The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour launch party

The Beatles held a launch party for the Magical Mystery Tour TV film on 21 December 1967. Invited were friends and relatives of the band, as well as participants and crew members from the production.

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher dressed as cockney pearly king and queen. John Lennon wore a Teddy Boy costume, while George Harrison dressed as a cavalier and Ringo Starr came as a Regency dandy.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jane Asher and others at the Magical Mystery Tour party, 21 December 1967

Invitations to the party were four-panel cards which in full measured 26.75″ x 7.5″, adorned with psychedelic imagery. The text read:

Invitation to The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour party, 21 December 1967

Magical Mystery Tour Fancy Dress

Thursday 21 December at 7:45pm

Royal Lancaster Hotel Bayswater Road

Entrance to Westbourne Suite

Telephone 262-6787

No admittance without this card

Invitation to The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour party, 21 December 1967

The party was not a wholly happy affair. A drunken John Lennon ignored his wife Cynthia, and turned his attentions instead to Pattie Harrison.

Just before it [Magical Mystery Tour] was shown there was a launch party at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, on December 21. It was an extravagant fancy-dress affair and I wore a crinoline dress, like something on a chocolate box, while John went as a greased-up, leather-clad teddy-boy. He had invited his father, Alf, to come and they got very drunk together. It wasn’t a happy evening. I became more and more upset as John flirted with other women, including Pattie, who was seductively attired as a belly-dancer. Lulu was outraged on my behalf and shouted at John that he should be ashamed of himself. It made me smile, despite my wounded pride, to watch her, dressed as Shirley Temple, giving teddy-boy John a dressing-down. The evening ended with John and Alf dancing drunkenly together, while I was thoroughly miserable. I had been about the only person John hadn’t danced with.
Cynthia Lennon
John
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Discretion must have been John’s middle name. During our marriage the only time that he gave me grounds for jealousy was at a private party and showing of A Magical Mystery Tour [sic] – the disastrous television film that the boys wrote and produced themselves following Brian’s death and the Apple ventures.

The party was fancy dress and to be attended by numerous famous and infamous pop celebrities. It was a wonderful night. We all enjoyed the frivolity of dressing-up and making silly fools of ourselves. John really went to town. He went back in time and arrived as the greasiest and most objectionable looking Teddy boy, covered in chains and leather. I couldn’t have been more opposite in my choice of dress. I looked like the lady on the front of a Quality Street [chocolates] tin, all crinoline, bonnets and bows. The party was progressing beautifully and when the dancing began it was take-your-partners time. John made a bee-line for Pattie who was looking incredibly sexy in her eastern-dancer’s-seven-veils-and-not-much-else outfit. John hogged Pattie for quite a time and I was left sitting primly and stiffly, very much out in the cold. A guest on our table, the lovely Lulu, also noticed John’s over-enthusiastic attentions towards Pattie, and sat next to me full of indignation at my plight. She really was funny, dressed in a Shirley Temple outfit of short spotted dress. Her hair was beautifully ringleted and tied at the top with an enormous bow, short white socks and a giant lollipop which finished off her detailed ensemble. Pint-sized Lulu took it into her head to give John a good telling off. It was such a lovely sight, Lulu cornering John and giving him what for. John was very much taken aback by Shirley Temple’s serious lecture on how to treat his wife.

I wasn’t totally without dancing partners, however. Billy J Kramer was dressed as the soldier from Quality Street, and we made a lovely couple, until we tried to jive instead of waltz. Full of food and wine and high spirits I forgot my crinoline was not the right kind of dress for energetic gyrations and ended up red-faced on the floor, bonnet over my eyes and masses of material billowing out like a huge lavender balloon around my crumpled body. I always find that when I am trying to compete or make an impression I end up making a fool of myself. John’s looks in my direction on that occasion were not of love or admiration, but pure embarrassment. I was letting him down yet again.

Cynthia Lennon
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