Here is one of those "Girls who met the Beatles" stories that were often published in Datebook magazine. This one is from 1966 and was written by Paula Reiner who at the time was 16 years old and was from Brooklyn New York. Basically Paula lied to get herself into the teen press conference. I have read for years that the Beatles enjoyed this press conference because the questions that were asked by the fans were must better than the ones typcially asked by reporters. I have heard bits and pieces of this press conference, but I had never read or heard most of these questions. I have to agree, most of the questions were about the Beatles music and such and not about their hair. I also find it interesting that when asked the Jane Asher question, Paul states that he will probably marry her that year. When asked this question other times during the tour, he would answer no. I wonder if Paul had intentions of marrying Jane and did not what to lie in person to the fans? Hmmm...Interesting press conference for sure!
I sneaked into the Beatles Junior Press Conference in New York! This is how I did it. By some kind of fate, I talked police officers into letting me stand in line with the fans that had invitations to the conference, even though I didn’t have one myself. As the line moved to the final checkpoint, I found that the officers there wouldn’t’ let me through. I was told to go across the street and two blocks away from the hotel but I waited by the final checkpoint hoping for something to develop – and it did!
Just before the conference was about to begin, a group of ten girls walked over to the officer in change and demanded entrance to the conference. These girls had letters notifying them they had won invitations which had to be picked up before the conference at the Beatles USA Ltd. They didn’t know where this was and therefore had only the letters which weren’t supposed to be used for admission to the conference.
Finally, one of the officers went into the hotel to ask the Beatles fan club people what to do about the girls. Realizing that all the invitations had not been picked up, they told the officers to let the girls in. The officer in charge told the ten girls to line up and follow him into the hotel. Instead of taking ten girls, he took eleven. I was the extra girl!
While climbing the stairs to the conference room, I made friends with one of the girls who had a letter. I told her to do me a favor by swearing to anyone who stopped me upstairs that I had given my letter to the officer. We got upstairs and I was stopped. We told the guard he was crazy and that I had given him the letter.
So after all that maneuvering, I finally entered the press conference. The rest of my story follows. As all of the fans impatiently waited for the press conference to begin, they were introduced to Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall and the Cyrkle. Finally the Beatles entered, screams filled the air and when we were quieted down, the questioning began. Here are the highlights:
Q: George, I’ve heard that your ambition is to design your own guitar. Did you ever start to design the Harrison guitar?
G: No actually, I never said that, it must have been somebody else.
Q: John, did you start to write your third book yet?
J: Yes, but I’ve only finished about 20 pages.
Q: Ringo, who sings the background in Yellow Submarine?
Q: Ringo, do you recognize this leaf?
Q: It’s from your front yard.
R: It is?
P: It’s mine, I recognize it.
Q: Why don’t you make the same “Help” and “Hard Day’s Night” movies in the United States as you do I England?
G: It’s United Artists that’s cutting the pieces out of it, it’s not us. Anything like that has nothing to do with us. Other people do that, cut it, we just make it.
Q: Have you seen the Beatles’ cartoon show?
Q: What do you think of it?
R: It’s okay.
Q: do you think it’s a good portrayal of your characters?
P: It’s not really like an artist produced it. It’s fun really.
Q: Paul do you like chocolate candy?
P: Yes please.
Q: Is this press conference your own idea?
Beatles: It’s ours.
R: Everybody’s having a good time.
Q: Paul, do you think girls in England are better than girls in America?
P: Oh no, no, no. This thing is girls are the same everywhere; it’s that there are differences but that doesn’t make girls in England better.
Q: How do you decide who’s going to sing lead on any of your songs?
J: Whoever knows most of the words.
Q: Ringo, where do you get all of your rings?
R: People buy them for me.
Q: How do you get an inspiration for any of your songs?
J: Like this (he makes a face).
Q: Ringo what kind of clothes do you like to wear?
R: Oh, I just like any style as long as they keep me warm.
Q: I’ve heard Jane Asher is engaged to her producer, is she?
P: Well if she is, I don’t know about it.
Q: Paul McCartney, are you going to marry Jane Asher this year? (Somebody cried out “oh no!” then there was a long pause)
Q: Paul when is the whole group going to make their next picture?
P: The next picture, we’ll probably make it early next year. At the moment the man’s writing and it depends on the script when we make it.
Q: John, is it true that you went around London in a gorilla suit?
J: No, that was a film called Morgan. I’ve got a gorilla suit which I’ve worn about twice to frighten people and it’s too hot
Q: Do you mean all the lyrics you write or are they just funny?
P: We mean them as lyrics, but when we write “We all live in a Yellow Submarine” we don’t reallyl mean that.
Q: Is Eleanor Rigby cryptic, has it got a hidden meaning?
Q: Is Eleanor Rigby cryptic?
J: Not if she can help it.
P: No, it’s just a straight song.
J: There ain’t no hidden meaning, baby.
Q: Being in a group of four people and becoming famous so young, how do you manage to evolve as separate personalities?
J: It’s easy.
G: The main thing is, it’s true that we’re a group and, sort of, four people together with an image but we don’t believe that, we don’t take that bit of us too seriously. We’re still individuals.
Q: Paul do you think Keith Allison looks a lot like you?
P: I don’t think so, but I’ve only seen pictures of him, I’ve never met him.
Q: Paul, who is Eleanor Rigby? I read that she’s a real person. Who is she?
P: It’s just a name, it was either going to be Daisy Hawkins or her.
Q: In the beginning of your album, before Taxman, there’s all squeeking and noise, did you make another goof?
G: That’s a bit before we recorded it that happened to be on the tape.
J: That’s what usually gets cut off because none of you like to hear it.
Q: Who is your favorite American group?
P: There are quite a few of them. The Beach Boys, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Byrds, The Mamas and Papas.
The end of the press conference was announced and John was presented with a gold guitar. During the presentation, I made my way to the platform where Paul was seated. I was stopped, just before I could reach Paul, but a duty-conscious guard, who grabbed me by the neck and tried to drag me out of the room. While struggling with the guard, I begged Paul to let me have his cigarette butt, which a hotel waiter was about to empty into the trash. He looked at me with doubt.
“You’re only going to throw it away, why can’t I have it to remember you by?” I pleaded. Upon hearing this, Paul reached into the ash tray and handed the cigarette butt to the waiter, who, in turn, handed it to me. With on hand I firmly grasped the cigarette butt and with the other hand I managed to touch Paul’s hand for a few moments.
The cigarette butt is now placed, safely, in a plastic vial to constantly remind me of Paul and my most treasured moments.