» 1974 Annual Review
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GOODIES BOOK REVIEW - "THE GOODIES 1974 ANNUAL"
(from C&G #42 June 1999)
Three of the four Goodies books published in the mid to late 1970's were reasonably well distributed and are still available from various suppliers of second-hand books. However "The Goodies 1974 Annual" is very hard to come by indeed, so we're delighted that Jonathan Sloman <SlomanJ@dulwich.org.uk> has contributed this sensational review of it for our enjoyment:
1 The hardback front cover. Shows a picture of the Goodies riding their trandem towards us holding a superimposed flag that reads "THE GOODIES annual 1974".
2-3 Colour and tinted photographs of the Goodies. Shows Graeme in pointed witches (dunce's?) hat, Tim(?) jumping off a crane, Bill(?) headfirst in a cement mixer and all three on Trandem. Corner says that the original price was 75p.
4 Contents: with copyright information and two blue tinted pictures of Tim and Bill dressed as sailors.
5 Title page. With large full colour picture of the Goodies.
6-9 'The Greatest Stories Ever Told': separate biographies of the Goodies titled "A Scottish Garden", "Bill the Birdman" and "And Then There Were Three" (guess which title belongs to which Goodie!). Each has a colour line
drawing of each Goodie. 10-15 'The Reunion': Comic strip, in which Bill gets his mind swapped with a mouse.
16-21 'And for my next invention...': Story in which the Goodies have to save Grimsdyke-by-Sea from a new motorway. Graeme creates new kinds of bikes for them to use, including a Uni-Trandem (with three seats and one wheel) and the Aero-Trandem (as seen in the episode "Kitten Kong"). With superb line-drawings by Graeme Garden.
22-27 'All A'bored': Comic strip, in which the Goodies have to organise a night club for Lord Bored ("Bored by name and Bored by nature") and end up being attacked by a robot called Bulboso (really the Lord's butler in disguise). This totally surreal story features lots of old puns (Bill: "This egg's a bit weird." Butler: "I'm sorry, sirrah, I only laid the table").
28 'From a Trandem to a unicycle': Article about (real) odd cycles from the record books. Mentions a tricycle with 11 foot high wheels, "almost as tall as two Bill Oddies". With black and white picture of Goodies on Trandem.
29-30 'All together now': Various black and white shots of the Goodies (and producer Miki Anderson) in a recording studio, with comic captions written underneath (such as "Graeme has a question for Miki: "How do I sing?"")
31 'Just Jokes': Old jokes, updated for the Goodies (Bill: Why are you writing so slowly? Tim: It's to Graeme - he's a very slow reader.)
32 'Big problems for the Goodies': Small article on the "Kitten Kong" episode with black and white pictures of Twinkle in a model street and Tim with a huge (fake) snake.
33-38 'Hiram's holiday': Comic strip in which the Goodies have to babysit a Texan boy called Hiram, and end up in Ancient Egypt thanks to a magic lamp.
39-42 'The Goodies at Le Mans': Colour and tinted pictures of the Goodies filming an episode of their new series at the famous racecourse in France. Shows Graeme inflating his trousers until they explode, the evil Baron O'Beefe and a motorised disused railway station! Best quote: "Le Mans gotta do what Le Mans gotta do."
43-49 'Sureshots Steal Show': Story in which the Goodies, upset at losing the pools every week, create their own football team, the Breezy Sureshots, with members of the local circus (the players include Jim Giraffe, The Great Alfonso and A. Rhino, with Percy Parrot lurking on the wing). They win the match, become the first non-league club ever to win the F.A. Cup, and "lived happily ever after". With full-colour line-drawings.
49-54 'Sprechen sie Serbo-Croat?': Comic strip. The Goodies create an international letter-translating service.
55 'Graeme's multi-purpose spectacles': Graeme Garden's own line-drawings of new designs for his glasses including ones with torches attached "for going out at night" and ones with curtains "for going to sleep". A caption tells us it's "End of part one"
56-58 Spoof adverts (one page each) for Milk Tray, "Heimz" burgers and Stork Butter ("How many people CAN tell Talk from Mutter?"). "And now back to the Goodies"
59-63 'The Hobbymobile': Story in which Graeme creates a Hobbymobile to keep the others amused in the hot weather. It contains a ski slope which also plays chess and teaches French simultaneously for Tim, and a one-man band for Bill. Tim hates it and hates Bill's so-called music even more. With three large line-drawings.
