Monday, April 22, 2013

Why It's Dangerous to Love a Beatle

First of all the title of this story has very little to do with the story itself.  It should have been called "On tour with the Beatles '64."  Anyhow it was written by a woman named May Mann, who was a "Hollywood insider" reporter and wrote for various magazines that were aimed towards teenagers to keep them up to date with what was going on with their favorite movie and television stars when they were in and around Hollywood.   May Mann was also best friends with Jayne Mansfield, which I am sure helped her along in her job.   So she wrote this article about the Beatles 1964 tour in a magazine called Movieland and TV Times.    But I found the article in a magazine called Teen Bag's Tribute to John Lennon, which is one of those cheaply put together magazines that were published after John's murder and really have little to do with just John.

I like to read about the Beatles tours and there was a few little tidbits of information that I learned from this article.   But you have to take it with a grain of salt and remember that she is writing this for the Beatle fan of 1964, so obviously Ringo isn't going to get married until he finds the right woman, and Paul and Jane are just friends and the Beatles are sugary sweet good boys.   We know better, but it is fun to read.   The only thing that really bothers me is that she has the timeline all wrong.  The Beatles 1964 North American tour started in San Francisco, then went to Vegas and after a few more stops, went to Hollywood.   She has everything starting in Hollywood.   Beatle fans even in 1964 weren't dumb enough to not know the order of the tour schedule!  

The blonde is May Mann who is the author of this story.  She was told to stay close to Ringo during the press conference.

Here is the photo that shows May giving Ringo a hand to step down.   I can only imagine the people that must have wanted to shake that hand after seeing this!

Why it’s dangerous to love a Beatle
By May Mann

“You held hands with Ringo!!! We saw you on television with Ringo!!!”  The calls kept my telephone ringing all day and all night.  Jim Stacy and Connie Stevens were the first to alert me that they had seen it.   Then everyone began to call.  How did it happen?  What’s Ringo like?  What’s George like?  What’s Paul like?  What’s John like?

No one can possibly imagine the excitement of the Beatles’ visit here in Hollywood – in Las Vegas and San Francisco which I also witnessed.  Even the President of the United States was backed off the front page newspaper headlines with “The Beatles are here.”

I want to tell you that they are delightful, well-mannered, sharp and witty boys.  They say they’re amazed at their world-shaking popularity.  “We’re enjoying every minute of it.  Next year it may change.  We may be asking Hollywood for job!”

Their hair is their own (not wigs), combed from the center straight down – back and front  - and all except Paul’s is a medium brown with  a red cast.  Paul’s hair is darker.  In spite of some defects, they haven’t had their teeth capped like Hollywood stars do.  They remain as “Ma Nature made us!”

I flew up to Las Vegas to see the boys, then to San Francisco, where they got a great reception in the press than anywhere in this country.  They landed in Hollywood early on a Sunday morning for their Hollywood Bowl appearance that night and, “for a three day vacation so we can see the town and meet the people!”  And I landed on television with Ringo and the Beatles.  To give you a clear picture of the Beatles, I’m going to report it straight – just as it happened – starting, of course, in Hollywood!
I was on a mad dash to the Cinnamon Cinder to keep my date with the Beatles the Sunday they arrived in Hollywood.  When I found myself next to Ringo, I kept remembering that I was there only in the interest of recording this momentous event for posterity and my readers – while I remained faithful to Elvis.  Why, hadn’t I even almost demanded that Hayley Mills agree Elvis has more talent?  But all of that was before I saw the Beatles in action on the screen.  I now have to admit that I find these four young Britons fascinating and intriguing to watch in their screen capers.  As for their records, I hear Capitol’s sales are 85 percent Beatles!

