Shout! Factory // 2006 // 165 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // April 30th, 2008
John, Paul, Tom and Ringo.
Tom Snyder's eclectic group of guests through the years was noteworthy to be sure. He watched the Plasmatics and Wendy O Williams blow up a car, he hosted old and new Hollywood greats, and he got into discussions with many of rock music's top shelf talent. Some of those discussions were cordial, like the ones on this compilation, some of them got just downright heated (see Lydon, John).
Having said all of this, through unforeseen circumstances, Snyder played host to John Lennon's final television interview, all the way back in 1975. Lennon then would withdraw from the spotlight until his tragic murder in 1980. So the fine folks at Shout! have decided to include the interview and tribute as part of a compilation, along with separate episodes that included Beatles bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Spread out over two discs, the layout is as follows:
* April 25, 1975/December 9, 1980
Lennon's interview is followed by a tribute that appeared the day after his death, with recollections from people who knew and/or wrote about Lennon, all of whom discuss the impact he had of music and society in his all too brief short life.
* December 20, 1979
Paul McCartney, wife Linda and members of his then-band Wings appear for the duration.
* November 25, 1981
Ringo Starr appears to promote a solo album at the time, but his wife Barbara Bach appears soon after, and late-night talk show guest Angie Dickinson appears, and unlike Larry King, Tom doesn't hit on her and the conversation is informal without being flirtatious.
Snyder's interview style tended to make things a little more informal with his subject, and it was certainly a refreshing change from the normal prepared questions about an upcoming film or album, and the conversational tone of things led to a little more candor than you would expect from the person or persons. In the Lennon discussion, Lennon was full of memories about the explosion of success for the band, his friendship with Paul, and he also discussed the solo work as well. He shares his thoughts on music at the time, professing to admire disco and reggae, and talks about the relationship with Yoko Ono and life in New York. Considering Lennon's legal difficulties surrounding possible deportation in 1975, his attorney appears later to help make sure that no missteps are taken by John. But at the time, it seemed to dispel quite a bit of myth and preconceived notion about the Walrus. Despite Snyder's thoughts to the contrary when introducing it, I feel that's it not a bad interview at all, and well worth watching for those who love and admire the Beatles and Lennon.
From there, Disc Two looks at two other Beatles, one before Lennon's murder and one after. With the McCartney show, the obligatory questions about a reunion tour emerge, and to hear some of the current events back then incorporated into the interview were a time travel experience to be sure (like the Who incident in Cincinnati, which occurred mere days before this interview). The McCartney show takes place just before Wings was about to take the stage in London, and sure, the piece is conducted via satellite. The affair is a little on the droll side. The home life is given some time, which does give the McCartneys a chance to goof off a little bit more. But compared to the Lennon interview, this is a little bit wasted on me. Moving onto the Starr interview, which was done almost a year to the day after Lennon's murder, you can tell the type of place he holds on the entertainment list, as his introduction follows Angie Dickinson, who discusses many things, including her "recent appearance" in Dressed to Kill. But Starr leads off in a pre-taped piece. Starr has always seemed more open about how the work with his Liverpudlian mates was both in and out of their dynamic, and talks more about his new album. The obligatory questions about Starr's last meeting with Lennon and his thoughts on him are discussed, and thoughts on the band's breakup are recollected. Starr was very matter of fact and frank in discussing things, and overall this is a better interview than I expected. Things move on to Starr's thoughts on Caveman? Holy crap! Talk about your nostalgia. From there, Dickinson discusses a new television show and some thoughts on what she's done to date and what she was about to do at the time. Oh well, you know what I say, get me Angie Dickinson and Barbara Bach on one show, and the result will be magic. In my pants. Rawr!
Overall, to see Snyder deal with a variety of characters and a variety of situations as deftly as he does makes me feel sad that he recently passed away, and that this type of interview dynamic isn't present in today's talk shows. Interviews are now boiled down to six minute segments that are devoid of any real insight into the entertainers we love and respect. For that, The Tomorrow Show comes heartily recommended and worth your time.
Review content copyright © 2008 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 165 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official John Lennon Site
* Official Paul McCartney Site
* Official Ringo Starr Site
* DVD Verdict Review - Tomorrow Show: Punk and New Wave
* DVD Verdict Review - Tomorrow Show: Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show