the same procedure as every year?

01 Jan 2007 19:31 #2201 von Ishtar
Fundstück inkl. der Links

The Mystery of Dinner for OneHow an obscure British skit has become Germany's most popular New Year's tradition.
By Jude Stewart
Posted Friday, Dec. 30, 2005, at 12:13 PM ET

Listen to this story on NPR's Day to Day Listen to this story on NPR's Day to Day.

"The same procedure as every year, James.""The same procedure as every year, James."
Every New Year's Eve, half of all Germans plunk down in front of their televisions to watch a 1963 English comedy sketch called Dinner for One. Walk into any bar in Bavaria and shout the film's refrain: "The same procedure as last year, madam?" The whole crowd will shout back in automatic, if stilted, English: "The same procedure as every year, James." Even though Dinner for One is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most frequently repeated TV program ever, it has never been aired in the United Kingdom or the United States, and most of the English-speaking world is ignorant of its existence. When Der Spiegel probed the mystery last New Year's, it found that the BBC had not only never contemplated broadcasting this veddy British nugget in the United Kingdom, the BBC's spokesperson had never even heard of it.

Dinner for One, also known as Der 90 Geburtstag (The 90th Birthday), has rattled around the cabaret circuit for decades. Written by British author Lauri Wylie in the 1920s, it presents a morbidly funny story in miniature—(just 11 minutes on TV): Elderly Miss Sophie throws her birthday party every year, setting the table for her friends Sir Toby, Mr. Pommeroy, Mr. Winterbottom, and Adm. von Schneider, while conveniently ignoring the fact that they've all been dead for a quarter-century. ( You can watch all of Dinner for One here or read the English script here.) Her butler James manfully takes up the slack by playacting all of them. He serves both drinks and food while quaffing toasts on behalf of each "guest," a bevy of soused British noblemen and von Schneider, who toasts Miss Sophie with a heel-click and a throaty "Skål!". James waddles to and fro, trips repeatedly over the head of a tiger-pelt rug, declaims each guest's pleasantries boozily, spray-fires the table with mispoured drinks, and downs a little water from a flower vase. Each course begins with the signature refrain: "The same procedure as last year, madam?" "The same procedure as every year, James." The sketch ends with James' final "procedure": bedding the old lady himself.

In 1962, German entertainer Peter Frankenfeld stumbled on Dinner for One in Blackpool's seaside circuit. Frankenfeld was so charmed that he invited actors Freddie Frinton and May Warden to perform the sketch on his live TV show Guten Abend, Peter Frankenfeld. The now-classic black-and-white recording dates from a 1963 live performance in Hamburg's Theater am Besenbinderhof. (So deep runs the love for this broadcast that last year Frankfurter Rundschau interviewed a woman whose piercing laugh from the sidelines has achieved its own cult status.) Audiences clamored for repeats, and the skit fit nicely as a time-filler between larger broadcasts, so the German network Norddeutscher Rundfunk and its affiliates ran the snippet repeatedly in the 1960s, even reaching audiences behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. The skit settled into its current New Year's Eve slot in 1972.

The show's popularity spread to Scandinavia, where it is typically watched on December 23, as well as Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, Australia, and Latvia. The show has been broadcast more than 230 times. You can watch it dubbed in Plattdeutsch, a northern German dialect (with or without a German introduction), ponder its scholarly depths in a Latin translation, take in live Dinner for One supper theater, cook up Miss Sophie's traditional meal , or just drink briskly along with the actors, and the rest of northern Europe. There are many parodies as well: My favorite is the childrens' public TV station KI.KA's Dinner für Brot, featuring a puppet shaped like a roll of bread as James.

But why? How did a sliver of British humor come to dominate another culture's holidays—with apparently no connective thread back to its source? First, the slapstick of Dinner for One transcends the language barrier. Second, it offers a slight thrill of the verboten: After all, it features a very crazy old lady, a bevy of lecherous male friends, a big stench of post-WWII death, a hell of a lot of drinking, and senior-citizen sex. A third notion, floated by Der Spiegel and the Guardian alike last year, is that the film plays to Germans' worst idea of the British upper class: dotty, pigheadedly traditional, forever marinated in booze despite titles. The BBC counters with the more politic theory that Dinner for One "has become synonymous with British humor, on a par with Mr. Bean." British TV executives see it as fit only for foreigners, or they would rush to broadcast it themselves. Why Germany finds it so funny and the British don't is, according to Der Spiegel's Sebastian Knauer, "one of the last unsolved questions of European integration."

But the biggest reason for Dinner for One's popularity, I suspect, is the magic of repetition. The skit is mildly funny, sure, but much more important is that it has the mysterious quality of something that could get very funny after years of drunken viewing. The script itself, so laden with repetition, lodges in the brain and accretes in-jokes easily. (Like The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Showgirls, which have achieved bad-is-good popularity through repetition, Dinner for One has a bad little kernel of a story and a crass creepiness.) And in a modern Germany many feel is teetering into economic free fall, a comfortable old-time ritual has an almost religious attraction.

