Friday, 28 February 2014

Wings "Speed" confusion

Which album will accompany the archive release of Venus and Mars?
Yesterday we reported about a memo from Paul McCartney's record company in the U.S.A., Concord, that pencilled in two McCartney Archive series releases for June, referring to them in the abbreviated terms "Venus" and "Speedway", and depicting the "Venus and Mars" and "Red Rose Speedway" albums. Said memo has now been removed from the internet, which has spurred a debate among fans if perhaps we were right about the company getting their "speeds" mixed up and that "Wings at the Speed of Sound" really was the album they meant.
We don't know, as we have no inside information to settle this matter, we just need to stay calm and wait for the official word.
Meanwhile, the user etcetera over at Steve Hoffman's Music Corner forum has some great ideas for the DVDs which should accompany each release.

Venus and Mars:
* Juniors Farm Top Of The Pops
* Nashville Studio Stuff
* Mardi Gras Sequence
* New Orleans Into The Studio TV stuff
* Venus and Mars TV Advert
* Letting Go live UK

Red Rose Speedway: 2 DVDs
* James Paul McCartney Show , including bonuses (The Long and Winding road live, Big Barn Bed Version 2, Outtakes of Paul playing guitar with Linda snapping)

* My Love video Clip
* My Love Top of the Pops (recently found in the BBC Lagos, Nigeria Archive)
* Hi Hi Hi video
* C moon Video
* Live tracks and rehearsals from the 1973 UK Tour

We might add that a second Venus and Mars DVD could easily be made from the November 13, 1975 Wings concert at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

McCartney Archives for June

Concord preview
According to a 2014 Concord Priorities presentation, the two Wings albums "Venus and Mars" (1975) and "Red Rose Speedway" (1973) are due for the McCartney Archive treatment in June.
According to the card included with the Wings Over America release, "Wings At The Speed of Sound" was the album due to accompany "Vesus And Mars". Maybe they got their "speeds" mixed up?
Anyone want to have a stab at what will be the bonus material and the DVD? The James Paul McCartney TV show is certainly a "must", don't you think?

Meanwhile, "Off The Ground" saw a "digitally remastered reissue" on January 21st on Hear Music, without any fanfares.

Paul gets the finger

A special prize
Paul McCartney picked up his special "Songwriters' Songwriter" Award in London yesterday at the NME (New Musical Express) Awards. The shape of the prize has stirred up some controversy among the fans.

The NME used to be a very popular and important music news paper in Great Britain in the sixties, and the Beatles played at the NME Poll Winners Awards shows in 1963, '64, '65 and '66, as well as picking up a few prizes at the award ceremonies.
These days, the paper edition of NME has seen a dramatic fall in circulations, and now typically sells less than 20.000 copies (plus around 1300 digital copies) of each issue, according to the Guardian. Still, they maintain a strong internet presence, their website with news and reviews is visited by an average of 3 million people per week.
In his speech, McCartney remembered that the first photo he ever saw of Elvis Presley was in the NME. He also told a story that the Beatles used to try to plant false stories in the NME, and one time they succeeded in this was when they invented a story about George Harrison being Billy Fury's cousin, which he wasn't.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lennon auction

This drawing, here used as the front cover for the Free As A Bird single, is among the lots in the auction.
There's an upcoming auction for June 4th at Sotheby's in New York of John Lennon's manuscripts, "You Might Well Arsk". This sale comprises the most extensive collection of John Lennon’s original artwork, autograph manuscripts and corrected typescripts ever to come to auction. The material relates to In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, the two books Lennon wrote and illustrated at the height of Beatlemania in 1964-1965.

The collection was given by Lennon to the visionary publisher Tom Maschler, who had persuaded Lennon to write a book of his comic verses and worked closely with him on the production of the books, and comes directly from his private collection.

Allan Kozinn wrote a piece about this auction in his ArtsBeat column for the New York Times: Link

Link to auction

The Fifth Beatle trailer

The Fifth Beatle is an upcoming film about Brian Epstein. This is the trailer for the graphic novel.

The Fifth Beatle is the untold true story of Brian Epstein, the visionary manager who discovered and guided The Beatles—from their gigs in a tiny cellar in Liverpool to unprecedented international stardom. Yet more than merely the story of “The Man Who Made The Beatles,” The Fifth Beatle is an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian himself died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, having helped The Beatles prove through “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” that pop music could be an inspirational art form. He was homosexual when it was a felony to be so in the United Kingdom, Jewish at a time of anti-Semitism, and from Liverpool when it was considered just a dingy port town.

Official website for the graphic novel and the movie.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Beatles in Concert: Indiana State Fair

Title frame of 1964 TV Special
The Beatles played two shows at the Indiana State Fair on September 3, 1964. The 5:00 PM show in the Coliseum was recorded on audio tape and film. The audio recording was made by WIFE-AM and was broadcast live, announced by Jerry Baker. The concert film was originally shot on 16mm by WISH-TV and parts of it was included on a TV special, "Our Fair Beatles".

A poster advertising the second concert

Flying in from the Philadelphia show the night before, The Beatles arrived in Indianapolis at the Indiana State Fair on September 3, 1964. They kicked their afternoon concert off in the fairgrounds' Coliseum, where they performed their 12-song set list running a little over a half-hour, before 10,000, or so, screaming fans.
Since the show was an immediate sellout and the demand for tickets was so high, The Beatles agreed to do a second show in the evening, but since the coliseum was booked for another State Fair event, they had to set the stage up on a dirt race track in front of the grandstand.

Miss Indiana State Fair, Cheryl Lee Garrett. Derek Taylor picks his teeth. Photo: Curt Gunter
Between shows there was a meet-and-greet with the press and a few locals (including Miss Indiana State Fair). When John was asked where they stood on the draft, he answered “about five-eleven”.

More images from the TV Special "Our Fair Beatles"

The complete press conference was filmed for WISH-TV’s special 'Our Fair Beatles'.

From the press conference
The only songs the TV Special included from the concert was 'She Loves You' and part of 'If I Fell'. WISH-TV aired 'Our Fair Beatles' on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1964 and it also was aired in fairly (no pun intended) recent years for only the second time ever, July 29, 2008 at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.

The film can be broken down into these chapters: airport arrival, concert at the State Fair Coliseum (two songs), the complete press conference, a TV interview, some hotel scenes from the day after and the departure at the airport.
I haven't been able to find an online source for the original TV special, but here's a two-part report by Ken Owen, aired on WISH in Indianapolis on November 20 and 21, 1995, about the event.

