Monday, August 30, 2010
The Girls who got to Meet the Beatles (part 1)
This is an article from the 1965/66 Winter issue of Teen Datebook magazine. The part I am posting today was written by Katie McKinnon from Oak Creek, Wisconsin. She was 16 years old at the time.
(Chicago, Illinois): Neither Lynda nor I could believe that what we were experiencing was reality; it is so easy to become confused when a dream comes true. But with our DB letter of authorization we had been admitted into the Beatles' Chicago suite, and were nervously awaiting their entrance. Five assorted reported waited in the room with us, for we had all been granted private interviews by the Beatles' road manager because we represented magazines. The others were old and seasoned, which made us doubly nervous.
And then it happened. They entered and casually slouched into four lounge-chairs facing us. Ringo was smoking a cigarette and looked morose and withdrawn; Paul was the only one dressed formally (in a grey suit) and seemed very bright, happy; John was equally cheerful and carried a coke; George looked rather disinterested.
Almost immediately John noticed Lynda and me, and he offered us a sip of his Coke which we accepted and found to be scotch and coke mixed.
Then Paul saw us and moved his chair next to mine. When a reporter asked him what he was doing he answered, "Must meet the girls, you know, It's them that keep us running." All through the interview he kept stroking my hair which is very long (26 inches). And whenever I asked a question he'd touch my hand while answering which I found to be a very sweet habit.
John warmed to my friend Lynda who is quite insane and they were soon in a laughing fit and kept turning every reporter's question into an opportunity to go either hysterical or caustic together. I had really expected John to be unfriendly towards us, so I was surprised. But then Lynda does have a way with people (especially men), and I was content to sit quietly with Paul who is my favourite anyway.
The first reporter to ask a question picked a silly one: what color toothpaste did they use. Ringo answered that he never touched the stuff.
A woman asked John how his father was; John (cynically) "Pregnant for all I know. Stop probing my private affairs. How's your father?" The same woman asked him if he'd had an unhappy childhood. He said, "No, on the contrary it was quite pleasant. Too short perhaps. That 's if it's all the same to you, that is."
A man asked Ringo how he felt about religion, "Well I don't know. I'm not atheist, that's true. I believe in something that is. See I'm not the godless sort, but neither am I saintish."
John broke in: "You can't say there' s nothing up there because you don't know. Atheists are as bad as those righteous types, the lot. But if I had visions I'd take up churching."
Paul spoke, "You know, I believe in the supernatural. You see, I've got hung-up on seances and the Tarot, though I'd never go grave-robbing, I guess."
George said, "It's the spirit of the thing."
Someone asked if they get along together, "Yeah," George said, "sometimes I take to kicking Ringo down the stairways. I've got a violent temper, don't I Ringo?"
Ringo: "I've got the scars to prove it, honest."
Everyone looked incredulous so Paul said, "One time we were at a coffee-bar and George asked for tea. Of course they hadn't any, so George began throwing things about right and left, round-about and everywhere. They called in the coppers on us."
"Really? A man asked. "What then?"
"Nothing. We blamed it all on Ringo. It's his passonate nature you see. Always causing things."
"How do you like the money?" was put to Paul. He answered, "When it comes right down to it money matters a great deal. I mean without it, things wouldn't be quite so pleasant. It's the popularity that disagrees with me. The papers and the fans can't leave you alone at all. Some of them keep permanent vigils at our homes. During last year's vacation we were upset with all though long-rane lenses taking photos. Then again the police often either keep us locked in our rooms or go to the other extreme and threw us, practiacally to the mob."
"Oh they're bloodthirsty, the lot" John agreed with a wild look.
While someone asked John a question, I asked Paul if he was engaged to Jane Asher. He said very softly "An assistant of ours announced it. Yes, I am." I told him that I saw Jane's movie and that I thought she seemed to be a nice type. "You're true at least, " he said. "That's a gear ring you've got. You've a boyfriend?"
I explained that the ring cost 47 cents and I'd bought it myself. Paul then said, "You're shy aren't you? How did you come to be here?" I showed him my DB letter and card. He said he'd read a copy of DB and it was one of the better magazines printed. "So many I've seen print trash, you know, sensational garbage. You remind me of someone. Mo Starkey, I guess. What are you and the other doing after this?" I was very sad as I explained that I'd be leaving early because of the distance to my home in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. "It's a pity," he said, "we've needed someone to have a rave with."
I felt very philosophical as I usually do and asked him "Is it all worth it in the end?" Paul looked at me very closely and his eyes seemed sadder than Ringo's and he said, "No it isn't. I'd pack up today if I could, but it's gone too far for that. It really hasn't any sense left to it, and all the fun is missing now. All those bloody people, reporters, fans, they keep me from, well, I don't know. I s'pose I should be gratefull and all that is, but it doesn't seem to be worth it anymore. You meet the phonies and the pryers, the hip kids who think it's posh not to like you, the ones that treat you as a curiosity item and the not-so-nice exhibitionists who claim all manner of things - like they were once engaged to you or the like. So we're forced to limit our friends, to only trust a few, to sit about at home and all when we're wanting to go to a club or the like. I don't care for it at all."
I looked around. John was verging on hysterics with Lynda and they seemed to be making fun of a middle aged woman reporter who muddled all her questions: Ringo was patiently explaining his childhood to the rest, and George was staring off into space with a bored look, clinging to an empty drink glass. Behind me a man called to Paul to tell him what he'd been whispering about."
"Nothing you'd care to hear," Paul yelled back. "Dirty jokes."
John glanced my way and cooed to Lynda. "Lord, well will you have a look at that hair-do, luv, what talent." Then Paul turned me around to face him. I could only smile because I was beginning to understand. Their road manager entered the room then and passed around Cokes.
Ringo walked up to me and asked me the way to Picadilly Circus. "Which is longer," I asked him, "a mile or an hour?" He laughed and said, "It must be hard, I mean, being so wise." We both laughed, Paul too, and Ringo laughed so hard he spit out his Coke.
George walked up then and gave a knowing look and said, "Ringo you shouldn't take to doing things of that sort, it can get to be an addiction. At least a target of some sort would be in order." Ringo threw the Coke at George.
Then their road manager re-entered and said that the Beatles had to leave to get to another appointment. Paul walked me out as far as he could. He said a very gentle goodbye and held my hands as he did.
"It was this: "Good bye Kathie. I hope I meet you again soon cause it's great to meet any of my friend ever. I wish I could have met you more. Tell your magazine I wish them lucky times and all that. Stay shy, and you won't get into the trouble I am. Think of me a bit, and if you ever come to London leave your name off at Jennie's and we shall come to see you." He scribbled an address of Jane Asher's on my notebook, kissed me on the cheek and left.
Lynda came out laughing madly. We went with the police to Lynda's car to drive home. Lynda kept telling me all of John's little funny remarks all the way back. She had autographs too.
I've begun to consider the Beatles as people now, not stars or supermen, only very friendly and in some cases very mis-understood by press and fans.
One other thing. When I arrived at the interview I had a black ribbon in my hair; afterwards I discovered it was gone. Maybe I lost it in the excitement. But I hope not because I like to think that maybe Paul has it. And I like to think that we shall be friends.