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Hold On!

Like the Beatles, only with lesser music and more entertaining filmmaking

Rod Lott May 4th, 2011

From 1966, "Hold On!" is basically Herman's Hermits' version of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," but with music that's not as good, yet is more fun to watch. Yeah, I said it.


Like a certain mop-topped UK band who took America by storm a couple years earlier, the pointless but harmless vehicle finds Herman's Hermits making a trip to America for a tour, and finding themselves mobbed everywhere they go. The "story," as it were, is that their fans have lobbied hard to get a NASA rocket named for the group, so an old, nerdy scientist (Herbert Armstrong, TV's "Dennis the Menace") follows them around to see what these crazy kids are all about.

In doing so, he finds himself the butt of every sight gag, perhaps best of all when he gets covered in ice cream. It's the kind of uninspired, easy-joke silliness that has him voicing complaints like, "And the next thing I knew, they were pouring a bucket of water all over me." All that's missing is a laugh track.

In terms of the tale, the other four Hermits mostly get shut out to push Herman (Peter Noone) to the forefront, focusing on his flirtation with the button-cute Louisa (Shelley Fabares), who looks fab in a bikini, even if it’s one of those where the bottom half looks a semi-full diaper. One of their dates turns near-tragic when Herman gets stuck on front of a moving roller coaster. In between, he daydreams that he's a knight saving bikini babes on the beach, or that he’s an astronaut orbiting in space, amid floating sandwiches.

And, of course, all’s well that ends well, culminating in the band playing at a football stadium. The end.

Warner Archive has released this squeaky-clean pop comedy, along with the group’s 1968 follow-up, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.” I enjoyed “Hold On!” enough that I looked forward to watching “Mrs. Brown,” but the disc wouldn’t play for me. Hold on, technology! —Rod Lott

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