The Beatles Are Back

beatles hard day's night album cover

This week, CBS News Sunday Morning's John Leonard reflects on the continuing appeal of the Fab Four.

On one side of the red carpet into the theater, there were cameras.

On the other side, 12 Virgin Atlantic flight attendants in spiffy uniforms, plus a Miramax honcho.

Inside, before the screening, there was free popcorn.

Afterwards, four blocks away by chartered bus, there was a party to introduce "Upper Class" cabin service and sleeper seats, with In-flight Beauty Therapists providing back, head and shoulder massages.

The movie in between? The movie, digitally restored from 1964, was A Hard Day's Night, when Richard Lester got to play with Beatles.

And me? Among so many Lovely Rita Meter Maids, I felt like Rocky Raccoon.

It is a comeback for the Fab Four, who never really went away. They are to be found between covers, in a new coffee-table folklore anthology as sumptuous as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

They were also to be found one Sunday night in early December in a birth-of-the-Beatles docudrama called In His Life: The John Lennon Story, the third TV movie about the band this year, in which Phillip McQuillan is a passable John, Daniel McGowan looks so much like young Paul he must have been cloned, and Blair Brown is the worried aunt who'd rather they drove a bus than wow the girls.

And finally, A Hard Day's Night in glorious black-and-white, a 94-minute music video, a great and joyful noise, in which John, Paul, George and Ringo decided to do it in the road.

The Leonard File
Read past reviews by John Leonard.
Strange to think that A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Yellow Submarine all came out before Monty Python's Flying Circus. Whether happiness was a warm gun for Sexy Sadie, Lady Madonna or Bungalow Bill.

Let it be.

Work it out.

Fix a hole.

And never mind that none of this pertains to upper class cabin service, in-flight beauty therapists, jet-propelled sneakers, or anything else the buck-grubbing piglets use these wonderful songs to sell.

I'm not saying the Beatles were the greatest chapter in the history of music -- at least, not on those days when Bach knocked out another cantataBut we were young, and they still are.