Embracing The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

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“When did The Beatles break up?

That question was whispered to me as the Rooftop Concert sequence from Ron Howard’s Eight Days A Week wrapped up.

The query came from a long time baby boomer college friend sitting next to me during a first weekend theatrical showing of the film.

I knew she wasn’t looking for the long discussion on the subject that was part of the 400+ pages of my The End of The Beatles? book. She had a straightforward information question and I quickly whispered “1970” and added, “but they were coming apart in 1969.”

That was all she was looking for.

In that case, “less” was more informative than going on and on and on.

It was also a reminder as to why, in all my Beatles writing and research, I’ve always looked beyond my immediate circle of well-schooled audiophiles, collectors, and chroniclers for big Beatles fans who bring a more general view of what made John, Paul, George, and Ringo “The World’s Most Popular Foursome” (as touted on the cover of the U.S. album Beatles VI, which contained the hit single “Eight Days a Week”).

They are the ones who understood perfectly why Ron Howard won the 2017 best music film Grammy for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — the Touring Years.

The film gave them just enough of what they were looking for.

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Jacob D. Dumelle, P.E. – His Public Service and Pop Culture Presence

Jake Dumelle Actor Photo 4949bOak Park resident Jacob D. Dumelle, P.E., Lt. Cmdr. (Ret.) U.S. Navy, passed away Saturday, June 14, at age 89.

Jake Dumelle was a Navy veteran, environmental advocate, and a successful administrator at the federal and state levels of government, working professionally under both Democratic and Republican leaders.

In his spare time, Dumelle also built a resume of appearances as an extra in such signature pop culture films as Home Alone (1990) and The Fugitive (1993). For The Lake House (2006), he spoke his first on-screen dialogue, cast as a concerned patient examined by the doctor played by Sandra Bullock.

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Behind a Fabricated Beatles History

IMG_9303For stories about the Beatles, the line “It was 50 Years Ago Today” is destined to serve as a repeated hook for the better part of this decade.

Most immediately, it was, in fact, also the title of an international Beatles conference staged at Penn State Altoona to coincide with the anniversary of the group’s arrival in the U.S. and first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

At that conference, Beatles scholar Mark Lewisohn presented a talk drawn from the research for his book Tune In, taking the story through 1962.

Appropriately, at another session of that same conference, I described a very different take on key events in Beatles history from 1962 as an example of “Inadvertent and Deliberate Deceptions.”

This one was most definitely a deliberate deception, offered as liner notes to an album.

Follow this link to read the behind-the-scenes details in a new Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik essay: The Untold Story of the “Untold Story” of the Beatles first recordings.

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The Untold Story of the “Untold Story” of the first Beatles recordings (by Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik)

IMG_8366 - CopySuppose, for the sake of a better story, you chose to deliberately ignore “inconvenient” facts and details that “got in the way”?

In the case of the Beatles, that has happened repeatedly over the past fifty years.

With professional pride, we have always said: Not with us.

Beatles writing “by Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik” has always been solidly anchored in facts. Beginning with our series of books in the mid-1970s, we’ve consistently verified accounts of the group members’ professional careers, to the best of our own U.S.-based abilities, back to the pre-Internet days. We’ve embraced the straight-laced and confirmed, rather than the fanciful.

With one exception.

We’re revealing it now because the time finally seems right.

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The Beatles on TV, Live in Your Living Room

IMG_9260The musical dam was already breaking when The Beatles stepped onto The Ed Sullivan Show stage on February 9, 1964.

On Billboard’s charts, the group had the country’s top single (I Want To Hold Your Hand). A pair of albums were on their way to the number one and two positions (Meet The Beatles; Introducing The Beatles).

Within two months, they would occupy the five top spots in the Hot 100 (the week of April 4), with Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist and Shout, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, and Please Please Me). It was a never-to-be-duplicated chart triumph.

Yet it was television that made the difference.

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Something Bigger, Better, and Live: The Tonys

The television watching theatre lover in me took great delight in the 67th annual Tony Awards program on June 9, 2013.

IMG_4554Live from Radio City Music Hall.

In particular, for the opening number, producer Ricky Kirshner, director Glenn Weiss, and host Neil Patrick Harris presented an exhilarating eight minutes of pure stage magic celebrating the event’s return to Radio City Music Hall.

Check out this link.

Just be prepared for the song “Bigger” to embed itself in your head.  Be sure to stay through the very end of the clip.

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Through the MBC Prism, Forward via the Past

In its first full year after cutting the ribbon to a new permanent home in downtown Chicago, the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) hosted events and personalities from all slices of media history.

Looking forward, through the prism of the classic past.

IMG_6054Some of the highlights of 2013:

In March, the Museum celebrated the 89th anniversary of the groundbreaking National Barn Dance radio program.

Moderator Stephen Parry (writer-producer of the PBS documentary The Hayloft Gang) welcomed scholars, guests, and those who were there “back in the day.”

The gathering took place at an early site of the WLS radio studios, west of Chicago’s Loop, as one of the last events at that old building.

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