Roy’s Boy’s Films have secured the movie rights for the book, The Beatle Who Vanished. Roy Orbison’s son Alex Orbinson closed the deal for the production company owned by the Orbinsons.
The book written by Jim Berkenstadt is about Jimmy Nicol’s time as a Beatle at the height of Beatlemania in 1964. The British drummer and business entrepreneur replaced Ringo Star when Star was hospitalised with tonsillitis, on 3 June 1964 ahead of the Beatles Australasia tour.
After passing an audition with manager Brian Epstein, he ended up playing 10 concerts at five venues, beginning on June 4, 1964 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Before hitting the stage, he was styled with the distinctive Beatle mop-top hairstyle and even wore Ringo’s suit- despite the trousers being too short.
Nicol also made an appearance on a TV show in Holland, and at various press conferences. After a rehearsal with the group, he made his first formal appearance with them June 4 at K.B. Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In the band’s interview in Holland, Nicol is asked if he found it difficult to take over the role of Ringo, he replies, “Not really… I could never make up for what Ringo is”. He is then asked how long he will be with the band “Until next Thursday” Nicol replies. Watch the full interview here.
In his whirlwind 13 days Nicol performed in Blokker Holland; Hong Kong; and finally Adelaide, Australia, where he played his final Beatles shows.
Reflecting on his time with the Beatles Nicol said, “I often went out alone. Hardly anybody recognised me and I was able to wander around. In Hong Kong, I went to see the thousands of people who live on little boats in the harbour. I saw the refugees in Kowloon, and I visited a nightclub.I like to see life. A Beatle could never really do that.’
Nicol shied away from media attention after his stint with the Beatles and never cashed in on his honorary Beatle status.
Orbison told Billboard he became interested in Nicol’s story for several reasons. “The arc of Jimmy Nicol as a person and the overall ride of his intersection with that historic high point of what seemed to be the beginnings of Beatlemania.” But he said it’s not just a Beatles story, but also revolves around what happened after his 13 days with the group were over.
Orbison said his father, Roy Orbinson, toured with the Beatles in 1963, in the U.K and this connection played a part in his interest in the film. “The fact that my dad toured with the Beatles and had become friends with them was always dear to me,” Alex Orbison said
Orbison is also planning a film on his father’s life.