Performer: The Beatles
Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Original Release: single, Magical Mystery Tour
Definitive Version: None
Happy New Year! We begin 2013 with one of the oldest songs and oldest stories on this here list.
Like most kids my age—well, most kids in general—my first movie was a Disney flick. I couldn’t tell you which one it was, but I’m sure it was something like Dumbo or Peter Pan or Snow White or God Knows What.
I’m also pretty sure that it was at the North High Drive-In, way up north of Columbus on Rt. 23. When I was a little kid, the drive-in seemed to be almost to Delaware. It was only later when I became a young adult that I learned that the North High Drive-In was only just north of I-270 outside of Worthington.
It was a standard drive-in, I suppose. Dad would borrow my grandfather’s big green station wagon and back in to the parking spot, so he could raise the liftgate and we could watch out the back. The North High had one of those funky little playgrounds in front of the screen that had swings and a merry-go-round. I have a memory of being there in my pajamas, running around.
(I also have memories of being there much later with Beth when the drive-in’s fare still consisted of movies that featured Bambi as a character, but where the terms Flower and Thumper took on a whole new meaning.)
Disney animation was the sole of my early movie-going experience when my aunt Nan—Dad’s youngest sister—offered to take me to an animated movie of a different type, likely in 1969. (I don’t remember the year.)
I loved my aunt Nan, as you can imagine. Nan was as close to an older sibling as I had. She was (well, is) 13 years younger than Dad, which makes her 10-1/2 years older than I am. I mean, I was 7 when she graduated from high school, and when she turned 16, she had a bright yellow Camaro that she called the Banana.
And it was in the Banana that she picked me up to take me to my first non-Disney movie—my first movie in a theater—and the movie was Yellow Submarine.
To say that my aunt Nan was a Beatlemaniac would be getting it just right. I remember she always seemed to have posters and pictures in her bedroom and in the basement of the Fab Four. (She also bought one of the first U.S. printings of Yesterday and Today and steamed off the false cover to reveal the original “Butcher” cover beneath.)
I bet she had seen Yellow Submarine at least several times before taking me—my guess is she would have had to assure my parents that I would be OK amid all the hippies at the flick, or at least that the movie wasn’t so drugged out that I would be bored. I don’t know. Whatever, although I don’t recall the sensations I felt watching Yellow Submarine, I know that I loved it instantly.
Within days, I had a Nan-drawn Boob poster on the door to my bedroom and a very colorful paperback version that I could read myself. Best of all, aunt Nan gave me a stack of Capitol 45s that featured many of the songs that were in the movie, including Yellow Submarine, Lucy in the Sky and this song.
I had a glorious baby-blue with white trim Decca Phono suitcase record player in my bedroom. (The lid opens to reveal the turntable, and the speakers detatched from the main box.) And I would play those records to death while imagining I was doing battle with the Boob and the Boys against the evil Blue Meanies.
The funny thing is I never became a full-fledged Beatlemaniac even though, obviously, all the pieces were in place for that to happen. I didn’t like the real-life black-and-white Beatles who either were always being chased by screaming girls or fighting amongst themselves in some boring studio.
I mean, what’s the fun in that when you can be on a yellow submarine hightailing it through the Sea of Monsters?