The Beatles were one of the first bands to be associated with cartoons. From the Beatles TV Cartoons kids woke up to in the sixties to Yellow Submarine, which woke everyone to the psychedelic possibilities of big screen, the musicians were at the forefront of sound and vision. Three of the four Beatles appeared on The Simpsons. Ringo Starr narrated Harry Nilsson’s The Point and even appeared on The Power Puff Girls. Paul McCartney’s semi-animated The Bruce McMouse Show will get a special one-night-only theatrical release on January 21, according to Rolling Stone. The film, which has never been publicly screened “tells the story of how Paul McCartney and Wings came to meet the inimitable impresario Bruce McMouse.” Screenings will be held in 11 theaters across the U.S.
The Bruce McMouse Show was directed by Barry Chattington, who blended footage from four Wings shows in The Netherlands and Germany on their 1972 European tour with animated sequences featuring Paul and Linda McCartney, Deryck Guyler, Pat Coombs and Derek Nimmo voicing a family of mice. The film took five years to finish and by then Wings’ lineup had changed and the movie was shelved.
The animated sequence centers on a meeting between Wings and Bruce McMouse, an impresario whose family which lives under a concert stage. The film was inspired by sketches McCartney had done. The film opens with Wings performing the song “Big Barn Bed,” while Bruce McMouse and his family share stories beneath the band. By the end of the show, the hall is filled with mice.
The unrelased animated was included on one of the DVDs of Paul McCartney’s deluxe edition reissue of his 1973 Wings album Red Rose Speedway, which dropped last month.
“Never-before-seen, The Bruce McMouse Show is a concert film with a difference,” reads the official synopsis on brucemcmouse.com.
“Paul McCartney opens with the story of how the band came to meet the inimitable impresario Bruce McMouse. Featuring the original Wings line up, live concert footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour is interspersed with animated scenes, introducing a family of mice living under the stage. After opening the film with ‘Big Barn Bed’ – taken from Wings’ LP Red Rose Speedway – the camera takes us down through the floorboards into this charming animated world. We see Bruce McMouse regale his children with stories from his past, when son Soily rushes into the room in a whirlwind of excitement announcing that “The Wings” are playing above them.
“As the concert plays on, Bruce declares to his wife Yvonne that Paul and the band need his help. Bruce then proceeds to venture on stage to offers his services as producer. As the concert progresses, the animated scenes culminate with dozens of animated mice flocking to the venue to see Wings play. The film was directed by Barry Chattington and produced by Roger Cherrill with the live elements taken from four shows in Holland and Germany in 1972.
“Paul viewed the initial concert edit and realised there was great potential in the material captured. Prior to the European tour Paul had the idea of a family of mice and sketched the characters. Picking up the idea, Eric Wylam took Paul’s sketches and created the final McMouse family. This storyline was incorporated and used as a linking theme within the concert footage. The voice-overs for the animated mice took place at the end of 1973, recorded by Paul and Linda McCartney, Deryck Guyler, Pat Coombs and Derek Nimmo.
“Production stretched from 1972 through to 1977 when the film was complete, however with changes in the band’s line-up and music scene, the project was shelved. ‘The Bruce McMouse Show’ has been fully restored in 2018 at Final Frame Post alongside a brand-new audio mix (stereo and 5.1) created at AIR Studios and mastered at Abbey Road.”
The Bruce McMouse Show is showing at:
New York: IFC Center
Los Angeles: ArcLight, Hollywood
Bethesda: ArcLight Bethesda
Chicago: ArcLight Chicago
Honolulu: Kahala 8
Nashville: Belcourt Theatre
Sacramento: The Tower Theatre
San Diego: ANGELIKA, Carmel Mountain
San Rafael: San Rafael Film Center
Seattle: SIFF Uptown
Tickets for The Bruce McMouse Show can be bought at brucemcmouse.com.