For a week in early 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show. At the time, it was the most popular daytime talk show in the United States. The couple discussed topics that were considered controversial at the time, including environmental conservation, feminism, and police brutality. They also invited guests like Chuck Berry to chat and perform.
Now, Daytime Revolution, a documentary about those five 70-minute episodes, has wrapped production and is seeking a distributor, Variety reports. The 180-minute film, directed by Eric Nelson, is comprised of new interviews with surviving guests such as Ralph Nader, as well as archival footage of interviews with Black Panther chairman Bobby Seale and comedian George Carlin. Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon authorized the production and served as creative consultants.
“It’s become a cliche that Woodstock was the defining moment of the counterculture,” Nelson said. "When I watched these broadcasts in their entirety, I realized that, in reality, this week in 1972, when John Lennon and Yoko Ono essentially hijacked the airwaves and presented the best minds and dreams of their generation to the widest possible mass audience of what was then called ‘Middle America,’ was as far as the counterculture would ever get. Not just music but a prescient blueprint for the future we now live in.”
“We wanted to do the shows to show that we are working for peace and love and also to change the world, not with violence, but with love,” Ono explained in 1972. “And everybody that we selected is participating in efforts to change the world.”
Not everyone was pleased with the couple's hosting duties...especially the Nixon administration. “We heard that on February 4, just ten days before these shows were about to air, Senator Strom Thurmond went to Attorney General John Mitchell and wanted to warn the Nixon administration that John and Yoko were about to take sides,” says E.V Di Massa, an associate producer on The Mike Douglas Show in 1972.
However, John and Yoko did such a good job at hosting, that they were able to change some viewers' minds. “Let’s say that some of the people around the back of the show who were nervous about certain aspects of what we were doing were happy about it at the end,” Lennon once said after completing his hosting duties.
Check out a clip of Lennon and Ono performing “Memphis, Tennessee” and “Johnny B. Goode” on The Mike Douglas Show below.
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Article Image: John Lennon and Yoko Ono perform together at the 1971 John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (1972 Michiganensian [Available through Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.)