The Beatles first film since "Help" was largely Paul McCartney's project. The story follows a bus load of eccentric characters on a magic journey through the English countryside. Rather than a unified narrative, it becomes a series of psychedelic clips promoting various songs including "The Fool on the Hill," "Blue Jay Way," "Your Mother Should Know," "I Am the Walrus" and "Magical Mystery Tour." The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band are seen in a strip club playing "Death Cab for Cutie." Written by
Did You Know?
"Mystery tours" were popular in England as low-budget weekend getaways, riding overnight in a bus to a surprise location. Most of "Magical Mystery Tour" was filmed in a rented coach, filled with friends and acquaintances, Beatles office staff, a camera crew, and a handful of experienced actors, rambling around the English countryside one holiday weekend. Everyone was encouraged to invent their own characters, and let whatever was going to happen do so, and the results would have to be magical. Unfortunately this proved not to be the case, with most of the passengers "acting" like anybody would while traveling, mostly humdrum scenery passing by, and no "magical" destination actually planned out. John Lennon
and George Harrison
weren't interested in playing parts, and spent most of the trip sleeping or avoiding the cameras, while the hand-lettered MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR bus attracted curious onlookers, who began following them in droves. (Suggestions that the chaos mounting outside the bus be filmed, instead of the mundane dialogs going on inside, were not met warmly.) Lennon ultimately ordered the bus be stopped, then got out and personally tore the lettering off the sides, to end the spectacle. (He derided the whole program later as "The most expensive home movie ever made.") See more
Some of the linking shots of the bus driving along country lanes are obviously shot at a later date when the bus is empty of passengers. This is confirmed by Neil Aspinall in The Beatles "Anthology" book, where he describes taking the bus back out on the road again after filming had finished, purely to shoot some external links which had been forgotten. See more
Jolly Jimmy Johnson the Courier
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Welcome to... Mmmagical Mystery Tour!
Referenced in Rewind This!
The Fool on the Hill
Performed by The Beatles
Written by John Lennon
and Paul McCartney
Published by Capitol/EMI Records See more