Thanks to Robert Reinstein for allowing me to reproduce this image here, and for saving it in the first place. This is a frame from the Maxwell Silver Hammer animation from this show.
Sadly this isn't proof or a teaser that the full animation still exists: the source of this image is from an Ebay sale of a single frame from the animation that appeared on the site a while back, apparently signed by all 4 Beatles in 1969. This image is a screengrab of the picture of the frame from the Ebay listing. Still it's a fascinating glimpse into what this sequence looked like.
I did an online search and I found out that the “Octopus’s Garden” clip from Rage was shown on the Australian music programme “Hitscene” (ABC TV) on 28 August 1971. An episode guide (at hardprog.pagesperso-orange.fr) described it as a “Hit Scene clip with underwater footage”. It appears that the producers of Hitscene often used miscellaneous film footage to create “concept clips” for songs that didn’t have promotional films.
This thread has given me a real insight into the visuals used in the “Abbey Road” special. I think one of the reasons that few people remember specific details about the programme is that it featured a lot of abstract imagery. For example, there were clips from the “visual music” films “Gyromorphosis” and “Autumn Spectrum”, which were made by the experimental filmmaker Hy Hirsch.
Here are three extracts from articles written in 1969 and 1970, which might fill in a few extra details.
The first one is a preview from the “Coventry Evening Telegraph” (Friday, 19 September 1969).
Line-Up, on BBC-2 (10.55) will be devoted to the new Beatles LP Abbey Road. This will be the first time the tracks will have been heard and is the result of a direct approach by the Beatles themselves to Line-Up. Many different kinds of visuals will be used including film, captions, studio elements and electronic colour devices.
There was a preview in the “Daily Mirror” on the same day which contained similar details.
Did the captions feature song lyrics? I suspect that the “electronic colour devices” were used to make film footage and studio sequences seem more psychedelic. It’s possible that solarisation techniques and chromakey (Colour Separation Overlay) were used.
Next, here’s a short extract from George Melly’s 1970 book “Revolt Into Style”. This is from a section written in September 1969 in which Melly claimed that recent TV programmes aimed at young people were all style over substance:
The new puritan climate at the Television Centre (and Broadcasting House come to that) will allow pop music within limits, but seems totally against allowing any overt display of teenage revolt. Modified psychedelia is acceptable. The Late Night Line-Up show Colour Me Pop is a pretty, but rather empty exercise in this genre, and the film made to present the Beatles’ new LP Abbey Road was equally innocuous, but the ideas seem, for the moment at any rate, back under lock and key.
Finally, here’s an extract from an article from “Radio Times” (17 January 1970) about the production team behind the TV series “Line-Up’s Disco 2” : The show was born out of another Line-Up programme a few months ago, when the Beatles invited them to use their LP 'Abbey Road' and accompany it with any visuals they thought fit. 'We had a fortnight's notice,' [Rowan] Ayers recalls, and we used all kinds of devices, like captions and film, and the Beatles were wild about it”.
Granville Jenkins, who directed the 'Abbey Road' programme, adds: “The important thing is that it will be a music programme. The only criterion is excellence, and that allows us a pretty wide spectrum of pop music".
I imagine that the “Abbey Road” programme was very colourful and visually inventive. Sections of it were probably reminiscent of the “Flying” sequence from “Magical Mystery Tour” and the Stargate sequence from “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
reposted from the Steve Hoffman forum, where the poster 'dormouse' has been doing some great research into this show.
The Beatles Abbey Road BBC World Premiere - Late Night Lineup 26th Sep 1969
There is a 53 second piece of footage that had been uploaded by DIG Media who have been administering the video library left by sixties’ counterculture figure Jack Henry Moore. This appears to be from his collection. It is in grainy black and white, silent and appears to have been recorded off a TV or monitor as the top of the screen can be seen.
Jack Henry Moore was an associate of the Beatles and involved in such London counterculture activities as the International Times and 14 Hour Technicolour Dream and also filmed John and Yoko’s Bagism activities. I understand that he acquired an early video recorder and camera (apparently from The Beatles via Capitol Records), used this as a pioneering video artist and built up a large video library.
