Monday, February 6, 2017

Beatles Good even when they're not

Beatles Good Even when They're Not
From KRLA the Beat

If you're a Beatles fan, there's a good chance that you almost left home on January 7, 1966.  Why? Because the following is a good example of what happened on that particular date.  In homes all across the nation, and especially in California, the number one Beatles stronghold in America.

The time was 7:30pm the scene, your living room.  The cast of character, your family.

Mom and Dad looking bored on the sofa.  Little Brother draped over a chair.  You sitting cross-legged in front of the telly.

The event?  Something you'd been waiting for all day, all month, practically forever.

The Beatles' debut on "Hullabaloo."

When you heard the familiar theme song, you started holding your breath.  But host Roger Smith was first on the bill.

You like Roger Smith.  He's a nice guy.  Cute, too.  But you seriously wondered if he would ever finish the opening number.

Finally, he finished.  and finally, the Beatles began.

George and Ringo came on the screen first.  Kidding around before the start of the frist song.  Then they were joined by Paul and John and "Day Tripper" filled the room.

But, after a line or two, a new sound was added.  Somewhere behind you, Little Brother was talking.  You turned around, aghast, "shhhhh!" you hissed.  But Little Brother does not give up easily.

"Why aren't they in color?" he hissed back.

"They just told you you why, " you snapped in a stage whisper, trying to speak and concentrate on the Beatles at the same time.  "This is a film clip from London."

That shut him down for the moment, but just as you turned your rapt attention back to the foursome, Mom piped up.

"Ringo isn't really playing the drums."  she announced.

You sigh wearily.  "I know.  They aren't really singing either."

Dad snorted, "That for sure."

"Dad" you wailed, "I mean they're lip-syncing their record!"  Then you returned to George who was flirting into the camera and flexing his long fingers as they flew about the neck of the guitar.

"Wow" you breathed. "Look at that."

"He isn't really playing," Mom reminded patiently.

"Amen," amended Dad.

"He is so," you quivered.  "You do play and sing when you lip-sync.  What I mean was that no one hears you."

"We should be so lucky," offered your little brother, but before you had a chance to throw something at him, the song was over.

Unfortunately, the conversation was not.

"Why didn't they wiggle?" inquired Mom.

"They never wiggle," you answer shocked.

"I suppose they never stomp or scream either," remarked Dad.

"No, they don't."

"That hair is terrible," continue Little Brother.  "John looks like a camel."

Well, that did it.  That's when you decided to leave home.  Right after the Beatles' second number.

All was silent in the living room until Paul was two bars into their encore.

Then Mom spoke, "What's a day tripper?"


Then Dad spoke, "do not address your mother in that tone of voice."

"Please!  I'm trying to watch the Beatles!"

Then Little Brother spoke, "You're trying all right. Very."

Then when you were about to burst into tears, Mom, Dad and Little Brother burst into laughter.  And you joined them.

No one talked during the rest of the song and you made a swift and solemn promise to love John Lennon for the rest of your life.

"They aren't too bad, " Dad admitted when you snapped off the telly.  "And what-his-name, the guy at the piano.  He's funny."

You smiled fondly and decided not to start packing after all.  Those Beatles were really something, you thought to yourself.  In the short time it had taken to sing, "We can work it out" they had done exactly that  You were right.

The Beatles had once again proven why they are the most powerful and popular stars in history.  Because they are the best even when they're at their worst.

If they weren't at their worst on "Hullabaloo" they came close for several reasons.

Being live performers, they aren't used to the lip-syncing process and this caused a few mistakes.  The process was used only because the production of a sound tape would have been too expensive and too time consuming.  But after a goof, the Beatles just forged ahead and most viewers didn't even notice the error.

During "Day Tripper" the photography left a lot to be desired.  They appeared to be on two separate spliced-together films, with George and Ringo on one and Paul and John on the other.  This may have not been the case, but whatever was, in order to get all four Beatles on the screen at once, the camera had to pull back so far, it was difficult to see any of them clearly.

However, this mattered little thanks to a series of breath-taking close-ups.  The two part clip contained some of the finest footage ever shot of Paul McCartney.  He looked so adorable, he probably heard the screams all the way to London.

And George Harrison fans surly must have come apart at the seams.  He looked even more handsome than ever before.   The perfect balance of the appearance was supplied by Ringo and John.

Ringo's dead-panning and kooky antics were jolly good fun.  John's mugging into the camera was the frosting on the cake and the ice-breaker.

In some living rooms, the scene was more hectic than the one we "visited."  A Beatle fan's reaction to the foursome depends upon her degree of involvement.

If you just love the Beatles, you watched in fascination.  But if you REALLY love Paul or George or John or Ringo, there's panic intermingled with your fascination.  A panic that stems from caring about someone who's so close and so far away.

A lot of tears were shed in front of the TV sets that night.  And a lot of worried parents looked on with a mixture of amazement and concern.

John dried many of those tears and quelled a lot of fears.  His wry humor changed the mood by saying "surely you don't think we take ourselves seriously."  It also helped many parents realize that Beatlemania is not an unnatural or unhealthy thing.

That is it, instead, a perfectly natural reaction to four totally irresistible individuals.

For a group which had none of the technical elements on their side that night, the Beatles accomplished a lot.

But the most important thing they did was agree to appear.  Accepting what payment the show could afford to give us a mid-term boost and making it a little easier for us to wait until summer for the real thing.

yeah, yeah yeah

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Sara.An interesting Time capsule of an article.As a Musician/fan of the Beatles,it always did seem odd that Girls reacted so extremely to the Beatles,this article opened a window into that mindset.Thumbs up !!!!