Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Strange Case Of The ROCKY HORROR “Superheroes” and “The Incredible HULK”

Google as of this (past) Friday and Saturday, and in honor of the 46th Anniversary of Gene Roddenberry's STAR TREK premiereSeptember 7,1966and presented us with an interactive "Google Doodle" that many, fan or not, had fun with putting the little icon caricatures though their flash animation paces.
While noodling around with them, they made me recall another celebration of STAR TREK fandom that I was present at, before a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away...On Labor Day Weekend 1976Saturday, was attending a STAR TREK ConventionThe Bi-Centennial 10so named after the 200th Anniversary of the United States, and the tenth year since STAR TREK first premiered on the NBC-TV network in the Fall of 1966, "in living color".
It was a wild affair, all sorts of young fans in their teens and twenties, from the serious to the ridiculous.
Stayed at the Statler-Hilton Hotel between 32nd 33rd Sts. on 7th Ave. directly across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, where in 1974 saw Bowie in his Diamond Dogs Tour on the 5th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong's historic landing on the Moon.
When I say "stayed", what I actually meant was more like "crashed" at various rooms there, sometimes along with another 30 to 50 people per suite, all over the carpeted floors, in the bathtub, everywhere, as we refused to pay the rip-off rates that were being charged by the hotel just because we were considered "crazy TREKkies" That and the fact that people were less likely to do as they're told by so-called authority figures or 'officialdom', this still being the footloose and fancy free culture of the mid-70's, still firmly grounded in the 1960's youthful faux 'rebellion' where not only did the buttons on 42nd & Times Sq. have "Question Authorityprinted on them but "Question Reality" as well.
Before the new Gilded-Age Gildersleeves"The Return of 1890" aka1980After going party-hopping to all the rooms of established and new found friends, it was getting late in the still young evening, about 10:00 pm EST in NYC, and didn't want another replay of Friday night's 
escapades, as enjoyable as it was, and a group of us started to discuss what to do.
Some suggested that we take in some action at some clubsbars, or discos in Midtown, others 
wanted to go to some of the grindhouse movie fare on 42nd, and still others were into more party-hopping.
Then someone, don't exactly remember who (me
?), suggested we go down to Greenwich Village
and hang out in Washington Square Park8th Street, etc., and luckily had a Village Voice at 
hand looking for activities, when the advert for "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" appearing across from the basketball courts and side walk artists on 6th Ave. & 4th, at The Waverly
"...I saw Leo G. Carroll, got over a barrel, when Tarantula took to the hills."
"Rocky Horror?", exclaimed a bud, "Like what's that?"
In response explained briefly that it was a live musical play that was out only years ago in late Summer of '74, and that it flopped, coming out just before the equally fated Brian De Palma "PHANTOM OF THE PARASIDEHalloween movie release, and missed both as had to choose between Bowie or ROCKY HORROR that Summer (don't recall exactly what reason made me miss PHANTOM that Samail season), and wasn't aware it was now a filmed musical. midnight show, something that had only seen in movies like the original 1958 "The Blob", so "Rocky Horror" it was for our Saturday night. 
Now here I'm going to cut to the chase, and avoid recounting my first "Rocky Horror experience", 
as this entry was entitled, "...Superheroes' and 'The Incredible Hulk'", my adventures (and misadventures) in "sweet Transsexual Transylvania" will be resumed in a later post. . .@ some future time. . .
On with the show.
"Superheroes", the final tune heard in both the British musical play THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and 
1975
's "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" film has more than just some similarities to the opening and closing themes of the American television series “The Incredible Hulk” (1978-1982) known as "The Lonely Man".

"Superheroes", ©1973 by Richard O' Brien, "The Lonely Man©1978 by Joe Harnell.
"Five years, stuck on my eyes; Five years, what a surprise..."
Plagiarismor is it just coincidence? Or it is "Memorex"?
To those who just came in, "Superheroes" was the swan-song in all the various incarnations of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW: appeared all throughout the initial 1973 London engagement, present in all stage performances without removal, then in '74 emigrated to 'The Roxy' in LAa smash hitthen to NYC’s “The Beautiful Belasco” theater off-Broadway—the aforementioned flopmade it into the 1975 movie redubbed “The Rocky Horror Picture Showinitially also a flop—then when “TRHPS” became midnight movie fare April 1976 in The Village at The Waverly 'twas also the standard, customary ending, as always.  


