GOODIES COR COMICS SYNOPSIS #37
(by Linda Kay)
(from C&G 110 – December 2004)
15th September, 1973 No. 60
The subject of space was very much a popular subject in the late sixties / early seventies and most comedy shows of the time delved into the topic of astronauts and space travel at some point. The Goodies television episode "Invasion of the Moon Creatures" (remember, the one with Big Bunny?) included some of the funniest jokes of the fourth series and offered fond tributes to Dr. Who and Star Trek as well. It was probably inevitable that the Cor!! Goodies comics would also tackle the theme of space, and so it came to pass as we'll see in this month's review.
Header: THERE'S A GALAXY OF LAUGHS IN THIS STORY - THE GOODIES BECOME ASTRONAUTS!
As the comic opens a Professor enters the Goodies' office forcefully, slamming the door into Bill as he does so. Bill happened to be playing darts at the time and we see the dart he had thrown is now flying straight toward Tim's posterior, as Tim is bent over a tub of washing. Graeme has just thrown a paper airplane. The Professor aggressively states his business.
PROFESSOR: Goodies, I have an important mission for you ... you will be part of this country's first *Astronaut Training Programme!*
GRAEME: Fame at last!
In the next panel the Professor continues his declaration.
PROFESSOR: Meet me at Windy Ridge at three-thirty tomorrow ... then the first of your rigorous tests will begin!
GOODIES: We'll be there!
NEXT DAY ...
The Goodies ride their trandem onto the secret space programme training grounds. Bill is dressed in a space suit, including a helmet and ray gun in a holster. The Professor is seen in the background coming out of a building.
TIM: Well, here we are ... and there's the Professor, come to welcome us!
The Professor motions the Goodies toward a round building which looks like a silo with a mysterious coil coming out of the top.
PROFESSOR: You can park your bike in that - er - garage!
GRAEME: Thanks, Prof ... can't wait for the tests to start!
Once inside the silo the Goodies suddenly find themselves weightless, their personal effects floating about them.
GRAEME: *Eek!* The tests have started already! We're *weightless!*
The Goodies begin pedaling the trandem furiously, riding the inside wall of the silo around and around in circles.
TIM: The only thing to do is *cycle* round the wall as *fast* as possible!
BILL: *Puff! Gasp! HEY!* I feel *HEAVY* again!
The Goodies come crashing through the wall of the silo, startling the Professor who was standing nearby and taking notes.
TIM: You're a bit *too* heavy ... we've been flung out again!
The Goodies and the trandem come to a crashing stop at a wall. The impact is so great the Goodies go flying over the top of the wall.
On the other side of the wall there is a frozen pond and the Goodies crash through the ice with a SPLINTER and a SPLOSH!
The Goodies exit the pond, frozen solid, ice hanging from their entire bodies.
BILL: This isn't f-f-fair! I'm *f-f-frozen!*
The Professor comes riding up to them on a strange contraption which has a huge magnifying glass on a spring. He concentrates the sun's rays through the glass onto the Goodies, who melt and enjoy the warmth.
GRAEME: AAAGH! WARMTH!
But too soon the heat is overwhelming and the Goodies begin crawling along the ground like lost souls in a desert.
BILL: GASP! The heat ... I can't stand it, stop. The tests ... RASP ... lemonade ... *water* ... ANYTHING!
TIM: Shut up! RATTLE ... think of the GASP ... fame and HONOUR!
The Goodies reach the Professor and Tim clings to the man desperately. The Professor motions to three nearby chairs set up on a platform, each with springs underneath.
PROFESSOR: There, there, my good chaps! Have a seat! You've just been through the worst of the tests ...!
The Goodies sit in the chairs and the Professor maniacally pulls a lever which sets the individual chairs into a series of torturous manouevres ... spins, flips and violent bouncing.
PROFESSOR: Now there's only this one left! *Hee, hee!*
BILL: H-h-help! S-s-stop t-the m-m-machine!
The Goodies, looking decidedly worse for wear, stand before the Professor as he shakes Graeme's hand and hands them each certificates. Bill salutes as he is about to pass out.
PROFESSOR: Congratulations, Goodies! You've passed all the tests! Tomorrow is *launching day!* The whole nation will *welcome* its heroes!
NEXT DAY ...
A very large crowd has turned out for the launch of Britain's first space rocket ... the Cor-TV news crew is there and the Mayor stands next to the Professor and the Goodies on the stage as he addresses the crowd. The Goodies are dressed in space suits.
MAYOR: Ladies and gentlemen ... today's the big day when Britain sends up its first space rocket! Let's have a big hand for our heroes .. !
The Mayor motions to the other side of the stage where three chimpanzees dressed in astronaut suits walk onto the stage. The Goodies fall backwards in a faint as the Professor gleefully addresses the reading audience.
MAYOR: THE ASTRONAUTS!
PROFESSOR: We couldn't risk our precious chimps in practise! And everyone knows that if the *Goodies* can do it, so can MONKEYS! *Tee hee!*
Sign-Off Line: Our T.V. Chuckle Champs Return Next Week!
RATING (using the BLACK PUDDING RATING SYSTEM):
III - Goody goody yum yum.
This is a fun comic which, while offering some funny situations and background jokes, is a bit light when compared with past entries.
The subtle background humor is very funny where it is used. In the first panel the Professor enters carrying a clipboard. A page on the clipboard reads: "OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS - British Cut-Price Space Program - 1. Light blue touch paper and retire immediately." (The light blue touch paper was also used as a joke on the Goodies episode "Invasion of the Moon Creatures.") The bit with Tim washing his laundry and about to get a dart in the rear is particularly clever. Bill has a small Union Jack flying from the top of his space helmet as they enter the testing grounds. In the panel where the Goodies crash through the silo wall they not only startle the Professor but also the black cat who has made numerous appearances in past episodes. This time it's wearing goggles and an oxygen tank as it scurries away.
A number of bolts and springs pop from the testing chairs as the Goodies are being flung about. Tim's pants are down around his ankles as he accepts his certificate. The camera crew for Cor-TV appear to be hippies. The rocket itself is questionable . . . a This Side Up arrow shows the ship is at least in the correct position, another marking shows it is M.O.T. tested. But there is a wind up key on the side of the ship, a TV aerial at the nose tip and a man has his laundry strung between the launch pad and the rocket!
Much of the humor is this strip is derived from blatant torture of the Goodies, which is a bit strange. The cartoonist chose to portray the Professor as evil in many panels, perhaps to balance the gruelling tests our heroes were being put through. Many of the panels contain only one word balloon of dialogue, some have none at all, and there is a strange lack of puns in the script. But the ending where it's revealed the Goodies have been suffering all to save some chimpanzees from enduring the tests is a satisfying and humorous reveal.
All in all not the best comic but not the worst ... good artwork and lots of action plus some good jokes make this one well worth reading.