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Author Topic: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?  (Read 3577 times)

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monkboughtlunch

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On page 275 of the book "The Solo Beatles Film & TV Chronicle 1971-1980" author Jörg Pieper writes:

"In 2005 a major Lennon film project was started but postponed in 2006. In the same year I was able to interview one of the professional researchers, who had unlimited access to Yoko's film archive, he confirmed that he never saw any footage of John's Hit Factory performance. However it can (be) revealed here for the very first time that 20 minutes of John's Hit Factory performance indeed survived in private hands, unnoticed by the public".

Jörg provided additional background on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums.

Please click the link below to read the detailed thread dealing with the ongoing mystery around the unreleased August 1980 Hit Factory footage of John -- the last professionally shot footage of John in performance.

CLICK HERE for link to thread on Steve Hoffman Music Forums


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By Jörg Pieper, September 16, 2010, Steve Hoffman Music Forums

Sorry for slow response, I was away from my PC for a while. I see you have an interesting discussion over here about one of my all time favourites: "DF footage".

To keep your expectations low, I confirm that I never saw any of John's part.:shake: My story starts many years ago with the Japanese TV special "Tsukai Ningen-Den" (1992), a good japanese contact told me that Yoko's brother Keisuke could shed some light onto Yoko's DF scenes. I was able to track down Keisuke's private Email address and I really got an answer after a while. He simply said that he don't want to be bothered about it and I should contact Yoko's lawyer. I never did !

After seeing the production board from Yoko's part, I never had any doubt that we are at least talking about two different 1" tapes, my theory: #1 John footage #2 Yoko footage, simple as that.

While researching for my first book "The Beatles Film & TV Chronicle 1961-70" I was in touch with somebody from the ORF (Austria), we had a friendly chat over the phone and he mentioned some rare film material incl. some DF footage. Through this friendly person I got a copy of a personal letter to him by somebody that I will simply call "X". In the letter from 1982 "X" mentions a 20 minute DF video tape. My co-author tracked down "X" and after a few phone calls we got the information that the footage includes scenes of I'm loosing You
and Starting Over.

All this would simply explain why Yoko has never used any of John's scenes because she can't, because all her documentary stuff was done after 1982.
How did the tape #1 leave the Dakota ? Well, I leave this up to your own imagination.:shh: What can "X" do with this footage ? At the moment nothing.
So there is no big talk about it because all the copyrights belong to Yoko and we know how she handles it (see Tony Cox footage Feb.1970)

I'm some of you is asking about the identity of "X", I will not disclose it.:shake:

If you ask for any definitive proof of my story/theory, I can't offer any.

What can we do, nothing, it all depends on "X".

Best regards,
Jörg
   
    
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 04:46:30 AM by monkboughtlunch »
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monkboughtlunch

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 04:43:26 AM »

My analysis below of what John may have been wearing for the unreleased August 1980 video shoot at the Hit Factory. It apparently was a night shoot that occurred the evening of Aug. 18 and continued into the early a.m. of Aug. 19.  Only the footage from Yoko's reel from Aug. 19 has been seen publicly. But that footage can be compared to an Aug. 18 photo taken outside the studio.   Your thoughts?


   
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monkboughtlunch

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2010, 04:16:57 PM »

A photo comparison of The Hit Factory in 1980 and as it appears today (now called Sear Sound).


   
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monkboughtlunch

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 10:56:57 PM »

the film was probally destroyed by yoko because she did not like john playing with cheap trick.....they are said to be on there....missing or destroyed is the question...


Cheap Trick did not perform on the Aug. 18-19 video performance at the Hit Factory.  It was the Double Fantasy session musicians that were videotaped as Cheap Trick had already been fired the previous week.  These session musicians redid I'm Losing You. 

You can hear part of that missing Hit Factory video shoot here:
John Lennon - Random Double Fantasy Sessions Part 2


See this site from the late 1990s for background on the missing videotape: http://web.archive.org/web/20080729224728/http://www.vintagebb.com/lennon.html

Moreover:

If John didn't destroy his Hit Factory videotape--and if the tape is truly missing from Yoko's archive--Fred Seaman becomes a most likely "person of interest" in this matter.

a) Seaman was present during the Aug. 18-19 1980 video shoot at The Hit Factory (according to his tell-all book). Significance: Seaman knew what was on the 1" tapes and could have realized the black market collector's value of the footage after John's death.
b) As the Lennon gofer, Seaman was probably one of the persons Yoko asked to retrieve the Hit Factory videotapes from director Jay Dubin. Significance: Seaman would have seen the 1" videotape boxes if he picked them up from Dubin and hand delivered them to Yoko. Thus Seaman would know what tape box to look for if he later stole John's videotape from Yoko's media archive in 1981 (the year he was fired by Yoko).
c) After John's murder, Seaman was convicted of stealing things from the Lennons and selling them on the collectors market -- including John's letters

Remember, when Milk & Honey was released in 1984, only the cassette piano demo of "Grow Old With Me" survived in Yoko's archive. So by 1984, John's guitar demos of Grow Old With Me were already stolen! It would take another 25 years for the stolen guitar versions to surface on a bootleg.

