independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Gerry Harrison discusses friendship with the Beatles

Gerry Harrison, assistant director of the legendary Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour, looks back on his time with the group as a period of “great fun”.

The assistant film director who lives in Co Clare, became friends with The Fab Four and went on to work with John Lennon and Paul McCartney individually.

Today he’s in Dublin for the opening of the inaugural Beatles Festival, which marks the jubilee of the group’s two performances in the Adelphi Cinema.

He told independent.ie how he was “very aware” that he was in the presence of geniuses back in the 60s.

McCartney was “very much in charge” during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour, according to Gerry, and filming was done “on the hop, with no studios”.

“Paul was very much in charge because Brian Epstein had just died and that had left a vacuum…There were tensions there as well.”

Mr Harrison says that contrary to popular belief, Ringo Starr was a “wise” Beatle, who spoke about the passing of their manager Brian Epstein in a “fairly measured and wise way”.

In addition to working on 'Magical Mystery Tour', Gerry also did 'London Town', ‘Venus and Mars’ and 'Mull of Kintyre' with Paul McCartney and he spent a week working on the film of 'Imagine' with John Lennon.

Yoko Ono requested that Gerry supervise the editing of the film for ‘Imagine’ after the artist’s death.

He describes himself as being incredibly “lucky” throughout his career. He has hung out with Paul and Linda McCartney and exchanged tales of travels with them, and experienced the life that John and Yoko lived together in New York.

One thing he still holds dear, is a postcard which Linda sent him for his birthday. It’s the only item of Beatles' memorabilia he has left, having sold off a signed album several decades ago.

Gerry will give a talk on The Magical Mystery Tour on November 25 in Trinity College Dublin.

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