Monday, June 24, 2013

The Dark Horse and Roto-Rooter

George Harrison might not be known for his kindness towards is fans, which is a shame, because some of the fan stories the involve George are super sweet.   George really seems humble and amazed that these girls would take their time to wait around for him and give him gifts.   George always seems the most comfortable around the fans who were in small numbers, weren't pushy, and seemed sincere.  

I love that one of the fans, Debbie, gave George that Roto-Rooter t-shirt and he liked it so much.   You see him wearing some silly t-shirts over the years and it makes me wonder now just how many came from fans.   Wouldn't you just die if one of the Beatles was seen wearing a t-shirt that you gave him?

This story came from the Sept/Oct 1975 issue of the Harrison Alliance.   

George and friends during the recording of "Extra Texture" at the time of these stories

On July 16, 1975 George went to the premiere of the Holy Grail and was wearing the Roto-Rooter t-shirt he had gotten form a fan on the 13th.

The Adventures of the Dark Horse & Roto-Rooter Service
By Patti Claire with Susan Janes

June 6 1975-
We had our suspicions confirmed that the white Mercedes parked in the lot at A&M belonged t Hair Georgeson.  If we had known that we would keep running into the guy, we would never have stuck it out those nice long, miserable hours; but we were determined to meet him for the first time.  We weren’t going to let anything ruin our chance to catch a glimpse of him.

Around 4 a.m. we decided to wait in the car.  There we were; Gloria was sleeping in the back seat along with Doylene, whose thoughts were on Paul.  I, with my head on the steering wheel thinking to myself, “Come on George, you said you’d meet anybody!,”  and Susan had her eyes permanently fixed on the studio door.  So, you could tell we were all in tip-top shape, ready to go any second!
An hour passed, then, lo and behold, a group of four guys emerged from the studio.  Susan’s voice brought us back form the living dead by saying those famous first words:  “Oh God!  There he is!!” We (Doylene, Gloria and I) refused to believe that was him.

Things started to go so fast and before we knew it, George was walking toward our car.  Susan brilliantly thought, “Get the hell out of the car, you fool, George Harrison is coming right towards you!!”  So she proceeded to do so, with the rest of us making feeble attempts at getting out of the car.  I was stooping outside of the car trying to grab the camera off the dashboard while Doylene was desperately trying to get out of the back seat.

By the time the dynamic duo got over to George, he and Susan had already exchanged hellos.  We’d never seen Susan such a white shade of pale; she was glowing in the dark!  Then we managed to hear what George had to say, and were amazed when words came out of our mouths!

George:  I told Harry (security guard at A&M) that sure, sure, I would come over and meet four silly people.  Well, this is it, here I am.”  (He smiled).
Susan:  Yeah, it sure is.
George:  I don’t understand.  Why do you wait for me?  I’m nobody.
Susan:  Yes you are!
George: Harry asked me to come over and say hi.  You were waiting so long it made me feel obligated to meet you. (He looked like he was in a hurry and started to walk away).
Patti:  Can we take a picture with you?
Geroge:  I don’t enjoy being the monkey all the time.
Patti:  But we’ve been waiting over eight hours.
George:  I know, you’re all here together, that’s nice.  Let me take pictures of you guys.
He too my camera from me and aimed it at Susan, Gloria and me.
George:  OK, pose.
He took the photo, and then proceeded to take one of Doylene, who was standing off by herself.
Patti:  Oh, George, please, I want one of us with you.
George:  Ok, Ok, I’ll take it.
Patti: what?
He stretched out his arms, turned the camera towards himself and snapped the picture.
Patti:  What if it doesn’t turn out?
George:  Well, you’ll know it’s me!
Patti:  Can I take one of you?
George:   I took it myself, that’s even better.
Patti:  Are you feeling better? (Someone had informed us that he had the flu)
George:  (confused) Yeah.
Patti:  Weren’t you sick?
George:  No.  I’ve gotta go.  Hello and goodbye.  Hello and goodbye.
He drove out smiling, but I didn’t see him because I was crying uncontrollably in Susan’s lap.  I wonder if George wondered where the driver was.