Best of all, Dinner for One is a perfect foundation for a tidy drinking game in which you down four different liquors in 11 minutes, "the same procedure as every year." What more fitting way to ring in the New Year?

Bitte Anmelden oder Registrieren um der Konversation beizutreten.

01 Jan 2007 19:33 #2202 von Ishtar
Der Text zum Sketch

James: Good evening, Miss Sophie, good evening.
Miss Sophie:Good evening, James.
James:You are looking very well this evening, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: Well, I am feeling very much better, thank you, James.
James:Good, good.
Miss Sophie: Well, I must say that everything looks nice.
James: Thank you very much, Miss Sophie, thank you.
Miss Sophie: Is everybody here?
James: Indeed, they are, yeah. Yes...They are all here for your anniversary, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: All five places are laid out?
James: All laid out as usual.
Miss Sophie: Sir Toby?
James: Sir Toby, yes, he's sitting here this year, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: Admiral von Schneider?
James: Admiral von Schneider is sitting here, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: Mr. Pommeroy?
James: Mr. Pommeroy I put round here for you.
Miss Sophie: And my very dear friend, Mr. Winterbottom?
James: On your right, as you requested, Miss Sophie!
Miss Sophie: Thank you, James. You may now serve the soup.
James: The soup, thank you very much, Miss Sophie, thank you. They are all waiting for you. Little drop of mulligatawny soup, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: I am particularly fond of mulligatawny soup, James.
James: Yes, I know you are.

Miss Sophie: I think we'll have sherry with the soup.
James: Sherry with the soup, yes... Oh, by the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: Same procedure as every year, James.
James: Same procedure as every year, James...
Miss Sophie: Is that a dry sherry, James?
James: Yes, a very dry sherry, Miss Sophie... very dry. Straight out of the cellar, this morning, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: Sir Toby!
James: Cheerio, Miss Sophie!
Miss Sophie: Admiral von Schneider!
James: Ad... Must I say it this year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: Just to please me, James.
James: Just to please you. Very good, yes, yes... Skol!
Miss Sophie: Mr. Pommeroy!
James: Happy New Year, Sophie!
Miss Sophie: And dear Mr. Winterbottom!
James: Well, here we are again, old lovely...
Miss Sophie: You may now serve the fish.
James: Fish. Very good, Miss Sophie. Did you enjoy the soup?
Miss Sophie: Delicious, James.
James: Thank you, Miss Sophie, glad you enjoyed it. Little bit of North Sea haddock, Miss Sophie.
Miss Sophie: I think we'll have white wine with the fish.
James: White wine with the fish? The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year, James!
James: Yeah...
Miss Sophie: Sir Toby!
James: Cheerio, Miss Sophie, me gal...
Miss Sophie: Admiral von Schneider!
James: Oh, must I, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: James, please, please...
James: Skol!
Miss Sophie: Mr. Pommeroy!
James: Happy New Year, Sophie gal!
Miss Sophie: Mr. Winterbottom!
James: You look younger than ever, love! Younger than ever! Ha, ha, ha...

Miss Sophie: Please serve the chicken!
James: Ya ...
Miss Sophie: That looks a very fine bird!
James: That's a lovely chu ... chuk ... chicken, that I'll tell you, a lovely ...
Miss Sophie: I think we'll have champagne with the bird!
James: Champagne, ya... Sssssame, same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year, James!
James: Sophie, me gal ...
Miss Sophie: Admiral von Schneider!
James: Must I, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: James!
James: Schkolll!
Miss Sophie: Mr. Pommeroy!
James: Happy New Year, Sophie, gal...
Miss Sophie: Mr. Winterbottom!
James: It's one of the nicest little woman... hic... one of the nicest little woman, that's ever breathed, that's ever breathed... I now declare this bazaar opened! Would you like some fruit?
Miss Sophie: I think we'll have port with the fruit!
James: Oh, ... no! S...ame procedure as last...
Miss Sophie: Yes, the same procedure as last year, James!
James: ..............................!!!
Miss Sophie: Sir Toby!
James: Sugar in the morning, sugar...
Miss Sophie: Admiral von Schneider!
James: Schkolll!
Miss Sophie: Mr. Pommoroy!
James: I'm sorry, Madam, sorry.
Miss Sophie: Mr. Winterbottom!
James: Huuuhhh, I'll kill that cat!
Miss Sophie: Well, James, it's been a wonderful party!
James: Well, it's been most enjoyable.
Miss Sophie: I think I'll retire.
James: You're going to bed?
Miss Sophie: Yes.
James: Sit down, I'll give you a hand up, Madam.
Miss Sophie: As I was saying, I'll retire...
James: Ya... ya. By the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year James!
James: Well, I'll do my very best!

und auf Latein:

Cena unius personae, sive: "Dinner for One"

