What John Lennon Was Singing About on 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun'

Eric Schaal |

If you wanted to pick the most baffling Beatles song, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” should be a contender. Whether you go by the shifting musical styles, the obscure lyrics, or the insane final passage (“Bang, bang! Shoot, shoot!”), John Lennon just about emptied the tank writing this one.
The Beatles themselves loved the track. John spoke of what fun they had recording it, and his bandmates spoke glowingly of it. In fact, as The White Album was headed to record stores, Paul McCartney said he wanted to talk about it because it was a favorite of his.
But when talking about the song’s meaning, there was little consensus. Some said the title came from an NRA magazine; Paul said it came from a gun advertisement. And to confuse things further, John said “I need a fix” wasn’t a drug reference.
But another quote from Paul, when he described it as “just good poetry,” might come the closest to getting it right.
 “John said he had written half a song and wanted us to toss out phrases while Neil [Aspinall] wrote them down,” Taylor said. One came from a couple Taylor met on holiday. The man told Taylor he wore moleskin gloves because he liked “the sensation when I’m out with my girlfriend.”
That suggestion turned into someone “acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand.” When Taylor brought up a man arrested for looking up women’s skirts with mirrors attached to his shoes, John turned it into “a man in the crowd with multicolored mirrors on his hobnail boots.”
The night’s conversations also gave John the idea for the soap impression someone “ate and donated to the National Trust.” (This was a reference to public defecation around Liverpool.) As for the part when John sang, “Mother Superior jumped the gun,” that was John’s nickname for Yoko Ono.
As for the unusual song title, John pulled that verbatim from yet another source. Someone had a copy of American Rifleman magazine in the recording studio and it was opened to an article under that headline.
“It said, ‘Happiness is a warm gun,” John recalled in Beatles Anthology. “I thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say.” Despite writing “the junkie” next to his second section of lyrics, he maintained the references weren’t to heroin.
“They said it was about shooting up drugs,” John said. “But they were advertising guns and I thought it was so crazy that I made a song out of it.” So why did he sing the last section with that over-the-top vocal? Next to the final section of lyrics, John wrote “satire of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll.”
“It was such a great line that John sort of took that and used it as a chorus,” Paul said in Many Years From Now. “It’s just good poetry.” Later, he described where John’s mind was at. “It’s a piss-take of all the people who really do think happiness is a warm gun.”

‘Brady Bunch’ father Robert Reed was a drunken diva behind the scenes of the show