The way first experienced by me and others up to May 1977, last time I saw it theatrically before the edit. 
Just as the footage of Superheroes was edited out of the U.S. release in 1978
so YouTube saw fit not to allow same to be viewed on your device in 2012
C'mon what gives?
Okay so now three years later since, and 40 years after theatrical release - it's back!
Super-heroes, the genre, seemed to be on a roll, as all the American television networks had shows already 
on the air, or soon additional programming devised for the science fictionfantasy, and horror hungry. In other genre news: Steve Gerber's HOWARD THE DUCK featured on the cover of The Village Voice X~Mas week, on the newsstand just outside the Waverly in the green plywood kiosk just before walking down the stairs to the the subway. In April 1977, the pilot episode of The Amazing Spider-Man television series was released by Columbia, all part of that memorable Summer to come while STAR WARS had several unbelievable NYC blocks-long lines, daily, setting records in cinematic history; newcomer Christopher Reeve started first day of shooting “SUPERMAN THE MOVIE” in Manhattan, cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth plugging the lighting rig into a convenient streetlamp receptacle and a power failure plunging millions into darkness almost immediately as if on cue.  
“Face Front True Believers!” 

November 4, 1977, 5 months later, was also the night the two-hour pilot for THE INCREDIBLE HULK was aired on the CBS-TV network, former light comedy star Bill Bixby (MY FAVORITE MARTIAN, THE MAGICIAN) assumed the role “Dr. David Bruce Banner” who transmogrifies into "The Hulk" (Lou Ferrigno), due to an overdose of gamma-ray radiation in an experiment gone awry.

You know the rest.

Only two episodes of THE INCREDIBLE HULK were aired that year, the second one dovetailing with

Columbia Pictures' and EMI ("home of The Beatles") release of Steven Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KINDthe next of the big-budget science-fiction extravaganza event movies after the spectacular 

STAR WARS.

TV's  H U L K on hiatus. Meanwhile, long-running midnight showings of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on Friday and Saturday nights at The Waverly, ceased supposedly due to "continued neighborhood harassment" in January 1978relocating from after a house record ninety-five weeks to the 8th Street Playhouseright next to Electric Ladyland Studios, with Superheroes” MIA as it was mysteriously cut from ALL American prints.

The excuse used was that U.S. audiences found the original song and ending "too depressing", or it had to be “shortened for running time”, though it remains unclear how an edit of 5:40 minutes would affect the showing of the film’s box-office receipts as it was a midnight show, proverbial last picture show for the business day.

That's the 'official' story.

So all that remained of the number was one really badly executed jump-cut of a disheveled Brad Majors, Janet Weiss, Dr. Everett (Von) Scott, crawling through the muck and smoke, and the Criminologist's verse, “…lost in time…and lost in space—and meaning.”

THE END



Curiously the original "Superheroes" ending was left intact in all the prints in the U.K.Italy, Australia, Japan, West GermanySpain, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, etc., etc.



Altered only in the United States.



Did all these other countries have less "depressed" patrons, who could bear to listen anwatch an additional 5:40 minutes of content integral to THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW experience, while we "uniquely American" Americans in our great republic can't?

What do YOU suppose really happened?

From what I can tell you as a first-hand participant in the seminal stage of that (then) soon-to-be pop culture phenomenon, performing my “duel duet” with another unseen fan undercover in the darkness, and my piecing together the facts pertinent, it was an either an incredible coincidence or a confluence of events.

Whether by accident or design, in either case, quite interesting.
The new prints of the film, from what I can gather, were struck on or about February 1978and curiously enough the “Superheroes” was gone from not just the 8th Street Playhouse prints, but in all of the small urban revival houses, suburban shopping malls, and the local small-town theaters.
 TRHPS was playing on weekend midnights in 20-odd suburban theaters in the New York region alone.
When THE INCREDIBLE HULK shortly after returned as a regularly scheduled CBS television series on March 10, 1978the music was notably changed, “The Lonely Man Theme” by Joe Harnell incorporated now as the theme and leitmotif of the show, played in different styles and tempos to fit the episode content.
 