Just as Susan and I were beginning to recover from that meeting, we, along with another friend, Debbie, “just happened” to run into George again on Friday the 13th.  After going to the studio with gifts to leave with the security guard (in hopes that he’d give them to George), we were told in good faith that Hari should be coming in.  But, after waiting several hours, he was a no-show.  We made no bones about it, though, because we had definitely been satisfied with the meeting of a week ago.  So, we left.  On our way home who should we see driving in the opposite direction on Sunset Blvd. but him!  I was carrying on like a mad woman because the other two hadn’t seen him.  We raced back to the studio only to be told he didn’t come in there.  Debbie suggested we continue down Sunset; Susan an dI were very agreeable.  As we were approaching the Cinerama Dome, Susan made the wise-crack, “Maybe he took Olivia to see a movie.”  She was 100% right!  George’s car was parked right out on the street.  They were inside watching “The Return of the Pink Panther.”  

Being loyal George fans, of course we waited.  We still had the gifts with us.  A Roto-Rooter t-shirt and a bottle of wine.  After falling down on sidewalks, drowning in fountains and illegally picking flowers, we managed to stay in one piece.  Since we were walking by the front exit, the whole crowd decided to depart out the side and George was no exception.  Debbie spotted them first and said, “Is that them?”  I looked over at the happy couple, said “Yes!” and proceeded to walk to George’s car.

Patti:  “Hi George.  Hi Olivia!”
George:  Hi.
Patti:  We have some things for you.
George:  (Looking at the box Debbie had).  What is it?  A pizza??
Debbie:  No.  It’s a shirt.
George:  Well it looks like a pizza!  No, really, you don’t have to.
Debbie:  But I want to.  Please?
George leaned across the car and took the box from Debbie.
George:  Ok, I’ll open it later.  Thanks.
Patti:  I’ve got some wine for you, George.
George:  oh??
Patti:  Well, it’s for Olivia.
George:  Oh, ok.  I’ll roll down the window.
George got it, put the box in the back seat, explained to Olivia what was going on, and then rolled down her window.
Patti:  (After banging the bottle accidentally on the widow) Here you go, Olivia.  I hope you enjoy it.
Olivia:  Thank you.
George:  Thanks.  Bye.
All of us:  Bye!

Did we stop there?  Hell no!  We just had to have one more.  Susan, Ceil, Katie and I (we add a new ones to each meeting!)  were anxiously waiting for George to drive into A&M on June 19.  Once again we had been informed he would be there.  He drove right past us and into the parking lot.  Susan said, “It’s him.”  I said, “I know” and hopped out of the car and into the pakring lot.  George spoke first as he saw me coming towards him.

George:  Hi!
Patti:  Hi!
George:  Thanks for the t-shirt (I nearly died because he remembered me!)
Patti:  Oh, did you like it?
George:  Yeah, yeah.
Patti (to Olivia):  Did you drink the wine?
Olivia.  Yeah, I liked it.
Patti:  Are you here for the party?
George:  Oh no.  That’s already over.
Patti:  Everybody’s going home?
George: I hope not.  I’m here to work.
Susan was finally waling into the parking lot.
Patti:  Susan and I have something really  nice we want to give you.
George:  But you don’t have to give me anything
Patti:  But it’s something we really want you to have.
George:  Oh, uh, uh
Patti:  Then you won’t take it?
George:  Oh, I’ll accept it.  But in the future you girls don’t’ have to vie me anything.
Patti:  Look what it is (I showed him the necklace and he held onto the small plastic bag with me)
George:  Oh!  An AUM!
Susan:  We wanted you to have something to thank you for all you’ve given us.
George:  Thank you.
Katie:  All I can give you is my good thoughts.
George:  That’s as good as anything.
Susan:  You have no idea how much happiness you give to people.
Katie:  You give out such good vibes.
George:  I’m still not used to all the admiration.  You’d think that after ten years I would be at ease with it and that I would handle it.  But I still haven’t gotten used to it.  It’s hard.
We all sort of agreed with him.
Patti:  You’re working on a new album?
George:  Yeah, the single.
Patti:  When will that be out?
George:  In August.
Patti:  And then the album follows?
George:  Yeah in September.  About a month
Olivia began to give subtle hints to George, like pulling on his belt loop.
Susan:  Uh, we better go.
George:  Yeah, right.
Patti:  Thank you.
George:  Thank you.
All of us:  Bye
George Bye.

