For the Magical Mystery Tour movie launch that would be screened on BBC television on December 26, 1967, John Lennon proposed they have a costume ball with friends, family, and the film crew. On December 21, 1967, the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London hosted a costume party titled “Magical Mystery Tour Fancy Dress Party.”.
The Beatles and their partners attended the costume ball together. Cynthia Lennon wore Victorian clothing, while John Lennon was an Elvis-style rocker. Jane Asher and Paul Asher wore matching outfits. An Indian maiden, Maureen Starkey, was married to Ringo, a Regency gentleman. Pattie Harrison wore a costume inspired by Errol Flynn that Cynthia later described as “incredibly sexy” as an eastern dancer’s seven-veils outfit.
The nineteen-year-old singer Lulu arrived at the party dressed as Shirley Temple in a blonde wig and carrying a giant lollipop, fresh from the success of her movie and single To Sir With Love. When Lulu noticed that John Lennon ignored his wife and concentrated his attention on the sexily-dressed Pattie Harrison, she scolded him in a loud voice and waved her lollipop at him. As Lennon took the criticism, he sat quietly with his head bowed, typically macho.
The photos of this surreal incident do not survive, but a few images from the Magical Mystery Tour party do. One of the most famous pictures shows John holding a glass of wine with Paul, Ringo, and their friends. Interestingly, three of the night’s four main characters are missing from the picture. Cynthia, Patti, and George are all missing. It is possible that George and Patti left the party early. Maybe they just avoided John for the remainder of the night.