Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 1, 1965 (Saturday)

Today the Beatles had a break from filming.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 30, 1965 (Friday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

Shooting of the scene with Asprey's jeweller (Peter Copley), who examines and then unsuccessfully attempts to remove Ringo's ring. Also filmed this day was the "Attempt Number One" to rid Ringo of his ring, he and John riding in a lift which suddenly becomes magnetised, attracting all metal objects (except for the ring, of course) to the walls and ceiling.

Most of the day, however, was spent filming "Attempt Number Five", in which the Beatles, in a film-set re-creation of EMI Studios, are supposedly recording "You're Going To Lose That Girl", Ringo working quite oblivious to the fact that the floor area around his drum kit is being cut, following which he tumbles through the hole to an underneath storeroom (filmed the previous day)

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 29, 1965 (Thursday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

A re-shooting of the nightclub bathroom scene, in which a hot-air hand-drier sucks rather than blows, tampered with by Clang's "thugs" no doubt, in yet another attempt to wrest the sacrificial ring from Ringo's finger. It was first filmed on April 8th, but a re-shoot was obviously necessary.

Another scene shot this day had Ringo restrained on a table in a storeroom underneath the Beatle's recording studio, with Clang powering up a chainsaw to remove his entire finger, and free the ring. Ringo is rescued by the temptress Ahme, however, and she quickly effects his escape along a neighbouring corridor.

Radio Luxembourg DJ Chris Denning, host of the weekly Sunday night series The Beatles, came to Twickenham this day to record new interviews with the Beatles, taping John, Paul, and George together (while Ringo was filming the above scene), and Ringo separately (when he finished). None of the interviews was very noteworthy, however, the Beatles sounding distracted and distanced, as if they rather regretted any involvement in a series which was more appropriate, perhaps, to 1963 than 1965.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 28, 1965 (Wednesday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

Filming of the drama-school sequence with the Beatles, Frankie Howerd, Wendy Richard, Leo McKern and Eleanor Bron was completed during the morning, the best part of two working days having been spent on a scene which ended up on the cutting room floor.

Shot in the afternoon was the interior pub scene that follows on from the City Barge location shooting the previous Saturday, concluding with Ringo falling through a trap-door.

While on the "Pub" set, filming for a different purpose also took place: Peter Sellers arrived at Twickenham to present the Beatles with a prestigious Grammy Award (he called it a "Grandma Award") on behalf of the US National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, "A Hard Day's Night" having won the "Best Performance by a Vocal Group" category for 1964. In a brief though amusing (and certainly pre-arranged) item, John began speaking nonsense French, something like "Izza longois", the others joined in with singing a verse from "It's a long way to Tipperary".

The item was networked on US television by NBC on May 18th, 1965 in the Grammy Awards Program The Best On Record, and was followed in the show by a clip from "A Hard Day's Night", of "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You".

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 27, 1965 (Tuesday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

One of the most remarkable scenes in "HELP!" was that in which, heavily disguised, the Beatles are seen at an airport terminal (actually a film set, shot this day), prior to flying out to the Bahamas. It was remarkable because, as the years passed, three of the Beatles assumed his make-believe disguise in real life. With his long flowing beard and granny glasses, John was anticipating his summer-1969 look. Bewhiskered George looked this way again in Spring 1967 (Sgt. Pepper sleeve era) and Ringo's tight-cropped hair and thin beard was his mid-1970 image.

Also shot this day, preceding the imminent visit to Salisbury Plain, the Beatles filmed a scene with Ahme atop a tank turret.

Source: The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 26, 1965 (Monday)

In between filming today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 25, 1965 (Sunday)
The #1 song on the UK Singles Chart on April 25, 1965
The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 24, 1965 (Saturday)

City Barge, Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick, London

The Beatles went out on location this day, shooting the sequence that precedes the one in which Ringo is trapped in a cellar with a man-eating tiger (shot April 7th). They filmed in the tiny Chiswick hamlet of Strand-on-the-Green, walking down the narrow Post Office Alley and out onto the River Thames towpath. Then, as they realize their life is in danger (from marauding "thugs" dressed as bagpipe players), they seek shelter inside the City Barge public house (interior City Barge footage was shot on a set at Twickenham). They then re-emerged onto the towpath without Ringo (trapped in the cellar) by diving straight through the pub's glass window frontage.

John and Paul weren't needed after this filming. George and Ringo went elsewhere (not used in the finished film, and location not documented) to shoot a street and telephone-box scene, and then an additional item was filmed, without any of the Beatles, inside the food department at Harrods in Knightsbridge. (Again, not used in the finished film) There was no shooting on Monday, filming commencing again on Tuesday.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 23, 1965 (Friday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

More filming of the drama-school sequence with Frankie Howerd and Wendy Richard. Clang and Ahme joined the sequence this time.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 22, 1965 (Thursday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's, Twickenham

One of the first sequences in "Help!" has the Beatles performing the title song in what is supposed to be a television appearance (hence the black and white footage: British TV did not begin color transmissions until December 1967). It was also shown being projected onto a home-movie screen at which Clang, filmed in color, threw darts. The scene was shot this day at Twickenham.

The untouched B&W footage (that is, without McKern and his darts), as supplied to them by United Artists, was distributed to TV companies by NEMS to promote "Help!" when it was released as a single on July 23rd. BBC1's Top Of The Pops, for example, showed the clip in the programs on July 29th (7:30-8:00 pm) and August 19th (7:25-8:00 pm). (This latter edition also included UA-supplied movie footage of "Another Girl".) On commercial television, what has come to be known as "dartless" clip was included in the 200th edition of Thank Your Lucky Stars, this time titled Lucky Stars Anniversary Show, networked by ABC on Saturday, July 15th (5:50-6:30 pm), and on TWW's Discs A Gogo on Monday, July 26th.

Later in the day, the Beatles began shooting a long scene which did not make the finished print, in which they were joined by British comedian Frankie Howerd, playing the part of Sam Ahab, teacher of dramtic art, and - as Lady Macbeth, one of Ahab's pupils, - the then unknown actress Wendy Richard (later to play Miss Brahms in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? and more recently appearing as Pauline Fowler in the BBC soap EastEnders).