64 'Just a few more': More old jokes (Graeme: What would you do if you were told you were dying? Bill: Go into the living room).
65 'Bill's crossword': A crossword with Goodies and non-Goodies clues (14 down: Bill, our hero. How odd! (5) (The answer's ODDIE, of course)).
66-69 'Special effects': A fascinating article and full-colour photographs tell us how the Goodies do their TV tricks including "Ringing the bell", "The pneumatic drill", "Door in the ground" and "Trick table time".
70 'The Goodies by the Goodies': Each Goodie has drawn a line-drawing of them all. Graeme's picture is of a three-faced Goodie (with the emphasis on himself), Bill shows them doing their favourite hobbies (Tim enjoys "champers on skis", Bill plays football with five balls while "the other one" goes fishing for old boots!), while Tim's picture shows Bill as a short, hairy scruff, Graeme as a clever, self-appreciating scientist, while he depicts himself as a stick figure with a halo!
71 'Just an odd word': A "Call My Bluff"-style quiz. "Is a homburg (a) an English hamburger, (b) a kind of men's hat, or (c) a river in Wales?" (The answer's (b), if you cared).
72-77 'Safari so Goodie': Wonderfully-titled comic strip in which the Goodies go to Africa to sell hamburgers to the natives. Best line: Tim: "If I'm right this is going to be a real battle of wits." Graeme: "It's very brave of you to fight unarmed."
78-79 'The search for Mighty Mice': Board game in which you have to find "three Mighty Mice, lightly disguised as the Goodies" (in reality, the Goodies lightly disguised as giant mice from "Kitten Kong"). Typical square: "You've found a cheese-crumb clue! Go on 3."
80 Back cover. Shows the Goodies on trandem cycling away from us. Their superimposed flag now reads "GOODBYE!"
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book was released around Christmas 1974 while Series Four of 'The Goodies' was still on TV. It consists of a brand new Goodies stories, comics, features and pictures all about and by the Goodies. It is aimed primarily at children.
* 'And For My Next Invention': The Goodies are employed by the city of Grimsdyke-by-Sea to create a new kind of bike to eliminate car pollution. When they get there, Graeme gets his computer to create some new versions of their Trandem, of which the first one is a Motor-Trandem which has a huge robot sitting at the front peddling at a "spanking pace, gathering speed on every downward slope". It also, unfortunately, has no brakes! Back to the drawing-board (or rather back to Graeme's computer) to create a Uni-Trandem which only has one wheel. But it's too high to go under low bridges as the boys painfully discover. The next invention, an Aqua-Trandem, seems promising. A traditional bike, but instead of wheels it has a chain of rubber ducks attached, causing the bike to float. Again, it's a disaster as the inflatable ducks get too close to the gears causing inevitable sinking of the Goodies. Inspired by George Stephenson and his Rocket, Graeme creates a Rocket-Trandem (just what you expect: the Trandem strapped to a rocket). But it's too strong and the bike's gone even before the Goodies got on it. After hearing about "an unidentified object going into orbit around Mars", Graeme creates his last bike: the Aero-Trandem. A traditional Trandem with a balloon and propeller (Surely Graeme's already created one of these to capture Kitten Kong). The bike works and goes into mass-production, but it was only a few weeks later the first reports began coming in of a mid-air collisions, one-way air currents and "balloon congestion". So until Graeme can create floating traffic lights, it's back to the drawing-board again for the solution to our traffic problems. "Or should that be, back to the computer?". Graeme provides some very nice pen and ink sketches of the Goodies on their various Trandems.
* 'Sureshots Steal Show': The Goodies, annoyed with losing the pools every week, create their own football team, the Breezy Sureshots. To add a sense of humour into the game the team play in "blue satin romper suits, with red stars and conical hats, false beards and noses" while Bill recruits all his players from the local circus. The team line-up reads like this: "Gus Gorilla, A. Rhino, Jim Giraffe, Ollie Elephant, Percy Parrot, W. Oddie (capt.), The great Alphosonso, T. Brooke-Taylor, Rubberman, G. Garden". They make their way into the F.A. Cup, where they inevitably win with one goal scored by Percy Parrot, who was on the wing, obviously. They retire from football forever and "live happily ever after".
