George Harrison was a fan of American comic at The Smothers Brothers. On this evening he made an appearance on their CBS variety show.
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was filmed at CBS-TV Studio in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Harrison was nearing the end of a seven-week stay in the city, during which he had produced tracks for Jackie Lomax’s debut album Is This What You Want?.
He came over and we spent a lot of time watching some of the old tapes and some of the newer shows together. He was very charming but a little uncomfortable by himself on the show.
Harrison’s appearance on the show took place in front of a live audience. The other guests were The Committee, Dion, Jennifer Warnes and Donovan. Harrison wore a leather jacket, frilly yellow shirt and green striped trousers.
This edition of the show was broadcast two days later, on Sunday 17 November at 9-10pm EST.
Dick Smothers: Tommy has a special guest and he’d like to introduce him right now.
Tommy Smothers: That’s right. I have a Beatle!
DS: Yeah, but it’s not the kind of ‘beetle’ you would expect it to be.
TS: It’s the kind of Beatle that I think you hoped it would be! Ladies and gentlemen, Mr George Harrison!”
TS: Several weeks ago we had on… Your people did Hey Jude.
GH: (sings) Heey Juuude!
TS: And Revolution.
DS: Beautiful. We thought, Tommy and I both thought that Hey Jude was the best presentation we’ve ever seen of The Beatles. And we’re glad it was on our show.
GH: Yeah. So are we! Have you met my brother Dick? Let me introduce you. This is Tommy, and this is my brother Dick.
TS [to DS]: I’ve enjoyed your work.
DS [to TS]: You look different in person.
GH: It’s all the makeup. Too much makeup.
TS: You have something important?
GH: Something very important to say on American television.
TS: You know, a lot of times we don’t have opportunity to say anything important, because it’s American television. Every time you try to say something important they, uh… [pretends to press button]
DS: [makes throat-cutting gesture]
GH: Well, whether you can say it or not, keep trying to say it!
TS: That’s what’s important?
GH: You got that? Yeah. It’s very important. [To off-screen person] Cue, cue, cue. Aye, just a minute! Just a minute!
TS: Wait a second…
GH: OK… Cue the clap now! Yay!
TS: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr George Harrison.
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour began in February 1967. It regularly featured musical guests and political satire. Its daring scripts were often censored by the CBS network, which eventually cancelled the show in April 1969.
Back then in that year, The Beatles were the biggest thing in the entire universe. And to have George Harrison just stop on by to wish us luck and say ‘Go on, keep doing it,’ it was a real coup.
Also on this day...
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Fukuoka Dome, Fukuoka, Japan
- 1967: Mixing: Hello, Goodbye
- 1965: Mixing: I’m Looking Through You, You Won’t See Me, Girl, Wait, The Word, Michelle
- 1963: Live: Colston Hall, Bristol
- 1962: Travel: Hamburg to Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1959: Live: Hippodrome, Manchester
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.