As I drove out to Studio City to keep my secret rendezvous with George, Paul, John and Ringo, I noticed the streets leading to the Hollywood Bowl were jammed with zillions of teenagers.  Some carried placards “Ringo for President,”  “Happiness Is Ringo Starr” and “Beatles We Love You.”  Others wore big buttons like “I’m A Beatle Fan, In Case of Emergency Call Paul.”  Even boys were carrying signs praising the Beatles.  And jaunty guys in jaunty cars would drive close and say, “Are you going to see the Beatles tonight?”  Well I didin’t tell ‘em where I was bound at that very moment!  Every car radio was playing Beatles and every store front was blasting “A Hard Day’s Night.”  And when I drove up to park at Cinnamon Cinder, a kindly man from the market next door rushed up and said, “Please don’t park here – go next door and an attendant will park you.” 
There were thousands of kids swarming out front of my secret rendezvous with the Beatles.  In fact, I was admitted at the door, after careful scrutiny, to find myself facing a hundred cameras and press representatives along with representatives of the Beatles Fan clubs who were holding on, trying to contain themselves form screaming!

I met the two enterprising young men who were responsible for bringing the Beatles to the Hollywood Bowl, Bob Eubanks and Reb Foster.  Well-known disc jockeys, they put up a guarantee of $25,000, plus everything over sixty percent of the gross to get them here.  They’d also put up $30,000 of their own to promote it.  The one thing they couldn’t promote was a hotel where the Beatles could roost.  The Ambassador and all the others cancelled their reservations for fear of their lawns, shrubs and lobbies being trampled by hordes of stampeding teenagers with acute Beatlemania.

Well, here I was, and a whisper came to me to go out the door behind me.  When I did, I heard squeals and screams as three gray Cadillacs roamed into the drive.  Out hustled the Beatles, pell-mell, sticking together like glue!  Immediately they were surrounded by guards and were swept inside.  And there I stood, facings the closed door, and a dozen burly policemen who were saying, “You can’t go in there!” 

What?  Well I screamed, “Ringo!” With that, the door opened and a h and reached out and grabbed me in and like on the Glory Road they shut the door!

The boys were being photographed a hundred shots a second and pleas were made to leave breathing space for them.  They’re slight in build and the suits they were wearing were immaculate.  All were different, in dark shades, except Paul’s, which was gray.  They ordered lemonades and prepared to answer questions. 

I spoke to Brian Epstein, their manager, and their public relations man, Derek Taylor, both refined, well-groomed, polite Englishmen as expected.

“You stay by Ringo,” was the invitation.  A disbelieving policeman and chauffeur kept telling me to go away while Ringo kept nodding, “Come back.”  So I did.

The questions went like this:
How long does it take you to write a song?
John:  Sometimes on order, a day or a night!
Who is your favorite actor in the United States?
Ringo:  Paul New man
Who is your favorite actress?
John:  Jayne Mansfield
Do you think Cassius Clay deserved to be champion?
Ringo:  Well he got there!
Why didn’t you contract the Rose Bowl for your appearance?  You could have filled it!
Paul:  Our manager makes all of our arrangements.
Ringo, did you date Ann-Margret?
Ringo:  No!  I’ve never met her nor spoken to her.
Paul:  none of us has ever met her or spoke to her.
Do you think your popularity will last?
All:  We hope so. It’s rather smashing you know!
What do you think of Elvis?
John:  We have all of his old records!
Ringo, why don’t you like Donald Duck?
Ringo:  Because I can’t understand what he’s saying!
John,  will you follow up ‘In his Own Write?’
John:  I’m writing a follow book now.

At this point Ringo was asked to go up on stage to receive the key to Los Angeles.  Then there were awards for gold records, “P.S. I Love You,”  “Do you Want to Know a Secret,”  “Love me Do” and “Twist and Shout,” along with trophies from fan club presidents.

Someone said, “Why can’t someone help Ringo back down?”  as Ringo tried to jump from the stage.  So I reached up and helped.  Later I heard a photographer say proudly “I actually touched a Beatle – George I think it was.”  Well there I was with Ringo’s whole left arm!

Suddenly it was time for the boys to depart for the Hollywood Bowl, where 18,700 squealing fans were awaiting them.  Everyone surged forward and it was a fight to get them out of the Cinnamon Cinder.  Paul got trapped with a bouquet of pink carnations and when Freedman tried to save him, he whispered, “Don’t worry.  I won’t get hurt.  I love it!”

I stepped outside to see the boys drive away in their limousines just like in their movie.  They waved to everybody, and I think Ringo waved at me.

