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The Fab 4 On Super 8

Home-movie cameras were made available in the 1920s but they were very cumbersome and expensive. Film stock was even more expensive.
So in 1932 the 8mm format came into use. By the 1950s these cameras were fairly common especially at weddings and similar events and earned the name of "Home Movies".
Initially the 8mm films were intended for use in creating amateur films but eventually their commercial potential was seen by the major film studios who decided to commercially sell specially (and mostly crudely) edited versions of their cinema releases for home viewing.
These commercial versions were often sold in department stores around the World.
The leading companies releasing such films were Castle Films, owned by Universal Pictures and Ken Films, which licensed titles from 20th Century-Fox and other studios.
The Walt Disney Studio released excerpts from many of their animated feature films in the 1970`s, as well as some short subjects and cartoons.
Vintage silent films were very common as well as travelogues companies such as Blackhawk Films & Derann.
"Super 8" film was launched in 1965 by Eastman Kodak at the 1964-65 World`s Fair.
The original Super 8 film release was only silent, but in 1973 a sound version was released.
Releases in color and with sound began appearing in the 1970's and by the end of the decade, demand for longer versions resulted in
400ft reels being released, running approximately 16-18 minutes, sometimes with second or even third
parts so that they could sell full length features though most Super 8 multi volume films were usually public domain titles sold by smaller companies such as Thunderbird and Niles.
Possibly as early as late 1964 or 1965 the first ever Beatles films began to show up on 8mm films. These were silent and in black and white.
I believe the first one was either a heavily edited version of The Beatles Washington concert from February 1964 or the British Pathe "Beatles Come To Town" newsreel.

"The Beatles Come To Town" Pathe Newsreel

British Pathe filmed The Beatles at the ABC Cinema in Manchester on November 20, 1963.
This film was made into a beautiful colour newsreel and shown in cinemas in December 1963.
Whether this was a common practice or not from British Pathe, but sometime in 1964 they made the newsreel available commercially for home use on 8mm film.
This was in black and white with sound.
It was the complete same newsreel that was shown in cinemas including the live performances of "She Loves You" and "Twist and Shout."
The length of this 8mm print is 6:50 mins which is the original length of the Pathe newsreel that was shown in cinemas at the time.
It was later copied and distributed by other 8mm film companies around the World.

"Pop Movies Ltd present Newsreel of"

Sometime in 1964 an obscure 8mm film company from England - "Pop Movies" released three 8mm films of the Beatles.
Each one was 50ft in length in silent black and white and ran approximately between 2:30 & 3:10 mins
with each one sold inside in their own cardboard box complete with different coloured artwork.
The individual reel titles were: "The Beatles in Liverpool, London & Paris";
"The Beatles Triumphant Appearance in the USA" & "The Beatles at London & Kennedy Airports".

"The Beatles in Liverpool, London & Paris" (PB1)

The "Liverpool" segment consists of silent portions of the Beatles performing at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool Dec 7, 1963 taken from an unknown newsreel source.
This performance was held especially for the filming of a TV special called "It`s The Beatles".
Silent b/w snippets of "This Boy", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" & "Money" are shown lasting 1:05 Mins.
The "Paris" segment is taken from Reuters of one of their Paris Olympia concerts in Jan 1964 and lasts 1:05 mins.
The "London" segment is footage of their return from America on Feb 22, 1964 at Heathrow Airport.
This is taken from an unknown newsreel and runs only about 20 seconds in length.

"The Beatles Triumphant Appearance in The USA" (PB2)

"From Me To You" (Washington) (2:10 mins) & interviews at the British Embassy (subtitled "At The Reception") (40 Secs).
All silent. (3:10 mins)

"The Beatles at London & Kennedy Airports" (PB3)

The Beatles leaving Heathrow Airport for New York on Feb 7, 1964 and also arriving at Kennedy Airport in New York as well as their first press conference at the airport.
From an unknown silent b/w source. 2:30 mins in length

"The Beatles Arrive in America"

This was a US only 8mm newsreel (of unknown origin) combined with a 7" vinyl single: Single was the one song
"Stand Up and Holler" By Foto-Fi Four (aka Harry Nilsson) and was released in April 1964.
This was one of Harry Nilsson`s earliest singles.
The newsreel consists of silent b/w footage of the Fabs arriving at JFK airport in Feb 1964.
The film runs approx 2:35 mins in length as does the single.

"The Beatles Invade U.S.A."

