Roy Orbison’s Son Secures Rights to “Beatle Who Vanished” Film
Alex Orbison, the son of rock and roll pioneer Roy Orbison, has secured the movie rights for a film about Jimmie Nicol, the drummer who filled in briefly for Ringo Starr during the Beatles’ 1964 tour. Based on a 2013 book titled “The Beatle Who Vanished,” the film, if made, will examine the life of Nicol before, during and after the 13-day period in which he sat in for Starr, who at the time was in the hospital recovering from tonsillitis and pharyngitis. As reported by Billboard, Nicol performed as a “substitute” Beatle for 10 concerts at five venues. His tenure also included one TV show and several press conferences appearances.
Orbison told Billboard he was interested in “arc of Jimmie Nicol as a person and the overall ride of his intersection with that historic high point of what seemed to be the beginnings of Beatlemania.” The story also explores Nicol’s post-Beatles existence, which is shrouded in mystery. “[He] was invited behind the curtain and was a legit Beatle able to do interviews and get all the perks and just be in and then [was] dropped off back off at the airport," observed Orbison. "The second half of the story turns into a mystery. It seemed to have such a mass appeal."
According to Rolling Stone, by 1967 Nicol had moved to Mexico and retreated into obscurity. Today, he is believed to be residing in London.