By Reed Tucker

America’s favorite dad was livid.
The man who played Mike Brady, Robert Reed, paged through the latest script for “The Brady Bunch” and lashed out at the show’s creator, demanding that his part be rewritten.
And what had so incensed the actor?
The smell of strawberries. Or the lack thereof.
In Season 4’s episode, “Jan, the Only Child,” Brady mom, Carol, and the family’s housekeeper, Alice, hold a competition to see who can craft the tastiest strawberry preserves.
As the competition raged in the Brady’s formica kitchen, the script called for Mike Brady to arrive home and remark that the house smelled like “strawberry heaven.”
Only Reed, who had a habit of meticulously fact-checking each script, discovered while poring over the “Encyclopedia Britannica” that strawberries supposedly give off no smell while they’re being cooked.
So Reed went to “Brady” creator Sherwood Schwartz and told him he would not say the line.
Attempting to placate the actor, Schwartz invited Reed down to the set where strawberries were actually being cooked and pointed out that the berries did indeed give off a scent.
Reed wouldn’t hear it. He’d read that they didn’t, and he refused to say the line.
So Schwartz offered a compromise: Mike Brady could say it “looks like strawberry heaven in here,” and Reed reluctantly agreed.
(Although the line he ultimately delivered in the filmed episode was, “I do believe I’ve died and gone to strawberry heaven.”)
Reed was famous for being difficult on set. In another episode in which youngest Brady boy, Bobby, sells hair tonic in a get-rich-quick scheme, Reed objected because the product wasn’t FDA-approved. In yet another, Reed whined about the implausibility of his character slipping on a broken egg. He even once disapproved of the quality of the fake ink that stained Alice’s uniform, prompting the actor to pen an angry, multi-page memo to the show’s executives. Reed blasted the prop department for its choice and called the ink scene so “unfunny that even a laugh machine would balk” at it.
 “I don’t feel like anyone thinks it’s a great show. This is not the sitcom version of ‘Breaking Bad,’ author Kimberly Potts told The Post. Its more that its a sweet show. Now so many generations have watched it, its a good memory and makes them feel good.”
Schwartz, the creator of “The Brady Bunch,” always wanted his show to be more than a quick laugh.
In 1966, he happened across a newspaper article stating that 29 percent of families now included a child from a previous marriage. The stat got Schwartz, who had created 1964’s “Gilligan’s Island,” thinking. He began crafting a show about a blended family that would serve as a parable for his personal belief that different people could always learn to live together.
The networks weren’t initially wild about the idea, and the series was shelved.
Then in 1968, “Yours, Mine and Ours,” a film about a blended family starring Lucille Ball, became a huge hit. ABC came calling about Schwartz’s sitcom idea, and the creator set about assembling his cast.
“Schwartz did a lot of smart things when he cast the show,” Potts says. “He cast kids and created the characters based on their personalities. That’s something that came through and helped people identify with them and made the group of siblings resonate with people.”
He also stocked the family with six kids; a boy and a girl occupying three different age groups. A full range of kid viewers — from young children to teens — could find someone to identify with.
Susan Olsen was chosen out of 454 hopefuls Schwartz personally interviewed to play youngest daughter Cindy. She won the part because of her charming lisp that had her pronouncing horse as “horth” in her audition.
Maureen McCormick was at first eyed to play middle daughter Jan, but when Schwartz tinkered with the ages of the kids, McCormick became eldest daughter
Mike Lookinland got the gig of Bobby, even though Schwartz demanded that he dye his light hair brown to match that of his TV brothers: Christopher Knight, as Peter, and Barry Williams as Greg.
Competition was fierce to play parents Mike, an architect, and Carol, a stay-at-home mom with creative pursuits. One actress vying for the matriarch role sent Schwartz nude photos. Another, when Schwartz went to shake her hand, instead grabbed his crotch.
Neither got the part. It went to Florence Henderson after Shirley Jones passed on the role.
Reed, who fancied himself a Shakespearean actor, took the part simply for the money and quickly became a distraction. The unhappy actor would frequently spend his lunch breaks getting sloshed and when he returned to the set drunk, Schwartz would have to end filming for the day. Luckily, the child actors were usually done at that point and avoided witnessing most of his bad behavior and angry outbursts.
In fact, Reed had a close, almost paternal, relationship with the Brady kids.
“He took his responsibility as the TV dad seriously,” Potts says. “He famously took the kids on a trip to England because he wanted to expose them to culture and Shakespeare. He also famously gave them Super 8 cameras for Christmas. He wanted to help them the same as a father would.”
His relationship with the show continued to be less collegial, and he was completely absent from several episodes, including the 1974 series finale, because of his objections to material.
Had the series returned for a sixth season, Schwartz was planning to kill off Mike Brady and have the plots revolve around the kids helping Carol find love again.
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But the show only lasted five seasons. While never a critical or ratings darling (its best finish was 31st, in Season 3), Schwartz quickly began receiving letters from real kids threatening to run away in order to live with the Bradys.
The show had clearly struck a chord and unlike many sitcoms of its day, it didn’t disappear after it was canceled.
Instead, it found a new life in syndication starting in 1975, often airing in blocks in the afternoon, which breathed new life into the program, making it a classic.
By 1976, reruns of “The Brady Bunch” actually beat the vice-presidential debate in ratings. At the time of its 30th anniversary, each of the 117 episodes was estimated to have aired more than 100,000 times around the world.
“These airings were chances for viewers of every changing age group to memorize the show, identify with the characters and their problems and allow ‘The Brady Bunch’ to become a permanent part of their culture and childhood memories,” Potts writes.
Today, all six actors who played the Brady kids continue to be defined by roles they performed half a century ago. Just recently, they appeared on HGTV’s “A Very Brady Renovation.”
Meanwhile, Reed died at 59 in 1992, after being diagnosed with colon cancer. It was later revealed that he had long lived a closeted gay life and was HIV-positive.
In a 2000 ABC News interview, Henderson talked about Reed’s homosexuality, which she learned about while filming the “Brady” pilot, and explained some of the reasons behind his bad behavior on set.
 “Here he was, the perfect father of this wonderful little family, a perfect husband. Off camera, he was an unhappy person — I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration. I never asked him. I never challenged him. I had a lot of compassion for him because I knew how he was suffering with keeping this secret.”

