The Great Bank Robbery


From the Goon Show Classics cassette

Originally broadcast: 15th November 1956

GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme
FX: Gunshot
GREENSLADE: Ooooooh yaroooool! Who shot me?
SECOMBE: Me, Wal. Just seeing if you were alert
GREENSLADE: My senses are very alert
SECOMBE: Never mind, little steaming nut announcer, worororahum. Open up that parcel of mangos and read the contents
GREENSLADE: Right, the title of the mango I’m holding is ‘The Great Bank Robbery’
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic timpani roll anticlimaxed by corny woodwind chord
GREENSLADE: Next dance please! ‘The Great Bank Robbery’: Part one, an idiot in an attic
ORCHESTRA: Bass drum banging to a marching rhythm
SEAGOON: [With bass drum] Hols(?) hup! Two three. Hols(?) hup! Two three. Hup!
FX: Rapid knocks on door
SEAGOON: Curse! How dare someone get me out of bed at this time of night?
FX: Door opens
GRYTPYPE: Ah – may we get out of our beds and come in?
SEAGOON: Who are you?
GRYTPYPE: Ah – Moriarty, show him the photograph of who I am
MORIARTY: Certaimont, voy la!
SEAGOON: Gad it’s you, entres!
GRYTPYPE: Thank you. Have a bugle
ORCHESTRA: Bugle plays high Bb note
SEAGOON: Lovely, so fragrant!
GRYTPYPE: Yes, and only 10 and 6 a packet
SEAGOON: Now, who’s your friend?
GRYTPYPE: This is, and…
MORIARTY: Tell him, tell him
GRYTPYPE: Yeah, I will. I quote from this plasticine model of Gilbert Harding; this is Count Jim Thighs…
GRYTPYPE: …Moriarty, international chauffeur extraordinaire and general handyman
SEAGOON: What can I do for you?
MORIARTY: We heard you playing melody
SEAGOON: Oh, that melody. You like it, eh? [Chuckles] Well I’m practicing to enter the world’s long distance bass drum race, from John O’Groats to land’s end
GRYTPYPE: And just the right weather for it too, bei jove
SEAGOON: Alas, unfortunately I have not the wherewithal to buy a really fast racing drum
GRYTPYPE: Oh. Neddy, have a Trombone
ORCHESTRA: Trombone plays low D note
SEAGOON: My, they’re lower than bugles
GRYTPYPE: And they suit you, yes. Tell me, Neddie, how much wherewithal do you need for this racing drum?
SEAGOON: £8/10 wherewithal
GRYTPYPE: Mmn. Neddie, with your help, I think we can raise the necessary wherewithal
SEAGOON: [Going up to very high pitch:] Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?
GRYTPYPE: Look, please don’t do that full face, do you mind? Now, Neddie, we’re going to play a little naughty game. Now this is what we do; first we sew you into this mattress, like this
MORIARTY & GRYTPYPE: [Small strains]
GREENSLADE: According to the markings on this Albino turnip and the seating arrangements on this banana, Neddie was about to become an innocent participant in a fiendish-type robbery
SEAGOON: I’m innocent I tell you, innocent
SEAGOON: I wasn’t there, I was with Jim. You know Jim? Big Jim
GREENSLADE: Now if you’ll…
SEAGOON: Big Jim, Little Jim, Big Jim’s brother
GREENSLADE: Now if you’ll just li…
SEAGOON: Little Jim
GREENSLADE: Oh will you shut up?!
SEAGOON: I’m innocent
GREENSLADE: N…. Now if you’ll just…
SEAGOON: I’m innocent
GREENSLADE: Will you shut up?!
ECCLES: He’s innocent, he said
GREENSLADE: Now if you’ll just listen by this…
SEAGOON: Innocent, ha ha ha!
GREENSLADE: I’ll get it in if it kills me. Now if you just listen by this window, you will hear part two:
CAST: [Rhubarbs]
FX: Rapid hammering
CAST: [Rhubarbs continue]
CRUN: Quiet, quiet, quiet, please!
FX: More rapid hammering
CRUN: Gentlemen, quiet. [Rhubarbs stop] Gentlemen, as I was saying; I decided to start this bank. So I got a financier to put up the money and a builder to put up the building
BANNISTER: Aaahhaaaaha
CRUN: What what? Speak up, speak up
BANNISTER: What did, ooooo, what did you put up, buddy?
