The Lost Monty Python Cartoonpermalink categories: entertainment originally posted: 2007-03-18 07:58:57
Last summer I was showing my oldest nephew some Monty Python. Specifically, I showed him episode 24: How Not To Be Seen. It's a corker of an episode, full of great sketches—a playwright who is fascinated by train timetables (and his commenter), Conquistador Coffee, a movie director with gigantic teeth, a survey of ludicrous religions, and of course the eponymous sketch.
At the very end of the episode, just after the end credits, an announcer (played by Eric Idle) says:
For those of you who may have just missed "Monty Python's Flying Circus," here it is again.This is followed by a thirty second montage of the whole episode, assembled from snippets only three or four frames in length.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I spotted two frames that weren't in the episode.
Ending the sequence of sketches about religion, and providing a segue (what the Pythons called a "link") to the "How Not To Be Seen" sketch, is a Terry Gilliam cartoon seemingly called "Cartoon Religions Ltd". It features a saintly-looking televangelist who assures viewers of his honest, faithful intentions—but whenever he smiles too widely, the top of his head pops off, revealing a devil inside, wallowing in muck. After this happens twice, the evangelist nails down the top of his head—then smiles broadly, seemingly pleased that the top of his head has finally stayed attached. The cartoon then abruptly ends and the show immediately launches into the "How Not To Be Seen" sketch.
Here's what we see of that sequence during the montage (click on any thumbnail to see that image full-size):
Why was the cartoon cut? I don't know for certain, but it seems extraordinarily likely that it was cut by BBC censors; showing Jesus Christ crucified on a telephone pole, surrounded by models in much the same position, was surely seen as going "too far", even for Monty Python. Still, I find it delightful that they neglected to remove it from the ending montage!
WikipediaThey say you can find anything online these days. Well, I did a little web crawling for more information on this lost cartoon, and I only found one other reference to it. It's mentioned as "Trivia" in the Wikipedia entry for How Not To Be Seen. That section currently reads as such:
Originally there was about another 30 seconds of cartoon at the end of the "Crackpot Religions Ltd" piece which led into the start of "How Not To Be Seen". It featured Christ being crucified on a telephone pole and a Yiddish Satan. It was removed and is now offcially lost. Also a reference to cancer in the "Conquistador Coffe Campaign" sketch was also removed.No references are cited, so one is left to wonder where the submitter got this information. Not that I'm disputing it. I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice these remaining frames; it's entirely plausible that it was brought up in an interview long ago, and was discussed to death.