Summer 1979:

20th Century-Fox had approximately two hundred prints of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW in circulation for midnight shows around the countryno sign or trace of "Superheroes". 
As a seasoned RHPS fan, had already my bootlegged βetamax copy of the movie that I scored at 
another convention (for $75.00!) and could watch "Rocky Horrorwhenever the mood stuck me, at breakfast, 
lunchtime, anytime, in any state of consciousness, just 2 blocks from the State Theater on Kennedy Boulevard(right next door to the A&P) also showing TRHPSand mine version had “Superheroes”.

The time window for these 'transitions' are made even more curious when you dig a little deeper 

and discover that another Marvel character, “The Amazing Spider-Man” on a 1978 episode 

remarks to one of the baddies, "You look like a reject from the Rocky Horror Picture Show!"

So then WHY was the established song “Superheroes” removed, yet the newer composition 

The Lonely Man” remain?

Shouldn’t it have been visa versa?

It would be similar to as if The Shirelles’ hit “He’s So Fine” being fated for Winston Smith's 

memory hole, whilst George HarrisonsMy Sweet Lord” would’ve replaced it.

On the contrary, Beatle Harrison had to settle out of court and pay royalties whenever My Sweet Lord” was played on the radio or sold as part of his  “All Things Must Pass” album.
No such agreement made between Richard O’Brien and Joe Harnell exists, or if there was
one hasn't been made public, either then or now, as far as I know.


Perhaps Dear Reader you know different?



Here's an idea: 

In the late 70's the home video industry was still in an infant stage, and unless one had βetamax or (gasp!) VHS, pickings were slim as pre-recorded product simply hardly existed.
When it did take off in the early 1980’s, 1982 to be precise, 20th Century Fox Video (formerly Magnetic Video Corporation) and CBS Video Enterprises merged in a 50-50 split.
Could this have been the reason, or one of them, for the “Superheroes”/"The Lonely Man” anomalies, it's a fact that when THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW finally debuted on home video it was on the CBS-Fox label?

Up until then only other way you could hear “Superheroes” as it was in the film, 
was as an import LP or cassette from Jem Records in South Plainfield NJ “The Original Soundtrack from the Original Movie Marketed & Distributed by Pacific Records PLC – U.K1975 Ode Records OSV-21653”


There was a “20th Anniversary Special Edition” boxed set release of  “TRHPS” with outtakes and alternate titles on LaserDisc in 1995, yet “Superheroesdidn't readily see the light, at the Frankenstein place or of day, for most until 1998 on VHS, 23 years later, and then only as a deleted scene addendum.

And of course now DvD and Blu-Ray, but WHY so late?

This begs explanation, as it certainly wasn’t the 1st time that U.S. and U.K. audiences and consumers

had different rationales given by media purveyors for abridged or truncated releases of supposedly 

the same audio (or visual) product (or performance), and seemingly based more on corporate boardroom decisions, commercial rather than any artistic.
Could it be that the 'intellectual copyright' weasels erroneously believed that no one would even notice?

Summertime, Surf's Up: Weird-Ohs vs. Rat Fink U.S.A.




Tuesday, 5 June 2012

"We're ALL Shirley Temple, Beatles, and the Wizard Of Oz..."

Before The Wizard Of Oz was filmed, the cast assembled to have been much different than the one that was finalized (this may be old news for some but be patient), W.C. Fields as the title character, Buddy Ebsen the Tin Woodsman, and in a wickedly clever bit of casting as The Witch, Gale (Sondergaard) attacking (Dorothy) Gale, played by the dimpled curly-top herself: 

Shirley Temple. 
In fact, in an interview a year earlier, the little moppet hinted as such when she said with little or no uncertainty, "There's no place like home!" 


But of course that version wasn't made here, at least not in this space/time continuum, though other alternative universes can't be ruled out, at least that's what my theoretician friends inform me.
She stopped performing at age 21, and married John Agar-Agar,star of B-movies as "Tarantula" and "Attack Of The Puppet People", but his boozing and womanizing ended their marriage in an ugly tabloid-press "Hollywood Confidential" style divorce.

