Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kansas City Press Conference

There isn't anything I love more than a good Beatles press conference story. (No I am not joking. Beatles-wise I have two huge obsessions: The 1966 North American tour and press conferences). So this really is cool to me!
This story was written by Carol Mitchell (who also saw the Beatles in concert in Minneapolis in 1965 and in St. Louis in 1966). It also was published in the August/September 1985 issue of Beatlefan (they printed a lot of fan stories in that issue....very cool).
The photos come from a book about the Beatles in Kansas City.
I was 18 and just out of school when I heard The Beatles might add a concert date to their already announced schedule. It seems that Charlie Finley, then the owner of the Kansas City baseball team, couldn’t let “the boys” disappoint all of the “wonderful young people” in K.C. So he offered Brian Epstein $100,000 and finally upped it to $150,000 to get The Beatles to appear. I got in touch with some friends in Kansas City (I was living in Iowa at the time) who sent for tickets for me. And I finagled press credentials from an old friend in Des Monies because sitting in a seat in a stadium just wasn’t close enough.

My friend Nancy and I got in around noon and hurried to the Muehlebach Hotel (where THEY were staying) with press credentials in our hot little hands. We had been forewarned that the press conference was closed to anyone under 18 (Nancy was 17). So we both had made the ultimate sacrifice and tucked our bangs back behind headbands so we would appear more mature (who were we kidding?). Well, we got in touch with someone who checked our credentials and sent us to Room 111 to wait. This turned out to be a screening room where people are just left and never get into the conference. I was getting itchy, so we left and took off down the hall. We found someone else, showed him our credentials, swore on all that was holy that we were both 18 and we were ushered into a different room. This was the real thing!

John had on a very dark grey suit with a red white and black T-shirt. Paul looked sleepy. He was wearing a grey suit with a lavender and white pin-striped shirt and a black tie. George wore a grey suit also. He wore a plain white shirt and black tie. Ringo wore a matching light blue and white pin striped jacket and shirt. He had a black tie, too. They all wore boots and smelled like “English Leather.” They all had very fair and clear complexions.

I made a tape of the press conference on a little battery run recorder (Remember back in those days we only had reel to reel, no cassettes!) Unfortunately, the poor thing ran at an uneven speed and the tape is mostly unintelligible now. But I did make a written transcript of the conference. Here are some high lights.

Q: John, what does your wife think about all the girls chasing after you?
A: She’s not worried. She knows they’ll never catch me.
Q: George, why did you throw your drink in a reporter’s face in Los Angeles?
A: Well, he was a very nasty man. And besides we had asked him to leave because he was taking too many pictures and we couldn’t see anything. And so I just decided that he ought to be baptized.
Q: Who is the most exciting woman you’ve ever met?
A (Lennon) Ringo’s mother is pretty hot. (Ringo looked hurt) It’s just a joke, Ringo. Just a joke.
Q. John, what do you think of Paul? (Paul shot me a look. John and George seemed to enjoy this questions).
A: He’s okay. We have to put him down sometimes.
Q: What do you think of the Rolling Stones?
A: (John just let out a terrible groan)
Q: What place did you enjoy the most in the U.S. and did you want to stay there longer?
A: (Lennon) New Orleans, because we liked the music. And we’d like to go back there sometime.
Q: What do you think of people copying your hairstyles?
A (McCartney) We don’t mind. When people start copying our styles, we change them. (Starr) We change our clothes too!
Q: John due to the recent anti-smoking reports, are you planning to stop smoking?
A: No, we all have to sometime, you know.
Q: Ringo, do you like the girls tearing up your sheets and going crazy?
A: I don’t mind as long as I’m not in them.
Q: Ringo, is it true that you have to have your tonsils out?
A: Yes. We received a telegram today.
Q: Is it true that you are sending them to a girl who wrote you?
A: No. I’m not even going to keep them myself. (Lennon) We’re going to auction them off.
Q: Is there anything you don’t like about the tour?
A: Yes. Too much protection. We can’t see or shake hands with our fans. They take us clear to the end of the runway and then load us in a limousine and then we’re off to our hotel suite.
Q: What do you boys do when you are confined to your hotel room?
A (Starr) Well, we sleep, watch the telly, listen to the radio, play cards, and sometimes we talk to each other!

After that we stood and watched while they took pictures. A Playboy bunny posed with them. She had her hand underneath the back flap of Paul’s jacket, down low. He looked a little funny, but just stood there. At the end of the session, I asked Derek if he’d have John autograph the copy of his book that I was carrying. HE took it and said he’d be back and then they all left. We waited around a bit and were interviewed by some reporters (the headbands didn’t fool them!).
Finally I decided we were going to get my book back, autograph or no. So we got on the elevator with some young deejays from Kansas rode up to The Beatles’ floor. When we stepped off, the hall was filled detectives. The deejays explained they wanted some autographed pictures someone had promised them. The detective sent them packing. And then the turned to us. I told him that Derek Taylor had my book and had promised to return it. He looked a little disgruntled, but took my name and went down the hall a few doors and knocked on one. I followed. The door opened and he went in, leaving it open. I could see The Beatles sitting around laughing about John’s writing and passing a small dark book around. Then the detective blocked my view and turned around and came back. He had my book (thank heaven I had scrawled my name in it) and I opened it up and found four more names besides it!
The concert was great, but I was more delighted with all that had happened that afternoon (and Derek Taylor, thank you, wherever you are!)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome story!! Sarah I love your blog and I´m also obsessed about their 1966 tours and about press conferences!!