Thursday, August 16, 2012

Philadelphia Freedom

Much has been written about John and his trip to Philadelphia for the Helping Hands Marathon.   Here is another first hand account.  This comes from Joel Glaizer of Wilmington Delaware.  Joel's story comes from the May/June 1975 issue of the Write Thing.   How much do you think a pair of John Lennon's socks would go for today?    I guarantee it would be a lot more than just $25.

John in Philly- May 18, 1976 photo:  Joel Glazier

To all Beatle people:  I thought I’d let you all in on the latest adventures of John Lennon.  On Friday, May 16 (1975), he arrived by train in Philadelphia to lend his hand to WFIL Radio’s Annual Helping Hand Marathon – a weekend long event to raise money for activities to benefit handicapped children.  He was guest of TV newsman Larry Kane who has known the Beatles since 1964 and whose name may be familiar to some as the voice of the interviewer in the “Beatles at Shea” TV show.

On Friday, John visited historical Philadelphia – Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc.  and then on the radio station where he helped out as DJ and crowd pleaser to the hundreds of fans, autograph hounds, photographers and assorted groupies, hippies, young adults, young children and contributors who stationed themselves in the parking lot where John made regular visits much to everyone’s pleasure.  It was like 1964 all over again as the audience space had to be enlarged and the police barricades tripled to keep the growing mass from crushing Mr. Lennon.

During the entire weekend, John obliged everyone’s request for autographs and photos and in return many dollars were contributed to the marathon as thanks for the opportunity to get Lennon’s autograph on everything from shirts, arms, records and guitars to the Beatle notebook which eh autographed for me (and commented, “well at least my signature has changed” in reference to the circa 1964 autograph which is printed on the notebook).

While acting as DJ he related some amusing anecdotes, such as a running narrative during the record “Yellow Submarine” (that’s Paul yelling orders with a paper bag over his head”), a comment “The Beatles would probably get together in a recording studio rather than a concert stage.”  All the time while urging phone pledges for the marathon.  (By the way, this year’s marathon raised over $10,000 more than last year’s recording breaking total of $102,000).

John stayed on until midnight Sunday night (missing his train) and won praises for everyone involved in the successful marathon, including a Philly cop who got his cap autographed, and even the boring ”Boss Jocks” who presented John was a plaque naming him “an Honorary boss jock.”  Wow!  (At least the “boss Jocks” had to play plenty of Beatle records all weekend since that was a condition for many of the cash pledges called in).  Unfortunately, one person who was in town that weekend made no comment about John – that was President Ford.  I guess he’s waiting until June 12 to make his announcement if you all will write!  Well, that’s the latest news from Philadelphia about John Lennon.  P.S. John’s socks were auctioned off for $25.

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