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Trumpet Featured in the Movie, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

NMM 6176.  Trumpet by Dominick Calicchio, 
Hollywood, California, 1978

NMM 6176. Trumpet by Dominick Calicchio, Hollywood, California, 1978. This movie prop was prominently featured in the 1978 movie, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, featuring the Bee Gees. Gift of Allan R. Jones, Brookings, South Dakota, in memory of Marjorie M. Jones (1944-1998).

See complete story below.

Additional View

Close-up of Sgt. Pepper Trumpet

Close-up of the initials, SP, incorporated into the trumpet's non-functional valve tubing.



The $12-million movie, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), was panned by Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone, soon after its release. This, in spite of the fact that the film featured music by the Beatles and an all-star cast that included the Bee Gees; Alice Cooper; Aerosmith; Earth, Wind, and Fire; George Burns, then 81; and Steve Martin, plus a rousing grand finale with dozens of personalities, including Carol Channing, Helen Reddy, Tina Turner, and Wolfman Jack.

"So short was its run in Manhattan," Nelson wrote in October 1978, "that those who were lucky enough to blink might have missed it . . ." The movie critic concluded his diatribe by saying, "this was a film upon which every major decision was made wrong. Henry Edwards, an erstwhile rock critic who's always regarded the music as camp, simply strung together 29 Beatles songs (mostly from the title album and Abbey Road) in a childish, free-association style that was free to go anywhere, but bound to go nowhere."

That was then. Today, the much maligned movie, in its ubiquitous videotape format, has taken on a new persona as a popular cult icon, particularly among children and grandchildren of the Baby Boomer-Woodstock generation that grew up with the Beatles and the Bee Gees during the '60s and '70s.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney's title song from the 1967 "Sgt. Pepper" album upon which the movie is based, begins, "It was 20 years ago today that Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play . . ." Ironically, it was another 20 years after the movie's première that the symbol of the film's "good-guys-versus-bad-guys" plot - Sgt. Pepper's heart-shaped trumpet - appeared for sale on eBay.

Unlike the movie script, however, the path traveled by the trumpet on its 20-year journey from Hollywood to Vermillion involved no dastardly plots, no Mean Mr. Mustard, and no Future Villains Band. Rather, following the filming, one of the two heart-shaped trumpets made for the movie by California's master trumpet maker Dominick Calicchio, left Hollywood's mythical City Hall Museum in the storybook town of Heartland, U.S.A. (located on MGM's backlot no. 2), and became the property of William Harwood. Upon his death in 1993, it was acquired by a dealer at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Phoenix, Arizona, who offered it for sale on eBay in 1998.

Despite stiff competition during the closing minutes of the auction, the Museum prevailed. From that moment on, the story line of Sgt. Pepper's magical trumpet made a symbolic U-turn, culminating in the restoration of Hollywood's happily-ever-after-horn to the Nation's "heartland," where it is now safely ensconced in National Music Museum. As in the movie, the trumpet once again has the freedom to share its mystical "power to make dreams come true and allow humanity to live happily forever after--as long as it remains in care of the Heartland City Museum."

The historic icon of '70s pop culture was acquired and restored with a generous gift from Allan R. Jones of Vermillion (now Brookings, SD) in memory of his wife, Marjorie M. Jones (1944-1998).

The Museum re-introduced Sgt. Pepper's magical, mystical trumpet to the public for the first time in 23 years at a special Valentine's Day 2001 showing of the 1978 film.

By Margaret Downie Banks, National Music Museum Newsletter 28, No. 1 (February 2001), p. 3.

Allan R. Jones holds the Sgt. Pepper trumpet

Allan R. Jones holds the magical trumpet, the purchase funds for which he donated in memory of Marjorie M. Jones (1944-1998).

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Most recent update:   March 3, 2014

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