"The Brain From Planet Arous" payback for his infidelity.
Later she became a supporter of the Republican Party, even ran for office.
Additionally to that illustrious political and diplomatic career, she was a Beatles fan, had 
 a photograph taken with her daughter, Lori "The Lorax" Black, and the Fabtastic Four.

("Ringo" formerly of Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, turns into a tornado at the crossroads, scene looks...familiar)
The Beatles and their management certainly had a lasting impression of her as later on
she appears on the "Sgt. Pepper'sLP cover, not once, twice, but 3 times
along with "Number 6", W. C. Fields:

 6. W. C. Fields (Curmudgeon)
58. Shirley Temple (Child Actress) 
                         71. Shirley Temple (Child Actress)                                                  73. Cloth Figure of Shirley Temple (Child Actress) 


With all the attention given by 
Beatles aficionados since the June 
1967 release of
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", to all sorts of observations and theories, it surprises me that no one seemed to have found a connection to Oz as Judy Garland'original starring role would nave been Shirley's, and upon closer inspection there seemed to be none, however...



"Magical Mystery Tour", the follow-up to "Sgt. Pepper's" has the legend:
"Away in the sky, beyond the clouds, live four or five magicians..."
and “Beyond the blue horizon, far above the clouds, in a land that no one knows, live four or five magicians who spend their days casting wonderful spells.  Come with me now into that secret place where the eyes of man have never set foot.” 
Somewhere over the rainbow, eh?

For those who just came in, the lettering font of the album's title, as well as the sign on the side of the Beatles ersatz 'merry pranksters' bus is rendered in rainbow colours
(always loved the Brit spelling), and this is even utilized as the animated segues between the apparently disconnected vignettes in the film.


What's another word (or words) synonymous with "magicians"?

"Magician" could be anything from witch to wizard, which the merry old land of Oz certainly had both in abundance, along with a "couple of la-de-dahs".
As the "magicians" the Beatles and Mal Evans wear pointed wizard caps.

Paul, also "the fool on the hill with his head in the clouds", has a nose  exactly like  
the 
Scarecrow of Oz.

He hasn't a brain (?) or is more akin to Stan Laurel, just playing "the Fool",
as in "A Chump At Oxford" (with co-star and sometime Dr. Frankenstein,
Peter Cushing), and as you know he too, along with partner Oliver Hardy, is on
"Sgt. Pepper's", numbers "28" and "30".

There's even a short scene, blink and you'll miss it, of someone observing the Magical Mystery Tour bus, hidden, obscured by trees as the Wicked Witch was in the forest on Oz, as it wends its way through the English countryside on its journey down the road,
just after the
Lennon v.o.: "The magic begins to work."

Later, John Lennon's voice-over narration, "Beyond the blue horizon...", is placed just at the tail-end of their "Flying" sequence, one or the few songs that had authorship attributed to all or the four Beatles, "Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starkey", the lyrics of which being the mantra-like "La-la-la-la-la" not too far removed from the aforementioned "couple of la-de-dahs", and with visuals of the Scottish Hebrides mountains, as strangely colored alien landscape footage, outtakes from the cutting room floor that Stanley Kubrick didn't use in 1968's "2OO1a space odyssey", which they somehow acquired.
(possible hint: Moon-Watcher?)
Funny thing too is Lennon's quoting the Ames Brothers 1950's pop song, "Beyond The Blue Horizon", a song that was a moderate hit for them, and on their sci-fi themed 
"Destination Moon" LP, which was named after the 1950 George Pal-Robert Heinlein-Irving Pichel production, the "2OO1" of it's time.
"...you will be the Ames Brothers, spelled with an 'A'."

Back to the story.

The U.S. LP included a 28 page glossy stock booklet, which tells the story of the as yet unseen in the States BBC-TV special, as well as adding more than a few enigmatic pictures and text of the inexplicable.

