Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (unproduced television special; 1967)

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SgtPepperTV.jpg

The production schedule of the proposed Sgt. Pepper film.

Status: Partially Found

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a planned television special to promote The Beatles album of the same name. This cancelled project should not be confused with the 1978 Bee Gees film directed by Michael Schultz of the same name.

Background and Production Details

"A Day In The Life"

The beginnings of the special can be traced back to the filming of the "A Day In The Life" recording session. Fashion photographer Vic Singh, who had worked with Beatle George Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd during the early modeling days received a call from the Beatle's office, asking him to film the group just three days before the recording of the orchestra on "A Day In The Life". Singh met with Beatle Paul McCartney at his St. John's Wood home the next day to discuss the filming. Singh proposed putting 16mm cameras all over the studio so the Beatles and all their invited guests could simply pick one up and shoot one another at will. McCartney loved the idea and gave Singh the go-ahead to film the session.[1]

On 10 February 1967, Singh and music video director Keith Green during the orchestral recording sessions for the song "A Day in the Life". The guests that night included Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, Brian Jones, Donavan, Michael Nesmith, Pattie Boyd, Graham Nash, and Dutch fashion designers Seemon & Marijke. The London Symphony Orchestra were given clown noses and other party masks to wear with balloons tied to their instruments. The full length "A Day In The Life" footage running to 19 mins 15 seconds (although much of it was out of focus).[1][2]

Proposed TV Special

The production schedule of the proposed Sgt. Pepper film.

After the filming of "A Day In The Life," Vic Singh spoke to George Harrison about producing a film of the entire Sgt. Pepper album. The Beatles' agreed and for a promised fee of £10,000; Singh and Keith Green with screenwriter Ian Dallas spent weeks working on a script.[1][2]

A budget of £34,000 was estimated for the project and was to be co-produced by Singh and Tommy Weber. It would have employed 115 extras, including 24 children, 24 office workers, 12 "rockers" on motor-bikes, 12 "Model Rita Maids", eight morris dancers, one milkman, one mediator, one "loon" and one Arab sheik.[2]

Principal photography was due to being on 21 October 1967 and continued until 21 November 1967. The final running length of the special was to be 52 minutes.[2]

Shooting Locations

The shooting schedule included all the songs from the album set to music video style scenes.[2]

The following table outlines the shooting schedule locations.

Song Location
Sgt. Pepper and Reprise London (???)/Country
With A Little Help From My Friends Circus
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Kew Gardens, Observatory/Planetarium.
Getting Better School
Fixing A Hole Studio/Meditation Room
She's Leaving Home Modern Middle-Class House
Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite London (???) etc.
Within You, Without You Factory/Offices/Lift/Studio
When I'm 64 Air Field
Good Morning, Good Morning Studio
A Day In The Life Recording Session

Aftermath

Plans of the special came to an end when The Beatles decided to produce a brand new project, which turned out to be their own film Magical Mystery Tour. Although production was cancelled, the "A Day in the Life" footage was edited down by Keith Green with stock footage into a finished clip.[2] The clip is not known to be used to as a promotional video for "A Day In The Life" publicly during 1967 (quite possibly due to the song being banned by the BBC). However the footage with the Beatles song "Come Together" was used in during a special edition of Late Night Line-Up promoting the Beatles' album Abbey Road in 1969.

If the project had proceeded, it would have been the first full-length video album (that claim would later go to Blondie's Eat to the Beat in 1979).

Media Lost and Found

To this day, a finished script has yet to surface of the film. The image of the production schedule was published in the Mark Lewishon book The Complete Beatles Chronicle.

The "A Day In The Life" segment was featured on the 1983 documentary The Beatles At Abbey Road[3]. The documentary was created to be exclusively screened at an open-to-the-public-tour of Abbey Road Studios. It was later included in the documentaries John Lennon: Imagine (1988) and The Beatles Anthology (1995). It has since been released officially on the band's YouTube channel.

"A Day In The Life" promotional film.


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Day in the Life: One Family, the Beautiful People, and the End of the Sixties By Robert Greenfield. 2009. Da Capo Press
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The Complete Beatles Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn. 1992. Harmony
  3. http://wogew.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-in-life.html - The Daily Beatle