Tuesday, August 05, 2008

'Let it be' DVD WILL be released

If you blinked, you missed the rumor last week that Paul and Ringo were blocking the release of a Let it be DVD. The 'story' was that they felt the warts-and-all doc showed them in a bad light and that they'd rather bury it than have the public subjected to the Beatles 'not getting along'.

I had a feeling it wasn't true and was about to post my thoughts when lo and behold, Apple says it's baloney and that there will be a DVD eventually (don't hold your breath cuz no date has been announced).

'Magical Mystery Tour' hasn't come out either, and I suspect it will be released first, since of the two, Let it be is the more anticipated and a better choice as the 'last' Beatles DVD from a marketing standpoint.

Thinking of those two films made me hearken back to the when I first saw them and other subsequent viewings in those dark pre-cable, no VHS or bootleg DVD days (sometimes I think having only five TV channels and movie theaters as our only source of film made us more appreciative).

'Magical Mystery Tour' was originally a TV Special, broadcast in England on Boxing Day (December 26th, 1967). Because of the negative reaction (a first for the Fab Four), it was never shown on American television. The album had come out, complete with a booklet of pics, but we could only imagine was it was like.

Eventually, some resourceful theater owners were able to obtain prints. The following Summer a theater in Portland put it on. It was on the other side of town and I had to convince my mom to drive me and a buddy across the river to see it. Luckily, she didn't join us, because I remember being shocked (and turned-on) by the striptease sequence. I made my pal promise not to mention the scene to mom. I probably even offered him a bribe since he was a real 'Eddie Haskell' character and would've loved to embarrass me, given the opportunity.

Three years later, the same 'friend' and I went to see Let it be at one of the major theaters downtown. It was either the Fox or the Orpheum, and even though the movie was a major release, the place was empty. I suppose word of mouth was bad, and that 'it's no A Hard Day's Night or Help!.' On our way to see it, we had a discussion along the lines of 'what do you think the movie is about?'. We didn't know it was a documentary. Hell, we probably didn't even know what a 'documentary' was.

I was fascinated by Let it be (and still am). Seeing the boys up close and personal was glorious. Sure it was gloomy and they looked burned-out and sloppy, but watching them sitting around in the studio was, as the poster proclaimed, 'an intimate experience'.

A few years later, in the 70's, the 'midnight movie' craze hit Portland bigtime. Portland was always a good movie town (all the rain, y'know), and a few times a year the 5th Avenue Cinema downtown or the Bagdad's mini 'backstage' theater on Sandy Blvd would have a 'Beatles' night. They'd show solo Beatles' stuff, too, like How I Won the War, 200 Motels and Concert for Bangla Desh.

The drag was that Yellow Submarine was usually part of the line-up because the target audience were stoners, and in the mood for a psychedelic cartoon. Pot was a huge part of the culture back then, and Oregon was the first state to decriminalize it (i.e., a 'traffic ticket' for under than an ounce of the stuff). I'd suffer through Submarine for a chance to see the other ones.

Those midnight movies were a hoot. The crowd would openly smoke dope and drink beer, and along with the movies there would be shorts like 'Bambi vs. Godzilla', weird 50's educational fare or Nixon's famous 'Checkers Speech' (we'd boo and laugh at him).

With bottles rolling under the seats and people sitting in the aisles, a splendid time was guaranteed for all. The cops raided the 5th Avenue Cinema once. The movie stopped and all the lights went up and in come the Blue Meanies!

Luckily, the cop who searched me didn't find the two joints I had hidden in my cigarette pack. No 'traffic ticket' for me that night.


Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

Dear Lord, man, the Baghdad theater was (is) on Hawthorne, not Sandy Blvd.!! Seriously, I remember their little "backstage" theater fondly, too. I saw Pink Flamingos there at a Midnight Show, and many others (El Topo, maybe) that have faded from memory.

12:29 PM  
Blogger John Goins said...

Yeah, you're right. The Baghdad is on Hawthorne. I was thinking of the 'Hollywood' theatre, I guess.

'El Topo' was an Apple Film BTW. Also saw the Ringo spaghetti western 'Blindman' at a midnight show back in the day.

8:35 PM  

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