CRUN: I put up a sign saying, ‘Henry Crun, Banker’
CRUN: Licensed to sell the moneys
OLD SECOMBE: No offence ~~~, Mr Crun, but ah – why um – mmnmnmnm. Why did you call it ‘Crun’s Bank’?
CRUN: After my dear daddy, Lance Corporal Hoggins
OLD SECOMBE: Butn butn butn, you haven’t haven’t called the bank that!
CRUN: Of course I haven’t. You can’t call a bank ‘Lance Corporal Hoggins’. This is not a military bank, you know
SPRIGGS: Aaaaah, just a minute, Jim
CRUN: What?
SPRIGGS: If we put our wherewithal, the money, if we put this money in the bank, how will we know it will be safe, Jim?
OLD SECOMBE: That’s right ~~~
SPRIGGS: ~~~Right. That man can’t even afford teeth, let alone money. As I was saying, if I put this money in the bank, how do I know it’ll be safe? I’ve always kept my money in a mattress!
OLD SECOMBE: And, and I’ve always been satisfied, nnnn nnn, with my wherewithal, the money the money in my mattress
CRUN: [Chuckles] Oh dear, dear, dear, gentlemen, gentlemen
BANNISTER: Speak up, will you, I can’t hear…
CRUN: This ancient method of keeping monies in mattresses is stupid. In my bank, the monies are placed in a… They’re placed in a tea caddy and THEN they’re put in a mattress. Double strength security!
OLD SECOMBE: Wait, wait, Mr Crun. Is this ummmmm, is this yon mattress burglar-proof?
BANNISTER: Is it burglar-proof?
OLD SECOMBE: Burglar-proof? Is it burglar-proof?
CRUN: Sure it is, hand-sewn by a locksmith
BANNISTER: What type of locksmith?
CRUN: A Latvian locksmith and only one other person knows the combination
SPRIGGS: Who’s that?
CRUN: The swine who stole all the money last night!
CAST: [Rhubarbs]
FX: Rattling coins and cash registers opening
CRUN: Gentlemen, gentlemen, stop these naughty withdrawals. There’s no need to worry, it was only a fake desk robbery done by the insurance agent to test out security guards
SPRIGGS: And was he satisfied?
CRUN: I don’t know, the guard shot him
CAST: [Claps…] Hurray etc.
CRUN: Thank you, thank you for your support, I shall always wear it. And now, gentlemen I declare the bank OPEN!
FX: Shop bell
GRYTPYPE: Good morning, cashier. We would like to open an account and pay [strains:] in this mattress
GREENSLADE: Certainly, sir. I’ll just count it
FX: Boing!
GREENSLADE: One. Yes, it’s all here, sir. Erh…
SEAGOON: [Muffled:] Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?
GREENSLADE: I say, sir, there’s a man in there
GRYTPYPE: Um – yes, yes, he’s a friend of ours. Um – we’re putting him up for the night, aren’t we?
GREENSLADE: Oooh, yes, I see. In that case, I’ll have it put into your own vault and if anything happens, it’s your own f/vault, ha ha ha!
ORCHESTRA: Woodwind chord, symbol crash
GRYTPYPE: Thank you. And now, to the next customer in the red, Max Geldray
MORIARTY: The new sound, aaw!
GREENSLADE: Now, according to this parcel of fruit from Australia, marked ‘Fragile’ and the damaged contents there-in, we present ‘The Great Bank Robbery’: part three
GRYTPYPE: Yes, yes. I’ll take over from here, Wallace
GRAMS: Big Ben chiming at variable speeds
GRYTPYPE: With midnight chiming in all directions and Neddie safe inside Crun’s bullion vaults, the plan for the daring bank robbery was put into operation. So over now to a secret blacked out airshipdrome at Potter’s Bar
GRAMS: Spinning propeller
FRED NURKE: Righto lads. Settle down, Eidelberger, settle down
EIDELBERGER: Settle down, he says? Me who’s been married ten times and all on the National Health?
FRED NURKE: Quiet, Mein Herr. Now where’s that Japanese Jap pilot, Yakamoto?
YAKAMOTO: [Gibberish Asian for 2 sec.] I am here, Mr Blass. I was just combing my teeth, I could not find a brush
FRED NURKE: Righto, lads, belt up now. This is Grytpype’s plan, eh? At three seconds to one, or thereabouts, we take off in Count Eidelberger’s zeppelin in the direction of up
EIDELBERGER: ~~~~~~~~~~
FRED NURKE: At half past, we hover over Crun’s Bank and lower four sky-hoops
YAKAMOTO: Whoopee!
