Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Eric Sykes, CBE: 4 May 1923 - 4 July 2012
Eric Sykes was a big influence on British comedy in the 1950's and 1960's. He wrote some of the funniest episodes of The Goon Show alongside Spike Milligan. For those of you unfamiliar with the Goons, it was a British radio comedy from the 1950's which starred Peter Sellers alongside Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. He would later star in many British sitcoms during the 1950s' and 60's alongside both Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers as well as a movie roles during that time. He also had a few key roles in some of the films of that era. A couple of them as the comic side kick to gap toothed British comic Terry-Thomas.
Although most of his starring roles seemed to dry up after 1989, he continued to keep busy appearing in various supporting roles such as the mini-series Gormaghast in 2000 as well as movies such as Goblet of Fire and the Others. Just to name a few.
What's kind of a shame nowadays is many young people don't bother with old movies or old television shows because they think just because it's considered "old" it's going to be boring. So many movies, shows and actors get swept under the carpet because our society has sadly become so narrow-minded when it comes to the past. We miss out on so much because we're not willing to give something we're unfamiliar with a chance. And we create opinions on things that we don't know much about.
But if you happen to enjoy Monty Python and Saturday Night Live (which Loren Michaels has mentioned was influenced by Python), then you have Eric Sykes work from those early days of radio and television comedy to thank for that.
2012 is kind of turning into a rough year as far as the passing of many beloved celebrities. Just yesterday it was Andy Griffith and now today Eric Sykes.
I should mention on a side note, that Eric Sykes was in fact the basis for the butler Maladay in my graphic novel The Spaghetti Strand Murder.
But I'm very sorry to hear about Eric Sykes passing. A lot of his writing with the Goons and his influences on later British comedies has influenced me greatly.