- Timeline More from year 1967
- Raymond Revuebar, 11 Walker's Court, London, UK
More from year 1967
Filming of “Magical Mystery Tour”
1967 • For The Beatles • Directed by The Beatles
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On August 27, 1967, The Beatles were left facing an uncertain future when their manager, Brian Epstein, tragically passed away. To address this dilemma, the band members, along with a few trusted associates, gathered at Paul McCartney’s London residence on September 1. They resolved to continue working on their television special, “Magical Mystery Tour.”
The filming of “Magical Mystery Tour” commenced from September 11 to 15, with most of the shooting taking place in and around Newquay. On September 16, The Beatles returned to the recording studio to further develop the project’s soundtrack.
On this day, September 18, the second week of filming for “Magical Mystery Tour” began, with the crew selecting the Raymond Revuebar strip club in London’s Soho district as that day’s filming location. The Beatles and their fellow male travellers from the coach trip were filmed as they watched Jan Carson, one of the club’s performers, while the band Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band played the song, “Death Cab For Cutie.” Although the shoot was scheduled for the early hours, it experienced a delay due to the band’s instruments being stolen in Dulwich the previous night. Filming only commenced once the band managed to secure replacement instruments.
In the final edit of the show, a “Censored” sign was strategically placed over Jan Carson’s exposed chest. This creative decision was made by The Beatles in order to prevent the BBC and other broadcasters from potentially cutting the entire scene.
The filming of “Magical Mystery Tour” carried on the next day, and for the remainder of the week, The Beatles shot scenes at West Malling Air Station in Maidstone.
Paul McCartney collaborated again with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band circa March 1968, when he produced their most successful single, “I’m the Urban Spaceman“, under the pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth.
The Raymond Revuebar (1958–2004) was a theatre and strip club at 11 Walker’s Court (now the location of The Box Soho nightclub), in the centre of London’s Soho district. For many years, it was the only venue in London that offered full-frontal, on-stage nudity of the sort commonly seen in other cities in Europe and North America. Its huge brightly lit sign declaring it to be the “World Centre of Erotic Entertainment” made the Revuebar a local landmark. […]
For me, the most bizarre moments were the two days I spent auditioning a room full of strippers from Raymond’s Review Bar in Soho while John and George ogled them, strictly in the cause of art. Paul Raymond, the emperor of strip clubs, joined in enthusiastically, lining up his best girls and being as helpful as possible. He grew so wealthy he bought the Windmill Theater, famous for never closing during the war. It had always seemed the height of sophistication and sinfulness, the kind of place where sleek men with pencil mustaches and dinner jackets went for fun. This matched the camp style of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band that Paul hired to play to the filmed striptease session.Tony Bramwell – From “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles“, 2005
During the auditions, we couldn’t decide among a final handful of long-legged lovelies and asked several to come back. We narrowed it down to one: Jan Carson. I got her to repeatedly strip while the Bonzos played “Death Cab for Cutie” over and over again, in camp impersonations of Elvis dressed in silver sequined suits. The shoot itself, with all the male members of the Mystery Tour and John and George sitting slumped center stage gawping, was very funny in a macabre way, given that “Cutie” described the final moments of a pretty young thing and the driver of a cab that jumped the red lights and crashed. This was the final scene in the film; one that played it out to fade and final credits. Paul knew that the BBC would object to the nudity, so in the edit he slapped on a big placard that read CENSORED over Jan’s bare breasts.Tony Bramwell – From “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles“, 2005
Apparently, one of The Beatles’ managers had come to see me and had taken away some pictures for The Beatles to approve.Jan Carson – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008
It was a fun time filming Magical Mystery Tour. Paul wanted another scene in a strip club with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, so I persuaded Paul Raymond to let us use his Review Bar early in the morning. We had a young lady ready to perform and things were just getting going when two gentlemen from the technicians’ union arrived to stop us filming without union permission. They said we should have a crew of 32 and we only had about three guys. They were very unhappy. ‘We will black this and it will never be shown if you carry on without the proper manning levels,’ he said. The union sent the cost spiralling by thousands of pounds as we had to pay all these people we did not want and did not use. Paul was very angry.Alistair Taylor – From “With The Beatles“, 2011
The coach journeyed down to Devon and Cornwall but I stayed behind to “mind the shop” and prepare for the sequences to be filmed in Raymond’s Revue Bar, a Soho strip club. I had approached the owner, Paul Raymond, when The Beatles suggested the scenes and he was thrilled to help. He had one proviso, we must film early in order that we did not disrupt his regular trade. That seemed fair but there is early and there is early!
We began on Monday 18 September at 6am. That is early! We had problems almost immediately when two representatives of the cinema trades union arrived and threatened to close us down unless we employed the “correct” number of staff. The whole idea of the project was to operate with a minimum crew but these jokers were about to saddle us with thirty two technicians and ancillary staff. We never saw most of them but the rules and regulations stipulated thirty two staff and we had to “employ” thirty two staff if we wanted to finish the film. It was ridiculous!Alistair Taylor – From “The Making of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour” by Tony Barrow, 1999
The scene in the strip club was with The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. I was friendly with Paul Raymond, who ran, possibly, the best strip club in the world. So, I went to Paul and said, ‘Can we use the strip club for one morning?’ But, a strip club at six in the morning is not a pleasant sight. I had one of the girls, Jan Carson, a dear friend of mine, stripping while The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band played at 6.30 in the morning. It was unreal.Alistair Taylor – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008
Paul had laid on coffee and things. So, I’m sitting there, sort of overseeing this, and through the door, walk in two gentlemen in trilby hats and belted raincoats. I saw them talking to two of the staff and they came over to me and said, ‘Excuse me, are you in charge of this?’ So, I said, ‘Well, sort of.’ So, one of the gentlemen said, ‘We want to talk to you. We’re from the cinema graphic union.’ So, I said, ‘Yes, okay. Sit down. Do you want a coffee?’ ‘No,’ one replied, ‘we don’t want to sit down. We don’t want a coffee.’ So, I asked, ‘Do you have a problem?’ He said, ‘Yes. You’ve not got union permission for this.’ So, I said, ‘Sorry. Do I need union permission for this?’ He said, ‘Oh, yes. We hear you’re going to put this on television.’ I said, ‘Yes, that’s the idea.’ So, he said, ‘Well, you’ve only got four people on the crew. But you can’t do that. You should have a crew of thirty-two!’ I got absolutely nowhere. They told me, ‘Either you do as we say, or it’ll never be shown anywhere.’ I tried to explain to them that this could be the very first of several crews, and we will change the crew so that everybody got work. But, he wouldn’t have it. He then gave me this list of people that we should have. I said, ‘This defeats the whole point of what we’re doing,’ and he just kept on saying, ‘Well, okay, but we’ll just black it! It’ll never be shown.’ This put the cost about £12,000 through the roof. I said, ‘Okay, that’s fine. If that’s what we’ve got to do, I’ll do it. But, I want the phone number of every member in that list, and if I ring them, and they are not there, at any time, you’re in big trouble.’ And I did. I kept ringing them, to make sure they were available for us, as we were paying them. But, what was so stupid, was that they agreed that we didn’t have to have them on the actual filming. But we had to pay them. So, we kept on with the four people, but we had to pay the extra thirty or so people. It was a lot of money. But I made damn sure that they were available if I needed them, and they weren’t working for anyone else.Alistair Taylor – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008
Last updated on May 1, 2023
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