Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Beatles high on the set of Help!

Buddy McGregor: "The next scene to be filmed was where the guys lean out of the window and a fellow in a Buckingham Palace uniform, carrying a gun or a hose, goes by. Their dialogue was to read something like, 'Where are you going? What are you doing down there?' But, they could not get the line out. They would break up and giggle and whack each other with their elbows. There were about thirty takes for this little scene and they just could not get it done. So, the director decided, 'That's enough. We've been at this since very early this morning,' so he called a halt to the day. Frankly, the Beatles were just too high to continue shooting."

Friday, August 13, 2010

George Harrison on Celebrity, Buses and Posh Cars

Q: Do you miss going for a bus ride like any other normal person?

"The answer's no! What? Get some dirty old man breathing down your neck. Anyway, you can never get on buses when you want to. I used to stand in bus queues and think how great it would be to have a car, especially when they put the chain across the bus and the conductor says, 'Sorry - Full!' I never liked buses and I hate them now, because they get in the way of my posh car."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

John Lennon on his first acid trip

"A dentist in London laid it on George, me and the wives, without telling us, at a dinner party at his house. He was a friend of George's and our dentist at the time . . .

"He said, 'I advise you not to leave.' We all thought he was trying to keep us for an orgy in the house, and we didn't want to know.

"It was insane going around London on it. When we got to the club, we thought it was on fire and then we thought it was a premiere, but it was just an ordinary light outside. We thought, 'Shit! What's going on here?' We were cracking in the streets.

"We all thought there was a fire in the lift, but there was just a little red light. We were all screaming and we were all hot and hysterical. We all arrived on the floor, because this was a discotheque that was up a building and the lift stops, and the door opens. We just see that it's a club and we walk in, sit down and the tables start elongating. Some singer comes up to me and says, 'Can I sit next to you?' and I said, 'Only if you don't talk,' because I couldn't think.

"George somehow or other managed to drive us home in his Mini. We were going about ten miles an hour, but it seemed like a thousand. Pattie was saying, 'Let's jump out and play football.' I was getting all these sort of hysterical jokes coming out, like speed, because I was always on that too. George kept saying, 'Don't make me laugh, oh God!'

"God, it was terrifying, but it was fantastic. George's house seemed to be just like a big submarine. I was driving it, they all went to bed, I was carrying on in it, it seemed to float above his wall, which was eighteen foot, and I was driving it. I did some drawings at the time, of four faces saying, 'We all agree with you.' I was pretty stunned for a month or two."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Maureen Cleave on the "More Popular Than Jesus" Controversy

"I was astonished that John Lennon's quotation was taken out of context from my article and misinterpreted in that way. I don't think for one moment that he intended to be flippant or irreverent, and he certainly wasn't comparing the Beatles to Jesus Christ. He was simply observing that, to many, the Beatles were better known. He was deploring, rather than approving this. Sectors of the American public were given the wrong impression, and it was totally absurd."

Monday, August 09, 2010

John Lennon on "Revolution 9"

"'Revolution 9' was an unconscious picture of what I actually think will happen when it happens. That was just like a drawing of revolution. Because arbitrarily, I was making . . . all the thing was made with loops. I had about thirty loops going, I fed them onto one basic track. I was getting Beethoven and I'd go upstairs, chopping it up and making it backwards and things like that to get sound effects. And one thing was an engineer's testing [tape], where they'd come on talking and say, 'This is EMI test series number nine.' So I just cut up whatever he said, and I had 'number nine.' 'Nine' is--I don't know, it turned out to be my birthday and me lucky number and everything, but I didn't realise it. It was just so funny, the voice went, 'number nine.' It was like a joke, bringing 'number nine' in all the time. That's all it was."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Time Bandits

Time Bandits is a 1981 fantasy film, produced and directed by Terry Gilliam.

Gilliam wrote the screenplay with fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin, who appears with Shelley Duvall in the small, recurring roles of Vincent and Pansy. The film is one of the most famous of more than 30 theatrical features produced by Handmade Films, the London-based independent company backed in part by former Beatle George Harrison.

Gilliam would work with many of this film's cast again in 1985's Brazil, including Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughan, Katherine Helmond, Michael Palin and Jack Purvis.