* 'The Hobbymobile': Graeme creates a Hobbymobile to keep the other two occupied in the sweltering heat. It can create any hobby anyone desires but Tim can't decide whether to ski, play chess or learn French. "Why not all three?" asks Graeme. So Tim ends up on a conveyor belt being pelted with wet cottonwool, told to repeat various French phrases while playing a computer at chess! He decides to let Bill have a go instead. The Hobbymobile turns Bill into a one-man band complete with piano, drum, saxophone, xylophone and earmuffs to drown out the noise! Now that Bill's monopolised the Hobbymobile, Tim and Graeme go back out into the scorching heat and leave the rest of Britain in lethargy.
* 'The Reunion': The Goodies deliver a package to Professor O'Reilly ("Oh, really?"), Professor Voltage and Professor Noon ("Hi, Voltage" "Hi, Noon"). In a mixed-up experiment, Bill gets his mind swapped with a mouse's and accuses a bartender in a nearby pub and his absent piano-player, Bertini, of being "mouse murderers", and that they killed his father! As he leaves the pub, he gets terrified by a cat as a travelling circus comes past. An elephant in the parade becomes very scared of Bill, even though he looks nothing like a mouse. The elephant then breaks open a cage containing a vicious gorilla who chases the Goodies back to the pub where Bill tries to hide under a teacup. The gorilla then, suprisingly, orders a drink. The bartender then removes the gorilla's head. It's Bertini, the piano-player, in disguise. Why? To join the circus, of course! But Bill (still with the mind of a mouse) isn't happy; that piano-player killed his dad. But he didn't really. He just took him with on his travels with the circus. Back at the lab, Bill gets his mind back and reunites the mouse with it's dad. They all go back to the pub, including the mice, to see Bertini play literally by ear.
* 'All A'bored': Lord Bored, an eccentric millionaire, refuses to give his butler a pay rise so the butler plans revenge, muttering that "Bulboso will walk tonight". Meanwhile, the Goodies turn up, asked by Lord Bored to organise an interesting nightclub in the cellar. Bill tries ventriloquism on a mini-Lord Bored doll. The real Lord, convinced the doll is human, tells off the doll for being boring rather than Bill! Meanwhile Bulboso, a huge killer robot with lasers in his fingers, emerges from the cellar to attack the lads and completely destroys the Lord Bored doll. Graeme chases him and rugby-tackles him to the ground. His head falls off and it's - gasp! - the butler. "Of course it's me," he says "Haven't you read the plot?". Graeme hasn't, so the butler explains that he was an all-round entertainer until he started having funny spells. He retired and became a butler for Lord Bored. He later discovered that Lord Bored's bored manner was a way of covering up his bad eyesight. He tried to make him realise that life wasn't boring by creating Bulboso, but he thought it was only another suit of armour. The butler then explains that he tried to get more wages out of the Lord when he heard that he was throwing money away on "a bunch of weirdoes", i.e. the Goodies. "What a pathetic explaination" says Graeme as the Lord returns. The Lord, realising what the suit is, decides it's not boring and gets in. After pressing the wrong button he flies out like a firework lands on the ground. Strangely, this brings his eyesight back to normal. The boys are paid and the butler has a new role in life as he points out new objects to the Lord, who gives him a pay raise. Happy endings all round.
* 'Hiram's Holiday': At an antiques market, the Goodies have to babysit Hiram, a small, spoilt Texan boy who hates the word 'no'. Tim rubs a lamp and ends up in the desert with Bill, Graeme and Hiram. Turns out they're in "the land of Ahtishooma, ruler of Egypt" in time to be sacrificed for the King's birthday. Ahtishooma is only a small boy and makes an order: "The three imbeciles will die at dawn". As Hiram goes with Ahtishooma, The Goodies get locked up in a dungeon and see a beautiful woman dancing outside. She helps them to escape, telling them to "mingle" at the party. Hiram is accused of helping them to ecsape and will be sacrificed. But then he says "no" to the King and must endure "The curse of the doorknob" where he will be shrunk down and hardened to make a doorknob. He won't die, but will be knocked against doors forever! The King reveals a magic antidote as Hiram starts to shrink. Graeme grabs the antidote but they all get grabbed by the guards. Tim furiously rubs the lamp and the Goodies return to the present, but without Hiram! Bill considers running away until Tim sees this oddly-shaped doorknob at the antiques stall. It's Hiram! They pour the restorer on him and he returns to normal. Well, almost. After thousands of years with spoilt boy kings Hiram has learned the error of his ways just as his Dad arrives. Bill decides that nostalgia is "not like it used to be".