Einführung in das Werk
Eines der gewichtigsten Ereignisse für die gegenwärtige Petron-Forschung ist die Wiederauffindung der verloren geglaubten Schrift "Commentariolus in C. Petronii Cenam Trimalchionis" von 1612 in einer Lyoner Klosterbibliothek. Die Schrift, die in Mainz erstmals erschienen war, stammt von dem aus Westfalen gebürtigen Philologen Nicolaus Lignimontanus. Aus einer späteren Anmerkung des bayerischen Historikers Meichelbeck geht hervor, dass Lignimontanus in einer süddeutschen Hochschulstadt Textstudien an den Klassikern, voran Petron, betrieb und seine Ergebnisse an einen nicht unansehnlichen Schülerkreis weitergab. Die Spur des Gelehrten verliert sich aus den Quellen noch vor 1620. Die jüngst von einer Gruppe von Philologen vorzüglich wiederedierte Schrift (erschienen im Holztal-Verlag, München 1999) enthält seiner Zeit weit vorausweisende Gedanken, die der Petron-Forschung, hätte sie davon Kenntnis gehabt, so manchen Um- und Irrweg erspart hätte.
Danach ist die berühmte "Cena Trimalchionis" nicht die von vielen Gästen mit viel Spektakeln und Zurichtungen bei Trimalchio eingenommene Mahlzeit, sondern es ist das Mahl nur einer Person, Trimalchios nämlich, ein "Dinner for One" sozusagen zur Zeit Kaiser Neros. Trimalchio wird von seinen Sklaven bedient und unterhält sich, speist und trinkt mit fiktiv geladenen Gästen. Lignimontanus beweist dies durch eine Kette überzeugend vorgetragener Indizien, bei denen die Zeile aus Kap. 39: "Terra mater est in medio quasi ovum corrotundata ..." die Rolle des Hauptarguments übernimmt. Darüberhinaus ist für die Beweisführung die in den Handschriften seltsamerweise unbeachtet gebliebene radierte Stelle "Cena unius Trimalchionis", die Lignimontanus als unbezweifelbar echt wiederherstellte, von nicht unerheblichem Gewicht. Trimalchios Mahl alleine mit sich selbst, in Anwesenheit phantasierter, vielleicht früherer Gäste, kann nun als gesichert gelten.
Zudem hat Lignimontanus uns für den eigentlichen Sinn der "Cena" mit priapischem Einfühlungsvermögen die Augen geöffnet. In seiner Interpretation hält der Text für uns nicht geringe Überraschungen bereit. Es ist beispielsweise deutlich geworden, dass die Einteilung der römischen Gesellschaft in die bekannten "ordines" (nobiles, equites, plebeii) keine Geltung mehr beanspruchen kann. Vielmehr teilt sich die damalige Sozietät in zwei klar unterschiedene Gruppen, die "penetrati/ae" und die "penetrantes", welche beide meist lebenslang in diesem "Stand" verbleiben. Mit bohrender Intuition hat Lignimontanus dem Text neue Seiten abzugewinnen vermocht, die so manches klärende Licht auf bislang unverstandene Stellen werfen und sie wie durch einen plötzlich weggezogenen Vorhang erhellen.
Wir wissen nun, dass die Gedanken der Römer letztlich, außer um Kampf und Krieg, nur um ein einziges Thema kreisten, das der Kommentator "prima materia mentalis atque universalis" (etwa: Thema Nr. 1) benennt. Diese Eigenheit des römischen Volkes einmal vorausgesetzt, ist natürlich nicht nur Petron davon betroffen, sondern jegliche römische Dichtung, Geschichtsschreibung und Philosophie. Diese Erkenntnis sichert der klassischen Philologie auf Jahrzehnte hinaus Forschungsstoff. In dem Kapitel VI der oben zitierten Schrift, das die Überschrift trägt: "Quomodo Romani ritu Priapeo optime usi sint", deutet Lignimontanus bereits an, wie etwa das bislang ganz anders interpretierte Wort Senecas: "Vivere est militare" (ep. 96,5) sich vom Sinn her jener erwähnten "prima materia mentalis" zwanglos zuordnen lässt und Ovids "Militat omnis amans" (Am. 1,9,1) kongenial aufgreift. Jeder Römer, so ist Lignimontanus’ Opus zu entnehmen, kam demnach im täglichen Handeln schnellstmöglich zur Umsetzung jener volkstypischen Gedanklichkeit. Gewiss vereinfacht des Autors Theorie zu den lateinischen Geistesproduktionen unsere Sicht römischen Denkens, macht aber auch viel kulturgeschichtlich-interpretatorisches Gerede überflüssig. Sie entkompliziert, dem Durchhauen des gordischen Knotens nicht unähnlich, unseren Blick auf die alte Welt.
Da die neu vorgetragenen Gedanken zu Petron sofort freudig rezipiert wurden, gestattete, wiederum laut Meichelbeck, der Fürst jener süddeutschen Schulstadt dem erlauchten Philologen die Abänderung seines Namens von Lignimontanus zu Venerismontanus, unter welchem Namen er noch zwei Kommentare zu Ovid und zu Catull, die mit ähnlich genialischem Spürsinn und in der nämlichen Manier vorangetriebene Deutungen enthalten. Die beiden letzteren Werke erhoben den Forscher endgültig zu Leuchten der europäischen Philologenzunft und sind dazu angetan, ihm auf immer einen Ehrenplatz in den Annalen der klassischen Philologie zu sichern.
Leider scheint dem gelehrten Mann für einschlägige Deutungen der Äneis, zu Varro, ja zu Texten des Aquinaten und der mittelalterlichen Marienhymnen, die er im Entwurf schon konzipiert hatte, keine Zeit mehr verblieben zu sein oder sie sind unersetzlich verloren. Das an Hand der gewonnenen Theorie unternommene Aufbrechen der unbewussten Gedanken gerade der "Summa theologiae" des Thomas hätte gewiss manch dunkle Formulierung des "doctor angelicus" endgültig geklärt.
Zur "Cena" ist in der hier gebotenen Kürze noch nachzutragen, dass das Ende des modernen "Dinner for One" und das der antiken "Cena", wenn man sich der Sicht unseres Gelehrten einmal verschrieben hat, sich bemerkenswert ähneln. Während jedoch in ersterem James und Miss Sophie sich einmal jährlich auf "the same procedure as every year" verständigen, scheint Trimalchio seine "pueri capillati" alltäglich zur "cena" geladen zu haben und entspricht damit vollkommen dem von Lignimontanus so schlüssig herausgearbeiteten römischen Nationalcharakter.