There is so much evidence pointing to Seaman as the culprit of stealing a lot of stuff from the Lennons circa 1981 (the year Yoko fired Seaman). As Seaman was convicted of stealing John's letters and diaries, how much of a stretch is it to conclude he stole the "Grow Old With Me" acoustic guitar cassette demos? And how much of stretch is it to conclude he may have stolen John's Hit Factory videotape as well?

A picture of Fred Seaman:
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 11:00:06 PM by monkboughtlunch »
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dylanjohn

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The hared of Yoko and Seaman is old, and tired. 
Both have faults, and you can continue to focus on those.  Or we can choose to focus on their positives.

I believe Yoko and Seaman both truly cared for John. 
It must have been a crazy time for all after John died.  Both made mistakes, but who doesn't.
In the end the both did a lot more positive than negative concerning John. 
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monkboughtlunch

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 02:24:02 AM »


The hared of Yoko and Seaman is old, and tired. 
Both have faults, and you can continue to focus on those.  Or we can choose to focus on their positives.

I believe Yoko and Seaman both truly cared for John. 
It must have been a crazy time for all after John died.  Both made mistakes, but who doesn't.
In the end the both did a lot more positive than negative concerning John. 

What positive things did Fred Seaman do for John? Wasn't he convicted of stealing his diaries and personal possessions?
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dylanjohn

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2010, 09:56:06 PM »

What positive things did Fred Seaman do for John? Wasn't he convicted of stealing his diaries and personal possessions?

His biggest positive thing he did was write my favorite book on John Lennon ever.  What a facinating look into the last
two years into his life.  No one book comes close to giving you the details, and stories of that time.  That in itself puts
him in high reguard for me.  Sounds like he made some mistakes, but like everyone else felt like they wanted to protect
part of John themselves. 

He did take things, and has admited he was wrong in doing so.
If you believe his word he was also beat up by people hired by Yoko.  Not too hard to believe something like
this happening in the early 80s New York. 

I really don't think Fred is a bad person though.  Like Yoko he made mistakes, but neither are  bad people.  When the murder went down everything was thrown into chaos.  He had said that John told him to give his journals + music tapes to Julian.  If that's true then he should be given some credit.
I think both Yoko, and Fred have grown up and matured with time.  Obviously both made mistakes.  Fred, as all assistants for the Lennons,
worked very hard for lower wages.  It has been stated before that both John and Yoko sometimes treated their help like lower class.   

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monkboughtlunch

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Re: Missing 1980 Hit Factory Double Fantasy footage of John -- did it survive?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2010, 01:32:53 AM »

His biggest positive thing he did was write my favorite book on John Lennon ever.  What a facinating look into the last
two years into his life.  No one book comes close to giving you the details, and stories of that time.  That in itself puts
him in high reguard for me.  Sounds like he made some mistakes, but like everyone else felt like they wanted to protect
part of John themselves. 

He did take things, and has admited he was wrong in doing so.
If you believe his word he was also beat up by people hired by Yoko.  Not too hard to believe something like
this happening in the early 80s New York. 

I really don't think Fred is a bad person though.  Like Yoko he made mistakes, but neither are  bad people.  When the murder went down everything was thrown into chaos.  He had said that John told him to give his journals + music tapes to Julian.  If that's true then he should be given some credit.
I think both Yoko, and Fred have grown up and matured with time.  Obviously both made mistakes.  Fred, as all assistants for the Lennons,
worked very hard for lower wages.  It has been stated before that both John and Yoko sometimes treated their help like lower class.   




Problem is, Seaman never gave the stuff to Julian that he stole.  He also violated his non disclosure agreement (NDA) with the Lennon's by writing an expose that he financially profited from.

Seaman also masterminded "Project Walrus," the plot to steal Lennon items.  See this article written by Robert Rodriguez on Seaman's "Project Walrus."

http://blog.fabfourfaq2.com/2010/10/09/fred-seaman.aspx

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Battling the spin generated by Elliot Mintz, Yoko, and Ono stalwarts Bob Gruen and Alan Tannenbaum (photographers both) was the counter-myth that emerged in the 1980s, infamously disseminated by necro-biographer Albert Goldman (The Lives of John Lennon), but also by Yoko's tarot card reader, John Green (Dakota Days); writer Robert Rosen (Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon); and most notoriously of all, John's last personal assistant, Frederic Seaman (The Last Days of John Lennon). The portrait that emerged from their tellings depicted a drugged up, strung out, physically abusive depressive, fiercely jealous of Paul McCartney's achievements while seemingly incapable of defying the will of his occultist wife, who—naturally —stayed married to him to control his millions and attach herself, leech-like, to her famous husband in order to fulfill her rock star ambitions, like an updated (and thoroughly warped) Lucy Ricardo.

