It Was Almost 50 Years Ago Today. Nothing Like it Before or Since. The Beatles at Dodger Stadium. August 28, 1966.

I have no idea why, sitting inside in the midst of  a typical cold, dreary, rainy vile New York/New Jersey  pre-winter (disgusting weather being the only aspect of life in my wonderful adopted east coast home to which this SoCal beach kid has never adjusted)  I flashed on a night almost 50 years ago at Dodger Stadium.

It was the warm southern California night of August 28, 1966, and my sister and I were in the stands watching The Beatles live in concert. The only video I could find of that event is this raggedy 8mm silent film taken by one of the concert-goers. Their excitement is evident in their inability to keep their hands still.

You will note in the brief film that the letters advertising the sponsoring LA radio station — KRLA — is more prominently visible than the group singing. This was in the day when radio stations were the make or break powerhouses that determined the fate of rock and roll acts.

If you ask my sister, I think she would agree that — while it was virtually impossible to hear the music — the excitement almost certainly represented the most visceral and intense experience we had had up to that point in our lives. I still have the program and ticket stub.

My sister may not remember this (I only did moments ago) but  our beyond-wonderful Mom surprised us with the tickets at least partially as a reward for a pretty difficult tonsillectomy I had undergone earlier that summer.

I’ll never, ever forget it.

This was the set-list.

Now, to share what a first-rate live Beatles concert was like in a non-stadium venue, look at this excerpt from a Paris concert, my fave of many that can now be found on YouTube.

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Whoopee! Criterion Collection Now Available for Viewing on Netflix.

 

Netflix has added much of the Criterion catalogue to the films they make available for instant viewing/streaming. This means that, if you are a Netflix member, much of the 20th century film canon (with an admittedly Western European bias)  is there for you to enjoy.

I would never argue that this is the best way to appreciate a great film. A DVD played on a decent sized monitor will almost always trump your laptop. (In an era when,sadly,  seeing a film on a large screen is almost too much to ask for!)  But if you’d like to check off some classics you somehow missed, this is worth checking out.

I just quickly glanced at the Netflix “instant-viewing” list and saw G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box, Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief,  Carol Reed’s The Third Man, Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis, and an incredible treat that I first saw thanks to my colleague Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, Henri-George Clouzot’s Le Corbeau.

I almost forgot to mention that this collection includes Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas, a haunting meditation on  rootlessness and loss with a beautiful, spare screenplay by playwright Sam Shepard.

And many more.

Enjoy.