I Met the Walrus is a six minute animated film based on tape recordings of John Lennon taken by an obsessed fan in 1969. Jerry Levitan, then just 14 years old, knocked on every door of a Toronto hotel he guessed Lennon was staying in until he found Lennon, who was in Canada during his bed-in for peace with his wife Yoko Ono.
“A cleaning lady asked, ‘are you looking for the Beatle?’ I said ‘yes,’ and she told me where he was,” explains Levitan. “Yoko’s daughter, was lying on the floor, colouring in front of a suite. I knew I’d found him, barged in and made myself at home. John laughed at the spectacle, and let me stay.”
The film is based on six minutes of a longer audiotape Levitan made with Lennon. According to Levitan, he held onto the 40 minutes of audiotape and five-minute video he made of his meeting with Lennon, despite repeated offers to do something with the material.
“I never wanted to do a standard kind of thing with it,” he said. The idea for an animated movie came about three years ago, when he met the young Toronto filmmaker Josh Raskin.
Taking the initial audio recording of the interview as it basis, Raskin develops Lennon’s words into a The frame to frame old style animation is modeled on Beatle’s era animation for movies such as Yellow Submarine. animated by Alex Kurina and illustrated by James Braithwaite.
Illustrator James Braithwaite lends his penmanship to the film and his scratchy style is the perfect accompaniment to the soundtrack. To add a modern edge to the film, Raskin employed the talents of Designer and New Media artist Alex Kurina. It makes for an intriguing mix of retro and modern, reflecting the universal appeal of Lennon’s words – then and now.