Click through to see previously unseen images of The Beatles during the making of their 1967 film, Magical Mystery Tour, such as this picture of the band looking out of the Magical Mystery Tour coach skylight.
The Magical Mystery Tour was originally an hour-long British television film starring The Beatles that aired on BBC1 on 26 December 1967.
This is a previously unseen picture of The Beatles performing ‘I Am The Walrus’ for the Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967.
Critics and audiences initially received the film very poorly. George Martin, the band’s producer, said: “When it came out originally on British television, it was a colour film shown in black and white, because they didn’t have colour on BBC1 in those days. It looked awful and was a disaster”. The film was shown in colour on BBC2 a few days later.
The film is punctuated by musical performances, including The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’, George Harrison singing ‘Blue Jay Way’ while waiting on Blue Jay Way Road, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band performing Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes’s ‘Death Cab For Cutie’, sung by Stanshall.
On the way to location in Newquay The Beatles, and the rest of the Magical Mystery Tour bus, stopped at a local fish and chip shop for lunch.
The plot of Magical Mystery Tour focuses on Mr. Richard Starkey (played by Ringo Starr) and his recently widowed Auntie Jessie. They’re on a British charabanc bus tour when magicians, four of whom are played by The Beatles themselves, start to cause strange things happen.
Referring to the Magical Mystery Tour in The Beatles Anthology, John Lennon said: “if stage shows were to be out, we wanted something to replace them. Television was the obvious answer.”
Most of the film was shot in and around RAF West Malling, a now decommissioned airfield in Kent. Many of the interior scenes were shot in disused aircraft hangars, while the exterior scenes, such as the ‘I Am The Walrus’ sequence, were filmed on the runways and taxi aprons.
The film was unscripted and based mostly on handwritten ideas and sketches, which Paul McCartney called the ‘Scrupt’. When asked whether the initial idea for the film was his, he said: “I’m not sure whose idea Magical Mystery Tour was. It could have been mine, but I’m not sure whether I want to take the blame for it!”
This shot shows The Beatles performing ‘Your Mother Should Know’ for the Magical Mystery Tour film finale. Check out the previously unseen footage from the film here.