Anmerkungen des Übersetzers
Die hier vorgestellte Übersetzung von "Dinner for One" ins Lateinische entstand am Münchener Theodolinden-Gymnasium für einen Tag der offenen Tür zur "captatio benevolentiae" der Eltern und der neu eintretenden Schüler für die Sprache der Römer. Da wir zwei gute Schauspieler unter den Schülern gewinnen konnten (besonders "James" erwies sich als sehr kreativ, spielfreudig und aus sich herausgehend), war die Aufnahme des Spiels besonders lebhaft und so musste das Stück(chen) wiederholt werden. Es sei hiermit allen Lateinkollegen als mögliche Verbindung von "prodesse" und "delectare" bei den verschiedensten Gelegenheiten zum Spielen übergeben. Wegen des Wiedererkennungseffekts ist der Erfolg in jedem Fall garantiert.
Einige historische Informationen seien noch angefügt. Der Sketch "Dinner for One" erlebte seine Uraufführung im März 1948 in London. 1962 sahen der Showmaster Peter Frankenfeld und Heinz Dunkhase das Spiel mit Freddie Frinton in Blackpool/England. Darauf luden sie ihn und May Warden nach Hamburg ein und zeichneten mit ihnen die allen bekannte Show auf. Dieses Schwarz-Weiß-Spiel war es, das in so vielen Ländern, von Norwegen bis Australien, zu dem bekannten riesigen Erfolg wurde, den indes weder die Spieler noch der Autor voll genießen konnten, da sie die Rechte dem NDR abgetreten hatten. Der Verfasser hieß Lauri Wylie, hatte selbst wenig Glück mit seinem Sketch und verkaufte ihn an Frinton. Der Gewinner ist der Norddeutsche Rundfunk, der sich freilich den Erfolg nicht erträumt hatte. Die Fan-Gemeinde der "Dinneraner" ist groß. Inzwischen gibt es eine Internetseite dazu und eine stattliche Menge Schriften (s. Bibliographie). Mit der vorliegenden Übersetzung hat "Dinner for One" das alte Rom erreicht. Skål!

Cena unius personae sive: Dies natalis nonagesimus.

Personae: Sophia domina ("Miss Sophie")
Jacobus servus ("James")
"Convivae": Tobias dominus ("Sir Toby")
Vestifex dominus, nauarchus ("Admiral von Schneider»)
Pomirex dominus ("Mr Pommeroy»)
Hiemiculus dominus ("Mr Winterbottom»)
(alle seit Jahren verstorben)

Speisesaal. James deckt den Tisch mit Tellern von der Anrichte. Stolpert erstmals über den Tiger, geht zu ihm, tätschelt ihn freundschaftlich. Gong. Miss Sophie kommt.

