- Timeline This film has been released in 1966
- Release date:
- Jun 09, 1966
- Filming date:
- May 20, 1966
- Filming location:
- Chiswick House, London, UK
More from year 1966
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In May 1966, The Beatles were unwilling to appear on television to promote their upcoming new single, “Paperback Writer / Rain.” Instead, they took part in a two-day shoot, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and produced by Tony Bramwell, which resulted in seven promotional films for the two songs.
On the first day, May 19, 1966, The Beatles filmed colour versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” at EMI Studios, Studio One, in Abbey Road, for the Ed Sullivan Show in the US and black & white versions for UK television.
On the second day, May 20, 1966, The Beatles and the film crew relocated to Chiswick House, where they used the lawns, trees, statues, and greenhouses of the vast gardens as settings to film additional versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer.”
Although both versions of “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” were captured on film and in colour, they were broadcast on UK television in black & white.
We stood and watched our children playing in the cedar trees while it was going on. It was very exciting. I was struck by how tall John and Paul were. A member of the crew asked if they should tell the children to get down from the tree but one of the band said ‘No, leave them’. We often talk about that day, it was very specialShirley Bascran – Her on Jim appears in one of the sequences of the “Rain” promo film, with other small children playing in the branches of a ceddar tree – From oih (chiswickherald.co.uk)
|Colour or B&W?
|May 19, 1966
|The Beatles are standing.
|June 5, 1966, in “The Ed Sullivan Show”, in the US
|May 19, 1966
|Black & white
|Two takes of “Rain” were edited together to create this version. A brand new restored edit, taken from both takes, was released on the compilation “1+”, released in 2015.
|June 3, 1966, in “Ready Steady Go“, in the UK
|May 20, 1966
|The Beatles are filmed at Chiswick House.
This version was included in the three-disc versions of the compilation “1+”, released in 2015.
|June 9, 1966, in “Top Of The Pops“, in the UK
The invasion of a stately home
Like Woburn Abbey or Hampton Court, Chiswick House is open to the public. My reason for going was not to stare at the priceless art treasures, which once belonged to the Duke of Devonshire in the sixteenth century, or to stroll through the beautiful grounds, which are just as famous as the house, but, quite simply, the BEATLES.
John, Paul, George and Ringo were filming inserts for British and American T.V. to coincide with the release of “Paperback Writer”, and not since Queen Victoria had there been such celebrated guests at Chiswick House. Never had the finely-mowed lawns been trodden on by such expensive property since the days of velveteen breeches and buckled shoes.
Not being a V.I.P. I had to leave my car outside the gates, but I noticed a certain Rolls Royce, Mini and Austin Princess (all with blacked-out windows) standing in the drive as I approached the house.
“Where, in these massive grounds”, I thought, “am I going to find J, P, G & R.” I must have looked rather lost, because two workmen who were standing on the roof of the house yelled out — “they’re over there”, pointing to a mass of trees. So I followed my nose down a narrow path, bumped into an old man on a bicycle who said “follow the path round”, and finally found myself amongst half-a-dozen camera-men. But no sign of the Beatles.
The affable Vyvienne Moynihan (who runs the Saville Theatre for Brian Epstein) approached me in her inevitable jolly manner and said “the boys are in here”, ushering me through a secret door in the massive stone wall, which led into one of the private gardens — and there sat John, Paul, George and Ringo (on chairs) trying to catch a rare bit of sun.
I couldn’t have timed it better, because Neil and Mal had just brought in a tray of tea and “sarni’s”. “Sit down”, said Paul, pulling up a chair, “would you like a cup of tea?”.
John was clad in green velvet trousers, polo-necked sweater and navy jacket. Paul wore a black jacket and trousers with a beige polo neck and added a touch of suaveness by wearing a pink flower in his buttonhole. Ringo sported a black and navy striped suit with a black polo neck, whilst George favoured a green jacket with green cord trousers and a beige cashmere shirt — all wore metal specs with different coloured lenses.
After chatting about the weather, Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys and Eleanor Rigby (she is a lady who you will be hearing about on the new Beatles L.P.), Brian Epstein appeared looking lightly tanned as he’d just flown in from Spain to say hello to the boys before flying back the following morning — which, to say the least, was a rather expensive hello!
