marty 1973

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Marty loved to sing silly songs. He particularly liked smart writers, and perhaps more than most, Tom Lehrer. After the success of Young Frankenstein, Marty was offered a television show in Britain. The show was called A Speight of Marty, aka Marty Back Together Again. It would be the last of his original television shows recorded in England (he returned one last time to appear as host of The Muppet Show in 1980). The show was filmed in London in the winter of 1973, directed by a cutting-edge director Dennis Main Wilson, co-written by Marty with Johnny Speight, along with contributions from Graham Chapman as well as Marty’s great writing partner Barry Took. It was as subversive as he could get away with. Marty chose subject matters that were challenging and a group of people who could write and perform them. He had been script editor for The Frost Report television show years before. This show (hosted by David Frost) was another pivotal show in the history of British comedy. The great American satirist Tom Lehrer performed in each episode as the musical interlude — one of his songs would be used to break up the script and create another element for the show.

Marty decided to consult with Tom on his show in 1973. He wound up singing on three of the songs accompanied by the great actor, musician, and all around great man Derek Griffiths. Here now are the three songs. The show was thought to be lost — wiped by the network as often was the case. The director kept a video copy and portions have surfaced on YouTube and other sites, too. In America, the Nerdist posted a clip and it has generated enough interest that a re-release of the show is in the works. Enjoy the clips while we can. Also, check out some of Marty’s other songs on the site.

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Marty happily at work, on stage in Berlin, 1973.

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Check out these two Tom Lehrer clips:

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