This 8mm black and white silent movie is titled "Beatles Invade U.S.A."" (only on the film and not on the packaging).
This is a professional newsreel of unknown origin, filmed and made commercially available for home use sometime in 1964 by United Film Laboratories Inc.
The movie/newsreel documents the Beatles first visit to the USA in February 1964.
Footage includes The Beatles arriving at Kennedy Airport in New York on February 7, 1964.
This seems to have been made available possibly in 1964 but certainly by 1965.

We are not aware of any other commercially released 8mm or Super 8 Beatles films that were released in the 60`s
probably because after 1964/65 Nems and later, Apple, were much better organized and clamped down on these dubious
products plus they also made sure they owned all of their major films and other filmed promotional material so
they were able to better control their release output for the most part.
However things changed in the early 70`s, for reasons unknown, when many legit film companies (who had proper connections and
contracts with the large film companies to release edited copies of movies for home use on 16, 8mm and Super 8 film)
decided to basically bootleg many of the Beatles major movies, TV appearances and promo videos.
By this time Apple was coming to an end and presumably had no interest in suing these companies assuming there were even aware of them.
These companies led by ones like Derann, Niles, Red Fox & Regent Films decided to mine the Beatles film archives as much
as possible and though we aren`t 100% sure it`s highly doubtful there was any legitimate contracts between the
parties otherwise you would think more official "product" would have been released before 1970.
The British company "Derann" and American company "Niles" led the race with copies of the Pathe newsreel now titled "Beatle in Manchester"
and their Feb 1964 Washington concert, now titled "Beatles in Concert" but they didn`t stop there and they went hunting for other television and film items.
Throughout the 70`s and well into the 80`s they made copies of usually kinescope (ie: bad) quality Beatles
films and released them as b/w silent and sometimes sound Super 8 and 8mm products.
Lengthy items were either heavily edited or in some rare cases expanded into 2 and 3 volume sets.
Most of these were issued in plain white cardboard boxes with a stamped title on the front. Very few had anything resembling artwork.
These are the ones we have discovered:

"The Beatles in Manchester" (Derann)
"Beatles in Concert" (Niles)
"The Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show" (Red Fox)
"The Making of A Hard Day`s Night"
"A Hard Day`s Night" (Full Length Feature Film) (CHC Films)
"Around The Beatles" (Regent Films & Niles)
"The Beatles Hollywood Bowl Concert" (1964) (Encore Entertainment)
"Beatles Holland Concert" (aka "Beatles in Nederland" Dutch TV Special June 1964) (b/w) (Regent Films)
"Help Trailer"
"The Beatles at Shea Stadium" (Full concert) (Red Fox)
"M.B.E Interview" (Regent Films)
"Beatles Tokyo Concert" 1966 (Red Fox; Buck Films; Encore Entertainment)
"The Beatles in Magical Mystery Tour" (Full Feature Film) (Niles; Hollywood Film Exchange)
"Magical Mystery Tour" 1967 (Full Feature Film) (Short Films)
"A Mod Odyssey" featurette for "Yellow Submarine". (Red Fox Films) Colour.
"Hey Jude Rehearsal" b/w
"Hey Jude" Promo
“Revolution” Promo "Let it Be". Promo taken from the movie. (Derann)
"Concert For Bangladesh Trailer"
"John & Yoko Experimental Film"
"Portrait of Paul", ("Maybe I`m Amazed" promo) b/w

Things really exploded by the mid 70`s when other far more dubious companies started to get into the act and advertise their "bootlegs" in magazines around the World.
Three of the main offenders were: "Hollywood Home Movies"; "Halco" & "Movie Buys" all located in America.
They even went as far as cutting up all the Beatles feature length films into short 2-3 minute individual scenes and selling them separately!
These are some of the titles found in their advertisements:

"Beatles Come To Town" (aka 1963 Pathe Newsreel) (9 mins Colour) (Super 8 & 16mm)
"Beatles Before Becoming Famous"
"Beatles in Concert (Pt 1 & 2)" (Washington (20 mins b/w)
"Beatles First American Concert" (Washington)
"Beatles in The USA" (aka "First US Visit") (b/w) (Super 8 & 16mm)
"The Beatles Hollywood Bowl Concert" (8 mins colour tint) 2 songs
"Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show & The Cavern Club" ("Some Other Guy" at the Cavern)
"A Hard Day`s Night Trailer" (4 mins b/w)
"A Hard Day`s Night" - Various scenes
"Highlights from "A Hard Day`s Night"
"Around The Beatles" - Various Songs
"The Beatles Special" (21 mins) (Colour & tinted) Various 1964 - 1969 (Trailers and movie excerpts)
"A Conversation With The Beatles"
"Beatles at Shea Stadium" (Colour 50 mins)
"Beatles Receive MBE Awards" (b/w) (regular 8mm) (includes "A Hard Day`s Night" London Premiere)
"Beatles Medal Story" (Arriving at Buckingham Palace to Receive Their MBE`s)
"Help" - Various Scenes
"Beatles Tokyo Concert" (Colour) (Super 8 & 16mm)
"Beatles Double Hits" (Penny Lane & SFF Promos) (b/w)
"Highlights From "Magical Mystery Tour"
"MMT" - Various Scenes
"A Mod Odyssey" featurette for "Yellow Submarine". (Red Fox Films) Colour
"Yellow Submarine Production Trailer" (aka "A Mod Odyssey") (Colour)
"Yellow Submarine" - Various Scenes
"Eleanor Rigby" (from "Yellow Submarine")
"Hey Jude Recording Session & Beatles Interview" (Colour & b/w) (aka "Music")
"Beatles Rehearse "Hey Jude" (aka "Music")
"Hey Jude" (Promo)
"Revolution" (Promo)
"Let it Be Highlights"
"Let it Be" - Various Songs
"Concert For Bangle-Desh" - Highlights
"James Paul McCartney" - Excerpts
"Around The World With John & Yoko"
"One To One" - Various Songs (1972 J&Y Concert)

"The Beatles in Manchester" (Derann): 200ft Super 8 b/w 5" reel with sound.
Copy of The British Pathe newsreel "The Beatles Come To Town" filmed at their concert on November 20, 1963, in Manchester.

"Beatles in Concert" (Niles); (Washington Concert, 1964) 400ft b/w

"The Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show" (Red Fox) 200ft (Their 3rd appearance from a kinescope)

"The Beatles at Shea Stadium" (Red Fox) Full concert feature 3x400ft

"Beatles Tokyo Concert" (Red Fox; Buck Films & Encore Entertainment) 2x400ft

"The Beatles in Magical Mystery Tour" (Niles & Hollywood Film Exchange) full length 3x400ft

"Magical Mystery Tour" (Short Films) full length 3x400ft

"Hey Jude Rehearsal" b/w

"Hey Jude" Promo

"Let it Be" (Derann). Just the one song promo taken from the movie. Colour

Notes about some of the companies:

"Derann" was founded in 1964 by Derek Simmonds and his wife Anne, whose first names made up the company title.
Originally renting out 8mm films from a spare bedroom in their Stourbridge home.
In the following years, the company managed to secure deals with MCA, EMI, United Artists,
20th Century Fox, and eventually Disney, giving them rights to the production and sale of Super 8 cutdowns and versions of their films.
By the early 1980s it is estimated that the company held around 10,000 titles in their library, many of them exclusive to Derann.
One of the longest running 8mm/Super 8 film companies that lasted well into the 2000`s.
"Niles Films" were based in Indiana, USA.
"Regent Films" were UK based.
"Red Fox" films were based in Elizabethville, PA in the US. This company lasted until 1985.
"Hollywood Home Movies" was the company that used to advertise `movies of your favorite rock stars`
in the back of the old Teen Screen & Datebook magazines of the 1960`s and 1970`s. All are 200ft 5 inch silent reels.

"Braverman`s Condensed Cream of Beatles"