FRED NURKE: A gentleman already secreted i… I say, can we have a bit of music? This part’s a bit boring
YAKAMOTO: I play saxophone
ORCHESTRA: Saxophone plays lively melody – under:
FRED NURKE: Thank you. Right, now, as I was saying: a gentleman already secreted in a mattress will affix the hoops to the sides of the bank and we wrench(?) the whole lot up. Now pay off the flute player and off we go
FX: Cash register
FRED NURKE: Is that clear to you?
FRED NURKE: Why not?
EIDELBERGER: There’s a heavy mist
FRED NURKE: Let me look. [Strains] Four pounds, ten ounces. By the centre it’s heavy
EIDELBERGER: Not only by the centre, but at both ends too! Now get in this zeppelin, mit aus kabloongen volkischer bierwerken kreuzkrrrgggg
FRED NURKE: Are you are German, Eildelberger?
EIDELBERGER: Nein. No self-respecting German would have a phoney accent like zis!
YAKAMOTO: Please, ah – second phoney accent would like to speak. A fiendish hand-painted zeppelin stuffed with horse hair, ah – ready for takeoff in general direction of up
FRED NURKE: Wait a moment, it looks like a 7:20 train to Bradford, does that?
EIDELBERGER: Exactly. That, my friend, is a zeppelin in disguise
FRED NURKE: Ooh. Well, in you get. Contact! Cast-off! Put the dinner on!
GRAMS: Train whistle, train chugs fade away getting faster
GREENSLADE: Listeners with keen ears and socks to match will recognise that even the sound of the zeppelin has been disguised as a 7:20 train to Bradford. Quel merveilleuse ingenuitay!
SEAGOON: I’m innocent, absolutely innocent. I was with filthy Fred
GREENSLADE: Meanwhile…
SEAGOON: You know filthy Fred?
GREENSLADE: Will you shut up?! Meanwhile…
SEAGOON: I’m innocent
GREENSLADE: Meanwhile…
SEAGOON: I wasn’t there, ha ha!
GREENSLADE: According to this…
SEAGOON: Meanwhile
GREENSLADE: Meanwhile, according to this fine head of cabbage, now under treatment at an LC ~~~~~…
MIN: Excuse me, message for you. The young man over there said that he’s innocent, thank you
SEAGOON: Champions of liberty!
GREENSLADE: I’ve never heard of Millicent. Anyhow, we find that back at the bank; the vaults are being patrolled by a stall-watch security guard with a loaded bullet
FX: Running footsteps, boing, strain!
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh! What was that? I heard a sound plunge. Plinge, plat plodgee!
SEAGOON: [Muffled:] [Makes straining noises]
BLUEBOTTLE: Oooooooh! Mummy! There’s somebody straining in the dark corner over there! Switches on torch: switch! As done by switch. Beam of light falls on eerie scene. Ooooh! There’s someone struggling in the mattress. I will make a simple test and find out what is in it
FX: Gunshot
SEAGOON: Aeough!
BLUEBOTTLE: I have shot him in his mattress!
SEAGOON: You fool, I’m only playing in the game. Now take this knife and cut me out
BLUEBOTTLE: Righto, then. Rip, riip!
SEAGOON: Whoop! Thank you
BLUEBOTTLE: What was you doing inside the mattress, captain?
SEAGOON: It was short of stuffing
BLUEBOTTLE: Aaehh. You’re well stuffed, aren’t you, captain!
SEAGOON: Yes, it was a Christmas present from my auntie
BLUEBOTTLE: What are you stuffed with, then?
SEAGOON: With horse hair
BLUEBOTTLE: ~~~~~ then(?)
BLUEBOTTLE: Captain, do horses wear widges on their ears?
SEAGOON: Widges? No such thing
BLUEBOTTLE: Then what is an earwidge, captain?
SEAGOON: It’s a captain of earwidges!
ORCHESTRA: Woodwind chord, symbol crash
SEAGOON: That didn’t get much of a laugh, did it? [Giggles] They’ll be better second house. Now, The Great Bank Robbery: part four
GRAMS: Whirr of aerial vehicle
SEAGOON: Listen, gerblunden. They’re playing the record of a horse hair-stuffed zeppelin right above us! This is the game Grytpype told me about. Little lad, see what’s up there?
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh, a zellepin, captain
SEAGOON: A good try, lad. Wait, who’s this being lowered from the zellepin by his feet?