Kevin is an 11-year-old boy whose parents ignore him in favor of keeping up with the neighbors by purchasing all the latest gadgets. Without their attention, Kevin has become a history buff, particularly of the Ancient Greek period. One night, Kevin is awakened from his sleep by a knight on horseback bursting through his wardrobe and riding off into a forest that has appeared in place of his bedroom wall. When Kevin investigates, he finds nothing amiss in his room. The next night, he is again woken by sounds from the wardrobe, but this time six dwarfs stumble out. The dwarfs discover that the bedroom wall can be moved, and as they push it along down a long hallway, a large floating head shows up and starts to chase them. Kevin escapes with the dwarfs, and as the hallway ends, they fall into the blackness of space.

Kevin learns that the dwarfs are employees of the Supreme Being, the floating head that chased them; their regular job is creating small bushes and trees. They have stolen the map of space and time which they are using to travel through time and steal treasures from across history. They are also being watched by a malevolent character called Evil, who seeks the map for himself to recreate the universe to his liking. They all travel through several time periods, meeting Napoleon Bonaparte and Robin Hood. Kevin becomes separated from the group and ends up in Ancient Greece, where he meets Agamemnon, who treats Kevin like his son. However, the dwarves catch up with Kevin and drag him away through another time hole. Kevin becomes angry with them for ruining his happy respite.

The dwarfs then make their way to Evil's Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, believing an epic treasure, "The Most Fabulous Object in the World," awaits inside. However, the treasure turns out to be a trap set by Evil, and the dwarfs are forced to hand over the map. Trapped in a cage hanging over a bottomless void, the group is able to use a photograph of the map Kevin had taken earlier to identify holes they can use to recruit help and recover the map. The dwarfs make an escape and put their plan into action, bringing soldiers and equipment from across time to face down Evil, but Evil is able to conquer them all. As Evil is about to unleash his ultimate power, he is suddenly turned to cinder by The Supreme Being, now appearing as an elderly gentleman. The dwarfs apologize to the Supreme Being, who acknowledges that it was all part of his plan and thanks the dwarfs for returning the map. He orders them to remove all of the "concentrated Evil" from the area. Kevin is left behind as the Supreme Being disappears with the dwarfs. Kevin finds that a piece of Evil has been left, and his vision goes dim as the smoke emanating from the chunk of black rock overwhelms him.

Kevin wakes up in his own room which is filled with smoke as the house is on fire. A firefighter breaks in and rescues him. The firefighters find that a toaster oven was the source of the fire, and hand the unit over to Kevin's parents. Kevin, upon seeing a fireman that resembles Agamemnon, discovers the photographs of his travels still in his satchel. When his parents open the toaster oven to reveal a piece of concentrated Evil, Kevin warns them not to touch it, but they do anyway and promptly explode, leaving Kevin alone.


As discussed in a DVD interview with Palin and Gilliam, the film came out in the fall season (after the blockbuster summer films, but before the hit Christmas season) and became extremely successful at the U.S. box office, making over $40 million. Critical reception since it came out in theaters has been positive overall, and it still enjoys a good reputation on DVD, having gained a 94% at Rotten Tomatoes.


Robert Hewison, in his book Monty Python: The Case Against, describes the dwarfs as a comment on the Monty Python troupe, with Fidget (the nice one) as Palin, Randall (the self-appointed leader) as John Cleese, Strutter (the acerbic one) as Eric Idle, Og (the quiet one) as Graham Chapman, Wally (the noisy rebel) as Terry Jones and Vermin (the nasty, filth-loving one) as Gilliam himself.


* Craig Warnock as Kevin
* David Rappaport as Randall
* Kenny Baker as Fidgit
* Malcolm Dixon as Strutter
* Mike Edmonds as Og
* Jack Purvis as Wally
* Tiny Ross as Vermin
* David Warner as Evil
* Derek Deadman as Robert
* Jerold Wells as Benson
* Michael Palin as Vincent
* Shelley Duvall as Pansy
* John Cleese as Robin Hood
* Sean Connery as King Agamemnon/Fireman
* Katherine Helmond as Mrs. Ogre
* Ian Holm as Napoleon
* Ralph Richardson as Supreme Being
* Peter Vaughan as Winston the Ogre
* David Daker as Kevin's Father
* Sheila Fearn as Kevin's Mother
* Jim Broadbent as Compere
* Tony Jay as Voice of the Supreme Being
* Terence Bayler as Lucien
* Preston Lockwood as Neguy
* Derrick O'Connor as Redgrave
* Neil McCarthy as Marion