For the radio broadcast, see this blog post. For the TV Special, you'll have to find a bootleg DVD. The film is included on FAB Productions' "On tour with The Beatles" series.

Bootleg DVD containing the "Our Fair Beatles" TV Special and lots more.
A YouTube search will result in the appearance of some songs from the concert not included in the TV Special, with audio from the radio broadcast. You'll want to have a look at the comments section for this entry over at The Beatles Bible for quite a number of people with memories of the concerts.

Furthermore, a book is due out this spring from Butler Books by David Humphrey, "All Those Years Ago, Fifty Years Later Beatles Fans Still Remember." The book is filled with over 40 interviews from fans and journalists that attended the Beatles' concerts at the 1964 Indiana State Fair. Photographs and interesting documents are also included.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Wings axeman with book

Photo: Laurence Juber
Laurence Juber was lead guitarist with Paul McCartney's group Wings from 1979 to 1981. The photo above is only one of many photographic memories from his new book "Guitar with Wings". Juber was a part of the Wings that released the "Back To The Egg" album and TV special, and also toured the UK in 1979. He was also part of the lineup that was due to play at the aborted 1980 tour of Japan, when Paul McCartney was arrested and imprisoned in Japan upon his arrival, due to drug possession. You can also sample Juber's live work with the group on the "Concerts For Kampuchea" album. A good looking lad, Juber was one of the favourites of the female members of Wings Fun Club back in the day.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

"1" art prints

New 12" boxed set of art prints
Sanctioned by Apple Corps, Pyramid America has released a limited edition (of 1964) box set collection of art prints based on the single covers illustrated in the "1" album. The bright red box contains 27 prints and the company says it's part one of a series. Each of these large images are printed on sturdy paper and offers the song information on the back. With "1" currently at no. 20 in the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, it seems fitting that we found this item.

As you probably know, the singles depicted were chosen from many countries. Here's how Pyramid America has chosen to describe them.

  • The first collector’s art print in the box displays the four young members in a grainy vintage looking black and white photograph for their single “All my loving.”
  • The four grinning band mates are seen here on the cover art for their 1963 single ‘From me to you.’
  • These dapper British rockers are suit clad for their single ‘She Loves you.’ The black and white image was used to promote their 1963 hit.

  • The international mega hit, “I want to hold your hand” shows the four bandmates in fragmented black and white images under Asian translations of the song’s info.
  • You can’t buy the Beatles love, but you can still love this classic looking art print featuring the musicians in a black and white image as the band’s name is emblazed in red.
  • Their 1964 hit “A Hard Day’s Night” shows the band on stage performing in these three grainy vintage style photographs.

  • “I feel fine” shows these four musicians in a casual laid back scene, wearing jeans and holding their guitars.
  • This Spanish theme art print testifies to the band’s international success with this hit song, “Eight Days a Week.” The cover art for the single shows the band in a black and white photo.
  • Looking like proper British men, the Beatles pose for their single “Ticket to Ride” off of their critically acclaimed album “Help”

  • In a big bright red color, the title track of the Beatles 1965 album, “Help” is set against a black and white photograph of the band.
  • This French theme art print for the single “Yesterday” has these four band mates on this beautiful beach scene.
  • This vintage black and white photograph of the British rock group is bordered by a bright blue contrast. Sticking with the French theme, this art print for the song “Day Tripper” even features the signatures of each of the men.

  • The red toned image for the “We can work it out” shows the four band members sitting in a landscape scene.
  • “Paperback Writer” was a song released in 1966. The art print for that song shows each of the band members in their own panels performing a live show.
  • This elegant and timeless art print for “Yellow Submarine” cuts up a black and white picture of the British rockers and juxtaposes them against boldly red text boxes. (This is the Norwegian single cover - WogBlog)

  • The cover art for “Eleanor Rigby” has all four mates in this black and white photograph. On the bottom their already iconic band name is written boldly.
  • This image for their 1967 hit song “Penny Lane” has the band inside a framed painting of themselves.
  • When you are the innovating and influential rock group, The Beatles, all you need is love. The promotional image for this hit shows the men in a party dressed in 70s like fashion.

  • This psychedelic art print for The Beatles’ song “Hello Goodbye” has black and white cut outs of the men flying in a brightly colored illustrated plane.
  • When “Lady Madonna” was released in 1969, The Beatles were already being revered as one of the greatest rock groups of the time. This art print for the single is a trippy looking illustration of just the song’s title.
  • In classic 1960s fashion, this art print for the mega hit song “Hey Jude” has the rock band dressed colorfully and smiling.

  • This black and white photograph of the band is cut out onto a bright red background for their song “Get Back.”
  • Spending 3 weeks at number one, the song “The ballad of John and Yoko” is seen here on this art print. John Lennon’s wife joins the group as they all pose in this peaceful looking garden.
  • A different take on an iconic image, the art print for the band’s song “Something” shows the four member’s crossing Abbey Road, like the cover art for the album.

  • Off of their final album, The Beatles’ “Come Together” is commemorated in this art print where the four mature men are shown in bright sunny scenery.
  • The green-toned art print for “Let it Be” the mega-hit by the Beatles shows the four members casually posing on a lawn.
  • The last art print in this box set shows The Beatles almost 10 years after their debut album. For the song “long and winding road”, each member is seen in his own separate image.

The back of the boxed set

Here's probably part 2 of the series:

This Box Set, limited to 1963 copies, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' first album & contains twenty-four 30cm x 30 cm art prints of the Beatles album covers, plus an exclusive 28-page booklet, and a numbered certificate of authenticity.

Friday, 21 February 2014

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) and The Beatles First U.S. Visit (1991)

DVD cover
The fiftieth anniversary for The Beatles' arrival in the United States of America has been triumphantly celebrated in the USA, and as a result, no fewer that thirteen Beatles albums are on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart. But there are two films that should have benefitted from the renewed interest in the Beatles in the USA, and we are presenting them today.

One film who was based on the Beatles first US visit that hasn't been promoted for the 50th anniversary, is Robert Zemeckis' debut in 1978, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".  Here's what Wikipedia writes about the film:
I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a 1978 comedy film directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, which takes its name from the 1963 song of a similar name by The Beatles. It was produced and co-written by Bob Gale.
The film is about "Beatlemania" and is a fictionalized account of the day of the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964). It was released in 1978 by Universal Studios.
The film is the feature film directorial debut of Robert Zemeckis and also the first film that Steven Spielberg executive produced. Even though modestly budgeted, in order to convince Universal to bankroll it, Spielberg had to promise studio executives that, if Zemeckis was seen to be doing a markedly poor job, he would step in and direct the film himself.

