Friday, December 07, 2012

'Magical Mystery Tour' on PBS this month

PBS' 'Great Performances' will be showing 'Magical Mystery Tour' at various times on their various channels in December. Check local listings because it's different depending on where you live.

When 'Magical Mystery Tour' premiered on Boxing Day in England, it was bashed by critics. NBC had a deal to show it, but because of the negative response, they canceled the broadcast.

Hard to believe because, no matter how 'bad' it was, a one-hour show of The Beatles just drinking tea would've gotten better ratings than other 1967 fare like 'Judd, For The Defense'.

I was ten years old in 1967 and a serious Beatles' fan. So when a local movie theater got hold of a copy and scheduled a very short run, I pretty much demanded my Mom take me. I'm guessing it was probably the Summer of 1968, about six months after it was shown on the BBC.

Mom dropped me and a friend off with arrangements to pick us up in an hour or so (MMT is only about 50-minutes long). My memories are a bit dim, but I do recall it was shown at a theater on 'the other side' of Portland (probably Southeast, we lived in Southwest).

There was not a lot of people in the audience and they were mostly older than us (teen-agers). I think were the only 'kids' in the whole place.

My main memory is of a bit The Beatles weren't even in. It was the 'strip show' sequence with the Bonzo Dog Band performing the song, 'Death Cab For Cutie'. It was the first time I'd even seen a stripper, and being only ten, I got pretty excited (with feelings of embarrassment and guilt thrown into the mix).

I remember telling my friend to not mention the strip show to my Mom.

As the years went by, I would see MMT at various 'midnight' shows where they would play 'rock and roll' films. Sometimes Beatles' movies or Gimme Shelter. And when it was released on VHS sometime in the 80's, I would have my own Boxing Day showing. I would even watch it at the same time the BBC televised it, around 7:30PM.

When I'd see the 'stipper' bit, I never experienced the same feelings I had that first time, but I always remembered it. Thanks, Beatles, for introducing me to strippers.

And as I look back, I'm still kind of surprised that they included such an 'adult' sequence on a show that was being broadcast all over the UK and presented by such a family-friendly act like The Beatles. Yes, The Beatles did dance around adult subjects in their songs, but this was different. I wonder what ten year olds will think of it when they see it on PBS? Probably the same thing I did.

So that's my 'Magical Mystery Tour' story. Told ya


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