This footage appears to have been from this Abbey Road Late Night Lineup programme, but whether it exists in its entirety is not known. Here is a brief outline of what appears (the footage I recognise as being from the film used for the A Day In The Life video is reversed). 0.00 DIG logo watermark 0.01 ABBEY ROAD BEATLES caption 0.02 Children running 0.06 Crowd in club or studio 0.14 Paul McCartney close-up 0.15 Donovan 0.16 Orchestra recording session 0.23 Still photo of band (Tittenhurst) 0.32 Girl dancing with superimposed psychedelic lighting The first segment up until the still photo seems to be from the footage used in the A Day In The Life video promo. The last segment of the dancer lasts until the end of the clip. I believe that this may be dancer called Jane London who was documented as being filmed for the programme as part of the Something segment. There are also ‘slides’ documented as part of this Something section which seem to be the kind of projections that were common at this time in clubs and concerts.
Dig Media have also uploaded a teaser documentary about Jack Henry Moore called Videohead:
As we now know from DigMedia's posting of Jack Henry Moore's off-air recording that the special was in sequence to the album due to "Something" following "Come Together".
The next track would have "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". According to the owner of the drawing currently on eBay, DigMedia contact him and admitted they only have 1 second of footage from this track, which they posted a screenshot of on their Twitter account.
The owner of the drawing (Vincent), also said that the drawing was not a traditional animation cell, but a picture sent to the director Phillip Jenkinson who cut out the heads, stuck them on pins and with the help of a fan, made the heads "wobble" about. The picture was late signed by the band members and presented to producer Rowan Ayers (below). The original illustrator of the cartoon is unknown.
Victor also mentioned the show being screened in Australia. So far, I haven't found any evidence of Late Night Line-Up being broadcast in Australia. I would assume if it was, it would have been a black and white telecine and screened on ABC-TV. Does anyone know more about this?
What is a current status of the Late Night Line-Up episodes in the BBC vault? The odd episode seems to have survived from around this time, given the amount of stock footage, animation (?) and that Jenkinson was a film archivist himself, it would be surprising if this special was completely gone.
Also, is it possible that a back of the special or at least "Maxwell" survived due to it being screened on Point of View?
Apologies for cross posting much of the following post from the Steve Hoffman forum, but I'd only be rewriting the same info otherwise:
'I am really interested in the Beatles Abbey Road edition of Late Night Line Up, which is missing from the BBC archive, but if it was found would be a fascinating source of contemporary visuals for Abbey Road songs, an album that is otherwise not well represented by contemporary footage. The Beatles direct involvement was minimal, but apparently it included original visual items made in house by the BBC for songs; for instance a Maxwells Silver Hammer animation, which would be great to see and would fulfill the same purpose as the Yellow Submarine film by providing contemporary visuals for songs the Beatles never made films or tv appearances for.
The main info I have on this special comes from Mark Lewisohn's Beatles Chronicle book, his entry on this item reads:
'the BBC2 arts series Late Night Line-Up afforded Abbey Road unprecedented television publicity for a pop/rock album. One week ahead of its release, on Friday 19th September (BBC2 10.55 - 11.30pm) and then again on Saturday 10th October in a full repeat (11.25 12.00 pm), the entire programme was devoted to the album, with , for the most part, non - Beatles footage used to illustrate the music , of which everything but three numbers (Oh Darling, I Want You, and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window) was included. None of the Beatles participated in the programme, however, although Apple did supply photo stills and a little over four minutes of 16mm Beatles footage for screening. he content of this footage is not known, but it may have been amateur home-movie film shot when the four Beatles last came together for a photo session at Johns Tittenhurst home on Friday 22nd August'
I've heard that's it's latterly been discovered that the footage provided by Apple was most likely the 'Day In The Life' footage synched up to 'Come Together' rather than the Tittenhurst film.