Cowboys and Bealtes

Before the Beatles’ film, A Hard Day’s Night was released in America, an executive asked the director to dub the voices of the group with mid-Atlantic accents. Paul McCartney angrily replied, “Look, if we can understand a fucking cowboy talking Texan, they can understand us talking Liverpool.”

Give Them an Inch….(1966)

Players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Hawks search for a contact lens lost by Jack Evans, 1962

Diana Ross

10 Most Culturally Influential Movies Of The 1960s

DEC 01, 2019

 Even though there are great movies coming out all the time, a lot of these contemporary films have been heavily inspired by movies that were released decades ago. Movies, TV shows, and generally the way that we live our lives and the things that get huge in the world of pop culture have been inspired by what was released in the past. Many people still love to watch movies that came out decades ago, sometimes even before they were born, and we definitely see why.
Movies are a form of media that have a huge impact on pop culture. The 1960s was a decade that saw a huge turn in the way people lived their lives and what was popular in media consumption. This decade was a turning point in a lot of ways, and the movies of the times definitely reflected that. These are the most culturally influential movies of the 1960s.

 If you watch TV shows like The Walking Dead or basically any movie that features zombies, you can thank this 1968 film for popularizing the monster. Zombies have been a subject of myths and legends in different cultures for a long time, but they didn't see much attention in the cinematic world until George A. Romero released this cult classic, Night of the Living Dead.
This movie follows a group of people who find themselves trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse when a group of terrifying "living dead" creatures rise from the grave and descend upon their home. On top of inspiring movies and TV shows for years to come, this movie was groundbreaking at the time of its release because of the fact that the protagonist was played by Duane Jones, a black actor, which was seen as a controversial choice at the time.

9 DR. NO (1962)
 James Bond has become an iconic character in the world of movies. When many people think about spy films, they immediately think of 007 himself. James Bond has appeared in 27 movies and references to this spy have appeared in tons of other movies and TV shows over the years.
All those references started with a single movie. Dr. No was released in 1962 and stars Sean Connery as the iconic James Bond, a British spy who was originally created in the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. This movie had a relatively low budget, considering what a success it was.

8 PSYCHO (1960)

It's hard to think about movies from this part of the 20th century without immediately thinking about Alfred Hitchcock. Films like Rebecca, Rear Window, and Vertigo are classics from the 1940s and 1950s. But when it comes to the 1960s, Psycho is among the most famous horror movies ever made.
This movie was released in 1960 and follows a secretary named Marion who finds herself at a hotel run by a man named Norman Bates. Her stay goes horribly wrong and introduces us to one of the most infamous characters in horror movie history.

 In the Heat of the Night is a movie that was released in 1967 and is based on a novel of the same name by John Ball. This film is set in a fictional southern town and follows a black police detective who is tasked with investigating a heinous crime.
This movie's plot, cast, and the time period in which it was released all lead to it becoming critically acclaimed and the winner of five Academy Awards. In 2002, In the Heat of the Night was selected for its cultural significance to be put in the National Film Registry.

 Released in 1964, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a political satire and black comedy film that was directed by Stanley Kubrick. This movie is a satirical take on the Cold War and follows a US Air Force General who orders a strike on the Soviet Union and the aftermath of this order.
After it was released, this movie was nominated for and won several awards, including multiple nominations for Academy Awards. It's Stanley Kubrick's highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes and has gone on to serve as an inspiration for satirical comedies for decades.

 The Apartment was released in 1960, the same decade in which Fred and Wilma Flintstone became the first couple to be in bed together on primetime TV. Because of the fact that this was a time period in which personal relationships like that were still pretty taboo in media, The Apartment is a movie that really broke some boundaries.
This movie follows an insurance clerk who allows his co-workers to use his New York City apartment to host their extramarital affairs in the hopes of getting ahead in his own career. This movie touched on taboo subjects and has since become a classic, even securing a spot in the National Film Registry.

