Fellow Beatle fan Bill Harris of The Toronto Sun always has something John Paul George and Ringo as his lap top wallpaper. You can almost hear his computer purr, “Go to the Windows.”
Down on the floor of the press tour session rooms at the Universal Hilton, it was this black and white shot of the Fab Four circa 1965, around the time they were awarded their MBE’s from Her Majesty.
Looking at it during ABC’s morning session for the Jonas brothers last Friday I couldn’t help but think what Disney might have done to the Beatles today. The Jonas session went way past pre-Fab Four to Over Marketed Mop Tops. Read more about it at my press tour posting over at TV Guide.ca.
Critics were shown a clip from their new Disney Channel series Jonas (coming to Canada on Family Channel). It showed Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas being chased around a school by a bunch of girls in school uniforms. At one point, one of the boys pivots away on a Segway scooter; it made me long for Micky Dolenz or Peter Tork on a unicycle.
So even though the Jonas producers were going for Hard Day’s Night or Monkee madness, they seemed to be stuck on autopilot, looking for mechanical shortcuts to speed past any kind of a personality short fall.
Now, to be fair, The Beatles were dismissed as Marx Bros. wannabees in their first two films, at least in some quarters. And the young girls who squeal at the mere mention of the Jonas won’t care that Kevin or Joe looks like they’re going slow motion even in a sped up Segway pivot. They loved Camp Rock (which actually was pretty entertaining, on a family viewing level), and they will love Jonas.
But, boy, that press conference was dull. I may be a cynical and suspicious old TV scribe, but I could swear the Disney puppet masters were making sure to keep the session microphones as far away as possible from anybody who might rock the Jonas boat.
But back to the Beatles. The four lads from Liverpool would have all their English teeth yanked out today, replaced with perfect porcelains. Forget pot—cigarettes would be a no-no in all those Beatle BOAC bags. Hell–they probably would have been forced to sport brushcuts.
As for the press conferences, those famous, cheeky quips would never have been allowed to slip out of their mouths. Instead of, “How did you find America?” “Turn left at Greenland,” John would have been programmed to retort: “Ì think we found a real home with Hollywood Records and our partnership with Disney”(an actual quote from Nick Jonas Friday).
From what I’ve read, The Beatles completely charmed and disarmed the press on that first North American visit in 1964. That didn’t happen when the Jonas worked the press tour this week, but, then again, Disney didn’t allow it to happen. Locking these guys up in vault Disney might be safer, but it sure is a lot duller, too.