Monday, April 13, 2015

Shindig talks about the Beatles

"Doing a Beatles show is a matter of 90% security  and 10% rehearsal," according to puckish producer Jack Good of ABC-TV's "Shindig."

"Just to try to see them to discuss a show is a problem.   They're never together, so you have to see them one by one-- if you can find them.

"No one, not even there manager -so he claims - has their phone numbers or addresses.

"What happens is that they send a limousine for you.  The shades are drawn so you don't know where you are going or where you have been.  All sort of James Bondish, dont' you know.  Lots of mystery and excitement and all that.  But I must say that it does become a bit wearing after a few days."

"They're good chaps," says the producer, tugging at the high rise detachable white collar of his dark green shirt.  "They enjoy performing but not rehearsing."  Good said this was out of desire to keep in spontaneity.

Good met them for the first time last winter in New York and was amazed to learn that they knew everything about him as fans of the sensational, "Oh Boy" show that he created, produced and directed for commercial British TV to rival his hit "Six-Five Special" on the BBC.

"The Beatles remembered from 1959 practically every song I used because they were off beat, country music, rhythm and blues and western that only the dyed int the wool would notice as they were usually obtainable only from sailors who brought them into Liverpool."  he said.

"Almost all the Beatles songs have interesting chord changes and uncomplicated sort of beat that harks back to Old England and the madrigals. 

"There 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' for example, has phrases that remind me of the sort of songs that Shakespeare used.  I'm thinking of the music in 'Twelfth Night' and 'As you like it.'"

"When I returned to England in 1963 for a college anniversary -- its 700th, as a matter of fact (Good is a graduate of Oxford University's Balliol College) - I played all the Beatles records on the juke box.
"At that time," he says wryly, "they didn't sound so different."  "around the Beatles," attributes their phenomenal influence on youth primarily in their humor.

"Maybe they also influenced kids to be a little more adventurous in many ways.  The Beatles are not average.  They are most aware of what's going on.  It is my opinion that if the Beatles brand of rock 'n' roll had been  a part of the German youth in the 1930's, there never would have been a Hitler."

As an Englishman living in the United States, Good is keenly aware of changing attitudes toward England since the Beatle invasion of this country.

"They have completely squashed the image of the stuffy, conservative Englishman.  We are now accepted more as the Chaucerian characters we always have been, ribald, red-blooded, good time characters."

Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, the Beatles have a mysterious musical lure for even the smallest of tots. 

"It's their honesty, in part, plus they fact that they look like cuddly dolls," says Jack.

The education of Britisher Good on this subject began early one morning last winter in his Hollywood home.  He was still abed when Alexander, 7, Gabriella, 6, and Bunky, 3, burst in.  "They woke me with their shouting that 'They're coming, they're coming,' as if it were the Red Coats, you know.   When the calmed down a bit, I learned that it was the Beatles' arrival in New York that was causing all the commotion."

As a result, Good flew to New York for their meeting which resulted in Good hopping it England, with Alexander in tow, to produce the TV Beatle special. 

"The other two children got to meet them when they came to Los Angeles to perform last August," he said.  'there were a couple of disappointments.  Bunky - her real name is Daniella, but she doesn't like it at all -- had expected little people only inches tall, quit logically.   That's the way she had seen them on television."

"Gabriella and Alexander had the most wonderful time playing games and swimming at Bel Air with the Beatles, who have a marvelous childlike quality -- that's part of their appeal to the young.

But afterwards was all too sad.  When the children tried to share the thrilling experience with their little friends, not a single one believed them.  "

Summarizing the Beatles as personalities, Good said,  "all are extraordinarily different except for sharing a common denominator of solid, honest personality and the feat of never worrying about anything except what's happening in the next three minutes."

1 comment:

  1. These photographs are from "Thank Your Lucky Stars" TV program, not Shindig.