Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Biography and Discography


A Look Back at George Harrison’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony

On April 14, 2009, George Harrison was posthumously given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This was the 2,382nd star dedicated by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The star is located right in front of the Capitol Records building at 1750 Vine Street just a few steps away from the star of Harrison’s former bandmates, John Lennon, and later Ringo Starr (2010) and Paul McCartney (2012).

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Hundreds of Beatles fans gathered to hear tributes to George Harrison given by his friends and family. Eric Idle of Monty Python and Spamalot fame called George “a most remarkable person with a great sense of humor.” Eric Idle wrote and starred in the 1978 Beatles-parody film, All You Need Is Cash featuring The Rutles, which George Harrison not only loved but also made a brief cameo appearance in.

 

Eric Idle joked that he asked Ringo Starr what he should say at the dedication ceremony and Ringo said, “What about me?” referring to the fact that Ringo did not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at that time. Neither did Paul McCartney, who was in attendance at the ceremony, with then-girlfriend Nancy Shevell. The Beatles as a group were given a star in the 1990s which is located on a special sidewalk corner at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and La Brea next to Elvis Presley’s star.

 

Tom Hanks, who spoke at the ceremony, described the The Beatles’ impact on America in the 1960s: “That’s when we escaped the doldrums and moved into the future.” He explained that the first guitar George Harrison ever bought when he was a teenager only cost the equivalent of 75 cents. “75 cents made this” he said, pointing to the Capitol Records building, the home of the Beatles’ record label in the U.S.

Other guests in attendance included Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne who were in the Traveling Wilburys with Harrison in the 1980s. Jeff Lynne put an ad in The Hollywood Reporter (April 14, 2009) celebrating George Harrison’s star which said, “George Harrison’s Star, It Just Sounds Right. Love from Jeff Lynne.”

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The Counsel General from Bangladesh was also in attendance bringing attention to the famous “Concert for Bangladesh” that Harrison organized in 1971 to raise money for the relief of refugees in Bangladesh. It was the first major rock concert for charity and raised almost $250,000 at the time. Today, sales of the album and DVD benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.

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Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, were both in attendance to accept the award. Olivia described George as “a beautiful, mystical man living in a material world.” She concluded by saying, “George, this day is for you.” And she was right — it was announced at the ceremony that April 14 was proclaimed “George Harrison Day” in Los Angeles.

 

While George Harrison was honored for his musical achievements with The Beatles and as a solo artist, his contributions to the film industry through his company HandMade Films were highlighted by his widow, Olivia Harrison. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Olivia listed George’s film achievements including the 1974 film of the socio-political stage play Little Malcolm starring John Hurt, the cult favorite Withnail & I (1987) and the legendary Life of Brian.

Throughout his post-Beatles career George Harrison shied away from the limelight and preferred to spend time in his garden at his home in England. Olivia remarked, “Although George would probably place his star in a garden, I think the Capitol Tower near one of his closest friends is a pretty good spot.”

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John Lennon drawing recalls frightening Palm Springs tram ride

A rare drawing by John Lennon which sold Friday in a celebrity auction brings to mind a hair-raising story of when the ex-Beatle took a ride on the famous Palm Springs aerial tramway in California. The ballpoint pen drawing shows Lennon, girlfriend May Pang and Harry Nilsson sitting on a tramcar thousands of feet off the ground in midair.

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Courtesy CooperOwen Auctions

This rare drawing was auctioned off along with several other John Lennon sketches from the 1970s on Friday March 21 by CooperOwen Auctions in London. The drawings were given to guitarist Jesse Ed Davis from Lennon. Davis was a session musician who played lead guitar on Lennon’s albums “Walls and Bridges” and “Rock and Roll”.
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In March of 1974, John Lennon was in the midst of his “Lost Weekend” with girlfriend, May Pang, on the West Coast. He had temporarily split from wife, Yoko Ono, and was partying and carousing with friends like Harry Nilsson in Los Angeles.

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On a weekend getaway, Lennon, Pang, Nilsson and his girlfriend, along with former Beatles’ roadie, Mal Evans, drove to Palm Springs from L.A. May Pang recounts the trip in her book “Instamatic Karma” showcasing pictures she took of John and Harry sitting outside on the grass in Palm Springs.
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It was Harry’s idea to go to Palm Springs, the desert retreat once known as the “Playground of the Stars,” and he suggested that they all go to a restaurant and bar which just happened to be at the top of the tramway.
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The amazing 10-minute tram ride has to be seen to be believed. The tram, located at the northern end of Palm Springs, follows an extremely steep route traveling 2.5 miles up the side of the San Jacinto mountains. The tram ride begins at the bottom of the cliffs of Chino Canyon at elevation 2,643 feet and ends at elevation 8,516 feet.
 
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Having the tram stop in midair dangling over the mountainous cliffs would be a harrowing experience for anyone, and that’s exactly what happened when John Lennon was on the tram.

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In her book, May Pang describes in detail the ride she and Lennon took on the Palm Springs tram back in March 1974:
“When dinner was over, we caught the last tram down, along with the other happy campers who closed down the place. I was just thinking what a pleasant, innocuous evening it had been when the power failed, leaving us suspended in midair with forty drunken strangers. All of a sudden, the tram car became the setting for something of a Fellini movie; people making out, hands everywhere, everyone groping. I was freaking out, but John, who had grown accustomed to that kind of craziness, basically told me to relax, since there was nothing we could do dangling in the middle of the sky.”
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View from the top of the Palm Springs aerial tramway
Photo: Trina Yannicos

May’s story ends there, but obviously, the tram soon regained power and delivered the passengers safely to the floor of the Coachella Valley. Since 1963, nearly 18 million people have taken a ride on the Palm Springs tramway, but only a countless few have actually been stuck on the tram, and now we know the fascinating coincidence that John Lennon was one of them.

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Beatles wax figures coming to Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Madame Tussauds in Hollywood will unveil a new exhibit of four Beatles’ wax figures on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9 a.m. at the Madame Tussauds Hollywood location at 6933 Hollywood Blvd.

Fans are invited to come place flowers at the feet of a lifelike John Lennon wax figure, complete with his trademark circular glasses and shoulder-length hair, to mark the 31st anniversary of Lennon’s death. Fans who arrive on December 8, 2011 with flowers and mention “Beatles” at the door will receive free admission to the attraction from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

The interactive exhibit features George, John, Paul and Ringo in their late 1960’s-era styling and allows fans to stand in line with the Beatles to create their own personalized album cover.  The traveling exhibit will be in town from December 8, 2011 through February 2012.

For attraction pricing and other information, please visit  www.madametussauds.com/hollywood.

[Source: Rubenstein Public Relations]

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