* 'Sprechen Sie Serbo-Croat?': Bill comes up with the idea of becoming a translation agency called "GoodTrans". Unfortunately, the Goodies can't speak any other languages, except for saying "Do you have any other flavours of ice-cream?" in Spanish. After Graeme goes out to buy a Serbo-Croat-to-English dictionary, Bill gets a job translating an important speaker from "Pandavia" at a conference. Bill can't translate fast enough so he improvises with his stand-up routine, causing the English conference members to laugh at the confused Pandavian's speech. Later, Graeme sets up his computer so that it will translate any foreign document. But in trying to translate a German hairdryer advertising leaflet it gets the words slightly wrong ("Our electric hairdryer is of the most appalling design..."), causing the Goodies to close down GoodTrans for good.
* 'Safari So Goodie': Trying to sell hamburgers in a doctor's waiting room, Tim decides they need a new patch, and decides to take the business to Africa "where the natives love hamburgers". Sailing there on an old boat, they encounter a shark who offers to take them to Africa in exchange for a mouthful of hamburgers. When they arrive the police ask them if they've seen two criminal stowaways called Tim Tall and Larry Little who have a criminal craving for practical jokes. The Goodies decide to go after them to the city of Bimbala. They get captured by King Gobblemup and his bare-breasted wife Gentilia [Bare-breasted? In a childen's book? Shocking!]. Gentilia is too thin in Gobblemup's opinion (but no-one else's), and must fatten up. But more importantly, Mazimbi the Witch Doctor has escaped the Cave of Fear. It is because of a large ghostly figure who wants all the tribes "articles of value". In a rare fit of bravery, Tim rushes into the cave to reveal the ghost to be Tim Tall and Larry Little, standing on each other's shoulders in a ghost costume. Tim then recovers Mazambi from the cave but must die as he entered the sacred cave, he bargains his life by selling the King all his hamburgers, which he feeds to his 'thin' wife. The Goodie's hamburger stand is now in the Witch Doctor's waiting room and Tim decides they need a new patch.
* 'The Greatest Stories Ever Told': Three individual autobiographies of the Goodies (told in the third person). Each biography features one lie (Graeme, for example, claims to have won a Nobel Prize) and a reference of having worked with various members of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' in the past, a fact of which they are all clearly proud. Very funny, and a good introduction for young Goodies fans in 1974.
* 'From Trandem To Unicyle': Various facts about odd bicycles with no relevance to the Goodies. It reveals that 11 foot high tricycle wheels are "about as high as two Bill Oddies".
* 'All Together Now': Behind-the-scenes photographs of the Goodies recording their new album with their producer Miki Antony. The best picture shows Graeme 'Ug' Garden singing 'Stuffing The Gibbon'.
* 'Just Jokes': Old jokes with a Goodies twist. Bill: 'Why are you writing so slowly?' Tim: 'It's to Graeme - he's a very slow reader.'
* 'Big Problems For The Goodies': One page about the episode 'Kitten Kong' with two black-and-white photographs of Tim with a snake (not real) and of Twinkle the kitten in a cardboard street. Would have been so much nicer in colour [The Kitten Kong picture appears in colour in TV Zone's Goodies programme guide].
* 'The Goodies At Le Mans': A sneak preview of colour snaps from "The Race" with pictures of their sabotaged car, Baron O'Beefe, the Goodies' motorised railway station and Graeme's exploding trousers! Remember: "Le Mans gotta do what Le Mans gotta do".
* 'Graeme's Multi-Purpose Spectacles': A very silly page with five line-drawings by Graeme of new specs for himself. These include specs with windscreen wipers attached "for going out in the rain with" and ones with curtains "for going to sleep".
* 'End Of Part One': Three spoof adverts. The Milk Tray man ends up on the wrong boat, a herd of snails 'race' towards sizzling "Hiemz" beefburgers, and the public are asked to tell "Talk" from "Mutter" by watching famous politicians of the day.
* 'Just A Few More': More old jokes. Bill: 'What's made with eggs, butter, milk, salt, pepper and cement?' Graeme: 'I don't know. What?' Bill: 'Scrambled eggs.' Graeme: 'Scrambled eggs? But what about the cement?'
Bill: 'I just put that in to make it harder.'
* 'Bill's Crossword': A crossword with some rather cryptic clues, few of which relate to the Goodies. Also, clues 6 Across, 4 Down and 5 Down don't fit! It would have drove those children who attempted it mad!
* 'Special Effects': After the disappointing crossword comes this wonderful behind-the scenes look of how they do the special effects on the series. Full-colour pictures of the Goodies in a field in hard-hats show how tricks such as 'The Pneumatic Drill', 'Door In The Ground' and 'Trick Time Table' are done.
