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MARTY FELDMAN'S COMEDY MACHINE

ATV
1st October 1971 - 17th December 1971

Feldman's first brush with fame was as a part of comedy / musical trio Morris, Marty and Mitch who had made many appearances on BBC TV in the mid-fifties until they fell out. But it was as a writer rather than performer that he really made his name, writing for such hit comedy radio shows shows as Take It From Here and Educating Archie. Then with his writing partner Barry Took moved over to TV with The Army Game and its spin-off Bootsy and Snudge. While writing on The Frost Report in 1966 he would co-write the legendary 'class' sketch for John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. While he was making a name on TV he and Took were also writing the ground-breaking radio series Round The Horne.

It was just a matter of time before he would give performing another go. However, fate had other ideas. The pace and sheer amount of work he needed in order to write dozens of TV and radio scripts quickly got the better of him. His subsequent erratic behaviour and a hyperthyroid condition was causing concern. After surgery a side-effect was expected to go away. It didn't. His bulging eyeballs would then become his physical trademark.

In 1967 he was invited back to work with Frost, Cleese and others on a new TV series for Rediffusion, At Last The 1948 Show. This would be the first time most people would have seen Marty, certainly the first time since the days of Morris, Marty and Mitch.

The series only ran for one series, leading to an offer by BBC2 of a series broadcast in colour. All of the future Monty Python would contribute to the show, even Terry Gilliam did animations and captions for it. It proved so successful that the BBC exported it, winning international awards, and leading to an invitation by Dean Martin to appear on his US show.

As a result of his American success he was offered the chance to make a series for ATV in the UK and ABC in the USA, The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine.

Directed by Larry Gelbart, the UK based American writer for TV's M.A.S.H., the show would mix verbal comedy, silent comedy, dance and music, plus top shelf guests. The musical talent included Thelma Houston, Osibisa, Tom Paxton, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Collesseum, Fame & Price, Randy Newman and Marsha Hunt.

Despite the positive reviews it lasted one series before Feldman went back to the BBC and then onto Hollywood.

The entire series was scheduled for release by Network DVD but wasn't released.