Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel Series 2

1st Broadcast 11th May 1991 to 15th June 1991 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

Dr Hackenbush. In which Flywheel becomes a Medical Man.

 

Show Recorded on 13th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 11th May, 1991

 

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 7, January 9th 1933

Song: Doctor Hackenbush (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

Uncle Abner. In which Flywheel nearly buys the Farm.

 

Show Recorded on 13th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 18th May, 1991

 

Winner of the New York Festival Gold Medal 1992

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 13, February 20th 1933

Song: Go West Young Man (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Mecolico)

Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 3

Convict Ravelli. In which Ravelli falls foul of the Law.

 

Show Recorded on 20th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast:BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 25th May, 1991

 

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 6, January 2nd 1933

Song: Never Swat A Fly (DeSylva/Brown/Henderson, pub. Victoria Music)

Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 4

The Big Store. In which Flywheel runs a Department Store.

 

Show Recorded on 20th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast:BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 1st June, 1991

 

Based on Perrin & Sheekman script for FSF Episode 15, March 6th 1933

Song: Father’s Day (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

Captain John Smith. In which Flywheel and Ravelli find an old geezer.

 

Show Recorded on 27th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast:BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 8th June, 1991

 

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 3, December 12th 1932

Song: You Can’t Stop Me From Loving You (Nicholls/Holliner, new lyric Frank Lazarus & Dick Vosburgh, pub. Peter Maurice)

Signature Tune & Links: Hooray For Captain Spaulding (Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

 

Episode 6

Going Hollywood. In which Flywheel and Ravelli go onto pictures.

 

Show Recorded on 27th January 1991

First BBC Broadcast:BBC Radio 4, 1225-1255 Saturday 15th June, 1991

 

Based on the Nat Perrin & Arthur Sheekman script for FSF Episode 25, May 15th 1933

Song: Hold Me Thusly (Harry Ruby, new lyric Frank Lazarus & Dick Vosburgh, pub. Harmo Bros Music)

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
All the ladies
Waldorf T Flywheel
Michael Roberts
Emmanuel Ravelli
Frank Lazarus
Thelma Winsome
Fischer
William Hootkins
Mr Herringbone Suit
William Hootkins
District Attorney
Vincent Marzello
Uncle Abner
Conductor
Mr McBride The Landlord
Clerk Of The Court
Mrs Van Regal
Police Officer
John Smith
Vincent Marzello
Miss Brown
Mr Gruber The Tailor
Clancy The Store Detective
Vincent Marzello
Dr Perrin
Vincent Marzello
Mailman
Vincent Marzello
Judge Hootkins
William Hootkins
Porter
Vincent Marzello
Wagoneer
Vincent Marzello
Squire Higbee
Vincent Marzello
Von Blitzen
Killer Martin
Tyrone Prince
Vincent Marzello
Cut Throat Evans
Vincent Marzello
Jamison The Butler
Taxi driver
Mrs Carroway
Pie Lady

Production Crew

None at this time

 

Recorded at

The Paris Studio, Lower Regent Street, London England

 

Music composed & Arranged

None at this time

 

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

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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