Ringo had told me they had to fly into Los Angeles at four a.m. to avoid the crowds.  Even so some girls were there sitting up all night to greet them.  “We were pretty sleepy,” Ringo said, “and we were hustled to a house to get some sleep!”  

“What do you think of American girls?”  I asked.

“Very nice.”

Yes, he’s dated some and he likes you all.

Will he let his career keep him from getting married?  

“Certainly not!  When I find the girl I want to marry, and one who wants to marry me,” he grinned.
The Beatles are polite, quiet young men – perhaps more so in hopes of quieting the hysteria that surrounds them.

I drove back to the Hollywood Bowl and managed to get into my seat before the Beatles came out.  Girls had slept in sleeping bags on the nearby hills to get in first.  There was such bedlam – screaming, crying and fainting that no one heard the Beatles magic tones.  They did twelve numbers including “Twist and Shout” and they ended with “Long Tall Sally.”  Tickets for this event had been sold out two months in advance, and some paid ticket scalpers $40 to $50 to get in.

There were more than 300 policemen, F.B.I. and security guards, as well as the Beatles’ Scotland Yard men, to handle the crowds.

Chauffeured limousines were posted at various spots to make it appear that the Beatles would depart in them.  This was a trick!  The Beatles took a different waiting car.  Even so, frantic fans were leaping on top of the other cars.  Fortunately, no one was hurt.  In the crowd, I glimpsed Vince Edwards.

George had said, the Beatles’ favorite candy is jelly beans.  Thus, the Bowl was littered with the candy pellets which the fans threw at them.  This is standard procedure at all of their concerts – part of a teenage tribute to them.

The residence of the Beatles was kept a deep secret.  But rumors that they were domiciled at Burt Lancaster’s kept Burt’s telephones ringing day and night.  And he was mad!  Yes!  Also it was said they were staying at Pat Boone’s house.  Others had them staying at Alan Livingstone’s Bel Air Mansion, since he’s the prexy of Capitol Records.  However, we were invited to the house they rented for $1,000 for four days, which is the former Mario Lanza house in Bel Air.  There were police road blocks set up at three strategic spots enroute and in Bel Air there were more, up on St. Cloud road.  In spite of zillions of police, there were fans nesting in the shrubs and up in the trees.

The Beatles wanted to relax and meet some Hollywood people.  They had invited a lot of nice girls and some Bel Air neighbors for the occasion.  There was a catered buffet with people dropping in and out all day.  Some of the beauties from Shelley Davis’ Whiskey a –Go-go, like Colleen Costello were there.  I saw Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee.  Jayne Mansfield, the one star the Beatles wanted to meet, arrived with her entourage after midnight, straight from her starring role in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” at the Melodyland Theater.  By that time, Paul had gone to sleep.

One blonde was coaxing Ringo, ”dance with me,”  but Ringo just smiled.  Ringo is the quiet one of the group – the “loner” as it were.  He’s also very perceptive and on at all times.  John is the talker, and is well versed on all subjects.  George, the tall, lanky Beatle, doesn’t talk much.

Paul, everyone wanted to know, “Are you marrying Jane Asher?”

Said Paul, confidentially, “I know it sounds corny to keep saying we’re just friends.  But that’s it!  I like her.  We’re just friends.”

Asked how he endures the mobs he said, “They don’t bother us until they get us down on the floor and mangle us!”

I asked Ringo how often they get a haircut.

He laughed, “Whenever it needs it.  We get frequent trims and cuts every two months.  I had mine cut last night.  I notice it when I get it cut – not when I don’t.”