4 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
 2001: A Space Odyssey is a science-fiction movie that was directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1968. This movie is regarded as a classic and has even been put into the National Film Registry.
The movie deals with themes of human evolution throughout time and into the future. Considering the fact that it was released in the late 1960s, this movie had some pretty incredible and ambitious special effects that, paired with the unique narrative methods, made this movie incredibly influential.
 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a Spaghetti Western that was released in 1996 and stars Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef. It was marketed as the third and final installment in the trilogy of movies that include A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More.
The movie follows three gunslingers who are all competing to try to find a buried cache of gold during the American Civil War. This movie is a classic example of the Spaghetti Western genre and is among the first movies to launch Clint Eastwood into stardom.

 Breakfast at Tiffany's was released in 1961 and stars Aubrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a naive and eccentric New York City socialite. The movie is based on a Truman Capote novella by the same name and, along with winning multiple awards when it was released, was put into the National Film Registry.
The movie became a classic, with the images of Hepburn in the film among the most iconic images from mid-20th century cinema. The movie has also received some negative attention and has become a common example of racial insensitivity in cinema for Mickey Rooney's portrayal of I. Y. Yunioshi.

1 EASY RIDER (1969)
 Easy Rider was released in 1969, closing out the 1960s. It was an incredibly influential film that went on to inspire a new movement in Hollywood known as New Hollywood. This movie stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper and was written, produced, and directed by them as well.

The movie may have come out at the tail end of the 1960s, but the plot of these two bikers traveling across the US in order to do a nefarious deal really touched on a huge part of the culture of the decade, as people began to change their lifestyles from the way that people lived in the '40s and '50s.

Oh baby little butterball of love Missy Emily, that gurl is cooler than a set of snow chains. I want her more than a new set of monster truck wheels. Okay maybe she ain’t not the most beautiful girl around but hey, true love’s just a light switch away. Even if she does smell like chloroform.

Bam! Pow! 1960s TV Batman costumes up for auction

By Mike Coppola

Holy priceless collection! Batman and Robin's costumes from the iconic 1960s television series starring the late Adam West are set to go on sale in Los Angeles for an estimated $150,000 to $200,000.
Burt Ward played Robin alongside West's caped crusader in 120 episodes of the camp cult hit "Batman" from 1966-68, battling flamboyant villains from The Joker to Catwoman.
According to Hollywood memorabilia auction house Profiles in History, the sale will be the only known pair of complete costumes from the superhero duo.
Other items from the show going under the hammer on Dec 17 include the bust of Shakespeare containing a secret switch to open the Batcave, and the Batmobile's famous phone.
The pieces belong to the collection of John Azarian, described by the auction house as the "most important collection of classic TV and superhero artifacts in existence."
The sale also includes tunics worn by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Captain Kirk and Spock on the original Star Trek, estimated at $40,000 to 60,000 each.
The Fonz's signature leather jacket from "Happy Days" is predicted to yield at least $25,000.
In September, the same auctioneer sold Darth Vader's helmet from "The Empire Strikes Back" for $1,125,000.

Jimmy Soul

Jimmy Soul had a number one hit in 1963 with "If You Wanna Be Happy."
Soul was born James Louis McCleese in North Carolina and became a travelling preacher at the age of seven and a gospel star in his teens. (The name soul was  given to him by his church following.)

Frank Guida, recording scout and talent agent for Gary U.S. Bonds, gave Soul two chart hit singles, both of which were refused by Bonds, "Twistin' Matilda" in 1962 and 1963’s"If You Wanna Be Happy"  which was based on the calypso "Ugly Woman," by Roaring Lion.
"If You Wanna Be Happy" sold over one million records. But that was end of Soul’s success. He left the music business and joined the US Army. He eventually drifted into drugs and in 1986 was sentenced to 4 and a half to 9 years in prison as a second felony offender, convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Soul died of a drug-related heart attack on June 25, 1988, aged 45.