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The Rutles reunite in Hollywood to celebrate their 30th anniversary

This week is the exact 30th anniversary of the world premiere of the Rutles film "All You Need Is Cash" (World Premiere: NBC - Wednesday March 22nd 1978. UK Premiere: BBC - Monday March 27th 1978)

To celebrate the anniversary, all four Rutles appeared together at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on Monday March 17th at a special salute presented by the Mods & Rockers Film Festival and the American Cinematheque. It was the first-ever public appearance together of the four performers who portrayed The Rutles.

The four Rutles introduced a sold-out screening of the original film and then participated in a 30-minute panel discussion moderated by Martin Lewis who instigated and produced the 30th anniversary celebration. Lewis is the founder/producer of the Mods & Rockers Film Festival - and was the executive producer of the 1996 Rutles "Archaeology" album.


Peter Asher and Jeff Lynne mingle with fans after the show

Among the celebrities in the 620-capacity audience were many musicians including Andy Summers (The Police), Jeff Lynne (ELO), Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Stephen Bishop, Howard Kaylan (The Turtles), Peter Asher, (Peter & Gordon), Blondie Chaplin (sideman with the Rolling Stones and former bandmate of Ricky Fataar in the Beach Boys). Also on hand were Emo Phillips, Marcia Strassman ("Honey I Shrunk The Kids") and Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown).

Asked about their "reunion" after thirty years apart, Eric Idle quipped: "this is the first time in history that a band has reunited before they have actually united in the first place!"

Lewis had a surprise for the Rutles. A message from Mick Jagger - one of the stars who appeared as himself throughout the original 1978 film. In the closing scene of the film, Jagger had been asked if he thought that the Rutles would ever reunite. His response "Hope not!" was the famous last line in the film.

Playing on that, Jagger sent Lewis the following message to read to the band:

"After all the on and off promises and cancelled shows, I can't believe you have finally decided - at your great age - to defy all the odds and recreate your magnificent past. I wish I could be there. If only to laugh! Yours, Mick."


John Halsey, Rikki Fataar, Neil Innes and Eric Idle (Photo by Ray Greene)

Prior to seeing the original 1978 broadcast version of "All You Need Is Cash", the audience was treated to various Rutles film rarities:

The American debut of the Rutles on "Saturday Night Live" in October 1976 - when Idle made his first appearance as guest host of the show. The clip had SNL producer Lorne Michaels presenting the segment on the Rutles that had been created for Eric Idle's BBC TV series "Rutland Weekend Television". (It was audience reaction to this skit that led to Lorne Michaels proposing that Eric Idle make a full-length film about the Rutles for NBC).

A clip from "Saturday Night Live" in April 1977 showed Neil Innes as Ron Nasty performing a short version of the nascent Rutles song "Cheese And Onions". This performance (occurring 11 months prior to the song's appearance in the film and soundtrack album of "All You Need Is Cash") was subsequently included on various Beatles bootleg albums as a real John Lennon outtake!

A 7-minute trailer made in 2001 for an early version of Eric Idle's Rutles sequel "Can't Buy Me Lunch". At this point in time, the film (loosely inspired by the 2000 TV special "The Beatles Revolution") was titled "The Rutles Evolution". The rarely-seen trailer included sequences with Robin Williams, Steve Martin, David Bowie, Billy Connolly, Garry Shandling, Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash among many.

The rarely-seen music video for the song "Shangri-La" from the 1996 "Archaeology" album. The video featured an all-star "We Are The World" style chorus including such diverse performers as Peter Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Graham Nash, Ben E. King, Richie Havens, Gloria Gaynor, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone, Eartha Kitt, David Sanborn, Al Jardine, Stephen Bishop, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Richard Belzer, Taylor Negron, Janeane Garofalo. With introductions by Bill Maher and Slash.


The Fab Four (Photo by Ray Greene)

After the screening and panel discussion, Eric Idle introduced a brief musical performance by Rutles tribute band "The Pre-Fab Four" (in real life respected Beatles tribute band The Fab Four) who are starring in Eric Idle's new show "Rutlemania! The Semi-Spectacular Tribute Concert" - currently performing in Los Angeles, with a set of New York performances scheduled for March 26-29th.

All 620 seats for the 30th anniversary celebration had sold out the day that tickets went on sale - and a second late-night screening (with a brief introduction by the Rutles) also sold out.

The evening ended on a historic note, as all four original Rutles gave a truly historic performance in front of their closest friends!


Published March 18, 2008




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