Despite positive previews and critical response (The New York Times wrote that "the whole film sparkles with a boisterous lunacy" and called its plot "positively dazzling"), the film was not a financial success and was considered a flop, unable to recoup its rather modest $2.8 million budget. Zemeckis later said, "One of the great memories in my life is going to the preview. I didn't know what to expect [but] the audience just went wild. They were laughing and cheering. It was just great. Then we learned a really sad lesson....just because a movie worked with a preview audience didn't mean anyone wanted to go see it."

Despite the flm's original lack of success, it has always been a big hit among Beatles fans. I remember when I got my first VHS copy of the film back in the early eighties, it was a delight to watch, and serves as a great time-capsule. When I visited New York City in 2005, one of the things I brought back with me was a DVD of the film. As it was region coded to 1 (USA only), I then had to rip it to my computer and make a region free copy to watch on my DVD player in the living room.

The laserdisc "The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit" - 1991

Another troublesome film for me to get, and which hasn't seen any promotion during the past couple of weeks' media blitz, in "The Beatles First U.S. Visit". The film was a reworking of the Maysles Brothers original "What's Happening! - The Beatles in the USA" and was a fly-on-the wall account of everything that happened from the Beatles' arrival and until they went back home. Again, I chose to go to Wikipedia to sum up the film:

Title screen of the original 1964 film

The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit is a 1991 re-edited version of renowned documentary filmmaking team Albert and David Maysles' 1964 16mm documentary What's Happening! The Beatles In The U.S.A., about the Beatles' first visit to America in February 1964. It documents the Beatles' US trip as they travel to New York City, Washington, DC, and Miami Beach. Footage of the Beatles (often acting irreverently in front of the camera) in hotel rooms makes up the majority of the non-musical portion of the film.
The main difference between the original 1964 documentary and the 1991 re-edited version is that 22 minutes of the Beatles' live recorded performances on The Ed Sullivan Show have been inserted the 1991 release. However, as the 1964 documentary is 81 minutes long and the 1991 version is 83 minutes, some 20 minutes of the 1964 documentary have been excluded, such as several scenes with Brian Epstein.
The original 1964 documentary is still being shown at various festivals...

Like I wrote in this post, the 1964 "What's Happening! - The Beatles in the USA" film was screened at New York City Library for the Performing Arts on February 13th.

The initial 1991 release of the 81 minute "The Beatles First U.S. Visit" was on laserdisc only, and at the time I didn't own a laserdisc player. I needed to review the film for the Norwegian Beatles fanzine, "Norwegian Wood", and, lucky for me, I had an acquaintance who had the player and a copy of the film. He wrote a review, and later dubbed the film on to a VHS cassette for me, so that I could watch it for myself at home. Later on, illegal VHS cassettes of the film were made and distributed in Australia (or was it New Zealand?), and I got a copy of that as well. Apple Corps Ltd never bothered to bring it to the VHS market themselves, but it did eventually become an official DVD on MPI in 1998, which I bought.

The 1998 DVD

It was re-released on DVD in a better bit rate in 2003 for the 40th anniversary, with a booklet and a most welcome 51 minutes long "Making of", which included lots of material not in the film itself. So naturally, I had to buy it again.

The 2003 DVD included bonus material
Why these releases haven't been marketed for the 50th anniversary is beyond me, but perhaps they will be promoted in the upcoming weeks. Apple Corps Ltd could easily do a Blu-ray of "The First U.S. Visit" by just re-scanning the original film with a better bit rate and at a higher resolution, but reusing the material from the Ed Sullivan Show probably requires a new deal with SOFA Entertainment, who owns those rights. Anyway, both "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "The First U.S. Visit" are still in print on DVD and are relatively cheap from


Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Beatles' new stateside chart success

A sample of albums by the Beatles
Looks like the wave or should we say blitz of media celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first U.S. visit has made an impact on record sales. The Beatles has no fewer than 13 albums in this week's Billboard Top 200 albums chart, 4 of whom are in the Top 100:

You'll also note that only five of these are from the recently released "U.S. Albums" series, and those are all but one in the lower region of the chart.
There are three greatest hits compilations, the jam packed single-disc "1" consisting of all their number one records, either in the UK or the USA or both, and the more thorough "1967-1970" (aka "the blue album") and "1962-1966" (aka "the red album").
Last years release of recordings from their BBC performances has gotten a boost, as has their latter day albums, "Abbey Road", "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Beatles" (aka "the white album").
Weird to see the 2006 album "Love" - a mashup of Beatles songs mixed together as a soundtrack for the Las Vegas show - so high in the charts, this certainly seems to justify the plans for a repressing of the vinyl album which we questioned in an earlier post.
But even if it was mentioned as a February release, we haven't seen any more about it.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

McCartney in South America update

Unofficial sources confirm a South American tour in April for McCartney. Photo: MPL
The Peruvian news site today confirmed Paul McCartney's upcoming tour of South America in April, stating that his concert in Peru will happen on April 25th at the Estadio Nacional in Lima.

To the delight of his thousands of fans, the former Beatle Paul McCartney will return to our country to be in a single show on April 25 at the Estadio Nacional as part of his South American tour.
This project is presented by the Time For Fun (T4F), which is the Brazilian international company that was installed this year in the country, and is confirmed that Paul McCartney will be here on April 25 and will be at the National Stadium with a capacity of about 35 thousand people. Tickets go on sale in a week, " a reliable source from the company T4F told Perú21.

This tour will also pass through Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, among other countries where he will promote his recent album, "New", said the Uruguayan newssite UNoticias.

The first time the former Beatle sang on Peruvian soil was May 9, 2011 in a historic concert with 47,000 people at the Monumental Stadium.

Rare Quarrymen disc on ebay

Ebay: Quarrymen 78 r.p.m. disc
Beatles author Hans Olof Gottfridsson alerted us about a current ebay listing for what indeed looks like a 1981 replica disc of the famous first "Beatles" recording, the privately made 78 r.p.m. 10" disc of "That'll Be The Day"/"In Spite Of All The Danger".

Original disc's label, not from the ebay listing

Recorded in 1958 by the group then known as "The Quarrymen", the lineup consisted of Paul, George, John, Colin Hanton and John "Duff" Lowe. It was recorded in Percy Philips' home studio in Kensington, Liverpool, and the group only had the money to pay for one single copy. Each band member kept the acetate disc for a week. Lowe was the last to have it, keeping it for nearly 25 years. In 1981, Lowe attempted to sell it at auction, but McCartney intervened and purchased it from him - for an undisclosed figure, but rumoured to be £12 000.

