Ringo Starr Turns 80

(Above source: RingoStarr.com)

Ringo’s Big Birthday Show, a free one-hour celebration of the former Beatle drummer who turns 80 today, streams at 8 pm ET over his YouTube channel. The “Starr-studded” event will include performances by Ringo, ex-bandmate Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper and Dave Grohl, Gary Clark Jr., Sheila E., Sheryl Crow and others.

Ringo’s Big Birthday Show will benefit Black Lives Matter, The David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid through Ringo’s Lotus Foundation. (FYI: cable/satellite/telco subscribers can also watch on the AXS TV channel).

Want to learn more about Ringo? You could start with Ringo Starr – Going Home, a 1993 documentary from The Disney Channel (back in the days when Disney strived to reach parents during the evening hours). The doc is available in nine parts on YouTube. Here’s part one:

Ringo has not only had a fabled career as a musician, but also as an actor, mostly in comic roles. That part of his life started with his cast of fellow Fab Four zanies in A Hard Day’s Night and Help!

A Hard Day’s Night (1964) can be streamed by HBO Max and Criterion Channel subscribers, or free if your library or university is part of the Kanopy network. You can also see it from $2.99 at various providers.

Help! (1965) is available for $4.99, only from iTunes.

Ringo then ventured out on his own with Candy, a 1968 sex farce in which he supported superstars Marlon Brando and Richard Burton leading a large ensemble cast. You can stream Candy free on Shout Factory TV or Tubi. (Warning if you’re back in your office, NSFW!)

Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Caveman
(Ringo and Barbara in ‘Caveman’)

Other Starr movies included the musical drama That’ll Be the Day (1973), available free on Kanopy; Sextette (1977), starring Mae West, available to BroadwayHD subscribers or for a $3.99 rental from various providers; and Caveman (1981), his first and final starring role, in which he would meet his wife of the past 39 years, co-star Barbara Bach. Caveman is available to Cinemax subscribers or a $3.99 rental from Vudu.

An entire generation, though, probably knows Ringo best as Mr. Conductor, a character who co-starred with Thomas the Tank Engine on the first season of the PBS kids series Shining Time Station (1989-1990, 20 episodes, plus a Christmas special). You can find 13 episodes on YouTube. Here’s the first:

Finally, we present Ringo, a 1978 NBC special with Ringo playing both himself and a doppelganger, and guest stars including Carrie Fisher, then riding high with Star Wars; John Ritter, then riding high with ABC’s Three’s Company; and a very satirical ex-bandmate, George Harrison. But only Fisher gets to sing with Ringo (on “You’re Sixteen,” 19 minutes in).

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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