet and this sangfroid will get you nowhere
30
Joined at the hip
44
A little bit of something for everyone
59
Danny Kaye of Cambridge
68
At rightangles to all the comedy wed heard
81
Satire was in
128
Fortnightly lampoon
153
Balls to the lot of them
169
A highly successful year for British satire
186
PART THREE The BBC moved in on the act
199
A mixture of News Interview Satire and Controversy
201
Live as hell
216
PART FOUR
285

PART TWO Boom
89
Funnier than anything we had ever seen
91
It really is a Rolls
116
where are they now?
335
BIBLIOGRAPHY
373
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About the author (2003)

Humphrey Carpenter is the award-winning biographer of Dennis Potter, J. R. R. Tolkien, W. H. Auden, and Ezra Pound. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio. Carpenter is married with two children and lives in Oxford, England.

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