The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

Yes, it was 50 years ago today Sept. 11, 1967 when The Beatles set off on their newest project /  adventure / and first major failure, their first and last film completely written, produced, directed and starring John, Paul, George and Ringo

The full cast and crew set off in their now famously decorated bus directly for The West Country of England, specifically the counties  of Cornwall and Devon. They had no plan or true destination. They had no script. Each Beatle brought along pockets full of random thoughts scribbled down on bits of paper, notes like Lennon’s… “later John Serves a fat lady huge shovel’s of Spaghetti dressed as a Maitre ‘de.” Paul collected and collated the notes  and named them The Scrupt!

And the shooting began, day and night until Sept 25th Yep, just 15 day’s yielding 10 hours of film, edited down to a mere 58 minutes!

we know, you know just about everything about this ill fated project, but we’re here to share a few ‘Didja knows’ you may not  have been aware of….You remember The Beatles oddball B-Side to “Let It Be”…”You Know My Name, Look Up My Number”  Paul gives a shout out to Dennis O ‘del….Who?…. Dennis was an independent associate producer who worked on Magical Mystery Tour….Paul liked him and named him in his song!….They indeed shot the film in The West Country, but one day they ran off to Nice in the south of France and in an extremely clandestine maneuver “No permits/ permissions clearances etc. and  shot “The Fool On The Hill”

The only other musical guests to briefly appear in the film were “The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band” performing their song “Death Cab For Cutie” Yep same name as the indie band that formed in 1997 in Washington…

Furthermore, Traffic were originally in the film performing their song  “Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush” But,  their performance became a victim of “The editors knife” and were cut out at the last-minute. Probably another bad decision for this doomed project!

Although all four Beatles are credited as writers, Directors, producers and Stars…Only Ringo is singled out with his solo credit as “Cinematographer”

the truth is all four Beatles were constantly shooting. In fact Paul is credited with the idea and concept for Macical Mystery Tour as an extension of his current hobby he was calling “Home movies”

But Ringo actually got a credit, something he may regret today…Curious, ain’t it?….or, another gift from John and Paul for their humble band mate ?

The film debuted in the U.K. on Television!….BBC One on “Boxing Day” (Dec. 26) in 1967….And get this!  At this point in time BBC One could only transmit Black and White images! So all the Psychedelia, rich colors and beauty were lost in a wash of dull Grey/Black/White swirls!……Audience and critics hated and didn’t understand it……They demanded an apology from McCartney and he spoke up! He said that “It was their first film and they considered it a brilliant  success……Remember  the quote “I did not have sex with that woman” Sumthin’ like that. Two weeks later B.B.C. Two aired the film, B.B.C. Two, ( the lessor of the two networks ) however had the technology to air the film in COLOR! At that point in time it was reported there were 200,000 color sets in England  and only a fraction of their owners watched the film, the damage was done!

In fact it took seven years for the film to even get released in the U.S. New Line Cinema released the film at a gala screening in NYC in 1974. The film was received more favorably in the U.S. Afterall, even with all the bad press  IT WAS THE BEATLES,…How bad could it be”?

Your mother should know!

Did You ever see the movie? Do you have an opinion? We’d love to know!


  1. A very interesting read my dear Shoe. Never saw the movie. Would have liked to see it just because it would be entertaining at the least since I am a Beatles fan. Groovy and far out man….the iS

    • Oh Mr. Is…
      As a “Card Carrying Beatle fan, You gotta see it! You may have a tricky time finding it
      Finding quality/complete Beatle stuff on the web isn’t easy…
      Beatle police, hard at work! If anyone knows how Mr. Is can find this classic won’t you please chime in
      “It’s got everything you need, satisfaction guaranteed”

  2. Did you that Spencer Davis is in the movie? He told me that we was chilling at a pub in Devon when suddenly this bus pulled up. He’s not featured but you can pick him out in a small crowd scene. Especially ironic given what happened with Traffic!

    • Hey John, once again GREAT STORY….Wow!……And Spencer may not have a feature part in the flick BUT!…….How many people can say “I’m in “Magical Mystery Tour? HOT DAMN!

      Personally I credit Spencer with thee best quote about being a former 60’s rock star. Many years ago Spencer and I were talking and he said…” Ya know Rick, I used to be a Pop Idol, now, I’m an Idle Pop!
      Thanx John, another great 60’s detail…

    • Thank you brother…I have a fond memory from the very next year in 1968 of you winning two tix to the premier of their fourth film “Yellow Submarine”
      We dressed up in our best “Bell Bottoms, Polka Dot Shirts and “Platform Shoes” Headed to Westwood in Los Angeles for a gala night of photographers, girls and Beatles fun…..
      Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.