A Hard Day's Patsy

Continued From: "Paper Loon," part of a thread beginning with "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

Beatlemania ascended in the United States as "The Patsy's" cameras neared completion. "A Hard Day's Night" was set to roll. The projects bear curious connections and coincidences.

"The Patsy" was filmed during the first two months of 1964. On Feb. 9, newcomers The Beatles exploded from television's "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Sullivan is an unbilled guest star in "The Patsy." Stanley Belt (Jerry Lewis) also makes a triumphant debut on Sullivan's program.

The Beatles' movie began shooting on March 2. "The Patsy" wrapped Feb. 28. One weekend separates their production calendars.

Both films are zany and episodic behind-the-scenes yarns about young entertainers striking the big time, each via the hit record pathway.

A minor similarity, granted, but Lewis sported footwear with a resemblance to what would soon become known as "Beatle boots."

Mulling these facts, I began to wonder, "Is it possible the comedies were released on the same day?"

According to Internet Movie Database, no, not by a long day's night.

The Beatles opened in American movie theatres on Aug. 11, 1964. "The Patsy" dawdled until Aug. 12. One day separates them.

[Correction: According to the "A Hard Day's Night" newspaper ad found in "The Atlanta Constitution," the Beatles' film debuted Aug. 5. See: "'A Hard Day's' Plight." "The Patsy" appeared earlier in the summer, although the specific date is elusive. It was common for major motion pictures to be released on a staggered schedule from market to market in the 1960s.]

By the time the Lewis picture premiered in Germany on Sept. 18, The Beatles had conquered the universe. The studio's foreign merchandisers moved to capitalize on the band's popularity. They updated the ad campaign to transform traditional clean cut Jerry into a Beatles lookalike, although a peculiar one.

Stanley's fussily-styled hair and expensive black suit, seen in "The Patsy's" recording studio sequence, are gone. He's acquired the group's trademark mop-top mane, although the sketch artist garbs him in odd casual clothing not seen in this movie nor the band's wardrobe. The Beatles of the period wore tailored suits, too, which contributed much to their initial appeal.

The entire Jerry Lewis poster art changed from head to ankle. Those boots were made for hawking.

Next: "Fellini Greedy"
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