Monday, March 12, 2012

Beatles in Thailand

I thought I knew a LOT about the Beatles 1966 touring schedule, but this news that they landed in Thailand during the Far East portion of the 1966 World Tour and couldn't get off the plane is news to me.   It isn't shocking or surprising news, but still just something that I do not recall being mentioned before, although it is highly likely that I just forgot.   Anyhow, here is a story and interview with a fan who met the Beatles in Thailand on their airplane when it stopped.  I included a few photos of the Beatles on the plane during the tour and one rare one of Paul at the Manila harbor.

Jan Wiseley’s teen years could be called nothing short of amazing.
Jan and her sister Susie were the daughters of Air Force Col. Robert Uhrig and his beloved wife “Toots.” They moved to Thailand in 1963 when her dad took a Southeast Asia assignment.
Uhrig was a patriot, historian and exceptionally-skilled officer. He was friends with Gen. Chuck Yaeger among many others.
After his Air Force service, Uhrig spent a few years with Air America — the CIA’s covertly-sponsored airline — and later represented the Northrop Corporation in Southeast Asia until his retirement.
Uhrig wanted his daughters to see the world and its events for themselves — including a special trip to meet the Beatles.
The Fab Four touched down at Bangkok Airport during their 1966 Far East tour. But they didn’t go over well with Thai authorities, who wouldn’t allow the mop-tops to set foot off the plane.
Wiseley, 63, gives her account, and talks a bit about living in Thailand as an American teen.
(The following interview with Jan Wiseley was conducted Thursday by Staff Writer Matt Surtel at her house in Castile.)
 Can you tell me exactly how you met the Beatles?
They were going to fly in, and Daddy heard they were going to land in Bangkok.
They wouldn’t let them off the plane. I thought it was their hair, but my sister Susie says it was the hair and the music.
So they evidently weren’t allowed on the tarmac. They were on their way to Hong Kong.
My dad, and I think it was Col. Fox, had heard they were going to land, so they got us out of school. There were about six of us. When they had to refuel, they let the stairway down and let us on the plane, and they gave us their autographs.
Did you have any idea, when you awoke that morning, that you’d be meeting them?
Yes, because my dad had heard — I’m pretty sure. I’d have to ask my sister if we knew.
She didn’t get the autographs because she didn’t get to go up high enough. I got to go into the plane to get their autographs.
Weird question, but what were they doing?
I just remember them standing there and they were talking to us, you know? And I remember getting the autographs.
 Were you a fan at the time?
Yes, because my aunt was real cute. “The Twist” had started too, I think, and my aunt would bring music in her suitcase, if (the Thai authorities) hadn’t gone through it — they confiscated a lot of stuff.
Did you get to talk to them for very long?
I don’t even remember that, because it was so long ago. I just remember being on the plane. I knew the Beatles, but I didn’t think how popular they were. I was in 10th or 11th grade. I know I wasn’t a senior.


  1. That's great to read. I lived in Thailand myself for many years and was already aware that they briefly stopped over in Bangkok but this is the first actual account that I've read. Thanks.

  2. As a young teenage girl, I also was at the airport with some Australian school friends and a mass of other girls, we went wild and tried to get onto the plane after been told they would not be getting of the plane.So those American fans were so lucky.. The Bangkok newspapers the next day had pictures of my friends and myself, I isadly lost them many years ago.. I have great memories of that day.

  3. My brother just informed me that Ringo Star and I share same birthday, July 7th. My father was a Colonel in the Army and we lived in Thailand from 1962- 1965. My brother said the Beatles landed in Thailand but didn’t get off the plane in 1962 or 1963. He went to the airport with his friend on a motorcycle and they were able to get to the plane through a hole in the fence.
    The door was open so they boarded the plane and got autographs from three of the Beatles. I can’t find any information about the Beatles stopping at the Thai airport in 1962 or 1963. Does anyone have knowledge of the Beatles being in Thailand at that time?

    1. Your brother is feeding you a line of bull. The Beatles were never in Thailand in 1962 or 1963.

    2. They might have landed there in 1964 with Jimmie Nichol when they went to Hong Kong -- but that is a remote possibility. The only Thailand stop that I am aware of is the one mentioned here from 1966.

    3. Anon 7/9, yeah you got the years wrong but no biggy. Thats a cool story.