The centrefold has the four Beatles playing what looks like the "I Am The Walrus" scene in the film, and frankly they look stoned, but for years much ado was made over the picture showing Paul McCartney not wearing his shoes, and what seems like Heinz 57 ketchup or red blood splattered over them.
McCartney gets shrunk by a Brainiac's shrinking-ray, and the Indian Thugee cult that attempts to sacrifice Ringo splashes red paint all over the place in order to clearly 
mark the intended victim, and some of it gets on Paul's shoe while he's doing the incredible shrinking man bit.

That solves that "P.I.D." urban myth, and should have done so ages ago.

Now Ringo's drum-head however is a different story, as the same or like-minded dunderheads point out that The Beatles for some reason decided to use it for another 
ominous 'clue', the '3' in the lower right hand corner implying that there are only 3 Beatles, or some such nonsense.

There were always 3 Beatles, strictly speaking, Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison
the originals, their partnership going back to 1957, Richard "Ringo Starr" Starkey being hired in 1962 to replace Pete Best.

The WOR 710 AM radio personality and Playboy contributor Jean Sheppard observed in his February 1965 interview that the 3 original Beatles were together and 'in' on jokes between them, but Ringo seemed to be an outsider.

What is missing in all these speculations of course is that most of today's readers (and writers) are unaware that the pop version of the Harold Arlen & "Yip" Harburg tune "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" was a BIG U.S. national/international hit for The Fifth Estate which reached #11, 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and recorded and released with great success around the world in five different languages (Japanese, Italian, French, German and English), released in the Summer of LOVE, July 11967, 
exactly one month after "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band": 

As was the custom in the mid-to-late 60's of combining baroque and classical pieces and/or instrumentation in pop music for that 'happening sound', ala Procol Harum's utilization of J.S. Bach for "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" (at that time Lennon's fave), or any of the other Art-Rock progressive groups of the time as The Moody Blues, The Fifth Estate (and their management) decided to embellish the basic "Oz" tune by bridging an instrumental march with a flute solo based on Dances From Terpsichore - La Bouree by Michael Praetorius (15711621) composed in 1612.
  Since The Beatles (and their management) were acutely aware of pop culture music trends, Brian Epstein, then also The Beatles manager "almost" signed them, it wouldn't be a far stretch to suggest that since their earlier acquaintance with Mrs. Black nee Temple, and now the Oz inspired chart-topper, there would be further L. Frank Baum/Mervyn LeRoy allusions on their albums and movies.

Production of
Magical Mystery Tour TV film began on September 11, 1967, which just about fits the tail-end time-frame of 10 weeks that 
"Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead"
 peaked on the U.S. pop-music chart.

Years before, a version of the tune had utilized for The Goon Show, starring Peter Sellers, the program which heavily influenced the production of The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and Monty Python's Flying Circus.
In The Goon Show it was used as the main closing theme tune, and was played live onstage for almost every episode by the Wally Stott Orchestra.

For over forty years, it has been the highest charting version of all time of any Harold Arlen or Wizard Of Oz song by any artist since the modern chart era began in 1940, and later ex-Beatle George Harrison also curiously enough had a song with title, "Ding Dong, Ding Dong", released December 6, 1974 on Apple Records.

Frank Sinatra, who was "Rosemary's baby", married to Mia Farrow at that time, earlier formed his own record label, Reprise Records, after splitting from Alan Livingston's Capitol Records in 1961
, and the first album released entitled,
Ring-a-Ding-Ding!
 


Hell, even
The Monkees covered The Fifth Estate's version of "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" on episode #58 of their TV shoe in 1968 entitled, "The Frodis Caper".
So it wasn't exactly a throwaway novelty
45 r.p.m. song. 
So then the "3" on the lower right hand corner is not only "3 Beatles" but 3 Shirley Temple(s), the original chosen Dorothy, especially so as the yellow spiral in the "LOVE" on the drum-head appears to be a crude hand-rendered representation of the Yellow Brick Road as seen in the finished 1939 film.  
Certain that the photographer in that Shirley Temple lolly-pop photo shoot below went absolutely NUTS trying to locate a lolly with a perfect spiral, to 'foreshadow' both
 "
Lolly-Pop Guild" song and the following tune "Follow The Yellow Brick Road".
No matter, it never happened.Instead Miss Temple was in "The Blue-Bird"*,
20th Century Fox' attempt at doing an "Oz" of their own, with some of the unused
"
Oz" cast, most notably Wicked Witch ne'er been Gale Sondergaard as The Cat.

