Friday, February 17, 2017

"5th Beatle" Jimmie Nicol "The Beatle Who Vanished" in Development For Feature Film / TV Series



Ashley Hamilton’s 449 Productions and Alex Orbison, on behalf of Roy’s Boys Films, have optioned the rights to The Beatle Who Vanished from author Jim Berkenstadt who is known in music circles as the “Rock and Roll Detective®.” The two will serve as Executive Producers along with Berkenstadt on the project that delves into a heretofore-unknown chapter in Beatles’ history that was chronicled in Berkenstadt’s book The Beatle Who Vanished, first published in 2013.  It is expected that the property will take the form either of a feature film or TV streaming series.

Jimmie Nicol at his tryout with The Beatles June 3, 1964. (c) Mirrorpix

Jimmie Nicol’s life changed on June 3, 1964 when he received a call from a desperate George Martin who asked if the drummer could stop everything and go out on the Beatles’ first world tour, conditional on his passing an audition. He would replace Ringo Star who has been stricken with tonsillitis and pharyngitis and had been admitted to Middlesex University Hospital.  The very next day, the tour departed for Denmark, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand with Nicol spending two weeks as a Beatle, both onstage and off.  After Ringo recovered and rejoined the group, Nicol, for all intents and purposes, vanished.

Grammy Winning Producer and Drummer Butch Vig, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Garbage called The Beatle Who Vanished “a fascinating and mysterious read for anyone who wants to understand the meteoric rise to pop stardom and subsequent crash landing.”

Hamilton commented, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Jim Berkenstadt to expand his vision to another medium and expose a whole new audience to his riveting and previous untold Beatles’ story.”

Orbison added, “It’s a truly compelling story of the man who rescued The Beatles’ first world tour from disaster. He spent his 15 minutes of fame by the age of 25 then seemingly vanished.  This is a story that is both intimate and epic.” Orbison and Hamilton are hoping to foster the creation of an unprecedented soundtrack that will re-create the music from The Beatles’ tour with Nicol and from his entire musical career.

"5th Beatle" Jimmie Nicol & The Bealtes in Adelaide Parade Car(c) Hayward Photo Archive

Paul McCartney summarized the enigma that was Jimmie Nicol “It wasn't an easy thing for Jimmie to stand in for Ringo, and have all that fame thrust upon him. And the minute his tenure was over, he wasn't famous anymore.”

During the tour, McCartney was aware of the pressure that Nicol was under and would inquire as to how he was getting on.  Putting on a brave face, Nicol’s stock response was “It’s getting better,” the recurring comment providing the inspiration for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band track “Getting Better.” Unfortunately, the opposite would hold true with Nicol.  After his 13 days of fame were over, the true mystery of Nicol’s story was riddled with blacklisting, betrayal, substance abuse, bankruptcy and an eventual disappearance that has led many to question whether he is dead or alive. He had become a mysterious footnote in Beatles history until Berkenstadt began his research. 


Jimmie Nicol with The Beatles, rocking out in Adelaide, Australia - (c)Newspix Photo File

Berkenstadt is the author of Classic Rock Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind (with Charles Cross) as well as Black Market Beatles: The Story Behind the Lost Recordings (with Scott Belmo Belmer). He is founder of Rock and Roll Detective® LLC, a company dedicated to providing production, publishing, writing, research, social media and content creation for the entertainment industry. He has consulted to the late George Harrison, The Beatles and Martin Scorsese.

Ashley Hamilton is an actor/singer/comedian and long time friend of Alex Orbison and his family; he is the son of actors George Hamilton and Alana Stewart. Orbison is one of the principals of Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based family company owned by the sons of Roy Orbison to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy.  Alex Orbison served as both Executive Producer and writer of the recent Mystery Girl – Unraveled documentary. It should be noted that the Beatles, with Ringo on board, were Roy Orbison’s opening act on a 21 date UK tour in 1963.  Years later Orbison would collaborate with the Beatles’ George Harrison as well as Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne in The Traveling Wilburys.

Jim Berkenstadt will be speaking and signing his Best Seller, The Beatle Who Vanished, at the FEST FOR BEATLES FANS 2017 – NEW YORK METRO on FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY, MARCH 3-5, 2017 at the HYATT REGENCY JERSEY CITY ON THE HUDSON (2 Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ).

The Last Known Photo of Jimmie Nicol, The Beatle Who Vanished.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

New Beatles Film For Fans !


Production starts later this month on ‘Here There & Everywhere’ [HTAE], a landmark documentary film project, supported by The Cavern Club, The Beatles Story Museum, The Hard Days Night Hotel, The Fest For Fans, Abbey Road on the River and The British Beatles Fan Club, and many others.

The film, shooting throughout this year and released in the summer of 2018, is an 80-minute ‘love letter’ spanning the band’s history as seen through the eyes, felt through the hearts and as told through the memories of the fans . . . from those who organise the fan
festivals and tribute concerts . . the Club and event runners who keep the fans together, the memorabilia collectors who amaze and delight with their rare and unseen photographs and films. . . to the authors who continue to breathe fresh life into the never-ending magical mystery tour.

HTAE pays homage to the global family, showcasing their
contributions towards fuelling The Beatles eternal flame. HTAE is The Beatles story as told by the fans and an important part of The Beatles future archive legacy!

As part of the ongoing production the producers will also encourage artists and animators around the world to include their Beatles-inspired interludes in the film. But perhaps most importantly, if fans have a story to tell, then they can get in touch and the producers will look to include contributors and their stories in the film.

Many artists and bands will pack HTAE with performances. And special licensed recordings will also be produced, featuring
musicians and vocalists from around the world, creating a global Beatles soundtrack. The film will also feature a “surprise” finale, to be announced over the months ahead.

The film will be launched at a number of iconic venues after
release, with a TV broadcast release at the conclusion of the project.

The team behind the film

Simon Weitzman is the film’s director and the publisher, producer and author on three recent Beatles books. Simon also has 18 years experience as a network TV director, working for BBC, ITV,
Channels 4 & 5, Sky, HBO and Disney International Television

David L Simon is one of the two executive producers. He launched and managed Disney International Television Productions, was head of DreamWorks Television Animation under Steven Spielberg, and was vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations. David is also a lifelong Beatles fan

The second executive producer The British Beatles Fan Clubs very own Pete Nash, Chairman and magazine Editor of the legendary Club magazine.

Contributors to the PledgeMusic campaign will receive a signed DVD of the movie before the launch. Those who pledge for the DVD offerings will also see their name on the film’s credits, if they pledge during the campaign.There is also a more extensive Deluxe collector package available, plus preview, edit suite and launch cinema tickets.

To reserve your DVD copy and see your name in the credits go to to be part of the family making this film. The campaign starts February 9!

*Please note this film is completely independent of Apple Corp and The Beatles. It is not an official product of Apple Corp, or passing itself off as such. 

POSTSCRIPT: The Rock And Roll Detective has been asked to participate in the film. Looking forward to helping out.

2017 Rock And Roll Detective(r)