This is cross-posted from my George Harrison blog. It seems to fit both places.:)
(left, the suit’s 1967 debut; right, its return from the closet in 1988)
George’s single “When We Was Fab” from his smash comeback album Cloud Nine was not only an amusing song, but was accompanied by a weird, wacky, wonderful video. Directed by Godley and Creme, this quirky little film shows George, among true oddities such as having eight arms, wearing his original Sergeant Pepper costume.
I saw a truly adorable clip of George talking about wearing this suit. Now, I might add that if you look at the old Beatles stage costumes from way back when, especially when you see them up close in a museum, it’s amazing how tiny they are. They’re small. They’re tight. Itty little things. The Pepper costumes seem a tad more loose, but still, these Fab fellows, especially George, were thin. Young George was incredibly narrow and his suit was of course tailored to fit. In the interview talking about the “Fab” video, an older,heavier George impishly explained that “Yes, it’s the real suit. But we had to shoot it from far away because it’s a bit..tight around the, uh…hips, and I kept popping out of it.”
The eight-armed George was created through the magic of special effects and a sort of puppetry feat. And this is where it gets interesting; In a 90’s interview I watched long ago of Godley & Creme, the two explained that a headless, armless form of George was actually cast, dressed, mounted on a wall and these people stuck their limbs through it, being all George’s arms. George’s head,filmed separately, was put on in post production. For the shots involving only his head, George had to sit completely still and not move his head as he lip-synched the song, and actually got very exhausted,nearly dozing off,while doing it. Funny how hard it can be to keep still for that long.:) No explanation was given about the legs, however; they very deftly bring themselves up into a lotus position at the end of the video; George was able to do this, but who knows if those are his legs and/or if they were put on in post production.
(Does this mean a plaster cast was actually made of George’s body to make the model? Who has it? Where is it?That would be an interesting souvenir, no doubt.)
Also in the “Fab” video,Ringo appears, and although Paul was not available to appear in the video, a person in a walrus costume playing left-handed bass(referencing Paul) is shown jamming with Harrison while Ringo drums. Also making brief cameos are Gary Wright, Elton John, Derek Taylor, Jeff Lynne, Ray Cooper and Neil Aspinall. John Lennon, who died in 1980, is represented by a passer-by carrying his Imagine album.
Have a look!