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Throw Back Wednesday

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Throw Back Wednesday
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(September 11, 2023 – Toronto, ON) I know, I know, it should be Throw Back Thursday or TBT, but this event happens this Wednesday and it is quite a throw back. Set in Toronto, it’s 1969 and some wild and crazy guys think about having a rock concert on the University of Toronto campus, specifically the 20,000 seat Varsity Stadium.

I was in Toronto and working in radio and had come up with an idea for CBC called The Midnight Farm Report. The story behind that title is too long to go into now. The short version is I was working on the hour long show with a friend and former pirate DJ from England, Roger Keene. I had heard about the concert and mentioned to Roger how great it would be if he could get some interviews. What he got was great, the demo we submitted to the CBC was fantastic, but they declined, and I still have the master tape and would love to have it digitized.

Now, some 54 years later, there’s a documentary that will be great for those of us who made it (or didn’t in my case), and for everyone who loves that “old time tock ‘n roll.” Who was on stage? Who wasn’t? Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, The Doors and Alice Cooper. Even with that lineup the organizers were having trouble selling tickets. Knowing it was the longest of long shots, they invited John Lennon and Yoko Ono and…the rest is history. John Lennon did show up, his first appearance without the Beatles, and brought Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Alan White with him.

Titled REVIVAL69: The Concert that Rocked the World, the 90-minute documentary uses footage from a priceless cinematic archive that includes unreleased 16mm concert and backstage footage shot by the legendary D.A. Pennebaker. The story is told on camera by many of the people who were there and was shot in 2021 in Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, London, and Munich. Just a few of the people who lend their talent to the production, Alice Cooper, Harper Lea, Geddy Lee, pictured below.

Revival69, Alice Cooper, Harper Lea, Geddy Lee, image, news,

Directed by Ron Chapman and produced by Trish Dolman, Ron Chapman and Sally Blake, it was written by Phyllis Ellis. Revival69 is a Telefilm, Screen Siren Pictures, Chapman Productions and Pennebaker Hegedus Films presentation. A CRAVE Original documentary in association with Myriad Pictures.

REVIVAL69: The Concert that Rocked the World debuts on CRAVE this Wednesday, September 13, 2023.

Northernstars logo imageRalph Lucas is a former broadcast executive and award-winning director in high-end corporate video production. The founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca, online since 1998, he began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.