Animation director Chuck Braverman won an Oscar in 1974 for his 14-minute animated history of the Beatles and their preeminent place in the turbulent decade of the 1960s. It’s a celebration of Beatlemania that is moving, amazing and inspiring.
I saw this three times when I was a kid. It used to come around once a year in the mid-70s as part of a weekend matinee movie “roadshow” that was four hours of Beatles films for $4. Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles at Shea Stadium and Japan ‘66 were some of the others I recall seeing, but the clear highlight of the show each time was Braverman’s Condensed Cream of the Beatles, which used footage of the group combined with flashy pop art photo-montage animation. Trust me, this was a pretty astonishing thing to see at the time. Produced by Apple (who else could have gotten all the rights to this material?) and Braverman Productions, it also aired on TV one time on Geraldo Rivera’s late night ABC program Good Night America (where the “Zapruder Film” was first seen on television in 1975).
It’s a seriously cool film, but for whatever reason, it’s practically disappeared off the face of the earth. One of the few places you can actually still get a 16mm print of the film is at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD. (They’ve got quite a few cool things in their collection)
A minor footnote to this film’s history is that it was picked apart for clues to the whole dumb “Paul is Dead” theory at the time. Braverman also made the opening montage to the dystopian sci-fi cult favorite, Soylent Green.
It’s a pity that the only version I could find of this marvelous little Oscar-winning film is so washed-out looking, but it’s the best one that I could find, so be grateful for small miracles. You’ll have to mentally “restore” it in your mind as you watch. Do watch it full screen as well, there’s a lot going on.
If anyone has a good quality version, please share it with the rest of us!
UPDATE: There is a much better version of this, in two parts, here and here. This is the transmission of the Good Night America Beatles tribute that Geraldo did.
Redditor burt_flaxton posted the above photo and said, “Friend’s father died—they found these after. He must have handed them out to the womens at bars.” Apparently these joke buisness cards were passed around in the 60s and 70s for a laugh.
They all seem to promise “revolution” and arms smuggling. One saucy detail I noticed that all three of these cards have in common: orgies.
These two clips from 1967 episodes of teen dance show Shebang!, hosted by Casey Kasem, are candy-colored time capsules featuring some ultra-cool Sixties artifacts, an era when even writing utensils were on acid.
Ops n’ Pops psychedelic ballpoint pens, a Vox amp,Super Meteor guitar, Radiocorder and Honda mopeds!
Kasem talks to proto-hipster/radio deejay Dick Moreland about his trip to the Monterey Pop Festival.
The Shebang! Dancers get their groove on to The Seeds’ “A Thousand Shadows.”
Yet another reason why I love the City of… Angels(!) so very, very much…
MOCA presents Kenneth Anger: ICONS, a showcase of the films, archives, and vision of one of the most original filmmakers of American cinema, on view at MOCA Grand Avenue from November 13, 2011, through February 27, 2012. A defining presence of underground art and culture and a major influence on generations of filmmakers, musicians, and artists, Anger’s films evoke the power of spells or incantations, combining experimental technique with popular song, rich color, and subject matter drawn equally from personal obsession, myth, and the occult.
MOCA’s exhibition centers on Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle of films—Fireworks (1947), Puce Moment (1949), Rabbit’s Moon (1950/1979), Eaux d’artifice (1953), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954/66), Scorpio Rising (1963), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), and Lucifer Rising (1970-81)—presenting the work across multiple projections in a unique gallery installation of red vinyl, designed in close consultation with Anger.
Complementing the films is an archive of photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia from Anger’s personal collection that illustrates the filmmaker’s unique vision of Hollywood’s golden era. The inspiration and source material for the filmmaker’s infamous celebrity “gossip” books Hollywood Babylon, (1975) and Hollywood Babylon II (1984), the collection centers on stars such as Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo, as well as now lesser-known icons like silent-film actress Billie Dove. Anger grew up in Hollywood. His grandmother was a costume mistress, and he is claimed to have appeared as a child actor in the Warner Brothers production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). The world of the classic studios and the mystique of its major figures radiates throughout the photographs, press clippings, letters, and memorabilia on display, which Anger has gathered across many decades.
Technicolor Skull, a multimedia collaboration featuring Kenneth Anger on Theremin and Los Angeles artist Brian Butler on guitar and electronic instruments, will perform for the first time in Los Angeles at the exhibition opening on November 19. Technicolor Skull is a magick ritual of light and sound in the context of a live performance. The project premiered at Donaufestival in Austria, in April 2008, and has subsequently toured throughout Europe, performing at the National Museum of Art, Copenhagen, and the Serralves Museum, Portugal, and recently at the Hiro Ballroom, New York, for the Anthology Film Archives benefit.
Opening: Saturday, November 19, 7–10pm, Technicolor Skull will perform at 8pm.
Those with an interest in writers following on from the Beat tradition may like Spencer Kansa‘s first novel Zoning. The story is about zoning - traveling without moving - and the strange interactions between teenage occultist, Astral Boy and Skyrise Kid, a young budding porn star. We’re in familiar territory here, and Kansa is a fan of William Burroughs, who said of Spencer’s book:
“Zoning reads like an urban Celine.”
It’s the first imprint from Beatdom Books, a small independent publisher, set up by a young Scot, David S Wills, in 2007. Willis also publishes a non-profit literary journal dedicated to the study of the Beat Generation, publishing Beat inspired poetry and prose. He has also issued Beatdom’s second book The Dog Farm - based on Wills’ experiences of living and working in South Korea.