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The Sinful Savage Tigers

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

On 17 June 1952, Home Service listeners experienced episode 21 of the second series in all its glory. The Radio Times listing is here.

Minnie Bannister: Don't come in, I'm in the bath. Seagoon: What are you doing in the bath? Minnie Bannister: I'm not doing anything in the bath! Seagoon: Miss Bannister, explain what Mr Henry Crun is doing in your bathroom, you sinful woman! Minnie Bannister: He's washing a savage tiger. Seagoon: A tiger? A sinful savage tiger? I've had enough of this! [FX: Door opens. Large roar] Seagoon: Aaaaaahhh!!!

(from ‘The Greenslade Story’, Series 6 Episode 14, broadcast 20 December 1955)

The Goons’ influence has spread far and wide in the seven decades since that first show in May 1951. The Pythons, Eddie Izzard, The Beatles – all have cited Milligan, Sellers, Secombe et al as important inspirations.

Several years ago, I was doing some Goon-related research and stumbled upon a band from North Carolina called the Sinful Savage Tigers. I thought this had to be a Goon reference, and this was confirmed when I discovered that songwriter Seth Martin had penned a track called ‘The End of the Horse-Drawn Zeppelin’. This was a lament repeated several times by Moriarty in the episode ‘Wings Over Dagenham’.

Henry Crun: As luck would have it, gentlemen, I've got here the plans of a steam-driven rocket. Seagoon: … That would overcome the petrol shortage. We'll build one right away! Moriarty: Ah, I suppose this means the end of the horse-drawn zeppelin.

(from ‘Wings Over Dagenham’, Series 7 Episode 15, broadcast 10 January 1957)

The song is rather nice, with the lyrics nostalgic for something – or someone – that has been lost or replaced.

If you’ve visited the lyrics link above, you’ll notice a comment underneath from 2015. I must have shared my discovery of the Sinful Savage Tigers with my mum, as she has asked the band directly where they discovered the Goons.

Seth Martin responded:

Just a huge fan of the show as a teenager. The Goons’ imagery and language is embedded in my creative brain – there are a lot of stale images and ideas in our genre of music. The Goons are just one of the influences that helps me get distance from the tropes and provide a contrast. Thanks for the interest and the email. Winds light to variable, SMM

You can find the Sinful Savage Tigers on Spotify, where you can listen to ‘The End of the Horse-Drawn Zeppelin’ on the band’s album The Last Night of the Revels.

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1 commentaire

OMG! I'd forgotten this. My two minutes of 'fame'!

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