Saturday, December 22, 2007
Another Beatles Christmas Show 1964
A humorous anecdote about the Beatles second Christmas show was relayed in the Dec. 1999 issue of Beatles Monthly: Mal Evans presented the Beatles with fur-trimmed hooded jackets and announced, "Eppy says these are your stage suits for the next tour. You're going to Eskimoland, lads."
"That wouldn't surprise me," was George's typical sardonic reply.
I imagine the Beatles themselves, particularly John and George, found their Christmas shows, a mix of music and pantomime, a bit "daft," particularly the comic routines. However, the 1964 shows at the Hammersmith provided a welcomed Christmas gift to the fans, as well as some time at home after a year of grueling tours. Accompanied by the Yardbirds, Sounds Incorporated, Michael Haslam, and Elkie Brooks with the Mike Cotton Sound, "Another Beatles Christmas Show" opened to a sell-out crowd on Dec. 24, 1964, and continued for a three-week run of two performances per day.
The show's producer, Peter Yolland, was understandably upset when he discovered he had only 3 days to rehearse and get the entire production ready for public consumption. I don't think the comedy sketches and acting prowess of the cast would matter to the fans; a chance to see the Fabs in person was the chief motivating factor. The main sketch told the tale of four explorers searching for the Abominable Snowman, played by DJ Jimmy Saville.
The Beatles' closed the show with a half-hour set including "She's A Woman," "Twist and Shout," "I'm A Loser," "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby," "Baby's In Black," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Long Tall Sally". After the first show, the Beatles retreated to their dressing rooms for what writer Frederick James termed "greasy eggs, sausages and chips washed down with scotch and Coke before doing it all again for the second house audience."
All the photos in this post were taken during rehearsals for this Christmas show. The photos were scanned by me and taken from various issues of the Beatles Book Monthly.