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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 23, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

This was the fifth day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling Air Station in Maidstone, Kent.

Among the exterior shots filmed during the week at the army base were the marathon scene, which took place on the main runway and perimeter road; another in which a group of people including Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall had their picture taken by Little George the photographer; and a tug of war involving 12 children and blindfolded vicars.

The most memorable of the exterior shots, however, was for I Am The Walrus. The Beatles mimed to the song at two locations at the airfield, including use of high anti-blast concrete walls atop which the group and four actors dressed as policemen stood.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 22, 1967

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 21, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

This was the third day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling Air Station in Maidstone, Kent.

The army base saw the filming of many of the interior and exterior shots for the television special. Among them was a scene in a hut outside the main hangar, in which Paul McCartney dressed up in army uniform as Major McCartney. Victor Spinetti appeared as a recruiting sergeant, and shouted instructions at Ringo Starr, Aunt Jessie and other passengers on the mystery trip.

 

 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 20, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

This was the second day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling Air Station in Maidstone, Kent.

The Beatles worked at the army base for six days, staying at a nearby hotel each night. A number of interior shots were filmed in the enormous hanger space, including the magicians' laboratory sequence, Aunt Jessie's dream, and a sequence for George Harrison's Blue Jay Way.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 19, 1967

John Lennon Shooting the magicians sequence for Magical Mystery Tour at West Malling, September 19, 1967

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 18, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The second week of filming for the Magical Mystery Tour television special began with a visit to the Raymond Revuebar strip club in London's Soho.

The Beatles and other passengers from the coach trip were filmed watching Jan Carson's topless strip, accompanied by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band performing Death Cab For Cutie.

In the final edit, a 'Censored' sign was superimposed to obscure Carson's bare breasts. The Beatles knew that, had they failed to do so, the BBC and other broadcasting companies would have cut the entire scene.

Jan Carson was a stripper who worked for Paul Raymond during the 1960s at his famous Revuebar in London.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 17, 1967

The Beatles are taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 16, 1967

Recording, mixing: Your Mother Should Know, Blue Jay Way

Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott

Although The Beatles had recorded a version of Your Mother Should Know on August 22nd and 23rd, 1967, they began a remake on this day.

Eleven new takes were recorded, numbered 20-30. The recording was led by the song's composer Paul McCartney, who played harmonium and sang a guide vocal on the backing track. He was accompanied by drums, bongos and a piano, the latter recorded via a Leslie speaker.

Take 27 was temporarily marked the best, and was later released on 1996's Anthology 2. Take 30 was also considered as a contender, but ultimately neither was used and The Beatles eventually used the August recordings.

Also during this session, which ran from 7pm-3.45am, a demo mono mix of Blue Jay Way was made, which was then taken away by Gavrik Losey, an assistant to the Magical Mystery Tour film's producer Denis O'Dell.

This was the first Beatles session for which Ken Scott worked as a balance engineer. Scott had been tape operator on a number of prior sessions, but by this time the group's previous engineer, Geoff Emerick, had decided to step aside. Scott later became an acclaimed producer for acts including David Bowie.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 15, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The first week of filming for the Magical Mystery Tour television special saw a number of scenes being filmed between Newquay and London.

The coach party had stayed for three nights at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay. Following breakfast on this morning, a brief scene was filmed in front of the coach and hotel in which the entire party cheered and waved to the cameras.

The coach then left for London, stopping for several scenes en route. The first of these was unused in the final edit, but involved people crowding into a tiny chip shop, Smedley's at 108 Roman Road in Taunton, Somerset. The Beatles were filmed firstly from behind the counter ordering food, and then in the main part of the shop eating their lunch.

More filming took place in a country pub, a hall, a hostel and on board the coach. During the latter, accordionist Shirley Evans led the coach party with a number of singalong songs including Toot Toot Tootsie, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along and the Can Can.

The coach dropped John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr off in Virginia Water, Surrey. Paul McCartney remained on board until its final destination, Allsop Place in London.

A second week of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began on Monday 18 September 1967.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: September 14, 1967

Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

The fourth day of filming for Magical Mystery Tour began with a scene in a field near Newquay in the south west of England.

In the morning the coach party set off to look for a secluded field. Upon setting up the camera and lighting equipment, however, crowds of onlookers meant police had to deal with a traffic jam. Two scenes were filmed in the field, only one of which - the passengers crowding into a small tent - was used. The other was of George Harrison meditating in the field while wearing am oversized blue jacket.

The coach returned to the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay for a late lunch at 4pm, with music in the dining room provided by a resident band. Although the lunch was filmed, it was left out of the final cut.

In the evening, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Neil Aspinall and others, including BBC radio reporter Miranda Ward, visited a pub in Perranporth where they were joined by musician Spencer Davis, who was holidaying in the area with his family.

The evening ended with a lock-in until after 2am, during which McCartney led a singalong around the pub piano. According to Miranda Ward, he sang "every pub standard bar Yellow Submarine, which he refused to play".