On the 'tube

Handmade Films doc

1

My local PBS station is airing "An Accidental Studio", a documentary about Handmade Films, the studio that George Harrison was involved in with Monty Python and others. It's on at 10pm EST.

2

Our PBS is having music specials---Buddy Holly, then The Kinks, followed by Linda Ronstadt. It's obviously time for the biannual two week pledge week/begathon/fund drive. They don't "usually" have advertising on PBS, but when they do! I've worked for PBS for a year. The fund drive was two solid weeks. I've worked Jerry Lewis Telethons as well---far more boring and drawn out due to the local production aspect, but the great thing was tons of free food for the crew and phone operators.

Handmade Films does some amazing work---"Time Bandits" for one. It ought to show up eventually on one of the four PBS feeds we get.

3

Must be “pledge” week. None of my 3 PBS stations are Showing it. Good to know it’s out there, though. I’ll watch for it. Thanks for the heads up.

4

Cool! Thanks for posting this! Checking my local PBS stations for it.

5

Didn't he (George) lose a pile of money in that venture? But he truly connected with the Pythons. I remember reading where he thought the slightly goofy spirit of the Beatles 'went into' the Pythons since they started the year the Beatles called it quits... 1969.

6

Not positive, but I believe George mortgaged his house to help get "Life of Brian" made.

7

Not positive, but I believe George mortgaged his house to help get "Life of Brian" made.

– Twom

I thought it was for the first Gilliam movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." George has since helped fund many of Gilliam's works---thankfully.

8

Twom is correct. Harrison did mortgage Friar Park to finance 'The Life Of Brian'.
When the original backers at EMI got around to actually reading the script they were financing, they chickened out, fearing the potential controversy.

Eric Idle mention it to George (as a friend), who saw its worth and believed in the project. He got the humor. He pretty much founded Handmade Films in mere days to finance the movie, as Python was already on location in Tunisia, ready to film.

As George himself put it; "I wanted to see the movie."

To which Eric Idle replied; "That's the most anyone has ever paid for a ticket to the cinema."

George even makes a brief cameo, doing a bit of background work;

Evidently the budget for 'Life of Brian' was around 4 million dollars.
It took in a little over 20 million at the box office upon its release.

So George did very well in his first venture with Handmade Films.

And it is also well considered by many, at this point, to be among the top comedy films ever produced.

9

I had no idea that Ray Cooper (the wild percussionist behind Elton John and many others) was a movie producer.

10

Eric Idle tells a great story about when they were shooting content for The Rutles mocumentary; 'All You Need Is Cash' (1978).

Evidently they were all out in front of Abbey Road Studios, Eric, Neil Innes, Ricky Fataar, George Halsey, in full costume and recreating the walk-across for that segment in the film.
Full production crew, barricades, clap board, cameras, director, the works.

That crosswalk, already being a tourist magnet, drew a large crowd who gathered to watch them film.
Among everyone in attendance watching was George Harrison, who makes a brief cameo elsewhere.

George found the whole thing hilarious. And especially ironic, as nobody there recognized him or realized he was just standing there watching, with the production crew. All eyes were on the 'Rutles'.

11

Must be “pledge” week. None of my 3 PBS stations are Showing it. Good to know it’s out there, though. I’ll watch for it. Thanks for the heads up.

– Bob Howard

Please send out smoke signals when you find it, Bob.


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