Given the recent celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus on October 5, one other anniversary seems to be flying under the radar: the 50th, of the first Benny Hill Show to air on Thames Television in Britain, on Nov. 19, 1969. Unlike with Python whose debut came one month and ten days before both BBC1 and the ITV network were to go colour, Hill was primed to have his first show for his new home air four days after the plunge was taken. Compared to his later shows, Hill's budgets on his early editions for Thames seemed, in relation, to be of Python level (his first show reportedly was budgeted at £11,375 which, multiplied by four and then divided by 13, was equivalent to the first series' worth of Python shows of £3,500 per episode; in any way to look at it, a far cry from the king's ransom budgets of the later shows as was the "new norm" when they decided, nearly 20 years later, to pull the plug). But it was no less a laugh riot; the "Ye Olde Wishing Well" opener (with the future Darth Vader of the first three released Star Wars movies), his opening "Anna Marie" song (he added new lyrics to a traditional Russian-Jewish folk song, "Tum Balalaika"), a series of bloopers that would be a frequent mainstay of his first ten years' worth of shows for the company, an interview sketch where Benny, as a former Thames employee, because of a satellite transmission mixup, ended up interviewing the prior question when the interviewer posed the next one; the "Lower Tidmarsh Hospital Service" sketch where little Jackie Wright went in for an operation; Hill as a housewife who was ITV's most loyal viewer; and of course, the European Song Contest (the "Alfred Hall" reference was a double-pun, not only to London's Royal Albert Hall but also his own given first name). And of course, the very first use on the show of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" which got a bit more play in some sketches than would later be the case. (And in the case of the hospital sketch, the last half had an instrumental version, done almost rhumba-style, of John Mayall's "Room To Move.") There is also a common thread to both shows: John Howard Davies. Produced the first four episodes of Python and film director of the fifth; then, nearly 20 years later, as head of Light Entertainment for Thames, cancelled TBHS. (He also helmed early editions of The Goodies and Fawlty Towers, and other programs familiar to Americans.) I invite all those lurking about to give their two cents' (or tuppence, or whatever) - especially given some Hill threads of his early and later years on the air having been closed.