US TV b/c July 30, 1973 ("Good Night America" hosted by Geraldo Riviera) colour & b/w 12:45 mins
(no credits) 16mm home movie Circa May 1974 (washed out sepia) 14:28 mins (w/credits)
"Braverman`s Condensed Cream of Beatles" sums up the story of the Beatles in just 14 mins and was probably the first "overview" of The Beatles career up to that point.
The "Braverman" in the title is filmmaker, Chuck Braverman, who came to prominence with his 1968 short film "American Time Capsule",
a fast-cut montage piece that summarized American history in under three minutes.
After that Braverman made a number of educational and industrial short film in a similar style.
His biggest project was doing the opening sequence of the 1973 Charlton Heston film "Soylent Green".
"Braverman`s Condensed Cream of Beatles" was a 16mm film put together during 1972 and early 1973 and had its television
premiere (and only known television screening) on July 30, 1973, on the premiere episode of the ABC program "Good Night America"
hosted by a young Geraldo Rivera who also just happened to also be a huge Beatles fan (he`d interviewed John
Lennon during 1972 and helped persuade John & Yoko to perform at the "One To One" concerts in August 1972).
Following its television debut the short film was picked up by Pyramid Films for the 16mm non-theatrical educational market and
was a staple of high school and college film studies classes well into the 1980s.
But when the home video era dawned, "Braverman`s Condensed Cream of Beatles" vanished.
Apple Corps Ltd., which controls all things Beatles, blocked the film`s commercial distribution and so it quickly
disappeared into the faded memories and is unlikely to ever see an official re-release.
The old 16mm prints can still occasionally be found for sale on Ebay etc and it`s one of these copies that eventually found its way onto VHS and DVD bootlegs.
Since then Apple Corps Ltd. has been mostly successfully in removing any copies that turn up on YouTube though
a couple have luckily snuck past their eyes including its original b/c on "Good Night America" surprisingly in excellent quality.
"Braverman`s Condensed Cream of Beatles" can be found on the following Beatles bootleg DVD`s:
"Introducing The Beatles" (Fake Capitol)
"The Beatles: In The 1970`s Vol 1" (FAB)
"The Long and Winding Road" (FAB)

Intro ("Can You Take Me Back") 1968
Photo Montage ("Love Me Do"/"I Want To Hold Your Hand") 1963/1964
"Interview" scene from "A Hard Day`s Night" 1964
Excerpts from "A Hard Day`s Night" ("A Hard Day`s Night") 1964
Ed Sullivan Interview by Geraldo about first seeing The Beatles
Excerpt of "All My Loving" from "The Ed Sullivan Show" 1964
Ringo & Maureen Honeymoon Interview 1965
Excerpts from "Shea Stadium" 1965
Photo Montage/1965 Ed Sullivan Show ("Yesterday") 1965
Excerpts from "Help" 1965
Photo Montage ("Help"/"Her Majesty"/"We Can Work it Out") 1965
John "Jesus Apology" From Beatles Chicago PC 1966
Photo Montage ("Eleanor Rigby"/"Paperback Writer"/"Yellow Submarine"/"Penny Lane"/"With a Little Help"/"A Day in The Life"/"Sgt Peppers"/
"Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Magical Mystery Tour") 1966/1967 (includes snippets of the "Penny Lane" & "SFF" Promos)
"Revolution" Promo 1968
Animation ("Blackbird") 1968
Photo Montage ("Hey Jude") 1968
Photo Montage ("Something") 1969
Photo Montage ("Come Together") 1968
Photo Montage/Live Footage from "Concert For Bangla-Desh" ("Bangla-Desh") 1971
John & Yoko Interview by Geraldo Riviera ("ABC News") April 18,1972
"Instant Karma" ("One To One Concert") Aug 30, 1972
Yoko Interview ("CBS News" outside INS) April 18, 1972
Photo Montage ("Ballad of John & Yoko") 1969 (Includes snippet from "ABC News" of J&Y jam in San Francisco hotel room w/Geraldo) Aug 5, 1972
John Interview ("CBS News" outside INS) April 18, 1972
Photo Montage ("The Long & Winding Road") 1969

Away With Words (Circa June 1972 - Circa 1980)

"Away With Words" was a unique multi-media Beatles show that toured all over the World between 1972 and the early 80`s.
It was owned and toured by Howard Ragland and Chris Marshall beginning around June 1972.
It toured all over the world including Japan & Australia.
The US tour visited almost every state, even Hawaii.
What made the show unique at that time is that the entire show, which consisted of 30 slide projectors,
4 movie projectors and a 360 degree sound system, was controlled by a computer which was extremely high tech for the day.
As for the content, the show did feature a lot of rare (for the time) Beatles performance clips, such as the "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" promos.
There was also some footage from their Washington & Shea Stadium concerts along with airport arrival & departures taken from various newsreels.
One of the rare highlights was footage from their 1964 "Around The Beatles" TV special.
A very rare 3 LP bootleg box set of the music used in the production was also released in the mid 70`s.
It seems the show was also padded out with footage and music from other artists if the soundtrack bootleg is accurate.
The production even toured Australia around 1977/78.
We`re unaware of any filmed bootlegs of the show which would be fascinating to see.
Most reviews suggested the quality of the footage was ordinary at most but it didn`t stop it playing to packed houses for around 10 years!

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