Ebay: Quarrymen disc - back

McCartney had engineers restore as much of the record's sound quality as possible and then made approximately 50 copies of the single that he gave as personal gifts to family and friends. Gottfridsson says that the disc currently on offer "show all the signs of being a copy of the replicas produced by Paul McCartney for friends as a Xmas gift back in 1981". Gottfridsson also mentions that the disc "originally came in pair with a 7" 45 r.p.m. record" (logically, as not all record players of 1981 could play discs at the 78 r.p.m. speed).

Ebay: Disc detail, with "1981" etched into the matrix

Gottfridsson also says that "no reference copies exist since almost none of the original McCartney replicas have been up for sale. One very good clue is if it includes the unreleased long 3:25 version In Spite of All the Danger or not".
When the songs on this disc were included on The Beatles album "Anthology 1" in 1995, "In Spite Of All The Danger" was edited down to 2:45.

In 2000, John "Duff" Lowe also had replicas made, which he advertised for sale in The Beatles Monthly Book through the website (now defunct) or by contacting Lowe in writing or by email.

So, now you have the chance of owning this disc. Should you be the lucky buyer, please send me a sound file of the full length "In Spite Of All The Danger"!

Here's the description offered by the seller in the UK:
Here for sale is an EXTREMELY RARE 10" 78 RPM pressing of The Quarrymen - That'll Be The Day / In Spite Of All The Danger.
The disc and sleeve are both in excellent condition and the vinyl plays in near mint. I tested the vinyl on a Rega Planar 78 turntable. The vinyl also retains a nice sheen from when i bought it.
The sleeve appears to have what looks like 1681 stamped on the sleeve (see pictures) but by looking at the number 8 and 6 and the position they are printed it is actually a mirrored 1981 stamp.
As pictured the vinyl has etched the numbers 1981 on it on the run out area. Unfortunately i don't know what this would mean i'm afraid.
I acquired this about 30 years ago from a friend of mine who was selling a load of beatles / stones / who etc... vinyl.
I will consider sensible offers only.
Postage is free to the UK only and will be sent 1st class recorded, for all other countries it is £10.

The one and only 1958 pressing is thought to be one of the world's most valuable records, worth an estimated £200,000 (estimated by the UK magazine Record Collector).

More about this record on Beatlesource
A 2012 article about the disc
Ebay listing

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Beatles cartoon series

Action figures based on The Beatles cartoon series
The Beatles is (among other things) an American animated television series featuring the fanciful and musical misadventures of the group. It ran from 1965 to 1969 on ABC in the US (only 1965 to 1967 was first run; later transmissions were reruns).
Produced in 1965, the series came about through the efforts of producer Al Brodax at King Features after he was approached by an ABC executive with the idea of producing a Beatles cartoon. Famous toymaker A.C. Gilbert, who envisioned a merchandising goldmine, financed the series.
The series debuted on September 25, 1965 and ended on September 7, 1969. A total of 39 episodes were produced.

The series was an instant ratings hit on ABC in the Saturday morning time slot after it debuted on September 25, 1965 at 10:30 AM EST. It racked up a 13 score (or 52 share), then unheard of in daytime television. The series was sponsored by the A. C. Gilbert Company, the Quaker Oats Company and the Mars Candy Company.
Although uncredited, Dennis Marks, along with Jack MendelsohnHeywood Kling and Bruce Howard, wrote all 39 episodes of The Beatles series. Most of the episodes of the series were produced by Artransa Park Studios in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and George Dunning's company TVC Animation in London, with a handful of episodes made in Hollywood, with a crew supervised by veteran cartoon writer John W. Dunn.

The series was shown on Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM EST until the 1967 third season when it was moved to 12:00 PM EST.
For the fourth season, which consisted of reruns, the series was shown at 9:30 AM EST on Sunday mornings.

Each episode has a name of a Beatles song, so the story is based on its lyrics and it is also played at some time in the episode. The series was syndicated worldwide on television and cable after the original run ended in 1969. In 1986 and 1987, new generations were introduced to the series when it was rebroadcast in syndication by MTV and also by the Disney Channel. On MTV, the series was shown on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10 AM EST or 7 AM PST. Mark Hamill was a guest host of the MTV run of the series in 1987.

The series was a historical milestone as the first weekly television series to feature animated versions of real, living people. Here's episode 1:

The series consisted of short animated stories that essentially were intended to set up the visual illustration of Beatles songs that were played in their entirety. In addition, there were sing along sequences with simpler imagery complementing the full lyrics of particular songs.
The series became notorious for its static depiction of the band in their early "moptop-and-suit" look as depicted in the live action film, A Hard Day's Night, even though the band moved beyond it during the series' run.

The producers did attempt to acknowledge the band members' contemporary appearances with photographs of them in the series' title sequences during its production run. The band members themselves had nothing to do with the series' production beyond the use of their music recordings.
American actor Paul Frees did the voices of John and George while Lance Percival (of the Carry On series) did the voices of Paul and Ringo. Frees had been the voice of Boris Badenov in the Rocky and Bullwinkle series.
Frees recorded his voices in America, while Lance Percival recorded the voices of Paul and Ringo in England. He would later provide the voice of Old Fred in Yellow Submarine.

"It took about four weeks to animate each film and I enjoyed it immensely," recalled Chris Cuddington, a series animator. "The characters were easy to draw, and the stories were simple and uncomplicated."

Producer Al Brodax and director George Dunning were involved in the production both of the animated series and of the 1968 feature length animated movie, Yellow Submarine.

Following the first season's success, Brodax considered producing four Beatles prime-time animated specials. But plans to produce them and several other musical-based cartoon series such as, animated versions of "Herman's Hermits" and "Freddie and the Dreamers" were never fully materialized.
At first, The Beatles disliked the series. It is reported, however, that the band members enjoyed the cartoons in later years.

Their views of the cartoon series discouraged them from participating significantly in the later animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. Only when the band saw and were impressed by the Yellow Submarine's finished footage did they realize the film was a more ambitious creation. As a result, they agreed to appear in a short live action epilogue for it. John Lennon also offered that the Beatles could redub the movie with their own voices, but the premiere was imminent, so there was no time for that. Too bad, as future home video releases of the film would have benefitted from the real voices of the Beatles.

