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Sam Peckinpah's "Salad Days" is a sketch that appears in "Salad Days," the thirty-third episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.


In a fine example of the Python team's fondness of the 'double spoof', this third series sketch targets both the genteel stage musical Salad Days and the work of the controversial American film director Sam Peckinpah.


Well-dressed, well-spoken, upper-class youngsters frolic in an idyllic garden around an upright piano, responding enthusiastically to a man named Lionel's (Michael Palin) suggestion of a game of tennis. Things go awry when Lionel is struck in the face by the ball, causing blood to seep through his fingers. He reflexively flings his racquet out of shot; we then see that it has become embedded in the stomach of a girl, who faints, tearing another man's (Eric Idle) arm off in the process. The man staggers across to the piano and slams down the lid, severing both of the pianist's (John Cleese) hands. The piano then collapses in slow motion, crushing some screaming women to death. Another man (Graham Chapman) gets impaled by the piano keyboard, which slices off a woman's head when he turns around, with other people acting like nothing ever happened.

We then cut back to the studio, prompting Philip Jenkinson (Idle) to smugly remark "Pretty strong meat there from [sniff] Sam Peckinpah!" before he is gunned down in slow motion, with much spurting blood (and the caption "Tee Hee").

The end credits roll over his dying agonies, before a serious-sounding voiceover (Cleese) reads an apology to everyone in the entire world, which is then denied by a frivolous-sounding voiceover (Idle).


  • Robert Hewison's book, Monty Python - The Case Against, contains extracts from a BBC viewer's panel's response to the show, and naturally there were complaints that this particular sketch was "over the top", "horrific", and "sick".

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