The Beatles Visit Westport

More than 45 years after it supposedly happened, whether the Beatles actually visited Murray the K* at his Bluewater Hill home is up for debate.

But no one can deny that without Westporter Al Brodax, “Yellow Submarine” would never have left the dock.

In the late 1960s, Brodax was head of King Features’ motion picture/TV division. He pitched the idea of a full-length film based on the song of the same name to the Beatles. (I’m sure he knew someone who knew someone who…)

The Beatles agreed to provide music for the animated film. (It was also a way to fulfill their contractual obligation to United Artists.) With Brodax serving as producer, “Yellow Submarine” was released to critical acclaim in 1968.

(Full disclosure: I always thought “Yellow Submarine” was the worst song in the entire Beatles discography. I had no desire to see the film, then or now.)

Brodax went on to produce, write and direct several Emmy-winning TV shows, including “Make a Wish” and “Animals, Animals, Animals.”

Al Brodax (Photo/Carol King)

In 2004 he wrote Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. (Full disclosure: I have not read it, nor do I plan to.)

But Brodax is a great guy. He’s still around — though he’s migrated north, to Weston — and this Friday, April 13 (Westport Arts Center, 7 p.m.), the Westport Youth Film Festival will sponsor a fundraiser: the film, followed by a discussion with Brodax.

There’s also music by local bands, and (yeah, yeah, yeah) food.

The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for students. Because it’s a benefit for the WYFF (with live music), I’m guessing there will be lots of teenagers in the crowd.

As in, “kids who are Beatles fans, even if they were born 30 years after the Beatles may or may not have visited Murray the K* in Westport.”

*Murray the K was a famous DJ.**

**DJ as in “radio disc jockey,” not “someone who plays music at proms, weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

24 responses to “The Beatles Visit Westport

  1. John Hartwell

    I always thought the worst Beatles song was “Paperback Writer”, when they were trying to sound like the Monkees?

    • I remember talk of The Beatles at a pool party in Westport but not at Murray the K’s place. Linda Eastman, future wife of Paul, photographed the Yardbirds at Staples

      • The photo of Jimmy Page (Yardbirds) tuning his guitar it was then — and still is — the choral room at Staples is in a book of photos taken by Linda Eastman McCartney.

  2. The worst Beatles song is “Mister Moonlight.” Second place isn’t even close.
    Dan, you should see “Yellow Submarine,” it’s endearing and wonderful and includes terrific animated versions of “Hey Bulldog,” “It’s All Too Much,” and “Only a Northern Song.” The Beatles movie that is really terrible is “Magical Mystery Tour,” as much as I love the song.

    • Wow — gotta disagree on this one. I love “Mister Moonlight,” especially John’s intro. That entire “Beatles ’65” album is solid. I can see this post rapidly evolving into a favorite/most hated Beatles song thread.

  3. Best (tie): Across the Universe & The Long and Winding Road
    Worst: I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

  4. Eric Buchroeder

    The Stones never needed any of these gimmicks. Never studied sitar. Never reinvented themselves. Never came within a millenium of sounding like the Monkees. The Stones were just the best. Best that ever was. Best that ever will be. Period.

  5. Mr,. Moonlight is not a Beatles song, it was written by Roy Lee Johnson and yes, Dan is right, John’s vocal is amazing. The tossed off nature of the Yellow Sub songs is evident, as are the titles, “Only a Northern Song” simply means written for the fact that their publisher, Northern Songs, demanded another song! Magical is the worst film – they took a drubbing for it, but the songs are great. Yellow Sub is a nice film for kids, but the songs are sub optimal, and that is putting it mildly. Eric- The Stones utilized gimmicks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9DDpmyPZZA), and yes, Brian Jones played sitar! Satanic Majesties is proof that they were human, and music is not a sports competition, ALL bands have low moments…going to school with the Brodax kids certainly gave the sixties an added edge. Danny didn’t make a big deal of what his Dad did, but he didn’t hide it either.

  6. A Day in the Life
    A brilliant work of art in any media

  7. Dan got it right with “Yellow Submarine.” “Octopus’s Garden” is a close second. However, in all fairness, these songs and others (“You Know My Name, Look Up the Number” and “Wild Honey Pie”) were actually considered “Beatle novelties by George Martin.

  8. Interestlngly, I’ve been listening more to some of the Beatles’ early songs lately. I appreciate them more than ever. “All My Loving,” “Do You Want to Know A Secret,” “Please Please Me” and covers like “Twist and Shout” — they really do stand the test of time.

  9. I remember the Westport connection to “Yellow Submarine” and as a graphic designer, always thought it started a design trend that’s still alive today – at least in south Jersey when Wawa has their hoagie blitz – and not that that’s a good example but many copied that style. Also, that you should be stoned when you watched the movie. I never did that…. yeah right.

  10. Fred Cantor

    I must confess: I really like “Yellow Submarine” (the song). Never saw the movie. Many years ago, Debbie and I saw Ringo and his All-Starr Band at Radio City, and the audience was singing along to “Yellow Submarine.”

    Am unrelated Beatles/Westport Connection: “Dear Prudence” was inspired by Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, who lived in Westport (on Easton Road, I think) for a short time in the mid-sixties.

    • Two other Farrow sisters, Stephanie and Tisa, actually attended Long Lots Junior High. Stephanie was the one who looked most like Mia and played her sister in “Purple Rose of Cairo,” and maybe other films.

  11. I agree with whoever said it, “Dan, really see the film!”

  12. Prudie Farrow atended Staples for a couple of years. Had she remained until graduation she would have been a member of the class of ’65.

  13. There’s another Westport connection to the Yellow Submarine – Max Wilk (1920-2011), longtime Westporter, wrote the novelization of the movie. Certainly his most famous book.

  14. I was living in Westport when the Beatles came to the U.S. I remember the rumors swirling around about the group visiting Murray the K. I was a teenager then and I remember trying to find out where Murrey the K lived. No luck.

    • I think Murray the K rented the Spanish-style villa on Bluewater Hill, overlooking Long Island Sound. I seem to recall it was owned by Eli Black, the CEO of United Brands, which owned Chiquita and was later embroiled in some kind of scandal.