When "Batman" premiered on ABC's prime time lineup in January 1966, and became an instant hit, CBS decided to overhaul their Saturday morning lineup. CBS were to focus on superheros, "Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles", "Space Ghost", "Superman", "Mighty Mouse" and "The Mighty Heroes."
"Space Ghost" was slotted opposite the Beatles, and while the ratings for the Beatles were reasonable, at 7.7 a 36% share, "Space Ghost" was hot, at 9.66 a 44% share. Despite the fact that new episodes were made for the Beatles series, it was obvious that a trend had been set.

In the fall of 1967, seven more weeks of new episodes were made for the Beatles series which now aired on ABC at 12noon (Eastern time) opposite "Top Cat" on NBC and the second half of the "Superman/Aquaman" hour on CBS. The 1967 Beatles episodes were more surreal, meant to reach more than just kids as an audience. But CBS's strategy had paid off. "Jonny Quest" was CBS's hit, and its lead-in of "Superman/Aquaman" prompted ABC to begin phasing out the Beatles series by scheduling it at 9:30am, Sunday mornings, in the fall of 1968.

ABC's Sunday morning clearance rate was very low. The Beatles last telecast was Sunday, September 7, 1969. Regarding the cancellation of the Beatles show, Fred Silverman (then of CBS) told TV Guide, "Kids get tired of shows quickly. They would rather watch new shows than repeats of old ones."

The series didn't have its debut on British television until 1980 when they featured on early morning TV on Granada. It wasn't until 1988 that the full series was featured on British television on ITV's Night Network magazine show. It has been reported that the Beatles themselves blocked the screening of the series on British television. However, according to John Coates, the head of TVC London and later production manager on Yellow Submarine, after hearing the voices of The Beatles it was Brian Epstein who forbade the cartoons from being shown on British television.

Some of the Beatles cartoon episodes you can find on YouTube are dubbed in Spanish. Thanks to our reader Winslow Leach, who informed us that these Spanish voices were recorded in México, dubbed by famous Mexican actors. We know that Ringo and George were dubbed by Jorge Arvizu, who also dubbed a lot of the Hanna Barbera cartoons.

Initially, the open credits theme was a guitar riff from "A Hard Day's Night" segueing into "Can't Buy Me Love", over a cartoon sequence of the group running down a fire escape, echoing a scene in A Hard Day's Night. The second season's opening theme was "Help!", while the third season's theme was "And Your Bird Can Sing", over a different cartoon sequence.

Here's a summary of all 39 episodes of the series:

Season 1 (1965-3/1966)

1. A Hard Day's Night/I Want to Hold Your Hand: The Beatles are in Transylvania rehearsing in a haunted house with "monstrous" visitors; To hide from their fans, The Beatles run inside a diving bell which drops them into the ocean with a lovesick octopus. Sing Along: Not A Second Time/Devil in Her Heart

2. Do You Want to Know a Secret/If I Fell: The Beatles go to Dublin, Ireland for the weekend where they meet a leprechaun named Willomena Morris; John is kidnapped by Dr. Dora Florahyde and Igor, both of whom want John's brain for their monster. Sing Along: A Hard Day's Night/I Want To Hold Your Hand

3. Please Mr. Postman/Devil in Her Heart: Ringo loses 15 rings he bought with all of the Beatles' spendings and they are expecting a telegram from their manager Brian Epstein for more money; Ringo wanders into the woods in Transylvania where he meets a witch who wants Ringo for a husband. Sing Along: If I Fell/Do You Want To Know A Secret

4. Not a Second Time/Slow Down: The Beatles abandon their flight and land in Africa while trying to get away from their fans, but three girls keep tracking them down. They later encounter a few crocodiles; The Beatles are on the way to the town Ringo Ravene (named after Ringo) until they encounter a donkey that smells gold named "Gold Nose". Sing Along: Baby's In Black/Misery

5. Baby's in Black/Misery: Paul gets kidnapped by Professor Psycho who wants Paul to marry his creation Vampiress, half girl and half bat; The Beatles go to a wax museum where a vampire follows them. Sing Along: I'll Get You/Chains

6. You've Really Got a Hold on Me/Chains: In Africa, Ringo asks a medicine maker named Jack to help fix the Beatles' flat tire. He then turns a worm into a snake and it lusts for Ringo; After getting knocked out, Ringo dreams about himself as Captain William Bligh from the movie Mutiny on the Bounty (1962). Sing Along: Slow Down/Honey Don't

7. I'll Get You/Honey Don't: The Beatles run into hunter Alan Watermain in Africa after escaping from their fans and go out hunting for a lion; Ringo is mistaken as a bull rider, and the cowboys send him to ride on a toughest bull named Honey. Sing Along: You've Really Got A Hold On Me/Any Time At All

8. Anytime at All/Twist and Shout: The Beatles imagine themselves as the Three Musketeers (Plus One) while they are on a tour at a museum in France; The Beatles attend an art show where a girl tries to be like other artists. They inspire her with music. Sing Along: I'll Be Back/Little Child

9. Little Child/I'll Be Back: An Indian girl on a Texas reservation wants to prove that girls are as good at trapping as boys are by trapping the Beatles; The mayor of a Texas town gives Ringo a golden guitar as a gift, only to be stolen by three men, prompting the Fab Four to hunt for the thieves and get the guitar back. Sing Along: Long Tall Sally/Twist And Shout

10. Long Tall Sally/I'll Cry Instead: The Beatles stay at a castle for the night during a fog. John and Ringo try on a couple of cursed armor suits and start to fight each other; After signing too many autographs in Japan, George's hand gets swollen and suffers "autographitis". His bandmates take him to a hand doctor but end up in a karate class by mistake. Sing Along: I'll Follow The Sun/When I Get Home

11. I'll Follow the Sun/When I Get Home: The Beatles' car breaks down and they are captured by a highwayman who happens to be a car repair man; The Beatles explore the Notre Dame in France where they later meet its famous hunchback Quasimodo. Sing Along: I'll Cry Instead/Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby

12. Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby/I Should Have Known Better: The Beatles, spending the night at a temple in Japan during a rainstorm, are mistaken for Japanese ancestors of four girls; The Beatles are in Rome trying to find a theatre to rehearse. Their last choice is the Coliseum. Sing Along: I'm A Loser/I Wanna Be Your Man

13. I'm a Loser/I Wanna Be Your Man: In Hollywood, Ringo gets hired as a stuntman by Incredible Pictures Inc. and ends up in the hospital after getting pulverized in many scenes; In Rome, The Beatles buy a statue of the Goddess of Musica made from stolen gold coins melted down and sculptured. Sing Along: No Reply/I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

