Monday, July 21, 2008

Bel-Air Beatles' Poolside Antics!

August 23 - 25, 1964

I recently received a nice email from a reader in Thailand who requested a post of these poolside photos of the Beatles, taken at their Bel-Air retreat during their first full-fledged U.S. tour. (This is the same Hollywood visit when George attempted to throw a drink on a paparazzo at the Whiskey and inadvertently doused Mamie Van Doren!) Despite that snag, from then on, the Beatles looked forward to their mini-vacation in L.A. while touring the States. By '65 and '66 they were partying with the Byrds, Peter Fonda, and Mama Cass during their stay!

The fabulous mansion that served as the Beatles' hideaway was owned by Reginald Owen. During the photo shoot, Jack Wagner, a Capitol Records producer, arrived to conduct what turned out to be a hilarious interview with John and Paul. As this was taking place, George and Ringo continued the photo shoot by the pool (I imagine this was when Ringo brandished his toy pistol as he played "cowboy" for the photographer). Ringo's recollection of the experience:
I loved meeting Burt Lancaster, too. He was great. The first time in L.A. we'd rented a huge house and I turned into a cowboy. I had a poncho and two toy guns and was invited over to Burt Lancaster's and that was how I went. I was all, "Hold it up there now, Burt, this town ain't big enough for the both of us," and he said "What have you got there? Kids' stuff." Later he sent me two real guns, and a real holster: he didn't like me playing with kids' guns. I just wanted to be a cowboy. (Anthology p. 150)
Ringo's wish definitely came true when the Beatles visited Dallas on the last stop of the tour in September--thanks to Mr. Reed Pigman, they went horseback riding and donned cowboy hats! To honor that stop as well, I've included a beautiful photo taken at that time (which I scanned from a teen magazine--click to enlarge).

If you'd like to hear the interview with John and Paul I was referencing, you can find it at Beatlegs Podcasts--you'll know which one by the picture that accompanies it!

(As always, a special thanks to John C. Winn for his immaculate research and well-written books!)

I only scanned three of the above photos (the first one of John and Ringo together, the black and white one of Ringo in the pink towel with the toy gun and the cowboy shot). I collected the other pictures on the Internet over the years. Some of them were provided by killerqueen1946 at the Beatlepics LiveJournal site.

The first vinyl bootleg I ever had was File Under: Beatles on the Gant label, and it had an actual photograph of the Beatles paper clipped to the front, as well as a strip of film from A Hard Day's Night. The photo that came with my copy is the one above where George has tossed the yellow ball into the air. I have it in a small frame on my bookshelf. Apparently each copy came with a different photo and stip of film! I remember hearing John's demo of "Bad to Me" and Paul's demo of "Goodbye" for the first time--pure bliss! Sound quality didn't matter--I finally heard those tracks. So, I have a certain fondness for this photo shoot...Enjoy!

2 comments: said...

Who was the photographer? What was your source for the images? Thanks.

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