50 Years Ago Today, Magical Mystery Tour Airs For First Time

The following courtesy BeatlesBible.com

Having been edited to 55 minutes from nearly 10 hours of footage, The Beatles' television film Magical Mystery Tour had its world premiere on December 26. 1967 on BBC 1 at 8.35 pm

Magical Mystery Tour EP artwork

It was shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day, which is traditionally music hall and Bruce Forsyth and Jimmy Tarbuck time. Now we had this very stoned show on, just when everyone's getting over Christmas. I think a few people were surprised. The critics certainly had a field day and said, 'Oh, disaster, disaster! -- Paul McCartney

Although filmed in colour, Magical Mystery Tour was shown in black and white. Viewers were left baffled by many of the sequences, and television critics savaged the production.

Being British, we thought we'd give it to the BBC, which in those days was the biggest channel, who showed it in black and white. We were stupid and they were stupid. It was hated. They all had their chance to say, 'They've gone too far. Who do they think they are? What does it mean?' It was like the rock-opera situation: 'They're not Beethoven.' They were still looking for things that made sense, and this was pretty abstract.

It was a crowd of people having a lot of fun with whatever came into mind. It was really slated but, of course, when people started seeing it in color they realized that it was a lot of fun. In a weird way, I certainly feel it stood the test of time, but I can see that somebody watching it in black and white would lose so much of it – it would make no sense (especially the aerial ballet shot). We sent a guy out filming all over Iceland, and then it was shown in black and white – I mean, what is this? Painted silly clowns and magicians. What does it mean? -- Ringo Starr

courtesy BeatlesBible.com

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