Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beatles movie a Blast!

KRLA's Beat magazine had two disc jockeys fly to Bahamas to spend time with the Beatles during the filming of Help! (which at that point didn't even have a real name).    One of them was Derek Taylor, who has a rich history with the Beatles and the other was Dave Hull.    I am going to be reproducing the articles that they wrote and the interviews they did with the guys over the next few days.

Beatles Movie a Blast!

March 17, 1965

Derek Taylor’s report
The Beatles are fine.  They feel fine, they look fine, act brilliantly, sing better than ever.  On and off-set they have the air of assured young men who have it made.  They may not ever claim to be the greatest act showbiz has ever known, but they certainly look it and certainly are.  I hadn’t seen them for three months and of course, they hadn’t changed too much.  But the feature which struck me most was that they looked more mature.  They have more assurance than ever; they are no longer boys.
As Peter Evans, Britain’s most important entertainment columnist wrote in the London Daily Express:  “They are man-talking adult beneath those little-boy haircuts.”

Evans came away from meeting them in the Bahamas, soured.  He wrote a biting attack of their off-stage attitude to the press and described them as “rude and arrogant.”

The Beatles were quite unworried by this.  They shrugged their shoulders and forgot about it (who know what the Beatles go through in the way of pressure, strain, traveling, heat and so on were very annoyed by the article. 

Said the film’s publicity officer, Tony Howard – a good man and an honest one, “I like Peter Evans and he is entitled to his views.”

But Peter’s views are not shared by the other journalists who came here to the Bahamas.

Tony Howard told me, “You know yourself that the Beatles are extremely patient.  They are particularly nice to unimportant people form small newspapers or radio stations.  The only thing they ask of people is that they should be honest and direct as them. 

“We had 45 press-men and radio people here in five days.  The Beatles met them all.  And out of those 45, only Peter Evans attacked them.  Maybe he had a difficult time with them.  Maybe he didn’t.  Whatever happened, it was unusual.  The journalists have been thrilled with the Beatles’ cooperation. “

Well, Dave Hull and I were very, very happy with the way things went.  The Beatles were great.
They gave me a wonderful welcome and it was just like old times.  We went out to dinner together under the blue Bahamian skies, visited clubs, laughed about funny things that had happened in the past. 

The film should be marvelous.  It is full of action.  Paul is shrunken to thumb-size for one wild scene.  There are four Ringos at one time.

Also there are 11 songs, the Bahamas background; scenes in the Alps and in London.  Ringo is nearly murdered for his precious ring.  The film is shot in colour and it will be one of the huge events of the cinema in 1965.  Release-date USA and UK:  around August 1.

Watch out for more film news and some inside news on the Beatles’ lives in next week’s KRLA Beat.

Dave Hull’s report

If I wasn’t a complete raving, total Beatlemaniac before, then I certainly am now!

What an experience!  After spending four days with them in the Bahamas while they filmed portions of the second movie, I feel as wrung out as a piece of laundry.

There is so much to tell I’m sure neither Derek Taylor nor I will be able to do much more than scratch the surface during this edition of the Beat.  But we’ll continue it from week to week until you have the whole story…the whole book is more like it, because anyone could write a book after spending a few days with those guys.

They are so full of life and mischief that they’re perpetual motion machines.  They really wear a person down—even the old Hullabalooer himself.

My previous associations with the Beatles had mostly been in situations where they were crowds all about or near impossible schedules to meet so that we were unable to really sit down and talk for more than a few minutes at a time.

But this trip was completely different.  Although they are working about 12 hours a day on the movie, there is a much more relaxed and casual atmosphere. 

After inviting Derek and me to visit them, they were great hosts.  Completely friendly, relaxed and outgoing.  

To our surprise, Derek and I found that anyone going to the Bahamas where they’re shooting the film is allowed to see the Beatles.  The included visiting them on the set!

Tourists were constantly snapping pictures of them, and the Beatles actually seemed quite happy about it.  They even took the time and trouble to speak to a lot of the visitors.

I’ll pass along a few of the experiences that occurred while we were there.

At one point, Ringo, who plays a very unusual role – is painted by a savage.  That particular scene had to be shot six times, and each time an expensive suit was ruined.

The script called for a giant idol to rise out of the sea on cue.  For some reason, the thing fell over, breaking off two of the arms.  With boats, a blimp and helicopter required to set it right again, the arms were finally welded back on at a tremendous cost. 

While Malcolm Evans, the Beatles’ road manager, was filming a bit as a channel swimmer, a huge sting ray came in close to shore – evidentially to see what was going on (you find Beatlemaniacs in every form).  The director quickly ordered Malcolm and the Beatles out of the water.  A diver was sent to scare it off.  I didn’t envy the diver a bit, because that thing was about 20 feet in diameter and was so huge that everyone on shore could see him out there.

We had some great time with John, Paul, George and Ringo and other members of the company.  We asked them every question we could think of and got replies to almost all of them.  Derek is covering some of those points in his report in the Beat this week and together we’ll take up some of the questions and answer them item by item.

Right now I have to sit back and catch my breath while trying to recuperate form an acute attack of Beatlemania. 

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