TV Talkin' Bob Dylan on film and television 1960-1964
1960s 1960-1964 - 1965-1969  1970s 1970-1979  1980s 1980-1983 - 1984-1985 - 1986-1989  1990s 1990-1992 -
1993-1996 - 1997-1999  2000> 2000
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1960-1964
The early years of Bob Dylan are extensively documented elsewhere, but the earliest visual records set the pattern for the years to come. A nervousness about performing in front of the camera, a dislike of interviews and yet a fascination for appearing as an actor. The lack of major television exposure in Dylan's first years as a recording artist is surprising, though possibly a tactical decision at the time and, with the exception of a brief flirtation with the media in the mid-80's Dylan has generally continued with the 'less is more' approach. Only five US based TV studio appearances through to 1964, and he walked out of one of them. I have vague memories of seeing film of Dylan playing guitar on the back of a lorry which probably dated from around 1963 - maybe more of the Greenwood film, so even this early list may not yet be complete. I hope not!

Sorry, no still available 1959 - Minneapolis Channel 11/Superior, Wisconsin Unknown TV show(s)?
Shelton's biography states "He joined a cousin's little band, The Satin Tones, a rough-edged group that played one number on a TV station in Superior, Wisconsin." (No Direction Home). John Bucklen (Bob's Hibbing friend) has also referred to a Satin Tones appearance on Minneapolis Channel 11 in Summer 1959. Whether these refer to the same appearance is not clear, but they are almost certainly the first Zimmerman performances that were professionally filmed - if they actually were. I doubt we'll ever see anything turn up in the archives, but you never know.

1961 - Robert Zimmerman moves to New York and starts to play the Greenwich Village Coffee Houses.
Is spotted eventually by Robert Shelton and John Hammond and the rest, as they say, is history (but read on anyway).

19 March 1962 - 1st Album, Bob Dylan released
Spring 1962 - John Cohen's rooftop - (3m)
Early Bob Dylan silent footage shot by John Cohen. Two short rolls of silent movie film capture the antics of a young Dylan on Cohen's rooftop in New York City. In one we see Bob trying on assorted hats, and in the other, playing his guitar. Certainly the earliest films of Dylan known to have survived (though one of the reels is missing). One was to be included in another filmmaker's documentary a while back but hasn't surfaced yet as far as I'm aware. However, we do now have John Cohen's book Young Bob, which reproduces dozens of stills from the reel.

John Cohen's Young Bob - Order it now from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

30/12/62 & 4/1/63 - Madhouse on Castle Street - BBC-TV, London
Ballad of the Gliding Swan/Hang Me/Cuckoo Bird/Blowin' in the Wind(i).
Bob flew to London to make his acting debut. Lost forever by the BBC, the play was recorded over two dates, 30/12/62 and 4/1/63, and was broadcast on 13/1/63. The play was written by Evan Jones and produced by Phillip Saville. See John Bauldie's excellent article in The Telegraph 45 for more on this early TV appearance. The photo on the left is taken from a publicity shot for the programme.


?/3/63 - 'Folk Songs and More Folk Songs' TV Special - WBC-TV, New York - **** 3 songs
Blowin' in the wind/Man of Constant Sorrow/Ballad of Hollis Brown
Three Dylan performances are featured in an almost one hour programme which includes Carolyn Hester, The Staples Singers, The Brothers Four and others. The Wicked Messenger (Isis 82/83) ran a couple of interesting entries on this appearance at Westinghouse Studios. The full show is now circulating.

12/5/63 - Ed Sullivan Show (Rehearsal)
Dylan never appeared on this show, walking out after the censors tried to make him play a different song to the Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues played at rehearsal. Any chance that rehearsal was filmed and that it might turn up one day? Don't hold your breath, but the still on the left, taken during the rehearsal, clearly shows a TV camera monitoring proceedings.

27 May 1963 - 2nd Album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan released
6/7/63 - Civil Rights Rally, Silas McGee's Farm, Greenwood - ***** - 1 song (3m)
Dylan whines his way through Only a pawn in their game at the Mississippi Civil Rights Rally. Caught on film by art-house film maker and science-fiction illustrator Ed Emshwiller, the clip was later sent to D A Pennebaker who used it in Don't Look Back.

Don't Look Back DVD - Order it now from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

30/7/63 - Songs of Freedom - WNEW-TV, New York - **1 song (1m)
Blowin' in the Wind/Only a Pawn in their Game
I don't believe any of this show, which was broadcast on 26 August 1963 is actually available on video.


28/8/63 - March on Washington - ****3songs (10m)
When the ship comes in/Only a pawn in their game/Keep your eyes on the prize
400,000 turned out for this protest rally where Martin Luther King made his famous "I had a dream" speech. Len Chandler is lead vocal on Keep your eyes on the prize with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez supplying backup vocals. New footage of this has turned up recently with Bob and Joan also dueting on When the ship comes in. It's mostly crowd shots, but a nice few seconds of Bob at the start.

Late 1963 - Johnny Carson "Tonight" show - NBC
Little seems to be known about this except that apparently he was on it, was interviewed, sang one song, left during the commercials and that no tape is thought to exist.
3 January 1964 - 3rd Album, The Times They Are A-Changin' released

1/2/64 - Quest - CBC-TV, Toronto****6 songs (30m)
The Times They are a-Changin'/World War 3 Blues/Hattie Carroll/Girl from the North Country/A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall/Restless Farewell
It looks like Dylan is miming, but apparently he's not. It's just the quality of the film or something. This is the earliest full performance film in circulation, so worth checking out.

25/2/64 - Steve Allen Show - NBC-TV, Los Angeles - ***1 song (14m)
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
The 50's style 'interview' and the song from Dylan's appearance on this popular US TV show.


12/5/64 - "Tonight" - BBC-TV, London - ****1 song (i) (3m)
Cliff Michelmore introduces Bob singing three verses of With God on our Side.

Sorry, no still available

14/5/64 - "Hallelujah" - ATV, Manchester
The Time's they are a-Changin'/Blowin' in the Wind/Chimes of Freedom
Not much else is known about this, other than the fact it was recorded at studios in Didsbury, Manchester and possibly broadcast on 2 or 7/6/64 (but maybe not) and no archive is thought to exist.
8 August 1964 - 4th Album, Another Side of Bob Dylan released
28 August 1964 - Bob Dylan meets The Beatles for the first time.

1960s 1960-1964 - 1965-1969  1970s 1970-1979  1980s 1980-1983 - 1984-1985 - 1986-1989  1990s 1990-1992 -
1993-1996 - 1997-1999  2000> 2000
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