Paul looked like he could use a shave.  It’s something the way people direct questions to all the Beatles at once.  Usually Ringo, John and Paul answer and sometimes Ringo will reprimand the others for answering questions directed at him!  People were coming in and out all during the party.  Suddenly, someone said, “Why don’t we go out and see the town?”  We’ll be leaving in the ayem.”  Cars were called, and John, Jayne Mansfield and her entourage, and the rest, hit out for the Whiskey a –Go-Go, the hot spot on the Strip.  There they were mobbed and remained less than a half hour.
The boys managed to see a little of Hollywood, “although we’d like to have seen all the tourist attractions and visited the studios,” George sighed.  “It isn’t possible.  Maybe next year or some year we can.  But then,” he shrugged his shoulders; “if we can go about freely it will mean that Beatlemanaia is over.  When that time comes we’ll probably manage new groups ourselves.”
The boys did manage to dine at Gene Autry’s Continental hotel, and they drove about to sightsee.  They met “Hollywood-in-person” at a private charity party held at the Alan Livingstone home in Bel Air.  The object was to raise money for the Hemophilia foundation of Southern California.  The tickets were $25, and some 500 attended.  The Beatles stood in a receiving line and shook hands with everyone.  You could hear shouts and cries of some several hundred fans who milled around outside, controlled by police lines.

Ringo observed, “Our fans never bother us, but they seem to bother the people and the police.  We’re used to wild receptions.  In fact we get quite a jolt out of it!”

Cheryl Martin, Dean’s daughter, had her photograph taken with Ringo.  She was ecstatic!  Shelly Winters went around with a tiny tape recorder.  Edward G. Robinson brought his tiny grand-daughter, Rebel Lee, and Paul held her in his arms.  She squealed with thrills.  Her grandfather was delighted.  Lloyd Bridges was another star enjoying the party.  Someone asked John if he’d play the piano.  He only smiled.

A teen girl got hold of Ringo, “It’s just like I’m dreaming,” she said.  “Oh Ringo your voice –it’s just wonderful! Your accent and the way you talk.  I hope I don’t faint if I touch you.”  She sighed.
Ringo laughed, “I hope you don’t either.”

Already Hollywood is trying to break up the Beatles.  Columbia has asked Ringo to solo star in “There must be a Pony.”  A business conference was held in Bungalow 16 at the Beverly Hills Hotel regarding their American projects.

The Beatles are International and today’s biggest noise all over the world.  They link the teenagers of every nation who are united by Beatlemania, and, therefore, each other in a common cause.  There’s no race-hatred in Beatlemania, just admiration for the Beatles.  They communicate in a universal language.  The Beatles are making theatrical history.  In just a few short months, they’ve stirred up enthusiasm throughout the entire world.  Their drawing power has never been squalled.  These are the facts!

Leaving the party, I stopped to talk to some Movieland and TV time readers who were thrilled just to stand outside, knowing the Beatles were inside.  Why?  The girl gave these replies:  “I worked all summer picking fruit to get the money to buy my ticket for the Hollywood Bowl to see the Beatles.”  “I had to buy my ticket from a scalper and it cost $50.  I’ll pay my mother back by cutting the lawn and washing the dishes for one year.”  “They’re so cute!”  “Instead of steering away from what we want to hear and talking about careers and cars and surfing they talk to us about love.”   “American stars are so gooey.  The Beatles are foreign and just wonderful.”   “I love them because my parents hate them!”  “I dream of Ringo every night!”  “They look like quadruplets.”   “It’s exciting seeing four look a-likes do things.”    “They don’t push us away.  They want us.”  “They love fans.  You can tell.  Some stars hate fans and you can tell.”

Beatlemania caused a wave of sore throats throughout California during and after the Beatles.  In Las Vegas it was different.  The Beatles practically went into hiding.  No one saw much of them.  They appeared at Convention Center where some 20,000 fans were kept in check by police and security guards.  Even police dogs were used to guard the entrances where the Beatles arrived and departed.  The dogs held the crowds back but it seemed deplorable.  Some 2,000 fans held forth at the Sahara hotel.  When the Beatles arrived with a motorcycle escort, the fans yelled, “We want the Beatles!  We want Ringo! “While the deputies announced on the loudspeaker, “Anyone under 18 getting out of line will be arrested.”

The boys weren’t free to roam the famed casinos.  Instead, the Tropicana show girls went up to their suite and put on a show for them there.  Ringo said they liked Don Rickles, the noted insulter of show business, who told them, “Go get a banana and a tree.” Also, “Get haircuts before you join people at dinner.”

Ringo laughed, “He wipes us out!  He destroys us!”