Jac.: Oh salve, Sophia domina!
Soph.: Salve, Jacobe!
J.: Quid oculi vident? Pulcherrime ornata venis. Pulcherrima specie te praestas, domina.
S.: Multo melius hodie valeo quam hesterno die. Gratias, Jacobe.
J.: Bene est. Führt sie zum Tisch.
S.: Cuncta optime parata specto.
J.: Grates maximas tibi ago, domina. Schiebt ihr den Stuhl unter.
S.: Adsuntne omnes?
J.: Adsunt omnes profecto. Adsunt, ut diem tuum natalem nonagesimum dignissime celebrent.
S.: Suntne quinque lectuli ornati?
J.: Sunt, ut solent.
S.: Adestne Tobias dominus?
J.: Tobias adest et hoc anno hic cubat, Sophia domina. Geht an dessen Stuhl zur Linken von Miss Sophie. S.: Vestifexne quoque nauarchus?
J.: Nauarchus in hoc lectulo cubat.
S.: Pomirexne dominus?
J.: Pomiregem hic locavi. James geht zum nächsten Stuhl auf der Gegenseite.
S.: Et amicus meus familiarissimus, Hiemiculus, ubinam est?
J.: Ut iussisti, domina, ad latus tuum dexterum.
S.: Gratiam tibi, Jacobe. Quaeso sorbitionem iam apponas!
J.: Sorbitionem confestim apportabo, domina. Gratias. James geht brabbelnd zurück zur Anrichte, stolpert, sieht zurück, lautlos über den Tiger fluchend, schöpft die Suppe, geht zu Miss Sophie. Parvulamne potionem sorbitionis Mulligatoniae desideras, Sophia domina?
S.: DILIGO ego hanc sorbitionem, Jacobe!
J.: Haud ignoro, domina.
S.: Velim paululum mulsi cum sorbitione gustare. J.: Ut libet, domina. Ceterum, domina, iubesne me sequi eandem rationem procedendi atque anno superiore ?
S.: Eandem rationem atque omnibus annis, Jacobe!
J.: geht brabbelnd zur Anrichte zurück. Sane quidem. Eandem certe rationem atque omnibus annis, domina. Stolpern, dreht sich um, sieht Tiger erbittert an, nimmt Flasche mit Sherry, studiert Schild.
S.: Siccumne mulsum est, Jacobe?
J.: Siccissimum, domina Sophia ! geht zum Tisch. E cella hodie mane ipse portavi. schenkt ihr ein, geht zu Sir Toby, schenkt ihm ein, zu Schneider, geht zurück, redet fiktiv mit Sir Toby, schenkt nach, verneigt sich, weiter zu Schneider und die beiden anderen, schenkt ein, zurück zur Anrichte, Stolpern, flucht lautlos zum Tiger zurück, geht zu Sir Tobys Platz.
S.: hebt das Glas. Tobia amice!
J.: prostet ihr zu in anderer, rauchiger Stimme: Prosit tibi, domina Sophia! Beide trinken, James besonders lange Züge.
S.: hebt das Glas. James zum nächsten Platz. Vestifex nauarche!
J.: Num et hoc anno id dicere debeo, domina?
S.: Quaeso placeas mihi, Jacobe!
J.: Vis, ut tibi placeam! Bene, bene ! Skål ! hebt das Glas, schlägt Hacken zusammen, tut sich weh, reibt sich den Knöchel, trinkt dann aus, geht um den Tisch herum.
S.: Pomirex domine! J.: andere, hohe Stimme. Anno proximo feliciter vivas, domina Sophia! trinkt.
S.: Hiemicule carissime!
J.: vierter Stuhl, tiefe Stimme. Denuo adsumus, domina suavissima ... vernuschelt, sie trinken.
S.: Piscem iam apponas, Jacobe!
J.: Optime, piscem statim afferam. Tene sorbitio delectavit, domina? trägt Teller ab.
S.: Maxime, Jacobe!
J.: Gratias, domina, tibi habeo maximas, quod te delectavit. Zur Anrichte zurück. Stolpern. Nimmt das Gericht und geht zu Miss Sophie. Dazwischen sieht er wütend und leise fluchend zum Tiger zurück. Parvulamne portionem piscis huius delicatissimi e mari Tyrrheno?
S.: Velim vinum Falernum cum pisce, Jacobe!
J.: Falernum cum pisce? nickt. Certe quidem ! … Eandemne rationem procedendi sequemur atque atque priore anno, domina Sophia?
S.: Eandem rationem atque omnibus annis, Jacobe!
J.: unschlüssig, etwas ratlos. Sane quidem, domina! zur Anrichte. Stolpern. Nimmt Flasche, schaut mißbilligend zum Tiger, schenkt Miss Sophie ein, zu Sir Toby, zu Schneider und zurück, immer wie vorhin, im Zurückgehen haarscharf am Tiger vorbei, schaut verwundert zu Sir Tobys Platz zurück, geht zu Miss Sophie zurück, dabei Stolpern, fluchende Handbewegung.
