Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel Series 1

1st Broadcast 2nd June to 7th July 1990 on BBC Radio 4

 

Producer

Dirk Maggs

 

Director

Dirk Maggs

 

Adaptation

Mark Brisenden

 

Produced for

BBC Radio Light Entertainment BBC Radio 4/2

 

Synopsis


Something of an event in radio comedy history: a selection of recovered scripts from this 1930s Marx Brothers radio show,

written by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman and first broadcast on the American NBC network, were adapted and performed before modern audiences.

This experiment proved highly successful, and there were 3 series in total produced.

 

Episode 1


The Stolen Rembrandt. In which Flywheel and Ravelli investigate a Crime.


Show Recorded on 30/01/1990
First BBC Broadcast : BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 2nd June, 1990


Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episodes 17 & 23, 20th March and 1st May 1933
Song: Sugar In The Morning (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 2


Flywheel And Juliet. In which Flywheel Treads The Boards.


Show Recorded on 20/05/1990
First BBC Broadcast : BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 9th June, 1990

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 14, 27th February 1933
Song: Lydia the Tattooed Lady (Arlen/Harburg, pub. EMI)
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 3


Big Joe Crookley. In which Ravelli is kidnappped.


Show Recorded on 13/05/1990
First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 16th June, 1990


Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episodes 17 & 23 , 20th March and 1st May 1933
Song: Everyone Says I Love You (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 4


Finding Foo Foo. In which Flywheel and Ravelli become Dog Catchers.


Show Recorded on 10/06/1990
First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 23rd June, 1990

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode12, 12th February 1933
Song: Show Me A Rose (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 5


One Round Gombatz. In which Ravelli takes it on the chin.


Show Recorded on 20/05/1990
First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 30th June, 1990

Recording attended by Anne Kaufman, wife of Irving Schneider, daughter of George S, Kaufman.
Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 10, 30th January 1933
Songs: Pizzicato Polka (Strauss II/Josef Strauss arr Firman); Monkey Doodle Doo (Irving Berlin pub. Francis, Day & Hunter)
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 6


The Election. In which Flywheel and Ravelli fix some votes.


Show Recorded on 10/06/1990
First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1030-1130 Saturday 7th July, 1990

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode16, 13th March 1933
Song: Whatever It Is I’m Against It (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Famous Music corp
Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Cast For all Episodes

Character

Actor
The Announcer

Graham Hoadly

Groucho Marx
Michael Roberts
Chico Marx
Frank Lazarus
Miss Dimple
Mrs Thorndike
Meadows The Butler
Miss Priscilla Kent
Mr McBride The Landlord
Reginald Francis
Doorman
Vincent Marzello
Bertram T. Bardwell
Clerk Of The Court
Big Joe Crookley
Kerry Shale
Mrs Dalloway
Mr Gruber The Tailor
Job Applicant
Vincent Marzello
Streetcar Conductor
Vincent Marzello
Judge
Kerry Shale
Delivery Boy
Vincent Marzello
Taxi Driver
Vincent Marzello
Mrs Willoughby
One Round Gombatz
Judge Maxwell
Mean Waitress
Reporter
Vincent Marzello
Moderator
Vincent Marzello
Boss Plunkett
Garrick Hagon
Waldorf T Flywheel
Michael Roberts
Emmanuel Ravelli
Frank Lazarus

Musical Director

David Firman


Production Assistant

Maureen Trotman

 

Recorded at

BBC The Paris Studio, Lower Regent Street, London England

 

Comment by Dirk Maggs

My favourite audience series was a re-creation of long-lost Marx Brothers shows of the early 1930s. Although some of the old shows have since come to light, at the time we recorded these it was like opening Tutankhamun’s tomb, a treasure horde of delightfully crazy humour. The great thing about audience shows is doing the effects live on stage. BBC Radio Light Entertainment tended to have the effects operator hidden away behind curtains so they wouldn’t distract the audience! A few Light Entertainment Producers like me have reasoned over the years that the spot effects are part of the entertainment so we brought the operator out front. And in the case of ‘Flywheel’ we dressed him or her up as Harpo! Michael Roberts who played Groucho came out with such good ad libs that I was always happy to cut scripted gags to keep them ...one great one was when he and Frank as Flywheel and Ravelli find themselves in a pigsty - the rest of the cast pushed in to make pig voices - and Mike ad libbed, 'Imagine - two nice Jewish boys surrounded by ham' - it brought the house down.


I was very proud that same show won a Gold Medal at the 1992 New York Festivals.


Running Time

6 Episodes in series 30 Minutes long

 

Other Items

Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel Series 1

Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel Series 2

Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel Series 3

Useful Page on Flywheel

Orginal Programme Script for Episode 12

 

Cast Pictures

Flywheel Cast

Regular Cast Members in Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel


L-R, Lorelei King, Frank Lazarus, Dick Vosburgh, Michael Roberts, Spike Milligan, Graham Hoadly

Photo Graham Hoadly

 

Lorelei King
Lorelei King

 

 

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