The girl I was crazy for in 
1972 was home sick one day so then decided to visit her and watch "The Blue-Bird" on her console color TV, and she was all crying and weepy o'er it, and I felt powerless to react in any way, except to hold her hand however briefly.

That's the first time ever saw or heard of "
The Blue-Bird".

The problem with "
Blue-Bird" is that there are no song-and-dance numbers comparable to any of the ones in "Oz", except for one that Shirley performs, passable, but not up to the standard of the much better M-G-M confection.

Amusing bit of business in the 1968 Beatletoon "Yellow Submarine" near the end when chief blue bunny-eared Meanie mentions "The Blue-Bird Of Happiness"

"I'll have you know that my cousin is 'The Blue-Bird of Happiness!"
(and those are the last words uttered by any character in the Yellow Submarine cartoon, 
its origin and purpose, still a total mystery...) 
as parallels between "Yellow Submarine" and "The Wizard Of Oz" are there,
but none at all with
Shirley Temple'film.
 

Except for that call-out.
 
An Interesting inverse parallel between the 1939 "The Wizard Of Oz" and the 1968 "Yellow Submarine" in that the arrival of a giant pink soap bubble heralds the coming of former mistress to Mark Twain, Billie Burke, as Glinda the Go(o)d Witch who sings, "Come out, come out wherever you are, and meet the young lady who fell from a star..." , while the silencing of Sgt. Pepper's Band happens after they become trapped inside an impenetrable similar sphere, blue amber as it were.

Noted animation and comic-strip historian Brendan Spillane made a viable connection between "Yellow Submarine" and "The Wizard OOz" which is rock solid, unlike my  crazy musings, and you can read his take on The Beatles 'toon and Oz @http://cartoonoveranalyzations.com/2009/08/06/in-the-merry-old-land-of-pepper/ 

The 'stars' of MMT, as listed in the credits, are not The Beatles but Vivian Stanshall
and his Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band who perform the final number "Death Cab For Cutie", with a gyrating, disrobing, dancer on loan from one of the London strip clubs, as Viv does his Elvis send-up.

"Bonzo" was also the simian star of two films with hairless ape straight-men that were supposedly comedy. 

Lest we forget the drug-culture references, 
Margaret Hamilton as the Witch has all the living organic beings DorothyToto, and the Cowardly Lion succumb to her remote control manipulations via crystal ball of "Poppies...poppies will put them to sleep"the non-living and non-organic Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman immune (except for rusting) and all seems lost until Mark Twain's mistress, Billie Burke, as Glinda intervenes with her own homespun remedy of snow.

The usage of these, poppies to impede the heroes' journey off to see the 
Wizard
snow as the antidote, by two powerful opposing forces representing opiates, heroin, and cocaine, are not coincidental, as the very name of the Wizard's land, Oz, and the emerald green color, symbolize marijuana and its usage, clever hidden messages that The Beatles (and their management) definitely appreciated, indeed the LPs from Sgt. Pepper's onward would be loaded with such clever allegory.

What about the girl in that 
Beatles picture, Shirley's daughter Lori "The LoraxBlack
Well after her art-school education she became a kick-ass bass guitarist for several Bay-area bands, relocated from Frisco to Washington (the state), and in and around 1987 joined the sludge metal band Melvins, played on their albums including one entitled..."Ozma".   
I doubt that the choice of that title was 'coincidental'.

Hmmm...come to think of it, had there have been a sequel of "The Wizard Of Oz", fr'instance "Ozma Of Oz" ("OOO"), Judy G. could still have been a slightly older D.Shirley T. definitely a Princess O., in reverse to their ages and hair color.

That didn't happen either.



(Magical Mystery Tour Fancy Dress Ball Card)  
The Magical Mystery Tour film premiered at a special invitation-only costume ball, 
December 211967, all the The Beatles and their wives were in attendance, as well as the truly "in" (and their hangers-on) at the hippest happening, among them diminutive singer Lulu who chided Lennon for the treatment of then wife Cynthia, the head Beatle dancing lasciviously with Patti Harrison, the "To Sir With Love" singer shaking her lollipop in shame at him. 