S.: hebt Glas. Tobia amice!
J.: Prosit, Sophia, puellula mea! sie trinken.
S.: Vestifex nauarche!
J.: flehend. Num rursus debeo, domina?
S.: Quaeso facias, Jacobe! J.: hilfloses Armeschütteln, hebt Glas. Skål! schlägt Hacken zusammen, tut sich weh wie vorhin, trinkt dann. Im Gehen zu Mr Pommeroys Stuhl erstes Schwanken, blickt mißtrauisch zum Tiger.
S.: Pomirex domine!
J.: Felicem annum tibi, Sophia dilectissima! … Nuscheln, trinkt lange, schaut glasig, Aufstoßen, strahlt Miss Sophie, gut Wetter machend, an.
S.: Hiemicule amice!
J.: unverständliches Reden, sie trinken, James lallend: ... multo teneriorem speciem praebes, dulcissima. Sophie lächelt geschmeichelt. James lacht laut und meckernd. Schwankender Gang.
S.: Gallum iam apponas, Jacobe!
J.: unverständliches Gebrabbel. Bellissimum kikerikum ..., tibi dico, bellissimum!
S.: Velim vinum Thasium bibamus cum gallo.
J.: Thasium sane! lallend. Eandemne rationem sequemur atque superiore anno, domina Sophia?
S.: Eandem rationem atque omnibus annis, Jacobe! ... Tobia amice!
J.: verneigt sich, kann kaum noch zurückgehen. Stolpern. Nimmt die Flasche, schwankend zu Miss Sophie, Sir Toby wie gehabt. Danebengeschüttetes kommt vom Teller ins Glas. Jetzt schüttet er überall daneben, nimmt Wein wie Parfüm hinter die Ohren, steigt diesmal über den Tiger, geht zu Sir Tobys Platz, schreit alles nur noch unartikuliert.
S.: Vestifex nauarche!
J.: zögert vor Schneiders Platz.
S.: Jacobe!
J.: Skål ! trifft beim Hackenschlagen daneben, schwankt beträchtlich.
S.: Pomirex domine!
J.: hebt die Hand ohne Glas, bemerkt es und holt das Glas nach. Annum felicem tibi, Sophia amata!
S.: Hiemicule domine!
J.: weitgehend unverständliches Lallen ... parvula muliercula! hick! muliercula, qua nulla blandior! … unverständlich, hält sich mühsam. Mercatum apertum esse statuo. Sie trinken. Er rülpst laut, verneigt sich beschwichtigend, hält sich an Miss Sophies Stuhl fest und wirft sie beinahe um. Sie schreit hysterisch. Er trägt ab. Stolpern. Dabei wirft er die Teller weit von sich, besieht sein Hemd, sucht verlorene Teller, nimmt Fruchtschale. Visne fructum? wankt auf sie zu, an ihr vorbei, zu ihr zurück.
S.: Vinum e Portu Cale cum fructu quodam me valde delectabit.
J.: Pereas! lallend. Eandemne rationem ...? kriegt den Satz nicht mehr hin.
S.: Quid dicis?
J.: Eandemne rationem …?
S.: Eandem rationem atque omnibus annis, Jacobe!
J.: geht zur Anrichte. Stolpern. Bringt Flasche, schenkt ihr ein, trifft Sir Tobys Glas nicht mehr, hält es, zielt blind auf Schneiders und der anderen Glas, alles daneben, säuft hinter Sophies Rücken aus der Flasche, hüpft diesmal im Zurückgehen mit beiden Beinen über den Tigerkopf, kommt zurück an Sir Tobys Platz.
S.: Tobia amice! J.: singend. Corcule mane, corcule …!
S.: Vestifex nauarche!
J.: Skål! schüttet Getränk in die Luft.
S.: Pomirex domine!
J.: kippt Glas um. Veniam peto, domina! streicht verschütteten Inhalt ins Glas zurück, trinkt.
S.: Hiemicule domine! J.: hebt Blumenglas, wirft Blumen heraus, trinkt daraus, sagt Unverständliches, geht zur Anrichte, will mit den Händen den Tiger verscheuchen. Ah! Felem istam aliquando iugulabo.
S.: O Jacobe, pulchrum vesperum festum mihi paravisti!
J.: antwortet kaum verständlich. Pulchrum quidem prorsus.
S.: In cubiculum meum, credo, nunc me recipiam.
J.: Iam te recipies?
S.: Sic sane.
J.: Certe vero. Libetne tibi adsim? Age ad gradus attendas! läuft aufgeregt und begierig zu ihr, um ihr aus dem Stuhl zu helfen.
S.: Recedam igitur.
J.: Sane. gibt ihr den Arm. Ceterum, eandemne rationem sequemur atque superiore anno, domina?
S.: Eandem rationem atque omnibus annis, Jacobe.
J.: Bene. Muneri parem me praestabo. Sie gehen ab, er kommt noch einmal zurück, hebt den Daumen, lächelt breit, siegesbewußt.