* 'The Goodies - By The Goodies': Each Goodie has drawn a line-drawing of them all. Graeme's picture is of a three-faced Goodie (with the emphasis on himself), Bill shows them doing their favourite hobbies (Tim enjoys "champers on skis", Bill plays football with five balls and "the other one" goes fishing), while Tim's picture shows Bill as a short, hairy scruff, Graeme as a clever, self-appreciating scientist, while he depicts himself as a stick figure with a halo!
* 'Just An Odd Word': A pointless 'Call My Bluff'-style quiz with no Goodies connection. Sample question: "Is a homburg (a) an English hamburger, (b) a kind of men's hat, or (c) a river in Wales?" Answer: (b) Incredibly dull.
* 'The Search For Mighty Mice': A board game in which you have to find "three Mighty Mice, lightly disguised as the Goodies" (in reality, the Goodies lightly disguised as mice from "Kitten Kong"). Typical square: "You've found a cheese-crumb clue! On 3."
* "Bill Oddie was born on July 7th many years ago in Rochdale, Lancashire. He was a very small baby, and still is"
* Waitress: "Are you the smoked salmon, sir?" Bill: "I'm the hungry sole with the empty place waiting for someone to fillet. Get your skates on, shrimp, I'm starving!"
* Graeme (looking at the circus parade): "I think I spotted a leopard!" Tim: "Aren't they born that way?"
* Tim: "While you were in Venice did you see the gondolas?" Bertini: "I had dinner with them twice. Lovely people!"
* Graeme (recording 'Stuff That Gibbon'): "Pass me a banana, someone!"
* "Le Mans gotta do what Le Mans gotta do".
* Tim: "If I'm right this is going to be a real battle of wits." Graeme: "It's very brave of you to fight unarmed."
MY OPINION & RATING
'And For My Next Invention': IIIII Superstar
'Sureshots Steal Show':IIII Officially amazing
'The Hobbymobile': III Goody Goody Yum Yum
These stories are like mini-Goodies episodes and you can almost see Tim, Bill and Graeme performing as you read along (The first story even features Tim speaking over his record of 'Land And Hope And Glory'!). A whole book of Goodies stories would have been perhaps more welcomed than one with other features as well.
Stories overall mark = IIII Officially amazing
'The Reunion': IIIII Superstar
'All A'bored': III Goody Goody Yum Yum
'Hiram's Holiday': IIII Officially amazing
'Sprechen Sie Serbo-Croat?': II Fair-y punkmother
'Safari So Goodie': IIIII Superstar
Similar to the comics that appeared in 'Cor', these stories are well-written, accurately drawn and could almost be turned into filmed episodes. The plots are suitably confusing and full of surreal twists (especially the first two strips) and totally surreal. You can even spot where the songs would go!
Comics overall mark = IIII Officially amazing
'The Greatest Stories Ever Told': IIIII Superstar
'From Trandem To Unicyle': II Fair-y punkmother
'All Together Now': III Goody Goody Yum Yum
'Just Jokes': II Fair-y punkmother
'Big Problems For The Goodies': II Fair-y punkmother
'The Goodies At Le Mans': IIII Officially amazing
'Graeme's Multi-Purpose Spectacles': II Fair-y punkmother
'End Of Part One': III Goody Goody Yum Yum
'Just A Few More': II Fair-y punkmother
'Bill's Crossword': I Tripe on t'pikelets
'Special Effects': IIII Officially amazing
'The Goodies - By The Goodies': IIIII Superstar
'Just An Odd Word': I Tripe on t'pikelets
'The Search For Mighty Mice': II Fair-y punkmother
An odd mixture of original material. Some, such as the 'Special Effects' and 'Greatest Stories Ever Told' features, are fascinating and provide an insight into the show but others, such as the crossword and 'Just An Odd Word', seem rather pointless and just reduce the enjoyment of reading the book. Others seem to be there purely to fill space ('Big Problems For The Goodies' and 'From Trandem To Unicycle', for instance). But the good ones far outweigh the bad ones and are must-reads for any Goodies fan.
Features overall mark = III Goody Goody Yum Yum
An strange mish-mash of a book, featuring good and bad stories and features mainly aimed at children. There is no linear plot running through it, as in their later books, nor is it as clever or funny as their later books, but if you switch your brain off and imagine the Goodies acting out the stories, you're in for enjoyable read.
Overall mark = IIII Officially amazing