Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Met the Walrus

In 1969, Jerry Levitan, a fourteen year-old Beatle fan, snuck into John Lennon's Toronto hotel room. He was armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck and was determined to convince John to do an exclusive interview about his thoughts on peace. Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were doing their famous Bed-In-For-Peace protest at the time and John was amused at the spunk of the teenager and granted him the interview.

Thirty-eight years later, Jerry Levitan teamed with director Josh Raskin and used the interview recording as the soundtrack for a movie called, "I Met the Walrus". The visual narrative plays beautifully on Lennon's every word in flowing animations by James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina. Their style is reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus, in my opinion, though the creators claim it is in the animation style of the Beatles' film, "Yellow Submarine".

The lost footage puts a new spin on the huge controversy John stirred up in the world-wide Christian community when he claimed that the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”. I remember vividly the public bonfire burnings of Beatles records and paraphernalia and lamented over the millions of dollars worth of merchandise and history that were destroyed in righteous holy indignation and ignorance. Misled Zealots and Fanatics! In the interview John says that his remarks were misunderstood and that he was okay with Christ. In John's own words, "It’s just an expression meaning the Beatles seem to me to have more influence over youth than Christ. Now I wasn’t saying that was a good idea, ’cause I’m one of Christ’s biggest fans. And if I can turn the focus on the Beatles on to Christ’s message, then that’s what we’re here to do.”

Whatever you think of the amateurish interview with so much background noise and the interesting animations you must admit that John Lennon's sincere dream of a world of peace still lives on and his voice speaks just as loud today as it did nearly forty years ago.


E said...

A very interesting read, Tony. It's cool to see Lennon put his own words into perspective like that. I had heard of this tape existing, but hadn't read up much on it. Thank you for telling me about it in such an interesting and engaging way.

Bonez said...

Thank you, E. The short film was a good excuse for me to visit one of my favorite pop heroes again.

Thinkinfyou said...

I have to say listening to that, made me so sad.I loved John Lennon. His message was so simple but yet still today is so overlooked.

Bonez said...

John Lennon was assassinated (yes, I am a conspiracy nut) on my birthday. I will never forget hearing the news come over the radio and feeling such a deep and surreal sense of loss. Like a sincere flame of hope and serenity had been snuffed out and the entire world was a darker and more malevolent place because of it.