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So, how were your holidays, my friends? This was probably the Beatliest xmas for me since I was about 10 years old (I think I got 6 Beatle records that year, on account of Mr. Lennon's recent demise). A sampling of this year's fabness:

The aforementioned "Concert for George," which is a lovely and fitting tribute. No tears, no maudlin reminders of mortality and whatall.

Possibly the polar opposite of that disc is "Lennon Legend," in which about half of the videos/film shorts make reference to the fact that John is no longer with us. Which, thank you, I already knew. Some of the videos are untouched vintage clips, but some -- even for songs that already had videos -- are either brand new collages of photos (think the "Free as a Bird" clip) or recycled bits from John & Yoko's dozens of short films. You'd think, Lennon being one of the most photographed people in the world, you might not see the same pieces of film over and over. But you would be wrong. Not that it's a bad DVD -- the video for "Mind Games" has John wandering through Central Park, signing autographs and goofing around in an adorably madcap way. There are some cool performance clips and home videos and such, and Yoko had some crazy-ass outfits in the early '70s (she could definitely pull off the leather-hotpants-and-bandolier look). There's also, in the redone video for "Woman," a post-mortem photo of John's face that I just really did not need to see. So, a mixed verdict on "Lennon Legend."

"Ed Sullivan Presents the Beatles" is a fascinating historical document. This DVD includes four entire shows that featured the Beatles, not just their clips, so you can see the baffling array of music hall singers, acrobats, terrible comedians, and marionettes that Sullivan usually devoted his weekly hour of airtime to. In this context, the Beatles appear to have been dropped from space. Even with their square matching suits and their polite deep bow at the end of each song, they are so different and strange. Three of the shows are from successive Sundays in Feb. 1964, and the fourth is from Sept. '65, showing how much they and their music changed over just that year and a half. You should definitely check this out. Plus, it's got Soupy Sales singing his novelty hit, "The Mouse"! Heeeeyyy!

Then there's "Let it Be...Naked." Someone should send Stuart Smalley to Paul McCartney's house before his insecurity leads him to fiddle with the rest of the Beatles catalog. I really like the idea of this project -- stripping away Phil Spector's garish instrumental excesses -- but I can't figure out why McCartney changed so many of the vocal tracks as well (except to make himself sound better). And he took out the between-song chatter that makes the original so intimate and funny. I mean, how could he in good conscience remove "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition"? Well, because it was John's line, of course. But still. Anyway, it's nice to hear these songs cleaned up. I just hope he doesn't decide to do this to the White Album.

And, last but not least, the grooviest of these Beatle-manic gifts, a checkbook cover and change purse sewn by my sis-in-law -- the fabric has the Fabs in semaphore because, she says, we all need a little "help" with our money. Handmade gifts rock! Hooray!

Replies: 1 Confession

The other amazing thing on that Ed Sullivan DVD was this comedy bit that Soupy Sales did with Ed, where he talked about Ed's vacation and illustrated it with humorous film clips. Soupy said something like, "Oh, remember the time in Italy when your wife met Marcello Mastroianni?" And the clip he showed was this bizarre film of a woman having a severe conniption fit. If I could somehow convert that film into an animated GIF, I bet it would be better than amybeth's favorite animated GIF.

Oh, and there was also some severe Frank Gorshin content.

jima @ 12/29/2003 12:22 PM CST

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