Jo’s tragical mystery tour

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It was just over 40 years ago when I attended the first Beatlefest held at the Commodore Hotel in Manhattan in September, 1974. My best friend Mary and I had secured tickets for the weekend event.

As we walked through the weary hotel’s faded halls and not-so-grand-anymore grand ballrooms, we were amazed at how our favorite group’s memorabilia utterly surrounded us — not an inch of space was left uncovered.

One room had instruments the four lads from Liverpool donated, another contained books and photos, and yet another ran continuous loops of Beatles movies “A Hard Days Night” and “Help.”

One of the screenings was of the very first states-side showing of “The Magical Mystery Tour” — a Beatles film that was never released in the U.S. that we, the adoring attendees of the very first-ever Beatlefest, were privileged to see.

As a diehard fan, I stood in front of the small screen transfixed. I watched in amazement as the images flashed before me. The music, the band — what a thrill it was! I was mesmerized.

Decades later, I still recall how I danced along to “Your Mother Should know,” the performance that ran at the end of the 50-minute flick.

What, you may ask, sparked this walk down memory lane?

This past week, I was channel surfing at 3 am (don’t ask), and what to my wondrous eyes should appear, but a screening of the mythical film “The Magical Mystery Tour” in my very own living room.

“Wow,” I thought. “I have to stay up and watch this, but just in case my aged eyes don’t stay open, I’ll set the digital recorder, too.”

After sitting through it all, all I have to say is “What utter tripe! What a waste of film!”

The sound track was the only redeeming factor. It only included a few songs, and my saving grace was having a digital recorder so I could fast-forward through the rest of the mess.

What had been a magical, mystical experience 40 years before was now only a psychedelic mash-up of skits and images that, in my dotage, only made me dizzy.

Only in my teenage adoration could I have ever enjoyed this movie.

Not for Nuthin™, but they ain’t kidding when the say youth is wasted on the young. After all these years, I finally realized why it never premiered here.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on E-mail her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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