Anyhow, I posted the above a year back, and gathered some remembrances and details from those who saw the original broadcast, but no info on it's possible whereabouts, until today when someone called Crunchie posted a link to the following video,
as re-broadcast on the Australian VH1 style music channel 'Rage' at some point in the last few decades. On studying it, I think we could be looking at the original OG sequence from the LNLU special for reasons I postulate in the quote below:
'Actually this looks like it might have potential to be the real deal to me... the girl featured is unmistakably 60s, so we're looking at footage that was filmed in the right era.. note also that the version of OG is a 1.41 edit: edited down for timing reasons to fit in the half hour time slot? (also the reason why 3 songs got the chop completely?)
As to how this would have ended up on Australia's rage music channel.. seems fairly likely to me.. who know what music tv footage ends up getting chopped up and repurposed elsewhere. Aus imported a lot of BBC programmes. so it's more than possible they screened this 1969 AR special, kept their own copy, and extracts ended up getting recycled in this manner. Aus tv didn't go into colour till 1975 which would explain why this copy is in B/W (although it seems like the original programme, while made in colour, used a lot of stock b/w silent film anyway). ' Anyone here have any thoughts as to if this could be an excerpt from this missing special? Anyone recognise it from the 1969 broadcast? Be interested in seeing what experts here think.
Looks like a possibility, it certainly bears all the hallmarks of a BBC visual. Just as an aside, Ive a feeling that the Maxwell Silver Hammer visual might have been re-shown as a clip on another program early in the evening on BBC1. I can remember watching a fairly crudely drawn animation repeating for the chorus with the hammer being shown knocking something, from memory, no head in shot folks!
The more I think about this, I’m sure that the MSH cartoon was shown in another program during the early evening or more likely in children’s programs. In 1969 I was 6 years old & we lived at Carlisle, and didn’t have BBC2 locally. The only available channels were BBC1, BBC1 Scotland & Border. I also had an early bed time by modern standards, lol. Not sure what time Points of View was shown back then but my gut feeling is that is was shown in a children’s program, unless there was another similar cartoon independently made for the same track which seems unlikely.
As far as I’m aware, Dig Media have the entire ‘Abbey Road’ special, but they’re currently working on improving the picture quality and the process is quite time-consuming. Here’s what they wrote on YouTube about a week ago:
A few clips and stills have been uploaded for viewer's curiosity and the rest needs a serious recovery. Restoration plans have been significantly slowed with covid-19, though progress is still being made. We have what we need in hand for now. Likely we'll have more to show once we're satisfied with the quality. Like many with the current pandemic, we can't put an accurate timeline on for now, apologies. We also have to keep business going to support ourselves. Thanks again for the interest, appreciated.
I’ve checked the Trove Australian Newspaper archive, and I couldn’t find any evidence that ‘Late Night Line Up’ was ever broadcast there. I doubt the Beatles special was shown in Australia as a one-off. I also searched for ‘Beatles’ and ‘Abbey Road’ and there was no sign of the programme. It’s possible that the clip of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ was shown on Australian television at some point in the early Seventies, but it would be difficult to find out precise details.
Regarding the archival status of ‘Late Night Line Up’, I’ve looked through previous threads and it appears that there are about 470 complete or partially surviving editions in existence. This seems a lot, but when you consider that there were 3,000 editions, it’s only a small fraction of what was broadcast.
No editions of ‘Points of View’ survive from 1969 or 1970. Part of an edition of 'Junior Points of View' survives from 08 May 1970. Some fragments of ‘Points of View’ from the Sixties have turned up on surviving film recordings of adjoining live programmes, but I don’t have further details.
There’s been some speculation on the Steve Hoffman music forum and elsewhere about the amount of screen time that was taken up by the barbershop quartet in the ‘Maxwell’ animation. I think it was only a few seconds. Someone from Dig Media tweeted on 10 November 2019 that the animation cell signed by the Beatles was the closing frame of the clip. I think the first 3 minutes of the animation featured Maxwell and his victims, and then the final few seconds showed the barbershop quartet singing along to the ‘silver hammer man’ choral section at the end of the song.