Thursday, May 30, 2013

For The Other Half Of The Sky

In the weeks following John Lennon's murder, Yoko Ono spent most of her time in seclusion at the Dakota, refusing all requests for interviews. Her first public statement of 1981 was in the form of an open letter, published as a full-page ad in major world newspapers on January 18th.

Two days after the letter was published, Yoko completed work on a video clip to accompany the song "Woman", which had been John's first posthumous release. The single came out in the US January 8th and peaked at #2 for three weeks in March and April. 

With MTV still months away from launching, there were few outlets on American TV for music videos. In this case, Yoko decided to give the ABC news magazine 20/20 an exclusive airing of the clip for "Woman". When ABC made the announcement on February 9th, they made it sound as if Yoko had given the tape directly to her good friend Barbara Walters (an angle Ms. Walters does little to dispel in her intro). More likely, 20/20 was chosen because of the Lennons' long-standing friendship with Geraldo Rivera, then a producer and senior correspondent on the show.

The segment aired on Thursday night, February 12th, and was duly taped at the start of A2, our first T-60 cassette. Recording at SLP speed meant the show would only take up the first 1/3 of the tape, and the first 45 minutes or so (with no Lennon content) were later erased by other material.

As for the "Woman" video itself, Yoko combined vintage stills with the last known footage of John (taken November 26th, 1980 in Central Park, not four days before his murder) and more recent film of herself alone in front of the Dakota. Interestingly, Yoko chose to include both of the chilling photos referred to in her open letter, going so far as to dissolve from the Imagine sleeve to the December 11th, 1980 New York Post cover image of John in the morgue.

Now, let's talk about those vintage ads! If I'm not mistaken, that's a young Elisabeth Shue playing gymnast Ginny Barr in the Chewels sugarless gum spot. I also dig the ABC announcer's declaration that "nothing will stop Jaws 2".

There's a cute blooper in the Channel 7 news teaser ("If this is on, let me know. It is?"). I don't remember ever eating at Carl's Jr. (I think we were too far north in California), but I do remember shopping at Alpha Beta ("tell a friend") from time to time. I seem to recall it was the only place to get the new Yellow Series of Topps Star Wars cards when they came out!

[Now that I think of it, that makes no sense. It must have been the Wonder Bread cards I was thinking of. And I'm sure they weren't exclusive to Alpha Beta, I probably just knew some kid whose mom bought bread there and made the connection.]

The low-key soft sell of the commercial for The Competition balances out the gritty one for Fort Apache, The Bronx nicely. And it doesn't look like Savin copiers ended up conquering the business world as they'd hoped.

Finally, I'm disappointed that the tape cuts off just as Ernie Anderson is midway through plugging Charo's appearance on "The Luuuuuuuuuuuve Boat".

1 comment:

  1. 1. Every other source repeats the statements before and after the silent vigil, so kudos for reprinting this one. I vaguely recalled comments about the morgue photo vs. Imagine, so I'm glad to see them in context again.

    2. To this day I still call it "The LUUUUVE Boat".