As if it wasn’t bad enough in black and white, now you get the chance to relive the glory in colour. What may become of The Beatles’ legacy is for fate to decide, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that, in a few hundred years from now, their cultural impact will be held in the same vein as their Elizabethan forebearer.
Back on the 28th of April 1964, exactly four months before they had a toke with Bob Dylan and ditched the slightly more ‘boy band’ elements of their oeuvre, they made the Shakespearean leap in a straightforward way.
The humorous skit was part of Brian Epstein’s master plan to market the band, and lord knows he pulled that off with aplomb. Epstein recognised that he was in possession of what you might term ‘the full package’. The Fab Four were cheeky young chaps who changed the way that the public saw musical luminaries of the day.
Therefore, he decided to put them to work on a TV special called Around The Beatles, as they performed a hilarious parody of Act V, Scene I of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of a celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th birthday.
The Beatlemania-cackling soundtracked clip was originally broadcast on the BBC, and grainy black and white footage has existed in the depths of YouTube for some time. Now, however, it has been colourised and restored, so you can see Paul McCartney yell “Die, die, die…” at a smock-clad and prancing John Lennon in its technicolour brilliance.
The whole thing is a bit more Carry On than Coriolanus, but the slapstick fun simply can’t be begrudged as every screaming girl, including the ones that try to pet George Harrison’s “doggy woggy”, can attest to.
The stars were no strangers to delving into performance medium, and this clip exudes all the charisma that they were capable of harnessing on a whim.
Paul McCartney stars as Pyramus; John Lennon takes on the role of Thisbe; George Harrison looks a little uncomfortable portraying Moonshine and Ringo seems to simply adore being a lion.
You can check out the scintillating performances below.