The hotel management sent a couple of one-armed bandits –slot machines- to the Beatles so they could see what gambling in Vegas was like.

“Some day I‘ve got to see this place,” John lamented.  He said he didn’t even try to bring his wife with him on this trip, “too hectic,” he said understandably.

Asked how long it takes to get their hair ready, George smiled, “It takes forty-five minutes to wash, dry, and trim.  You can say we are every bit as fond of our hair as our fans are.  It’s here to stay,” he said touching his crowning glory.

Enroute to San Francisco, where every newspaper headlined the Beatles’ arrival, I learned that Ed Sullivan is not only committed to re-runs of the Beatles, but he took a new segment at Atlantic City, when the Beatles appear there on their nationwide tour.

The San Francisco airports were pandemonium for sure.  The reception here was the greatest, with over 15,000 teenagers yelling “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”  A platform had been raised behind a small cyclone enclosure.  A limousine whipped the Beatles through a police cordon and the boys mounted the platform.  John said, “Hello” and waved.  Ringo was chewing gum, and to everyone’s delight, it came over the mike.  The straining thousands were pushing in on all sides.   It was very dangerous and authorities were frightened, so the Beatles’ manager ordered them to leave.  The boys dived into a waiting limousine and the car sprinted for safety. Scores broke into hysterical sobs at this abrupt departure, which was necessary for the preservation of life and limb for everyone. 

There were also detractors who waved signs, “Beatle Worship is Idolatry” and “The Beatles Make Fools of Children Because of Delinquent Parents.”  These signs were carried by members of a religious organization.  I have never seen such a mob.  It was frightening, as they linked arms and shoved and pressed.  The deputies finally had to retreat over the fence.  It was too much.

A member of the Bealtes’ entourage told me at the Cow Palace, where the boys appeared, “Everywhere we go, it’s the same – mobs, cheers, tears and awe! The fans are almost uncontrollable.  It’s a pattern of teenage unrest and protest established in the Beatles’ idolatry.  It’s also sexual. “The hysteria and ecstasy is an instinctive outlet for pent up emotion, directed at a symbol that’s rejected by adults.  It’s understandable, and it’s good.  The kids’ behavior towards the Beatles childish and outlandish behavior is like their approval of Jerry Lewis’ infantile capers and all without punishment.  That Seattle doctor who said the Beatles are a menace is all wrong!  They provide a good release for tensions that get on a dangerous level.  It’s a healthy release – this Beatlemania. 
San Francisco scalpers were getting $35 a ticket that would sell for six dollars at the box office.  The din was overpowering at the Cow Palace for the 27 minutes the Beatles were on stage.  Ringo furiously assaulted his drums, but the noise overpowered his art.  The boys arrived wearing Levis, but they changed into pegged blue mohair suits for their performance.   

They don’t like dogs, they like American food – they told me in their dressing room where they stayed until just before midnight, at which time they single-filed out into a police escorted limousine for the airport.

The big collector’s item was jelly beans that had been thrown at and stepped on by the Beatles.  A jelly bean stepped on by them was going at $5 per, as a treasure!

Even though the Beatles had performed on stage that night, no one heard a note or a word!  Lip readers said they sang, “All Can Do that” “all my Love,”  “She loves you”  “Roll Over Beethoven,”  “Puppy Love,”  “If I fell,”  “Boys”  “ A Hard Day’s Night,” and the finale, “Long Tall Sally.”  There were no encores.  It was “a screamer” said the reviewers.

In a brief moment with John, I asked if the boys would always stick together.

“I don’t know,” he said, “We might get fed up – a life time of it you know.  We’re all going on separate vacations in January.  A whole month of it.  In February we start our next picture.”
Then to Ringo, “Are you going to get married?”

Said Ringo, “I’m supposed to get married every week.  I keep reading it.  I never will. (With a wink) It’s a joke!”

The boys appeared on a 24 city tour of the United States and Canada.

They are the world’s most fabulous craze.  After meeting them, I’m glad to report, I like them.  Their talents and sheer enjoyment of their work is Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!  Stepping out into the mobs, Ringo said unafraid, “Come on fellas!  Let’s give it a go!”  And man they’re going! 

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