14. Don't Bother Me/No Reply: In Rome, Italy, The Beatles are being followed by two spies who are after their songbook, "New Beatle Songs", marked "Top Secret". The Beatles movie Help! and Oddjob from the James Bond movie Goldfinger are spoofed; In Japan, The Beatles are warned about a jewel thief named Anyface who comes in disguised as Paul, which causes double trouble. There is a spoof of detective Charlie Chan. Sing Along: It Won't Be Long/I Should Have Known Better

15. I'm Happy Just to Dance with You/Mr. Moonlight: The Beatles are in a Roman Street Festival where Paul wins a dancing bear named Bonnie; The Beatles meet Professor Ludwig Von Brilliant who is on a mission to view an eclipse. After being adrift at sea, they escape from an island on a submarine. Sing Along: Don't Bother Me/Can't Buy Me Love

16. Can't Buy Me Love/It Won't Be Long: John is given a friendship ring from a Polynesian tribal chief, which means he has to marry the chief's daughter, who dislikes pineapples; While picnicing in Japan, John goes for a swim in a pond with shrinking potion in it and gets shrunk. The other Beatles think John is a doll and chase after him. Sing Along: Anna/Mr. Moonlight

17. Anna/I Don't Want to Spoil the Party: In Japan, Paul gets lured into a ghost ship called "Ah-Nah". The other Beatles dash off to the rescue before they might lose Paul for good; Paul, George and Ringo sneak away from John and go to Greenwich Village for some fun time at a Beatnik party rather than going to a museum. Sing Along: Matchbox/Thank You Girl

18. Matchbox/Thank You Girl: In Hawaii, John buys a trailer for the group to stay in rather than staying at a hotel so many times. They later encounter a group of Hawaiians who are evacuating from a volcano; The Beatles sneak away from their manager to get something to eat at a French bakery by enrolling in a cooking course. Sing Along: I Don't Want To Spoil The Party/Help!

19. From Me to You/Boys: In Hawaii, a surfer named Surf Wolf challenges George to a surfing duel; The Beatles participate in a Mr. Hollywood Contest in California. Sing Along: Please Mr. Postman/I Saw Her Standing There Note: The opening title erroneously shows "With Love From Me To You"

20. Dizzy Miss Lizzy/I Saw Her Standing There: John and Paul secretly sign George up to an ice boat race, and he partners up with a girl named Lizzy; In Madrid, John and Paul visit a restaurant where John develops a hot foot with ashes in his boot. Rosita falls for John, and her boyfriend Jose challenges John to a duel. Sing Along: Ticket To Ride/From Me To You

21. What You're Doing/Money: The Beatles are on a fishing trip, and Ringo runs into gypsies. One of them falls for Ringo and wants to marry him. George comes in as a woman claiming he's engaged to Ringo to get him back; John puts Ringo in charge to keep their money safe in his jacket pocket. Later Ringo is being followed by a mystery man at a carnival who is after the money. Sing Along: Dizzy Miss Lizzy/All My Loving

22. Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand/She Loves You: The Beatles visit the bavarian alps mission is to climb up a mountain with the dog Gunthar to put up their own flag on top; The Beatles are about to rescue a girl who they think is held as a prisoner on a ship. As a result, her boyfriend, a knife thrower, comes to her defense...with knives. Sing Along: Bad Boy/Tell Me Why

23. Bad Boy/Tell Me Why: The Beatles visit the bavarian alps. A boy named Hans plans to run away from home and be a Beatle. The Fab Four run after Hans to bring him back with their music (Paul is playing the bass right-handed); In Spain, Ringo is the jockey of a donkey that can run like a horse whenever she hears loud music. Sing Along: Please Please Me/Hold Me Tight

24. I Feel Fine/Hold Me Tight: Paul thinks Hollywood's a phony. Actor Dick Dashing wants to prove Paul he is wrong by putting him in some different movie scenes; In New York, George and Ringo visit the Statue Of Liberty until they have spotted a man with a package which they think is a bomb. Sing Along: What You're Doing/There's A Place

25. Please Please Me/There's a Place: In Madrid, a bull named El Taco gets knocked out, and the Beatles decide to help out with the bullfight with Ringo as the matador, and John and Paul as the bull; John's sympathy helps a trained ape named Mr. Marvelous escape from the television studio and go out to explore the outside world. Sing Along: Roll Over Beethoven/Rock And Roll Music

26. Roll over Beethoven/Rock and Roll Music: The Beatles are on their way home after visiting New York City until Paul got grabbed by an elephant named Beethoven; The Beatles are invited to play at the Duke's Palace, but they are mistaken for a string quartet. Sing Along: I Feel Fine/She Loves You

Season 2 (9-10/1966)

27. Eight Days a Week/I'm Looking Through You: A great movie lover named Lips Lovelace loses his ability to kiss. Paul decides to take his place in the studio with a leading lady who falls for him; The Beatles are in Egypt. They are wandering around in the pyramid until Ringo encounters a ghost who wants a body, and he chooses Ringo's. Sing Along: Run For Your Life/Girl

28. Help!/We Can Work It Out: Paul and Ringo go to a fashion show in Paris. Later the designs are stolen by Jaque Le Zipper. Paul chases Jaque to the Eiffel Tower, and has trouble with heights; George becomes superstitious. The Beatles encounter the Lucky Wizard who is really a thief trying to give them bad luck and rob their money. Sing Along: The Night Before/Day Tripper

29. I'm Down/Run for Your Life: The Beatles are on a tour at a wine factory in France where Ringo accidentally knocks down a vat of wine. If it does not get fixed in two hours, the factory will go out of business; The Beatles are on a tour at the Palace of Versailles. Ringo gets knocked out by a statue, and dreams about the days of Marie Antoinette. Sing Along: Eight Days A Week/Paperback Writer

30. Drive My Car/Tell Me What You See: The Beatles help a young man and his girlfriend get their old jalopy running in a car race, the Popsville Hot Rod Race; While visiting "the man of a thousand faces", The Beatles fool around with his makeup machine and change into different characters. (Look for Jimmy Durante and Swee'Pea from "Popeye" in it) Sing Along: Yesterday/We Can Work It Out

31. I Call Your Name/The Word: Ringo is convinced to release his pet frog Bartholomew in the swamp. Later a movie producer offers a filming deal to Ringo and the frog, and the Fabs have dashed off to find Bartholomew (George Harrison is briefly seen playing left-handed in one scene); The Beatles are being punished after gazing at the girls' unveiled faces. The only way to get out of the situation is to say the password: "love". Sing Along: I Feel Fine (Re-issue)/Wait