Lulu was costumed as (rimshot please): "Shirley Temple".

The film was aired on 
Boxing Day in the U.K., almost unanimously reviled by the professional critics and those didn't like The Beatles anyway, and to further add injury to insult the BBC aired the colour film in black & white, as regularly scheduled colour broadcasts were some couple of years yet to be, so the gloating for this "failure" after the unprecedented success of "Sgt. Pepper's" was an occasion for celebration.
If David Sarnoff's NBC were the B B C  then would it have been,
"
Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Colour"
?

It wasn't seen at all here until the 1970's, and then only on either college campuses or 
art-film revival houses, bundled together with midnight show fare, usually shown with other cultish films by John Waters (whose Pink Flamingos had it's very own
"
Mr. Eggman") and future TM proponent (and Beatle colleague) David Lynch's Eraserhead:
(Notice 'Yellow Submarine' replaced by 'The Wizard Of Oz'?)
but I'm getting a little ahead of the story here.

Americans were mostly unaware of Magical Mystery Tour, except for the already mentioned gatefold-sleeve LP of all the song-track used in the film on Side A, and to fill the flip-side singles were hastily and haphazardly arranged without concern for quality as the dreaded "fake stereo" 
duophonic processed versions were utilized by stateside Capitol Records' engineers for some of the songs, most notably "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love".

The single, "
Hello Goodbye" which was released both as a 45 r.p.m. and on the MMT album was number one, for 7 weeks beginning late November (27th) to December, including X-Mas 1967, however as it was knocked out of that spot in mid January (20-27) 1968 by a novelty/parody song, John Fred & The Playboys,
"
Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)":

Dig ol' Fred's yellow shirt & LOVE beads!
Hmmm...to which "Judy" is John referring to...and why is she disguised, and as whom,
with glasses
N N?
Naw, it couldn't be...would you believe...Agnes English?The Beatles inspired faux LSD meets "blue-eyed Soul" song was replaced on the pop charts by the equally imitative (in theme if not in execution) one-hit wonder tune
"
Green Tambourine" by the studio band The Lemmon (sic) Pipers, "coincidentally"
also named 
Fred and Johnjust like the father and son, and also the names of the characters in the song by Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde, "Rest In Peace" from their
"
Of Cabbages And Kings" LP, unfairly viewed as a "Sgt. Pepper's" wanna-Beatles album, even though it was begun months before, September 1966 in fact, and probably influenced The Stones LP cover too.
(note Chad & Jeremy's attire, and The Walrus peering out from behind the "C"wizard Jagger's peaked cap 'coincidentally' has both
a Donovan and Warhol
reference"I'm going to make a banana appear this time", "Cookie Jar Toons/The World Of Richard Scarry - Busytown" sync 11:35 am EST, and Hilda Hippo remarks on a yellow crescent moon facing in the same direction 11:55 am EST,
on
NYC's WPIX-11.3July 14, 2012, as I type this revision)

"Of Cabbages And Kings" taken from Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland", which influenced not only Chad & Jeremy in the choice of the album title's name, but also Lennon's later "I Am The Walrus" song (which that aforementioned little girl told me about, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away), Donovan Leitch whose "H. M. S. Donovan" sets the entire poem to song, and way before ALL these in the early 1900's, L. Frank Baum's own phantasmagorical 
"The Wizard Of Oz". 
 "Where trouble melts like lemon dropsHigh above the chimney tops that's where you'll find me..." 
The mind boggles.

"...and you can put that in your smoke and pipe it"
   
as Old Mother Riley once observed in a Bela Lugosi flick.

By the way, what rhymes with
"Green Tambourine"?
  
*P.S. - while updating this piece for today (June 142012) as usual have the TV on in the background, at 10:01 am EST on WCBS-TV (Channel 2 in the NYC/Tri-State area) the game-show "Let's Make A Deal" hosted by Wayne Brady, very first contestant, a young lady wearing blue feathers was picked out from the studio audience by him to participate, and after asking her what she was supposed to have been costumed as she excitedly exclaims: "I'm a bluebird!"She won a 2012 model Kia.