Peter Goldman - A Swedish pop film maker, that worked for the Swedish Television during the 60's and 70's tells his story behind the making of 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' -films.
"Everything went so fast. It wasn't until I sat on the plane for London I realised what I was up to. I felt the nervousity and the excitement crawling under the skin. How in the world should I be able to make something enough funny-bizzard-cleaver-crazy-sofisticated to satisfy The Beatles. It was there in the plane that I came up with the idea of the horses.
- What do you like horses? I asked The Beatles when I told them about my ideas before the filming of the promotion picture for 'Penny Lane'.
- Oh yeah! Horses. Our friends on the countryside have horses.
All four thought that they might be able to ride a horse, if the they (the horses) were of the calm type.
Nothing worked at the first attempt of the shootings
The filming started in East End in London. The point was that John, Paul, George and Ringo should ride their horse through a narrow street. But the sight of the four horses became too much for the crowd of people that had been gathering to look at it all. They called and yelled so that the horses were scared and the boys had to flee to a pub in the neighbourhood.
Naturally it became a great success when The Beatles and the whole film team rushed into the pub. When the whole situation was cooled down a photographer was asked to take some pictures of the solemn occasion.
The pub owner, employees, wife's, kids, everyone was lined up. Old grandma was waken up, the youngest baby was taken up from the cradle. Everybody should be present on the family portrait along with The Beatles. The picture was supposed to hand on the wall on the pub and to increase the sale.
The Beatles never said no to this kind of situations. Patiently they shaked hands with everyone, lend out their clothes, discussed cameras and movies and since long dead film stars.
The second day
The next day the horse scenes were going to be retaken in a park, but there wasn't any success. It was lucky that Paul was the best rider of the four, when suddenly the horse, for some reason, got scared and his horse bolted away over the big field in the park.
Finally four horses stood shaking at the wrong end of the park refusing to move.
One of the horses kicked on a field gate as if he wanted to get away from the whole thing. The horse keeper, who had brought with him four calm and gentle horses looked ashamed and suspected what he had done.
There was, however, a short sequence made. The Beatles bare headed in red coats on the horseback. The boys were glad that the shooting was over and done.
- It was during the takings with the horses in the park that I for the first time saw The Beatles' enormous catering bus. John, Paul, George and Ringo liked good food and they did loose the temper if they didn't get their special food even during the shootings.
So, their big metal coloured catering bus followed them wherever they went. Containing a staff of cooks made the tables with their favourite food, baked in a gratin-disk with parsley over it or the special chicken that they liked of something else that they ordered.
-The food was served in a special order. First John, Paul, George and Ringo were served, then me, the head director, and after me my assistant and then the other assistants and so on.
- Ringo had a dog named 'Tiger' that he was very proud of. Tiger wasn't the most terrifying dog in his class, not the least of all. It was the smallest and the most taken cared of little white puddle I've ever seen. Paul had a dog that looked like a little pony; named Martha.
The films were, to the most parts, filmed on an estate in Kent. The surroundings were incredible English with a great old castle and hundreds of half tamed deer's that was strolling around in a giant park. Strawberry Fields
For the film 'Strawberry Fields Forever' we built a giant instrument that actually was an old teared apart piano with strings up in the air. The wind played on the strings that kept falling all the time and made a mess.
In Johns special built Rolls Royce the fab four had a real big laugh. Through a microphone and a loudspeaker they tried to shear me up with comments and advises that made an echo out over the neighbourhood.
This gave an unexpected result. A lot of truant boys from an boarding school nearby came to see what it was all about. Boys in all ages dressed in uniforms and straw hats hunting for autographs and souvenirs. A piece of a cigarette or an autograph by Peter Goldman was good enough. Peter could just establish the fact that the Beatles fever seemed to get higher for every year.
The Beatles talked to the arriving fans and John took his film camera and filmed the crowd. The truant boys from the boarding school wasn't as keen as The Beatles to listen to their director.
- Jump! said John. I want everybody to jump!
Nobody jumped so John didn't get the scene he wanted on film. Instead he had to satisfy with filming trees, the piano strings and other things that he felt that he should immortalise.
All four of The Beatles have excellent equipment for film at their houses. Ringo showed proudly his 16 mm equipment for Peter.
The Beatles was very patient actors in front of the camera. They was very interested and competent in all the technical things.
There was cold winds blowing at the estate, but The Beatles kept the whole team in a good mood. In spite of frozen noses they fooled around and always had encouragement things to say.
In 'Strawberry Fields Forever' there are seven changes of clothes. Nearly all the clothes came from John, Paul, George and Ringo's own wardrobes. Four red coats was all that they had to buy specially for the film, the rest came from the wardrobes.
Peculiar combinations occurred. Ringo loved an old uniform coat. John changed between a knee long beige jersey, a scarf and a preachers coat that he originally had hired for masquerade, but not been able to divorce.
They often bought small things in stores that they passed to and from the shootings. At one occasion they found an old antique shop where all four looked at every single thing. A couple of wind instruments was tested and the owner of the shop mumbled something about a tape recorder and a fortune. George bought a small lamp there.
The filming of the two films (we know now that they made three. The third one was 'A Day In The Life') took three weeks. Three crazy, funny and unforgettable weeks. Everything could have been done a lot faster but the arrangements didn't always work out as they was supposed to do - but we had a such a pleasant time.
When everything was settled we celebrated it with a giant party in the new EMI studio at St. James's Wood. The guests was dressed up in coloured clothes. Rolling Stones, Donovan, a member of the Monkees and many more pop stars where there.
Paul conducted a big symphony orchestra dressed up in a loose nose and sunglasses.
Ringo took pictures of it all and in a pause a strange recording took place;
The Rolling Stones sang the background singing to one of the tracks on the new coming Beatles album.