32. All My Loving/Day Tripper: The Beatles are in India where they learn how to charm an animal at an "Indian Charm Skool". When the animal is revealed to be a tiger, they use music to tame it when it's about to claw John and Ringo (The song "Love You To" is heard in the beginning of this episode.); After watching the movie The Way Out Creatures From Planet Glom, The Beatles take a trip out into space with a beautiful woman who is actually an alien taking them on a one-way trip 23 billion miles from Earth. Sing Along: I'm Looking Through You/Nowhere Man

33. Nowhere Man/Paperback Writer: The Beatles walk into a cave for some exploring which is a home of a hermit who wants to be alone. He tries to get rid of them, but no luck; Each of The Beatles write fictional stories of how they met with Ringo as a theatre actor, Paul as a scientist, George as a secret agent, and John as a war pilot. Sing Along: And I Love Her/Michelle

Season 3 (9-10/1967)

34. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever: In a spoof of James Bond, The Beatles are jealous of a detective named James Blonde who gets more attention from many women, so the Fabs plan to go to their hometown of Liverpool to stop thieves from robbing Penny Lane so they can be heroes; Traveling with their driver James, The Beatles use music to add some color and happiness to the children at an orphanage, a reference to Strawberry Field in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool. John tells them: "It's all in the mind, you know." Sing Along: Good Day Sunshine/Rain

35. And Your Bird Can Sing/Got to Get You into My Life: The Beatles and a couple of hunters hunt for a rare bird called a green double-breasted tropical woosted that can sing anything, including "Hound Dog" and "She Loves You"; The Beatles are in India, learning how to escape from their bodies from Swami Rivers. It works, but the problem is that the souls' bodies are moving by themselves, and they must get them before it's too late. ("Love You To" is heard in the background) Sing Along: Penny Lane/Eleanor Rigby

36. Good Day Sunshine/Ticket to Ride: Ringo thinks he's a jinx. When the Beatles arrive at Carney Island, it starts to rain. Their music turns a rainy day into a sunny day again, and makes Ringo happy; The Beatles each have their own hobby. Paul paints. George builds a three-eyed robot. John writes. Ringo's hobby is collecting "birds": An English slang term for girls. Paul releases the only one Ringo caught, and he runs after her. Sing Along: Strawberry Fields Forever/And Your Bird Can Sing

37. Taxman/Eleanor Rigby: The Beatles get knocked out while carrying tons of money to the bank, and dream about the days of Robin Hood. Paul exclaims: "It never happened"; A group of children claim that an elderly woman named Eleanor Rigby is a witch. The Fabs tell them the true story about Eleanor Rigby in a song. Sing Along: Got To Get You Into My Life/Here, There And Everywhere

38. Tomorrow Never Knows/I've Just Seen a Face: The Beatles fall into a well and end up in the inner world with foreign natives. The chief wants the Fabs to marry his daughters, and they began to run away; Ringo loses his singing voice. For treatment, his three mates send Ringo to a haunted house to scare his voice back. Sing Along: She Said She Said/Long Tall Sally (re-issue)

39. Wait/I'm Only Sleeping: The Prince of Krapotkin's girlfriend is in grave danger. The Beatles help him to save her from the Prime Minister who wants to marry her; John falls asleep while telling a story to a couple of children. In his dream he volunteers to help King Arthur and Merlin slay a vicious dragon. However, John and his mates opt instead to play music to put the dragon to sleep. Sing Along: Penny Lane/Eleanor Rigby. Here's the final episode:

In 1972, John Lennon commented, "I still get a blast out of watching the Beatles cartoons on TV." In 1999, George Harrison said, "I always kind of liked [the cartoons]. They were so bad or silly that they were good, if you know what I mean. And I think the passage of time might make them more fun now."

Contrary to the Harrison quote above, there has been some speculations that the Beatles' company, Apple Corps Ltd, bought the rights to the series, because Harrison wanted to keep it in their vaults, so that it would't ever be aired again.
It's certainly true that they bought the series, and they have never released it commercially as long as they have owned it. Only images of the cartoon characters have been licenced for use on various products, including toy figures, t-shirts and coffee mugs. However, with the explosion of internet based video sites like YouTube, the Beatles cartoon series are now as accessible as never before.

The cartoon series continue to be the only music video version made of several of the songs, which may make them useable in an upcoming Beatles music video collection.

In 1999, Mitchell Axelrod wrote a book about the Beatles cartoon series, and he also recently (2014) penned an article on the subject in the current magazine "Beatlemania! Life Story"

Beatlemania! On newsstands now.
With the Beatles Cartoon series still unavailable on official DVDs, bootleggers are eagerly exploiting the series for their illegal releases .
Beatles fans are divided in their opinions about the Beatles cartoon series. In general, fans who were exposed to the series at an early age, be it in the sixties or watching later reruns, are fond of it for nostalgic reasons. As most of these fans are Americans, most Europeans are not as enamoured.
From an animation point of view, the series are flawed because of the era in which they were made. Like The Flintstones series, the Beatles series use very basic drawings and crude animation techniques with much emphasis on mouth and leg movements, sounds and other things that are easily and quickly accomplished. The best cartoons were made in the pre television years, from the thirties and fourties, when bigger staffs produced more detailed and better drawings, not to mention more drawings per second of film. Once the fifties came along, quality dropped considerably. With the advent of computer animation techniques, a rise in quality has occurred.

Further reading: The Black Mariah


Monday, 17 February 2014

McCartney to Uruguay?

South America-bound again? Photo:AFP
While we were eagerly awaiting the announcement of Paul McCartney's proposed UK tour with perhaps a few European dates thrown in, news reached us from Montevideo, Uruguay, that they are about to secure a McCartney concert at Estado Centenario for Easter. According to newspaper El País, sources claim meetings are to be held this morning and during the week Montevideo regarding an upcoming performance by McCartney. The first specific date discussed is April 18. The concert will probably also draw attendance from travelling Argentinians.

This proposed concert may be the first unofficial word about another South American tour for McCartney. There are still no confirmed dates in any country, but Chile, Ecuador, Peru and other places are speculated about in the newspaper. In Uruguay, a McCartney concert will benefit from a new VAT tax excempt which was just passed. McCartney last played in this country in April 2012.

"1" TV spot and chart action

"1" is performing well on the charts
In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' arriving Stateside, a joint TV spot for the US albums and the greatest hits compilation "1" has been made. The latter has performed well on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart since before Christmas, and at the time of writing holds the no. 37 spot, so it's in the "Top 40". "1" is the best selling Beatles album and also the best selling album of anyone in the decade 2000-2010. It was re-released in an updated digipack for 2011, using the 2009 remastered versions of the album's tracks.

