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Friday, January 30, 2009

George Harrison, Pirate

In the mid-1970s, after Monty Python's TV series had left the year, but before they moved into movies like "Holy Grail," Eric Idle did another comedy series for the BBC called "Rutland Weekend Television."

It was from that series that "The Rutles" sprang, eventually becoming the subject of the first rock mockumentary, a TV movie for NBC called "All You Need Is Cash," which aired in the SNL time slot in 1978. It was a pitch-perfect parody of the Beatles, with music by Neil Innes that sounded just like the Fab Four (or in the case of the Rutles, the Pre-Fab Four, a legend that would last a lunchtime). Idol co-directed the movie with Gary Weis, wrote the script, and played the Paul McCartney character, Dirk McQuickly. Innes played the John Lennon character, Ron Nasty, and there were also cameos by Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Ron Wood, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner -- and George Harrison.

That wasn't the first time Harrison and Idle had worked together, and it wouldn't be the last. Harrison would later provide financing for the Python films, but before all of that, in 1975, he appeared on "Rutland Weekend Television" as a guest. The premise was that he'd sing either a Beatles song or one of his solo hits, but Harrison had something else in mind -- he wanted to be a pirate...

[thanks to Michael Cowen for the link]