On October 12, 1969, an anonymous caller dialed in to Detroit radio station WKNR-FM and told DJ Russ Gibb that “Paul McCartney died in 1966” and then offered up a bevy of clues to authenticate his theory.

Two days later, The Michigan Review published an article by student Fred LaBour, who had listened to the exchange on Russ Gibb’s show, and not only did he agree that Paul died in 1966, but he went further. Using the initial theory as a springboard, LaBour posited the idea that McCartney had been replaced by a double to save the souls of tens of millions who wouldn’t be able to bear the news of the smiling Beatle’s untimely demise. As proof, LaBour told his readers all they had to do was listen to the lyrics on the latest Beatles albums, sometimes playing them backwards, and check out the cover art. The band was methodically laying out the true story of Paul’s death and replacement for fans astute enough to read the signs.

Paul Is Dead picks up where those conspiracies end, taking a slightly opposite, askew approach, going straight to the heart of a larger question – why would anyone want to believe Paul had died in the first place? Rumors that sweep the world don’t congeal out of thin air. What was going on in the years between 1966 and 1969 that could convince a significant part of the population that their favorite Beatle may have either committed suicide or disappeared? Even more, had been replaced?

It's a legitimate question, one that gets bigger the further you dig into the story. For it requires not only a return to the origins of Paul McCartney, but to the origins of the Cold War world where young entertainers became unknowing proxies for intelligence services, and to the beginnings of how the notion of “fame” changed in a society given over to the non-stop presence and influence of media and television.

The story of Paul Is Dead also doubles as the story of how our modern world was birthed, and how it has driven all of us – possibly Paul McCartney included – to a universal manic state of alienation, fragmentation, image worship, mass hysteria, confusion, and conspiracy. But it’s also a modern world that can be deciphered and decoded using the skeleton key provided by Mennuti and Mancuso, who lift the veil on what our programmers call “entertainment” and “culture” to show the manipulative heart underneath, and a way past the powerful messaging.

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Rudy Mancuso is a Brazilian-Italian, multi-hyphenate filmmaker, creator, and composer whose creativity has brought over 2 billion views from a loyal global fanbase, while also attracting elite brands like Amazon, Disney, and Sony. His debut feature film MÚSICA – in which he directed, wrote, starred and composed – is set to release 2024 on Prime Video. He’s created single-take music videos for Alesso, Lele Pons and O.A.R, as well as directing “Stories From Our Future,” a unique collaboration with Netflix. A self-taught musician, Rudy has released an instrumental album, opened for Justin Bieber on the Purpose World Tour, and performed at the Hollywood Bowl for Disney’s Coco Live-To-Film Experience – in addition to being the creator behind puppet comedy series “Awkward Puppets”. Whether it’s through music, comedy, or another medium, Rudy Mancuso is a natural storyteller committed to spreading joy to millions all over the world.

Nicholas Mennuti is the writer of the espionage thriller Weaponized (Mulholland Books/Little Brown), which had film rights purchased by Universal Pictures and Scott Stuber and Scrap (NeoText). Nicholas's short stories have appeared in AGNI and Conjunctions, and he has written about the intersection of technology and entertainment for the Huffington Post. He is also a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing program.