Thursday, January 29, 2009

Decided To Go On

by Mal and Neil

It goes without saying that Brian's death caused confusion of thought amongst all of us. At first the majority agreed that it would be best to take a good long break, accept Maharishi's invitation to spend two or three months with him in India and shelve all other plans until afterwards. BUT, as the days went by, everyone began to realise that it made much more sense to go ahead with "Magical Mystery Tour" and take a break AFTER the production was completed.

On Friday September 1 there was a general conference and get-together at Paul's house. While everyone added ideas, Paul sat at his typewriter and with one over-worked finger put down a list headed "Main Points". Underneath he put: "Coach Tour (Three Days) with people on board. Week beginning Sept. 4--Cameraman, Sound, Cast, Driver. Hotels to be arranged for 2 nights. "Magical Mystery Tour" Emblem to be designed. Yellow coach to be hired (Sept 4 to Sept 9). Microphone system in coach. Must be good all-round vision. Tour "staff"--Driver, Courier, Hostess. Three staff uniforms required. Coach destination--Cornwall??? After coach--Shepperton Studios (One Week)."

On another sheet he typed out a sequence of arrangements to be made: "Write outline script. Decide cast. Engage cast. Decide when shooting starts. Sets for studios. Fix completion date."

In fact shooting could not start until Monday September 11, a week later than Paul's proposed starting date for the coach. Even then we had one of the most hectic weeks of our lives preparing everything in time! The coach tour took five days to film (in Devon and Cornwall) and it was far too late to book space at Shepperton Film Studios for the following seven days. So we hired a couple of disused aircraft hangars at West Malling R.A.F. station just outside Maidstone in Kent.

By September 11 when we all set off by bus for Cornwall, The Beatles had a big sheaf of papers filled with outline scripts to describe the scenes they wanted to film. In total there were 43 people on the big yellow and blue bus. This included a full technical crew (camera and sound men). The rest? Most of them were cast as 'ordinary passengers', a cross-section of types you'd find on any average Mystery Tour bus. We had an elderly couple, a mother and her little daughter named Nicola, a bunch of teenage girls (including Freda Kelly and three Fan Club Area Secretaries) and other assorted people. In addition we had the key characters--played by actors, actresses and so forth. The part of the Courier went to Derek Royle, the Tour Hostess was played by Mandy Weet, Scottish comedian Ivor Cutler was a strange bloke who THOUGHT he was the Tour Courier, actress Jessie Robins was Ringo's Auntie Jessie, Maggie Wright was cast as Paul's friend "Maggie, The Lovely Starlet", Little George Claydon was the Amateur Photographer and veteran music hall comic Nat Jackley was Happy Nat the Rubber Man. Who is missing? Well, Alf Manders the bus driver played HIMSELF and so did Shirley Evans who is a professional accordion player.

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