On Friday night on PBS, Great Performances presents a documentary about the making of a Beatles TV special from 1967 Magical Mystery Tour then shows a restored version of that special. Magical Mystery Tour has the music from the U.S. album of the same name, but it’s not the album. It’s a musical comedy fantasy about the Beatles and a busload of tourists taking a trip to unknown destinations.
It was written and produced in 1967, which was an incredibly fertile period for the Beatles. “Strawberry Fields Forever” came out that year, as well as “Penny Lane” and the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. That was followed, a month later, by the live TV premiere of “All You Need is Love,” broadcast globally. The Beatles, it seemed, could do no wrong. And then they did Magical Mystery Tour, which was televised by the BBC the day after Christmas on Boxing Day as a holiday special. A quarter of the British population watched it and many of those hated it.
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