Twenty Years Ago Today Page 7

It was a fun project, the most fun perhaps I ever had filming. I like to think I invented the "mock documentary" form, remember this was before Zelig and before Spinal Tap. I'm glad to see it has a continuing life, I will always remain proud of the work and as George says in his big leather job: 'What should have happened is that the Bonzo and the Beatles should have turned into one great Rutle band with all the Pythons and had a laugh...The Rutles told the story so much better than the usual boring documentary. Try and see that film. That is a recommendation rather like saying: 'Don't bother me - see my lawyer. He will explain everything.'

***

I watched the Beatles Anthology last night. I had been avoiding it. After all I practically majored in Beatlemania, and for a short time read and watched everything I could on the Fabs. There was some new old footage even I hadn't seen, but all in all I felt we did a pretty good job. There was nothing new to add to The Rutles story. It was made in a time of innocence, before the appalling murder of John Lennon. George repeated a lot of the stories he had told me (the reefer in Buck House, the nightmare in Manila etc.) and came up with a great new line - "Everybody used us as an excuse to go mad." It's partly true and partly disingenuous. They did after all encourage us! It's amazing watching "the actual" history to see just how much our lives were bound up with the Beatle story. Almost every major beat of my post teenage years is to the beat of a Beatles song. But I think I am most proud of the way the Rutles story has slid invidiously into the real story of the Beatles. To hear George saying "we had a couple of cups of tea before meeting Elvis" and know he is slyly referring to the Rutles is for me very satisfying. Almost as satisfying as finding that Elvis referred to everyone as "Squire" from my Nudge Nudge sketch. But that's another story...

Eric Idle
From Say No More The Unpublished Memoirs of an ex-Python


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Copyright © 1997, Eric Idle