Apple Corps Ltd.The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years, the new Ron Howard-directed documentary about the band’s live performing career, premieres in select U.S. theaters today. But now it can be told: the only reason Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr approved the project is because they were fans of Howard’s old TV shows.

McCartney jokes, “Anyone who can get through The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days is OK by us…that was why he got the job!”

Seriously, though, Paul and Ringo liked Howard’s idea of a film documenting their time on the road.

“I think the basic thing about The Beatles is that we were a great little band,” says McCartney. “So to see us performing as a band is [a] great thing.”

“We were just this band of rockers who loved to do what we did,” Ringo adds. “You’ll notice that [eventually], it wasn’t as much fun. The audience were getting louder, and our chance to come through was getting less…and so we started to not play our best.”

Howard says he was surprised to learn that touring the U.S. South, the Beatles took a stand against segregation.

“The idea that we might play to an audience where there were black people on one side and white people on the other was just, like, a joke to us,” says McCartney. “So one thing I loved in the film was that it shows [that] we put it in our contract: we will not play to a segregated audience.”

He adds, “I must say, I was very proud of that, seeing it again in the film. I’d forgotten that.”

Today’s theatrical presentation of Howard’s movie also features a restored film of the Beatles’ 1965 Shea Stadium concert. Howard’s movie gets its television premiere September 17 on Hulu.

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