Preparing for a Beatles Quest
You know what to listen to. Here's what to watch:
• A Hard Day's Night A day (or so) in the life of Beatlemania. Once your kids get past the black-and-white visual barrier, they'll respond to the comedy. One of the best rock-and-roll movies ever.
• Help! The follow-up to A Hard Day's Night, in color and less spontaneous, but still memorably madcap.
• The Anthology series (Capitol) At eight videotapes averaging 75 minutes each, this career-comprehensive documentary can be overwhelming even for the most ardent young fan. Consider focusing on Tapes 1 to 3, which cover the Beatles' years in Liverpool and London and introduce many of the places you'll be seeing on your trip.
The Hit Tours
LONDON Richard Porter (The Original London Walks, 44-207/624-3978; www.beatlesnews.com) has organized two 2 1/2-hour walking tours that he and others lead: the Magical Mystery Tour, focusing on the professional part of the Beatles' story (the Apple offices, Carnaby Street), and In My Life (Paul's house, Ringo's flat). Porter also conducts private tours on request. Check his Web site for times, meeting spots, and to order The Official Abbey Road Café Guide to the Beatles' London.
LIVERPOOL The Magical Mystery Tour (44-151/236-9091; www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk) is a two-hour ride on a yellow-and-blue bus, with sing-alongs. Ticket to Ride (44-151/330-0844; firstname.lastname@example.org) provides taxi tours (up to four passengers, starting at $114 per group for a 2 1/2-hour whirl); a driver will even meet you at the train station. Or wing it, as we did, by finding a knowledgeable cabbie—our hour-long, unscripted tour cost about $33, with tip.