Tonight's review is for the book Invasion! The Beatles 1964 Video Guide by Doug Sulpy. Unfortunately, I just learned about this book a few days ago and the hardcover book version is no longer available. All that is left to purchase is the Kindle book from Amazon and a pdf file from the author's website. I much rather have liked to own a copy of the book than a digital copy. It looks like I will be searching on the second-hand market for one. Apparently, there wasn't any publicity for this title and it was sold through the author's online forum, which I think I was banned from a few years ago. So this review is for the book on the Kindle version.
Invasion! The Beatles 1964 Video Guide is a reference book that focuses on all of the Beatles video footage of 1964. If you are a Beatles video collector, then you will find this book to be extremely valuable for you to have. If you are more like me, and collect some Beatles video footage, but do not have an extensive collection, it is still a fascinating look at 1964 and might make you want to hunt down more Beatles videos to add to your collection. This is one of those Beatles books that isn't for the casual or light-weight Beatles fan. It is really for hard-core Beatle geeks that want to read every little detail of the Beatles day to day life. I am sure Suply had that in mind when he wrote this book, and there are enough of us fans that fall into that category to make it a book worth publishing.
This book goes through every bit of available Beatles video footage in detail and gives you detailed information about each clip. Each one has been given a unique number to help you with your own organization of your personal collection. So under each date in 1964, it will tell you who recorded the footage (example: AP, ABC, NBC, BBC, amateur footage, etc) and what that footage shows you. Then it goes to the next available footage of the same event. In amount to work that must have gone into locating and analyzing this information and compiling it all is staggering!
Here are some things I learned/observed from this book:
- Some of the fans at the airport when the Beatles first arrived in New York were planted there. Signs by "Regina K." were seen being held by different fans at different places around the airport at the same time.
- Some fans were extremely creative with their signs and others were just plain terrible at it.
- There is something known as a "desktop bootlegger." This is someone that takes video footage of the Beatles that is originally silent and adds music to the footage, even though the music doesn't go with that footage. I have never heard of this term before. Is it supposed to be a bad thing? It is so much easier to watch the material when there is something to listen to.
- Most of the footage of the Beatles in 1964 was shot in black and white and is silent.
- The footage that is out there that was shot by fans was typically pretty bad. However, the best thing about it is that the majority of the time that footage is in color and while it might not show the Beatles very much, it does give you a good idea of what things really looked like.
- In the early part of the Beatles 1964 summer tour, different news outlets were filming the Beatles and selling the footage to movie theaters to show before movies and the Beatles did not get any money from that footage. This is why Derek Taylor confronted the filmmakers in Jacksonville and said the Beatles would not appear until they left. That whole story never made much sense to me before I read this book.
- The Beatles seemed to enjoy the press conference early in the summer tour and got sick of them before the tour ended.
- Those reel-to-reel tapes that were sold in the back of the old teen magazines had different footage than seen other places (I always assumed it was the same as what was seen at the movie theaters at the time -- nope!)
I do want to point out that it isn't just the tours that are covered, but every television performance around the world as well as A Hard Day's Night.
I truly enjoyed this book. It would have been more helpful if some screenshots were included next to some of the entries because I think it would help collectors locate the footage they are missing. There were several grammatical/typing mistakes that I found while reading the book, but they certainly did not take away from the content.
I may not agree with Doug Suply on his rules in running a Beatles forum, but I have to say that he wrote a very well researched and interesting book.