Comic Book Legends Revealed #437
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel comic characters appeared in the Beatlemania film.
STATUS: Technically True
Beatlemania was a Broadway musical revue in the late 1970s that consisted of four performing doing, well, you guessed it, Beatles songs!
It was popular enough that they decided to make a movie. It was basically just a film recording of the musical and it came out in 1981. It came and went pretty fast, hurt by both the fact that movies tend to get a closer look than a stage show (so audiences could realize that the actors didn’t look too much like the actual Beatles) and the fact that the film came out soon after John Lennon’s death (and they didn’t even acknowledge his death in the film. Not even a “In memory of” or anything like that. What the heck?) In any event, due to a later lawsuit that the Beatles filed against the show, the film cannot come out on DVD (the settlement allows for the musical to continue but no commercial release of the film) so it has become a bit of a mystery.
The mystery came into comic book circles when the trailer began getting passed around over the years…
And people wondered what the heck was up with all of the Marvel comic characters in the trailer…
Yes, the Human Fly was in the trailer! I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed on the Human Fly years ago. You can check it out here.
Did Marvel have some sort of role in the movie?
As it turns out, there is just a scene in the musical where they play “Lucy in the SKy With Diamonds” and characters get stoned….
and they project comic book characters on to the screen in the background…
At the end of the film, they claim that the “cartoon characters” are all courtesy of Marvel Comics, and with the way that Marvel handled their intellectual property back then, I would not be surprised at all if someone at Marvel DID basically tell them, “Yeah, sure, take whatever you want. Don’t worry about it.”
Of course, they also had DC Comic characters!
Intellectual property sure has come a long way since 1981! Can you imagine a musical trying to just cut out drawings from comics and using them to illustrate a sequence in a musical today?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did H.R. Giger, the guy who designed the alien in Alien, design a bizarre Batmobile that was rejected for Batman Forever?
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
Here’s my newest book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
See you all next week!