Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus consisted of two 45-minute Monty Python specials produced by WDR for West German television in 1971 and 1972. The two episodes were first transmitted in January and December 1972, respectively. They were shot entirely on film, mainly on location in Bavaria and in the German language, although the second episode was originally recorded in English and then dubbed into German. According to the Python's autobiography The Pythons, this was due to the fact that only John Cleese and Michael Palin could be easily understood by the German audience during the first episode. The other Python performers all had very thick accents (particularly Terry Jones), which made it difficult to hear what they were actually saying. According to the book in some cases the episode was even broadcast with German subtitles. Some of the material was reworked from At Last the 1948 Show. Footage from these specials was used to fill time between live stage performances. At one point the team considered editing the two shows together, dubbing them completely into English and releasing them as a 90-minute film, but it never came about.
Several new sketches were written specifically for this show, including "William Tell", "Little Red Riding Hood", and "The Merchant of Venice" as performed by a herd of cows. Only "The Lumberjack Song" was translated from a previously existing BBC "Monty Python" episode.
List of sketchesEdit
Episode 1 (produced in 1971)Edit
- Originally transmitted on ARD TV on 3 January 1972, at 9 p.m. CET.
- This episode was shot entirely in German. English releases are subtitled.
An Introduction to Monty Python By Frau Newsreader The Journey of The Olympic Flame Monty Python’s Guide to Albrecht Dürer Anita Ekberg Sings Albrecht Dürer The Merchant of Venice Little Red Riding Hood Silly Olympics Stake Your Claim The Lumberjack Song with The Austrian Border Police The Bavarian Restaurant sketch Note: The "Little Red Riding Hood" sketch was dubbed into English and included in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Episode 2 (produced in 1972)Edit
- Originally transmitted on ARD TV on 18 December 1972, at 9 p.m. CET.
- This episode was shot entirely in English and dubbed into German for the initial broadcast. English releases contain the original English soundtrack.
William Tell Euro Sex Maniacs The Sycophancy Show Mouse Reserve/Fish Park Chicken Mining The Philosophers' Football Match – Greeks vs Germans Colin "Bomber" Harris vs Colin "Bomber" Harris 10 Seconds of Sex I Want A Hearing Aid The Tale of Happy Valley (The Princess with The Wooden Teeth)
Guerilla Films released both episodes on a single VHS tape, available in either PAL or NTSC format, in 1998. The American A&E Network used this release as the basis of their DVD releases of the same material, with the first episode being included on Monty Python Live and the second episode included on The Life of Python.
The Australian DVD company Rainbow Entertainment also released both episodes, on one DVD.
The Swiss publisher Haffmans released a hardbound book containing the scripts of both episodes, with introductions and essays by the German producers, in 1998. This book has not been translated into English, as of 2007.
Both episodes have been shown on the Paramount Comedy Channel in the UK.
Lost Sketches Edit
In the autobiography book The Pythons, several behind the scenes photos from the specials' production are shown, including a few that were not shown in the specials:
- A version of the Marriage Guidance Counsellor sketch.
- A sketch involving a flute player (Graham Chapman) in front of a German sign.
- A version of the Sir Edward Ross sketch
- An alternate ending to the first special, in which two stage hands are carrying a giant sign that says ENDE off a huge field. Behind the sign is Terry Jones' singer character from the Albrecht Dürer sketch.
- PythoNET transcripts and multimedia
- Guerilla Films site with history and interviews
- Clip from The Princess with The Wooden Teeth and how the chicken landed in the chapel
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