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I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

The Hofner bass guitar used in the movie was a right handed version. Paul McCartney is left-handed.
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Anachronisms 

Smerko tries to stop the Beatles by disabling a 1970s-vintage microwave dish in 1964.
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Dubois' dashboard reveals a picture of The Beatles in a scene from "A Hard Day's Night" which did not begin filming until March 1964, one month after The Beatles' first appearance on the Sullivan show.
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In the record store, many "Meet The Beatles" copies are visible with "Meet The" in light blue. In 1964, the album had those words in brown. It wasn't until years later that the light blue version was released.
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At the end of the "Ed Sullivan Show" broadcast in I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND, the house orchestra is heard playing the "Toast of the Town" theme tune, which had been abandoned by Sullivan's production crew several years prior to the 1963-64 television season.
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When Pam is brought before the media for a press conference, all of the reporters and photographers have late-1970s "Reserve" Working Press cards. Although the correct shape and size, the New York City press credentials in 1964 were yellow, had different fonts, and would not have been the "Reserve" or spare variety.
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By 1964, most press photographers were working with 35mm SLR or medium format TLR cameras with electronic strobe flashes (similar to what Grace uses.) However, the press are shown at Pam's press conference with large format Speed Graphic cameras and flashbulbs, neither of which was still in widespread photojournalism use.
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Many of the police officers are shown wearing the NYPD shoulder patch on their uniforms which wasn't adopted until 1971, seven years after the action depicted.
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The Playboy magazine Tony reads in front of the barber shop in February 1964 is from 1965.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Ringo's drumming in the studio is inconsistent with what's on the monitor.
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Continuity 

When Tony Smerko catches Larry DuBois selling fragments of Beatles bed sheets in a building entryway, he knocks the stack out of Larry's hands and they are shown scattered around their feet on the floor. Tony goes on to berate Larry for a moment in a shot from the waist up, with neither of them bending down to pick up the sheet fragments, but when they proceed to walk off together, the stack of sheet fragments is gone.
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Errors in geography 

When Tony and Janis are up on the roof of the CBS studio, there's a green Art Deco building with a clock and the word "Eastern" in the background. This is the Eastern Columbia building, a downtown Los Angeles landmark.
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Factual errors 

CBS Television Studio 50 had no alleyway leading to the street.
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The film is set in New York City during February, yet in several scenes outside the hotel, there are trees with green leaves. At this time of year in NYC, these trees would actually have totally bare branches with no leaves.
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During the climactic Sullivan appearance, the Beatles start their set with "She Loves You". In reality, "She Loves You" was the third song in the set, following "All My Loving" and "Til There Was You".
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In his pre-titles address to the CBS pages, Will Jordan's version of Ed Sullivan says that he and his wife Sylvia had seen The Beatles perform in England the previous year. In fact, the real-life Sullivan had booked The Beatles for his show based on the reaction they drew from fans at London's Heathrow Airport, which delayed the Sullivans' own flight to New York. The first time Sullivan saw The Beatles perform was on a film that had been aired on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite on December 10, 1963, weeks after the booking had been made.
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Among the products advertised during the Ed Sullivan broadcast in I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND is Brylcreem. In fact, Brylcreem was not advertised on the actual Ed Sullivan broadcast of February 9, 1964, and the placement of the commercial in the movie was probably director Robert Zemeckis' personal joke relating to the Beatles' hair style - which certainly didn't require the use of Brylcreem.
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At the end of the Ed Sullivan broadcast in I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND, Will Jordan as Sullivan announces that The Beatles will return the following week for a broadcast co-starring the Budapest Ballerinas and Will Jordan himself. The actual announced co-star of that broadcast was, in fact, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jordan never appeared on an "Ed Sullivan Show" on which The Beatles also performed in person. However, one notable impressionist did appear on a Sullivan broadcast alongside The Beatles - Frank Gorshin, on the real-life broadcast of February 9, 1964, that was depicted in the film.
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The TV tuned to Ed Sullivan in Al's hotel room is on Channel 3, but the CBS affiliate in New York was on Channel 2. While cable systems did exist in 1964 and especially could have been available in a hotel room, there is no cable box visible on the TV cart and Cindy turned to the station by rotating the main dial on the television, so this has to be a goof.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Nancy Allen's character Pam is in the Beatles room, she see's Paul McCartney's Hofner Bass which at first glance is left handed. She then starts to kiss the Bass while wrapping her arms around it. When she falls back to the floor with it, the Bass rolls over and suddenly it's a right handed Hofner Bass.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

While the lead characters encounter various situations which will cause them to be late for the start of the Ed Sullivan Show featuring the Beatles, it is mentioned several times that the Beatles, being the main attraction, will not perform until the end of the show. The Beatles, in reality, performed twice on their initial Ed Sullivan appearance, one set at the beginning of the show and a second set at the end.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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