Scraping the barrel for memories of ‘The Telegoons’ but as it is their anniversary on October 6th, I was asked to write what I could still remember for ‘The Goon Show Preservation Society’ magazine.
It was easy to remember endless weeks of making rubber hands and boots. It was in the early days of making latex puppets and often as a result of various experiments with very toxic ingredients. Our puppets made in this way then had to be baked, in an ancient gas oven in our studio. Phew the fumes… I remember once feeling as though I was flying down the high street when I went shopping!
Later on, script consultation, stringing the final marionettes and making the pilot with my folks and I, the only puppeteers trusted with such goings on. This was on the strength of getting the series should the BBC buy it, which they did! But nothing is fair in love and show business and in the end I was the only one in the family that did 15 episodes. Frankly it was never that popular in Britain but Australia, New Zealand and the States loved it.
Never mind. I spent happy hours in my younger day, being whizzed around a studio on a ‘dolly’ which is a bit like a giant triopod, with my hand up Neddie’s jumper, trying to get him to calm down and ‘act’ like the well rehearsed professional, that as a puppet he wasn’t! Had a hand in Minnie Banister, Eccles and the others too, lucky me!
I do remember knitting a scarf for Neddie on the set for one episode, spending several hours with Eccles or was it Bluebottle, in a dustbin for one scene which is where I first met John Dudley, a new puppeteer on the Telegoon scene. I can vaguely recall being sprayed with copwebs etc. Directors and cameramen never realise that someone is actually pulling the strings and give all their almost impossible instructions to the puppet directly.
Our lookalike Eccles, made for a Telegoon convention a few years ago will be at the anniversary and he insists I be there too, to pull his strings. The original puppet heads were not made by us, but I believe they have disintegrated. Ironically our own marionettes with rubber heads made at the same time are still in one piece today!
There will be an auction of Telegoon paraphenalia, showing of Telegoon films etc then hopefully after this beanfeast, I can happily be allowed to forget the whole thing?
More details sure to be on The Goon Show Preservation Society’s web site.
Episode of Telegoons on my youtube site.
My name was Ann Field at the time and this is the name on the credits for 15 episodes. The daughter of ‘Ron and Joan Field’ who had their own marionette company.