Bad Export for You: Inverted. The US version of the soundtrack album contained more songs (including the two hit singles from the movie) than the domestic British version. This is the only album in the Beatles canon with differing track listings to use the US version.
Breakaway Pop Hit: The soundtrack album in general, which got released long before the film in America; it was also much better received and is much better known than the film itself. "Magical Mystery Tour," "I Am the Walrus," and "The Fool on the Hill" in particular became popular hits, and the fact that Side 2 of the LP included earlier hit singles "Hello Goodbye", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", and "All You Need is Love" certainly helped album sales.note The soundtrack album as originally released in the UK was a double EP featuring only the six songs from the film.
Serendipity Writes the Plot: It wasn't looking good for "Strawberry Fields Forever" making it to record at first. They had recorded two versions, in a different key and tempo, but while promising neither was quite the sound they were hoping for. At John Lennon's request to join both versions in some way or another, George Martin together with George Emerick took on the task by using multiple speed adjustments and other effects to make an 'acceptable' edit of the takes. According to Martin, the edit "sticks out like a sore thumb to me!".
Throw It In!: While recording "I Am the Walrus", John Lennon randomly flipped through radio stations and came across a BBC production of King Lear. He added snippets of dialogue from the scene being broadcast at that moment to the mix, most of which appear in the song's coda.
What Could Have Been: In early 1967, the Beatles were planning to do a Concept Album about Liverpool. They got as far as writing "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" before abandoning this idea, so those two songs ended up as a double-A-side single, and hence on the US version of the "Magical Mystery Tour" album.
Acting for Two: The Beatles play themselves, as well as the wizards. John also plays the Magical Mystery Tour ticket salesman and the waiter serving spaghetti with a shovel, and Paul also plays Major McCartney.
Based on a Dream: John Lennon told Paul McCartney about a dream he had where he used a shovel to serve spaghetti to a woman. Paul suggested they film this, John agreed, and the scene is included in the movie.
Paul dreamed up most of the film while flying home to the UK from the Monterey Pop Festival.
Creator Breakdown: Of a sort; the movie was rushed into production in response to the death of Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, and was intended of a way of taking their minds off things and establishing some group solidarity in the uncertain aftermath of his death.
Deleted Role: Traffic filmed a sequence (set to their song "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush") to possibly be included in the film, but it did not make the final cut. It eventually surfaced on the 2012 Blu-ray release of the movie, along with several other extra scenes.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Rescued from this. Although officially released on DVD in a low key release in 1997 that went out of print, then in 2003 on a "grey market" release with near bootleg quality video, it was at one point nearly impossible to find. However, in 2012 it was finally given an official official release on Blu-ray and DVD, including a reissue of the double EP version of the album.
Screwed by the Network: The movie was made with the intention of being released to theaters, but wound up being played on BBC1, a network that still broadcast its programs in black-and-white. On Boxing Day, opposite the Queen's speech, when color TV was still a rarity (it was a few days later re-broadcast in color on BBC2). The psychedelic, colorful spirit of the movie was, therefore, lost to the black and white format, especially the surrealistic "Flying" sequence, which may have helped it get poor ratings and reviews.
Unintentional Period Piece: Pretty much everything about it, from the bus painted in the most psychedelic colors possible to the fashions to the "experimental" (in reality incomprehensible) plot, screams 1960s.