You know that part in The Sandlot, where Smalls suddenly realizes that the “some lady named Ruth” signature on his dad’s baseball was actually that of The Great Bambino? That is me today, regarding Terry Jones’ passing.
Terry Jones was one of the founders of Monty Python. He was responsible for directing Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, Monty Python and The Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life. Jones suffered from dementia in his final years, but left behind a ton of laughs.
However, on the announcement of his passing, I could not remember who he was. How embarrassing is that?
My father loved Monty Python, but the most I ever knew of British Television as a kid was The Benny Hill Show at night and that Thames logo at the end of every episode. I never really got Python until stumbling on his copy of Time Bandits as a kid (and even then, I couldn’t really say I’m a Monty Python fan). I recognized Terry Gilliam because he directed the film (along with The Brothers Grimm). John Cleese was the most well known for me because he was the one who made me laugh the most, Michael Palin in Time Bandits was a hoot (“I must have fruit!”), and Eric Idle was practically an honorary Autobot,
Jones, however, along with Graham Chapman were the only two I didn’t recall. That is until I revisited The Holy Grail
There were about 4 or 5 films in my parents’ Videodisc library that we weren’t allowed to watch growing up, either because of extreme nudity or themes that weren’t considered Kid-Friendly. Frank Laloggia’s Fear No Evil, William Freidkin’s The Exorcist & Crusing, and Terry Jones’ The Life of Brian. I remember them because I spent some time trying to gain some insight into some of the things my parents were into. I was able to see The Life of Brian as a teen, but most of it went over my head – save for the graffiti scene and the raid on the hideout.
One thing about Jones that I didn’t realize until today. Did you know that he directed Jim Henson’s Labryinth? I’ve watched that film a hundred times, it works on so many levels, thanks in part to Jones’ writing.
We’re treating this as an Incident, and resetting the clock. Below is a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where Jones helps the crowd decide whether they have a witch or not. If you have access to any of the films, give them a watch. The opening office battle from The Meaning of Life is worth the price of admission.
Terry Jones. R.I.P.