Unlike Goldman or Rosen, Seaman was a bona fide insider, employed by the Lennon's as an all-purpose gofer. He came with the most sterling of credentials, being the nephew of Sean's nanny, Helen Seaman. Helen had achieved her position as wife of an old Yoko crony, Norman Seaman who, together with his brother, conductor/pianist Eugene, booked concerts in New York, including some pre-Lennon Ono performances in the early sixties. In any event, Fred began work in February 1979. His duties, often spelled out in long, hand-written notes from John, ranged anywhere from looking after Sean to running out to get groceries to acting as photographer on special occasions. Given such intimate contact with the family inside their domicile, Seaman would have been privy to their private goings-on; as such, he was required to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. His detractors asserted that he never intended to honor the document.

Seaman was on hand when John began to demo material in earnest in the summer of 1980, flying down to meet him in Bermuda and acting as sounding board, roadie, and accompanist (banging out percussion) as John laid down the sketches of what became Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey. By his account, it was an idyllic trip, one that reignited John's passion to make music. (John had been wary of listening to current pop music, fearing if it was bad, he would hate it, feeling he could do better; if it was good, he would become angry, because it wasn't him making it.) Hearing Paul's “Coming Up” finally spurred him to action, though it took him some time to shake off the insecurity that perhaps his time had come and gone.

Things were only bound to get more interesting with the Lennon's resuming a musical career, but John's murder just weeks after the release of his comeback triumph brought things crashing down. Unbeknownst to Yoko or anyone else working for the couple, Fred—after asking for and getting time off for bereavement—formulated a plan. He began by removing certain items surreptitiously from the Dakota's Studio One offices. In addition to minor things like articles of clothing and electronic gear (John was constantly being gifted the latest gadgets by manufacturers, more than he could ever take the time to learn to operate; reportedly he'd frequently told Seaman to take home whatever he wanted, an invitation he did not act upon until after John's death), he also removed the entire lot of Lennon's personal diaries, covering the years 1975 until his death.

In his defense later, Seaman said that John had instructed him to make sure that Julian got them in the case of his demise. Apparently this brief extended to cassettes of unpublished songs (as well as the manuscript to John’s third book, Skywriting By Word of Mouth, eventually made public in the 1980s). The spiriting away of Lennon materials from the Dakota might have continued indefinitely had not Yoko, upon catching Fred taking a bath during working hours (as well as wearing John's clothes—not simultaneously) fired him in 1982. Not long after, she was tipped off about the thefts: when efforts to recover the items failed, Yoko notified police and Seaman was arrested.

What emerged from his trial was a tale so bizarre that it could scarcely be imagined. First, Seaman had (per the prosecution) been plotting to secure a deal for a tell-all book (expected to sell millions) practically before John's body was cold. Two weeks after John died, a notarized contract was signed between Seaman and the aforementioned Robert Rosen, a college friend who held the materials Fred began gathering and agreed to collaborate on the book. “Project Walrus,” as the enterprise was dubbed, grew to include a retired New York City diamond dealer (introduced to Seaman by his psychiatrist) as well as Rick DuFay, a journeyman guitarist (who played with Aerosmith in the early '80s until the return of Joe Perry). There was no love lost among the members of the cabal: Rosen recorded that each one wondered “who is the most contemptible among us.”

Bankrolled by the diamond merchant, Project Walrus entailed establishing Fred Seaman as the heir to John Lennon’s legacy while simultaneously tearing down Yoko as a fraud and seeding “the gossip market” with the most damaging and salacious tidbits they could contrive. Seaman embezzled from Lenono's petty cash to pay Rosen a retainer, delivering grocery bags of purloined documents and materials weekly, while the Lennon journals—ostensibly removed to fulfill John's wish that Julian get them—somehow never seemed to find their way to England. Rosen worked at transcribing them and generating a manuscript for over a year, until – after Seaman's dismissal—he was declared dispensable by the plotters and, while on an expenses paid trip Jamaica, unceremoniously cut from the conspiracy. His apartment was looted of all Lennon materials, a development that did not sit well with him.

Rosen contacted Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner and spilled all he knew; Wenner in turn put him in touch with Yoko and from there, Project Walrus quickly unraveled. Rosen exchanged information for immunity while Seaman attempted to extort cash for the return of the materials—failure of the negotiations landed him in court. Whatever self-righteous bravado he'd possessed until then evaporated in the face of massive legal bills and protracted litigation. On May 7, 1983, Seaman pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree and received five years probation. Simon and Schuster canceled a book deal (that included a $90,000 advance), whereupon Seaman took his gathered materials, insider info, and axes to grind over to Albert Goldman. The result of their joining forces was the second assassination of John Lennon in less than a decade.

All material copyright 2010 by Robert Rodriguez.

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