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01 Jan 2007 19:35 #2203 von Ishtar
Artikel aus dem Guardian:

When the Germans see the butler, the British can't see the joke

Luke Harding in Berlin
Friday December 24, 2004
The Guardian

It is the classic ingredient of any German Christmastide

At 7.40pm on New Year's Eve millions of Germans gather reverently round their TV sets to watch Dinner For One - an 18-minute British comedy sketch featuring Freddie Frinton as drunken butler James and May Warden as his elderly aristocratic boss Miss Sophie.

James serves dinner to Miss Sophie's imaginary dead friends.

He eventually carries his inebriated boss up to bed - uttering the immortal phrase: "Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?"

Since it was first shown in 1963 the sketch has achieved a cult following in Germany. It is one of the country's most successful TV programmes - no mean feat given that it is shown in a language that most Germans don't actually speak. But nobody in Britain has ever heard of it.

Article continues
Recently Der Spiegel magazine tried to explain why the British had little feeling for this quintessential Anglo-Saxon sketch. It was because the British didn't have a sense of humour.

"It's one of the last unsolved questions of European integration," Sebastian Knauer, wrote.

Numerous other European countries also broadcast Dinner for One on New Year's Eve - Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, he pointed out. Even the Latvians bought the sketch last year, shortly before joining the EU.

Uta Fahrenholz, a veteran editor with Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), which recorded the programme, said: "I think it appeals to the German sense of humour. That's why you don't have it."

Dinner for One, or the 90th Birthday Party, started life as a cabaret sketch before transferring from Blackpool to a TV studio in Hamburg.

It was first screened on New Year's Eve 1972, and has stayed there ever since.

Despite its popularity, the black and white sketch has attracted improbable criticism.

In 1997 the conservation ministry complained about the use of a stuffed tiger - over which James repeatedly stumbles while serving the drinks. It was "not a good idea", the ministry said.

The Grey Panthers, Germany's militant pensioners' organisation, said it was upset by the sketch's implication of "old-age sex". (After being told it is the same procedure as every year, James slurs: "Well, I'll do my very best.")

And two years ago a German cameramen ungallantly revealed that Freddie Frinton and May Warden - both long dead - had had an affair off the set.

But most Germans like the show. "Some people sit around at home and drink the same drinks as Dinner for One: sherry, then port and wine," Ms Fahrenholz said. "That's four glasses in about 20 minutes. You get drunk quite quickly.

"There are even Dinner for One theme restaurants where you can eat the same food as the characters." This New Year's Eve Germans will be able to tune in to three varieties of the same sketch, shown at different times - the original in English, a version in Plattdeutsch (low German), and a colour version digitally recorded three years ago in Los Angeles and New Delhi. (Frinton had signed a contract to do a colour recording but died before he could complete it).

Inevitably, perhaps, German professors have weighed into the debate why the "stiff" British don't find it funny.

Rainer Stollmann, a professor of culture at Bremen University, said it might upset Britain's delicate class system.

Dinner for One had dangerously revolutionary undertones, he suggested - not least because one of Miss Sophie's dead upper-class friends, Sir Toby, is portrayed as a raging drunk.

But its future in the German cultural pantheon seems assured.

The same procedure as last year, Madam?

The same procedure as every year, James.


'Dinner for One' - A Sketch Well-known to all but the British

Each country has its New Year's Eve customs. In Germany, everyone lets off fireworks at midnight willy-nilly, (organised firework displays are reserved for festivals and summer events), molten lead is poured into a bowl of water, and the shape it forms when solidified is interpreted as a sign of what will happen to the pourer in the New Year. Streamers, champagne and rampant snogging are, of course, also part of the celebrations.

But ask anyone in Germany and they will confirm that no New Year can be seen in without sitting through 20 minutes of black-and-white television, watching a sketch that everyone knows by heart. This is the phenomenon known as Dinner for One. Its significance to Germans (and Scandinavians and many other continental Europeans) is inconceivable for the British. Although the British public really should be made aware of it, as it has become synonymous with British humour, on a par with Mr Bean, which also enjoys a disproportionately large reputation as being 'typical British humour'.

Viewing rates easily exceed those of the German Chancellor's New Year's Speech.

What Dinner for Who?

The sketch takes place in an ancient English mansion, where the last remaining member of the family, Miss Sophie, is celebrating her 90th birthday. The entire sketch takes place in the dining room, with Miss Sophie at the head of a large table with places laid for her guests. On the left is the sideboard - behind Miss Sophie to the right and at the back is a wide sweeping staircase.

The Guests

Miss Sophie has invited several dignified guests, who, unfortunately, all died some time ago. Some may have been unsuccessful suitors - certainly they are all male.

They are (or were!):

* Sir Toby
* Mr Winterbottom
* Admiral von Schneider
* Mr Pommeroy

The Plot

The butler, James, has to serve all the guests drinks - a different wine for each course. As, of course, none of the guests are actually there in person, he also takes it upon himself to empty the glasses, toasting his mistress each time in a suitable fashion. For example, he clicks his heels when impersonating Admiral von Schneider, and salutes her with a loud Skol! and plays Mr Winterbottom with a broad Yorkshire accent.

The comedy of the whole sketch is based on how, after starting out as the dignified and subservient butler, James becomes more and more inebriated and staggers round the table, becoming cheekier and less respectful with each tipple. The tension is increased by a tiger skin rug, the head of which he has to negotiate on every trip from the sideboard to the table. Miss Sophie (who never leaves her place, except at the end when they dash off to bed) remains completely oblivious to the whole process.