At the time of writing, these Beatles albums were all in the top 200:  "Abbey Road" at 119, "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band" at 132, "The Beatles" (aka "the White Album") at 159 and "Love" at 191. Of the U.S. albums, "Rubber Soul" is at 134, "A Hard Day's Night (Soundtrack)" at 189 and "Meet The Beatles" at 192.

Comprised entirely of number 1 hits from UK and the U.S, "1" was originally released in 2000, breaking records by debuting at the top of the charts in 35 countries, and going on to sell over 31 million copies worldwide. It was and remains to this day a most emphatic introduction to and collection of The Beatles' career-spanning dominance of pop music through the 1960's.

A proposed music video collection for "1" has a planned October release date.

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Hard Day's Night comparison

MPI laser disc, 1984
Celebrating the good news about an upcoming restored edition of "A Hard Day's Night", we take a look at the bonus material on the previous two DVD releases of the film, as well as bring you some good news regarding the aspect ratio and audio options available on the upcoming release.

Miramax version (2002)
The film was shown in aspect ratio Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Bonus material:
  • "Things They Said Today ..." (36:18)
  • "Their Production Will Be Second To None" -- Interviews With The Filmmakers (Director Richard Lester, Musical Director Sir George Martin, Associate Producer Denis O'Dell, Studio Executive David Picker)
  • "With The Beatles" -- Cast (John Junkin, Lionel Blair, Kenneth Haigh, David Janson, Anna Quayle, Jeremy Lloyd, Terry Hooper)
  • "Working Like A Dog" -- The Production Crew (Gilbert Taylor BSC, Paul Wilson, Betty Glasow, Barrie Melrose)
  • "Busy Working Overtime" -- Post Production Crew (Pam Tomling & Roy Benson, Gordon Daniels & Jim Roddan)
  • "Listen To The Music Playing In Your Head" -- Sir George Martin On The HDN Songs
  • "Such A Clean Old Man!" -- Memories of Wilfrid Brambell
  • "I've Lost My Little Girl" -- Isla Blair Interview
  • "Taking Testimonial Pictures" -- Robert Freeman Interview
  • "Dressed To The Hilt" -- Gordon Millings Interview
  • "Dealing With 'The Men From The Press'" -- Tony Barrow Interview
  • "They And I Have Memories" -- Klaus Voorman Interview
  • "Hitting The Big Time In The USA" -- Sid Bernstein Interview

MPI version (1997)
The film was shown in aspect ratio Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Bonus material:
  • 1982 photo montage prologue set to I'll Cry Instead 2 min.
  • British newsreel Beatlemania grips Gotham 1 min.
  • British newsreel Beatles get show biz top award 3:45 min.
  • 1981 Re-release trailer 2:22 min.
  • MPI's trailer for The First US Visit 1:45 min.
  • MPI's trailer for You Can't Do That! 1:45 min.
  • MPI's trailer for Help! 2:37 min.
  • MPI's trailer for Magical Mystery Tour 1:32 min.
  • 9 text screens on the restoration process
  • 6 text bios on the filmmakers & Support cast
  • 60's Interview with director Richard Lester 3:22 min.
  • Lester's short film Running, Jumping & Standing Still
The Criterion laser disc,1987 - front

Criterion (USA)/Second Sight Films (UK) version (2014)
The film will reportedly be shown in aspect ratio 1.75:1
This is the actual original theatrical aspect ratio from the film's release in 1964, so that's a first!

We are only guessing that Criterion will handle the U.S. market and Second Sight Films the U.K. one. Originally, Criterion was reported as the distributor and their parent company Janus Film is cited by the TCM Classic Films Festival to be the company behind the restoration of the film from the original negative. However, the independent British distributors Second Sight Films recently announced that they were  working on a Blu-ray release of the film. With two distributors in the mix, we just have to guess.

The music has been remixed in true 5.1-surround by Giles Martin. Another selectable audio option will be Ron Furmanek's restored original mono soundtrack. Furmanek prepared this audio for the Miramax DVD, but his work was tampered with, turning it into faux-5.1-surround. This decision was heavily criticised by fans at the time of release. The problem was that the company who owned the rights to the film did not own a stereo version of the soundtrack, just the original mono sound. So this time, some sort of agreement must have been made between that company and the Beatles/Apple Corps Ltd/Universal Music Group. Or, the Beatles/Apple Corps Ltd may have bought back the rights to the film. Or, speculating further, the company who owns the film may be a part of the Universal group of companies. Either way, the fans will benefit.

The rights to "A Hard Day's Night" originally belonged to the film's producer, Walter Shenson. The current owners are Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company. In 2011 Disney sold Miramax films to Filmyard Holdings, LLC, and the home video sub-license is transferred to Lionsgate. However, Miramax's film library is still owned by Disney. In December 2013, Miramax and The Weinstein Company entered a 20-year joint-venture agreement to develop and produce films, TV series, and stage shows. The deal will allow the Weinsteins to exploit the 700-film Miramax library. Whether or not this has anything to do with the re-release of "A Hard Day's Night", we don't know.

Bonus material:
No one knows, and probably won't, until the film is out in the shops. But there's no way they are going to include everything that was on the Miramax release, so you'll probably want to keep that. Miramax did a good job on the bonus material.

Criterion has released A Hard Day's Night previously. That was before the DVD age, they released it on laser disc back in 1987. Bonus material then was the original theatrical trailer, an interview with Richard Lester, and his The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film.

Back in the day, the BBC produced a documentary on the making of A Hard Day's Night. No, we're not talking about the 1995 "You Can't Do That! The Making of 'A Hard Day's Night'" documentary hosted by Phil Collins, but a 1964 documentary, "Follow the Beatles". It was broadcasted by the BBC on August 3rd, 1964 and has rarely been seen since. The documentary was mostly filmed and recorded on the set of "A Hard Day's Night". Now that would make a fine accompaniment alongside other bonus material, such as the original trailers.

Criterion laser disc, 1987 - back

Incidentally, if you are keen to see "A Hard Day's Night" on the 6th of July for it's 50th anniversary. alongside Pattie Boyd, you can. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the London premiere of A Hard Day’s Night, the Catalina Island Museum will have a screening of the film in the Avalon Casino Theater. Pattie Boyd has agreed to a live interview just after the film, in which she will discuss her memories of the Beatles, meeting her future husband on the set, and much, much more. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Pattie Boyd questions during the interview. Tickets are $8 for members of the museum and $10 for the general public.