'Lost' Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sketches Discovered in Michael Palin's Archives

John Downing, Express/Getty Images
John Downing, Express/Getty Images

Monty Python and the Holy Grail almost had a different ending. The original sketch, discovered and published by The Times, described an epic, bloody battle that pitted the Camelot knights against French troops, as well as the infamous killer rabbit with “a vicious streak a mile wide.”

This forgotten sketch and two others—in which a Pink Knight and a Wild West bookshop make appearances—were found in boxes of actor Michael Palin’s private archives that had been brought to the British Library in London. According to Vulture, the sketches had been written for Holy Grail but didn’t make the final cut. Palin, a Monty Python member who played the Leader of the Knights Who Say Ni, among other Holy Grail characters, said it was their custom to write more material than was needed.

The 1975 comedy about King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail is famous for its absurd sketches and witty lines, including one of the best insults in movie history—“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.” And although the film features a Black Knight and Green Knight, it nearly had a Pink Knight, too.

In the lost sketch, the Pink Knight demands a smooch from King Arthur, declaring “None shall cross this bridge save he who shall give me a kiss.” The king refuses, and the two men fight it out before falling down together. Seeing this spectacle, a passing monk comments, “You could at least go indoors. You landowners are all the same.”

The other sketch surrounds a news reporter who enters a building that looks like a saloon but is actually “the last bookshop before you get to Mexico.” When he asks if any nearby trading posts sell beer, the bartender replies, “Not since they started specializing in modern European authors.”

As for the ending, the Python troupe decided to cut their proposed battle scene short because it would have been too costly. In fact, the film was so low-budget that the troupe couldn’t afford real horses, which led to the running joke of knights riding on invisible horses and clapping coconut shells together to mimic the sound of hooves clopping. Plus, the unexpected ending they ultimately went with was considered funnier.

These sketches and other highlights of Palin’s archives are currently on public display at the British Library's “Michael Palin: Writer, Actor, Comedian” exhibition.

[h/t Variety]

Mifflin Madness: Who Is the Greatest Character on The Office? It's Time to Vote

Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.

Your years of watching (and re-watching) The Office, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, have all led up to this moment. Welcome to Mifflin Madness—Mental Floss's cutthroat competition to determine The Office's greatest character. Is Michael Scott the boss you most love to hate? Or did Kevin Malone suck you in with his giant pot of chili?

You have 24 hours to cast your vote for each round on Twitter before the bracket is updated and half of the chosen characters are eliminated.

The full bracket is below, followed by the round one and round two winners. You can cast your round three vote(s) here. Be sure to check back on Monday at 4 p.m. ET to see if your favorite Dunder Mifflin employee has advanced to the next round. 

Round One

Round Two

Round Three

The Office Planned to Break Up Jim and Pam in the Final Season—Then (Smartly) Thought Better of It

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly's relationship in The Office was truly a romance for the ages. Fans were delighted when, in Season 3—after years of flirting—John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer’s characters finally got together. But an alternative plan for the show’s ninth and final season saw the couple going their separate ways.

Season 9 saw one of the most stressful storylines the show had to offer when Jim took a job in Philadelphia and Pam struggled to take care of their children on her own back in Scranton, putting intense strain on their otherwise seemingly perfect relationship. In one unforgettable scene, a particularly tense phone call between the couple ends with Pam in tears. Fischer’s character then turns to someone off camera named Brian for advice.

As Collider reports, Pam and Jim's relationship could have taken a turn for worse in the final season—and the writers had planned it that way. As recounted in Andy Greene's new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, series creator Greg Daniels sat down with each of the show's stars before starting the final season to discuss where their characters would go. John Krasinski, who played Jim, pitched the idea of putting Jim and Pam’s relationship on thin ice. According to Krasinski:

"My whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there, I think, for them about what they wanted to do … And I said to Greg, ‘It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.'"

Several writers weighed in with ideas about how they might handle a split between Jim and Pam from a narrative standpoint—though not everyone was on the same page.

Warren Lieberstein, a writer on the series, remembered when the idea of bringing Brian—the documentary crew's boom operator—into the mix. “[This] was something that came up in Season 5, I think," Lieberstein said. "What if that character had been secretly there the entire time and predated the relationship with Jim and had been a shoulder that she cried on for years?’ It just seemed very intriguing." Apparently, the writers thought breaking the fourth wall would jeopardize the show, so they saved it for the last season.

Writer Owen Ellickson said there was even some talk of Pam and Brian “maybe hooking up a little bit," but the negative response to the storyline led the writers to "pull the ripcord on [Pam and Jim's separation] because it was so painful to fans of the show." Ellickson said that they backtracked so quickly, they even had to re-edit certain episodes that had already been shot to nix the idea of Jim and Pam splitting up. Which is something the show's millions of fans will be forever grateful for.