ECCLES: Ooohoho! Hallo, fellers! [With applause: Thank you, thank you] Hey, what are you doing upside down?
SEAGOON: The newcomer was a blackened wreck bearing signs of a recent devastating explosion
ECCLES: Yeah. Some naughty man gave me a cigar stuffed with horse hair
SEAGOON: How did that explode?
ECCLES: I put it out in a barrel of gun powder
SEAGOON: What were you doing in a barrel of gun powder?
ECCLES: I was practicing exploding myself for Guy Fawkes Night
SEAGOON: What a beautiful melody. How does it go again?
GRAMS: Short explosion
SEAGOON: Ah, they don’t write tunes like that these days
ECCLES: Well I’m glad
SEAGOON: Now, if you’ll just help me stick these hoops in the four corners of the bank, then we can all go home!
FX: Hammering and rattling chains
SEAGOON: That’s it! Right! Now I’m off to get the money from Grytpype
EIDELBERGER: Eccles! Are you all set down zhere?
ECCLES: Yeah! Haul away up there
GRAMS: Straining floorboards, falling bricks, metal work pulling
GRYTPYPE: Dear listeners, from the Drunkards Lounge of the Tempreds Hotel opposite, I watched Crun’s Bank hoisted into the belly of the zeppelin. The noise of the operation being covered by a recording of a piece of cardboard highly amplified by Ray Ellington
MORIARTY: The new cardboard sound, folks.

GREENSLADE: That was Ray Ellington; I say he’s done well for himself. Now, according to this tray of reddish stone walnuts, the news of the zeppelin bank robbery flashed ‘round the world and finally came to the notice of, of all people, the British police!
FX: Phone rings, handset lifts up
BLOODNOK: What? Yes!
FX: Handset put down
BLOODNOK: Ooohoho! Gentlemen, a mystery has been committed. Prepare the police airship for immediate pursuit
MILLIGAN: [Not worried] Right, sir
BLOODNOK: Issue the following description
MILLIGAN: [Not worried] Right, sir
FX: Typing typewriter over:
BLOODNOK: Wanted: one large horse hair poltis(?) stuffed zeppelin disguised as 7:20 train to Bradford with Crun’s Bank attached. Last seen going in the direction of up near Blackpool
MILLIGAN: [Not worried] Right, sir
MILLIGAN: Ah – ah – pardon me, sir
BLOODNOK: What what what what what?
MILLIGAN: The ah – the police airship has been –
BLOODNOK: What what? Mm?
MILLIGAN: Just a minute, sir. The police airship has been stuffed with – fresh horse hair – and is – waiting – directly – over – head
BLOODNOK: Yes. Here, have a Benzedrine
MILLIGAN: Thank you, sir. – [Gulps] – I say how long do…[speeds up to gibberish]
BLOODNOK: Right. Lower skyhooks and haul up the police station
MILLIGAN: [More sped up gibberish]
GRAMS: Metal work pulling, revolving propeller, police bell
MORIARTY: Oooh! Great steaming bowlers, Grytpype! Look through this modern chop whisker telescope
GRYTPYPE: Gad! It’s a police airship going in the direction of up near Blackpool
MORIARTY: Quick, I’ll get von Eidelberger on the Morse code. I’ll just strap myself in
FX: Morse code buzzing
EIDELBERGER: [In this scene: through phone:] [To Morse code] Ya ya ya ya. Ya ya ya ya. Ya ya ya
MORIARTY: ~~~~~~. Eidelberger, what course are you on?
EIDELBERGER: Prunes and custard
MORIARTY: You fool! Listen, you must throw yourself overboard at once. A police airship is chasing you and they’ve already reached a speed of hot pie and peas!
EIDELBERGER: Gerfalshit snorkel arolsich ~~~~~~~! We are standing on a ~~~~~ road. Yakamoto!
YAKAMOTO: [Gibberish Japanese]
EIDELBERGER: Serve cheese and biscuits and full speed ahead!
MORIARTY: Right. Make for John O’Groats. He’s a friend of mine
FX: Phone handset put down
GRYTPYPE: Well done, Moriarty.
FX: Door opens, bass drum banging
GRYTPYPE: Ah, Neddie! Have a piano
ORCHESTRA: Piano plays extended C chord
SEAGOON: Ta. Well, I’ve finished the game at the bank. Now where’s the £8/10?
