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Now for a Pythonathon

March 31, 2005|Susan King

What've we got? Well, there's Monty Python. Python, egg and Python. Python, bacon, Python and Python....

These days, everything is coming up Monty Python, it seems. On Broadway, "Spamalot," Eric Idle's musical version of the classic 1975 farce "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," is causing "Producers"-like guffaws. The very un-idle Idle's latest book, "The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America," was recently published. And fellow Python alum Michael Palin also has a new travel book, "Himalaya."

The antics of the British comedy troupe -- Palin, Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman -- are still so fresh, anarchic and funny, it's hard to believe that "Monty Python's Flying Circus" began its six-year run in England in 1969. The sketch series found a home in the States in 1974 on PBS, two years after the group's first feature, "And Now for Something Completely Different," opened in the U.S.

Beginning Friday and running for the next two months, the Museum of Television and Radio is presenting the series "The IN-complete History of Monty Python." Which means Python fanatics might want to run, not silly-walk, to catch sketches from "Flying Circus" as well as material from the members before and after the series.

The rundown:

"Sex and Violence" (April 1-14) has pre-Python material.

"Full Frontal Nudity" (April 15-28) includes three Python sketches and Cleese and Chapman's 1964 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

"Spam" (April 29-May 12) includes the infamous "Spam" sketch.

"Royal Episode Thirteen" (May 13-26) includes the "Fish-Slapping Dance" sketch.

"Idle Pleasures" (May 27-June 9) spotlights Idle's 1975 series, "Rutland Weekend Television."

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-- Susan King

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Museum of Television and Radio, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. Free. (310) 786-1000; www.mtr.org

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