The Menu

* Mulligatawny Soup1 (with sherry)
* Haddock (with white wine)
* Chicken (with Champagne)
* Fruit (with port)

- Little drop of soup, Miss Sophie?
- I am particularly fond of mulligatawny soup, James...I think we'll have sherry with the soup.
- Sherry with the soup? Yes... oh, by the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
- Same procedure as every year, James.

Why an English Title?

The simple reason is that the sketch is entirely English (actors, situation, dialogue). May Warden, who plays Miss Sophie, and Freddie Frinton2, who plays James, the butler, had been performing it in Blackpool for the summer season of 1962. A German entertainer, Peter Frankenfeld, invited them to play it on his live show on 8 March 1963, where it went down extremely well. The dialogue, being minimal, simple and repetitive, was left in English.

It is this English dialogue which amuses the Germans, as well as the extremely well choreographed actions of the butler.

The sketch was such a success that Freddie Frinton and May Warden (then in her late 70s) were invited to re-enact it for recording in the Hamburg's Theater am Besenbinderhof in May 1963 and directed by Heinz Dunkhase. It is this version which is broadcast to this day, repeated dozens of times - twice on each channel, early evening and again just after midnight on New Year's Eve - and is available on Video and DVD.

The German introduction was read by Heinz Piper, who made a historical error by quoting the line 'Same procedure as every year' wrongly ('same procedure than every year' - the Germans always have difficulties with English prepositions). This was finally voiced over in 1988 and has been read correctly since, although you can still see by the movement of his lips that he is saying something else.

Further Historical Titbits


Although the studio had prepared a polar bear skin for the recording, Frinton had his tiger with him and insisted on using that - if the head was any bigger, he said, he would really trip over it!

In the sketch he portrays an alcoholic butler, but in real life, Freddie Frinton was teetotal.

A colour version was planned for filming in the late 1960s, but Freddie Frinton died in 1968. Since 1999, a coloured version has been created, but people prefer the black and white, for tradition's sake. For example, on hopping through all the channels on New Year's Eve 2003, only one of the seven broadcasts was in colour.

It was broadcast occasionally as a time filler at various times over the years, mainly by North German TV

In 1972, a German programming director decided to show it on New Year's Eve and since then it has become part of the tradition of New Year all over Germany. It was even aired in East Germany back in the days of the Iron Curtain.

One of the oddities of the sketch is that the 'port' which accompanies the last course does not stain the tablecloth.

Everywhere where it is regularly televised, it has become a cult, and translated into many languages, including Latin:

Ceterum, domina, iubesne me sequi eandem rationem procedendi atque anno superiore?
- Same procedure as last year, milady?


There is a German rock band named after Admiral von Schneider.

Recorded in front of a live audience, the woman who is shrieking with laughter is a female German production assistant named Sonja Göth, who just couldn't hold it back despite being asked to

Max Ernst filmed a new, and slightly different version in Zürich for the Montreux Festival. You can tell the difference because there is a table cloth and candles on the table in the German version. The Swiss version is the one broadcast in Norway and Sweden.

Swedish TV didn't dare to show it to begin with because of all the drinking going on, but in 1969 Lasse Boberg rescued it from the archives.

There is a filmed Danish satirical version that takes place ten years earlier than the original version, with all Miss Sophie's friends still alive.

There is an Austrian marionette version.

Whose Idea was it in the First Place?

According to The Guardian the sketch originated in the 1920s and Frinton bought the rights to it in the 1950s. The actual author is, however, unknown.

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01 Jan 2007 19:37 #2204 von Ishtar
Same procedure as every year?

Wer von euch schaut es sich an?

Also wir haben geschaut und zwar eine eher seltenere Aufnahme, die sich leicht von der, die im Fernsehen ausgestrahlt wird unterscheidet.

Ich habe diesen modernen "Brauch" aber auch erst von den Deutschen kennen gelernt.

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02 Jan 2007 12:05 #2206 von Nivien
Hallo Ishtar,

als Kind hab ich's gesehen, im Schlepptau meiner Familie. Jetzt schon lange nicht mehr, und ich fürchte, es würde mich auch nicht (mehr) so gefallen... :wink:


Jede gute Sache ist scharf. (Gurdijeff)

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02 Jan 2007 15:43 #2208 von tempest
Wir haben dieses jahr eine Version auf Platt gesehen - ursprünglich wohl vom mdr oder radio bremen hergestellt.
mal was anderes

To you I'm an atheist, to God I'm the loyal opposition.
(Woody Allen)

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02 Jan 2007 23:06 #2210 von Anni
jo, das wird jedes jahr wieder geschaut
zum in stimmung bringen für die abendliche party. :mrgreen:
ist halt so eine sinnfrei-schöne traditioon (wie auch zum beispiel fam. heinz becker am 24.)
unseren verwandten in england mussten wir auch erstmal erklären, was es damit auf sich hat :)

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