GRYTPYPE: Surprise, Neddie, surprise. We’ve spent the money on anew racing drum
MORIARTY: [Gets excited] Yes, it will be waiting for you at the starting line of the drum race at John O’Groats
SEAGOON: Splendid! [Laughs] Gad, with this drum I’ll be the first past the post at Land’s End. Goodbye!
FX: Door closes
MORIARTY: Charlie! Little Charlie!
GRYTPYPE: Naughty little Charlie! And Moriarty, guess what Neddie will be carrying inside his new racing drum
MORIARTY: Aaaaaaaaw! Fifty thousand pounds from Crun’s Bank in crisp notes! [Gets really excited]
GRYTPYPE: Money to burn! Go and get the sardine tins and oil yourself. And while Bloodnok’s zeppelin is heading north to find it, the money will be coming safely south inside an innocent looking racing bass drum. And with that boring exposay of the plot, over to the BBC
ORCHESTRA: Woodwind chord, symbol crash
GREENSLADE: Thank you. Part five: the last day of the Tour de Britain Bass Drum Race, hup!
GRAMS: Running footsteps with lots of banging bass drums
ANNOUNCER (SELLERS): [Over Grams:] Well, hello folks. Here we are at Cob’s Corner, a bear half mile from the finishing post of the Tour de Britain five day bass drum race. And here, comes Stirling Moss beating a 1926 all wood British racing drum, followed closely by Sheila van Dan beating her highly tuned father, and… What’s this now? Yes! Yes! My goodness, they’re really coming along here! It’s a wonderful day! You can see them all beating their drums as they come…! Yes, that was the Italian ace – Giuseppe Fred Saponee, thundering into the straits of the sticks of a very fast ~~~~~. So over now to the finishing line!
GRAMS: Previous grams with cheering
ECCLES: Oorooy! Oorrooy! Oorrooy!
BLUEBOTTLE: I wonder where Neddie is
ECCLES: I wonder where Neddie is, Bluebottle
BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah, where Neddie is
ECCLES: Yeah. I wonder where that Neddie is
BLUEBOTTLE: All the other runners have finished
ECCLES: Ooooh! Then he stands a good chance of coming in last
ECCLES & BLUEBOTTLE: [Slowly:] He stands a good chance of coming in last! Yeah
FX: Running and banging
ECCLES & BLUEBOTTLE: Oooh! Here he comes! Hairy comes!
SEAGOON: Ah! At last! Land’s End! To go further would be silly. I made it! Scilly, get it? Scilly Isles! Ha ha ha! Scilly Isles… I’m guilty
CORNISHMAN (SELLERS): Captain Seagoon, welcome to Land’s End, my dear. Now the traditional privilege ~~~~~~~~~. We give you this cheque for £8/10 and then we burn your old drum on the bonfire. Ar har har har!
GRAMS: Roaring fire, crackling
SEAGOON: Will this be a happy ending?
FX: Running footsteps
GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: [Out of breath]
MORIARTY: Ask him, ask him
GRYTPYPE: Hello, Neddie, hello. So sorry we’re late. Mmmnnnnn, now where’s the bass drum?
MORIARTY: Yes, where’s the bass drum?
GRYTPYPE: Where is it?
SEAGOON: Well that’s it up there on top of the fire
MORIARTY: Ooooow! The money’s inside!
GRYTPYPE: The fire! Start the water! Fire!
FX: Running footsteps
GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: [Make worrying sounds, under:]
GREENSLADE: Here is an announcement. Early this morning, two men were admitted to Brook Street Hospital with scorched fingers. The foreign office spokesman said: The men were trying to retrieve a bass drum from a bonfire. Who said the British aren’t musical? Goodnight, Charlies, everywhere
SEAGOON: I’m innocent!
ORCHESTRA: Playout: “Lucky Strike”
GREENSLADE: That was The Goon Show. A BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens. Announcer: Wallace Greenslade. The programme produced by Pat Dixon
CAST: [‘Sing’ to the music:]
BLOODNOK & MORIARTY: [With Sax solo:] Bum bum bada diddle dee, yam boddie dooo! Etc.
MORIARTY: [With interlude:] Oh, I’ve melody. I’ve got melo melody. Racing drum, lucky…
BLOODNOK & MORIARTY: [With Trombone solo:] [More ‘singing’]
BLOODNOK: Come along Min, now!
MIN BANNISTER [With Piano solo:] Yim bum yibble dee… etc.
THROAT: [With Guitar solo:] [More Yim bum etc.]
BLOODNOK & MORIARTY: [On last chord] Oooooooooh!