around the amps; mystery strawberry fields guardsman, 67 promo

A blog here draws attention to a ghostly reflection seen in the Strawberry Fields promo.

strawberry.guard

Towards the end of the film, just before the orange toned sections, you can see it just for a moment, reflected in the wood of the piano.  Who was  the mystery guardsman?  We have one suggestion.Penny Lane VOX (1)

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t seem there were any extras in uniform on the shoot, but then again there doesn’t seem to be a picture of our guardsman either.  The image is deliberately distorted;  could it be someone wearing one of the Beatles’ jackets?  The colour is distorted somehow, but there’s the suggestion of a gold or lighter colour epaulette, which doesn’t seem to match the Beatles jackets.  If it is gold, then this would seem to be someone either wearing some of their oher jackets/hats, or someone close to their circle, with his own similar guards jacket, and what might be a hat with some sort of sharp black pointed front?  It’s hard to tell if we’re seeing the edge of a hat with a forward point/vintage regimental headgear, or just lines of strings and dark shadows beyond.

regimental headgear

 

The director,  Peter Goldmann, recalled later, (roughly translated, from here) -“..Cold winds were blowing at Knole Park, but the Beatles kept everyone’s spirits up.  In spite of frozen noses they fooled around, always making encouraging comments….There were several changes of clothing.  Nearly all the clothes came from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s own wardrobes.  Four red coats were all that they had to buy especially for the film; the rest came from the wardrobes.

Peculiar combinations occurred. Ringo loved an old uniform coat.  John changed between a kneel long beige jersey, a scarf and a preachers coat that he originally had hired for a party but didn’t want to return”.

Old military gear was becoming fashionable;  Robert Orbach,  director of the shop “I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet”,  remembered  in an interview how one morning, “… in walked John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Cynthia Lennon.  And I didn’t know whether I was hallucinating… but it was real. And Mick Jagger bought a red Grenadier guardsman drummer’s jacket, probably for about £4-5. They all came from Moss Bros and British Army Surplus.

..So Mick Jagger bought this tunic and wore it on Ready Steady Go when the Stones closed the show by performing Paint it Black. The next morning there was a line of about 100 people wanting to buy this tunic… and we sold everything in the shop by lunchtime”. (Robert Orbach, from V&A interview here).

It seems likely that our mystery guardsman wasn’t just some random extra, but was familiar enough with the Beatles to be in the shoot borrowing their clothes, or wearing his own.  Maybe he’d been shopping with them or someone else when the other 4 red coats were bought for the film.  There is one person that comes to mind, and that is Neil Aspinall.   A childhood friend from the original ‘mad gang’ with Paul & George,  he died sadly in 2008.  “..Sir Paul, Starr and the widows of Lennon and Harrison said: “All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man”….. And Harrison’s widow Olivia and the couple’s son Dhani said: “Neil takes with him the love and history of his extended family..He was our constant and avuncular caretaker for so many years; there is no way to measure how much he will be missed”.

Here”s a side by side comparison, with a photo of Neil from the 60s;

 

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Neil, the Beatles’ friend and assistant who would become Chief Executive of Apple, had actually been with Lennon in Spain when he started writing Strawberry Fields.  John was filming there for Richard Lester’s “How I Won the War”.   Neil stayed at the villa with John;  it was believed to be haunted, and one night during a power cut, a candle-lit party of actors and crew sang to the ghosts.  Locals would cross themselves as Neil drove Lennon around in his black Rolls-Royce, thinking it was a hearse passing by.  Could Neil be our ghostly guardsman?

 

More on Kitchener’s Valet / 60s fashion fun here

 

 

 

around the amps; mystery strawberry fields guardsman, 67 promo | 2015 | Uncategorized