Cries of “the guvnor’s arrived” was interrupted by the voice of Alf (who today was acting as a portable canteen) who said “they’re ready for you in the conservatory”. So off we marched to the conservatory — at least John and Paul did, in typical army-style plus the salute with heads to the side and bottoms out.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg, famed director of R.S.G. and never without a cigar in his mouth, had everything set up in the public gardens outside the conservatory.
Meanwhile a small crowd of schoolboys had accumulated plus a handful of girls who worked in the grounds.
“Okay, shoot”, said Michael. “Camera on Ringo. Look at me Ringo, hold it there. Now on to George. Keep looking at me George.
John lean forward, but keep looking at me. Hold it there. Sit back now John. Good. Over to Paul. Hold it there. Cut. Let’s try it once more.”
“You see”, said Vyvienne, coming over to me, “we’re fighting against light. The way things are going at the moment, I hope we’ll be finished by six, otherwise it’ll mean another day’s shooting. And the boys have been so good. Poor darlings they haven’t had any lunch yet, but I told them they could break at three.”
“The poor darlings” didn’t look at all faint from the lack of nourishment to me, in fact, I’ve never seen them looking so well. After signing a few autographs, it was back to the main public park via the miaowing peacocks and through the private garden.
Of course, the boys had their usual followers — babies in prams and ageing folk in bath chairs plus half-a-dozen dogs scrambling on the lawns!
“Let’s go for lunch”, said John. “If we don’t leave now, it’ll be cold. You did order it for 3 o’clock didn’t you Neil ?”
Lunch had been ordered at Twickenham Film Studios which wasn’t more than half-an-hour away. Michael Lindsay-Hogg began to panic when he realised that by the time they got there and back and ate lunch, they’d be a couple of hours. “You see boys”, he said, “it’s the light and it’s not going to hold out for much longer”.
“Oh the light”, said Ringo. “Can’t you go down there and bring the food back Alf?”
“It’ll be cold”, said George. “But, you can go and get us some pies.”
“Or fish and chips”, said Paul.
“Yes, that’s an idea”, chirped in Ringo.
“Do you think there’s anywhere that’s open round here ?”
“I’ll see what I can do”, said Alf.
The boys casually placed themselves on the grass and Michael was ready to shoot again — this time they were individual shots. First of all it was all cameras on George who was peering round a huge stone statue which vaguely resembled Venus de Milo, but only because it was minus an arm. John was too lazy to move, so he stayed sprawled out on the grass. Paul was given a small box to perch on plus another box to put his feet on. While this was going on Ringo had been plucking daisies and placing them in the links of his identity bracelet — the reason being that when the cameras moved in on Ringo, he just sat crossed-legged pulling each daisy out one by one.
Up until now all the camera shots had been mute and now they were ready for the boys to mime to “Paperback Writer”. With guitars in hand and Ringo leaning against a stone pillar they mimed their new single to a crowd of schoolgirls and boys which had grown considerably since the last count. Just as they’d finished shooting Alf arrived with the lunch which he’d brought over from Twickenham Studios — hot. Because of the crowd of fans that had already gathered, lunch was served in the back of the Austin Princess and consisted of chops, new potatoes, peas, cauliflower (with the exception of Paul who had cold meat and salad) and a bottle of red wine with rice pudding to follow.
Meanwhile some schoolboys came over to inform me that at 4 o’clock the two schools opposite would probably make a mass exodus over to the park, as word had got round that the Beatles were filming.
As soon as I told J, P, G & R they left their rice puddings and hurried over to the beech tree to continue shooting. Whilst John, Paul and George were being arranged on the branches of the tree and Ringo was being placed on top of a stone pillar large numbers of fans started to arrive.
Of course, the inevitable happened when everyone “downed tools” to make their way back to the garden — the crowd of onlookers broke loose, and it was everyone for themselves, at least it was for J, P, G & R, and as usual they managed to come to no harm with the help of Mal, Neil, Alf and Press Officer Tony Barrow.
After seeing them safely re-installed in the “other” garden, I bid my farewells and made for the door in the wall.From The Beatles Monthly Book – July 1966
Last updated on October 8, 2023