Poor Ceil hadn’t got to talk to him because she left momentarily just before he drove in.  Susan was in shock because when I mentioned her name to George he looked past me at her as she was walking in; she had no idea what was going on.  He couldn’t’ have been nice to us.

The next time we had the opportunity to speak with George it was very short and sweet.  After popping up from nowhere, to the complete surprise of George, we found this to be one of the nicest meeting because he treated us like his friends, not his fans, and that felt damn good!  While we were waiting, we were taping for fun on the new tape recorder Susan had just bought.  We walked up to George but chickened out about asking him if we could tape his voice but after we got to talk to him and got back to the car we found that form the excitement of seeing him again we hadn’t turned it off.  Anyway, this is what he said:

Susan:  how are you?
Geroge:  Well, I…
Patti:  How’s everything going?
George:  Not bad.  I’m a bit tired today.
Patti:  Oh you are?
George:  I stayed so late and I had to get up so early.
Susan:  Oh, you did?
George:  Yeah, and I’m late now too.
Susan:  Oh, ok.  We’ll go.
George:  Ok.  I’ll see you.
Patti:  Thanks for stopping anyway.  Bye.

The last time George was to be seen by any of us (at least for now), he decided to do something nice for me.  I was there without my faithful buddy, Susan.  Ceil and I were sitting on the step outside the studio.  Ceil had gotten up and stood by the gate.  George and Olivia came out with Olivia driving and her window was down.  Ceil heard George say, “There she is again…” meaning me.  Ceil handed George a letter to which he replied, “Thank you.” Then looked over at me, motioned with his finger and said, “Come here.”  I couldn’t hear him and had no idea he meant me so I sat there looking at the others.  They were all looking at me!  I looked back over at George who was kinda laughing at me, put my hand to my chest and said, “Me??”  George smiled really big and nodded his head.  I hopped up and went over to the car.  I knelt down outside of Olivia’s window.  George proceeded to pen up his jacket, spread it apart and pulled his t-shirt up from behind his overalls so I would read the wiring on it.  It was the same t-shirt Debbie had given him at the movies –Roto-Rooter!  I was shocked!

George:  See, I’m wearing it!
Patti:  ahhh!
George:  I wanted to let you know I like it.
Patti:  Oh.  You wore it to Monty Python too.
George Yeah, yeah.
Patti:  Oh George, can I please take a picture of you wearing it?
George:  (Looking down at his chest) but you can hardly see it.
Patti:  Oh, ok.  You’re leaving for England soon?
George:  Yeah.
Patti:  When?
George:  Maybe tomorrow.
Patti:  oh.
George Yeah.
Patti:  Oh, you guys have to go  (A car pulled up behind them)
George:  Bye
Patti Bye.  Thanks.

I went and sat back down on the steps, literally shaking, and began to cry.  I looked up and George was still looking at me.  He gave me a sympathetic look like, “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”  George said something to Olivia, and the second he stopped talking they both looked right at me and smiled.  When they drove off I was hysterical!

After meeting George you realize that he is a human being, and a fine one.  The looks he gives you while sitting on the steps are for you alone, the smiles are for you alone, when he stares into your eyes he’s looking at no one  but you!  He respects you and what you have to say.  You realize he’s one of the nicest people on earth and you love him.  At least he’s aware of the fact that Susan and I do, because as Olivia told us on June 23rd, “He knows you love him.”


  1. Not sure if you'll see this, but I just wanted to ask since the last sentence confused me a little. Did Olivia really say "He knows you love you," or is it a typo meant to say "He know you love him,"?

    Thanks. :)

    1. Or "He knows you love him," rather. :p

    2. Oops! My typing mistake. She said, "He knows you love him."

    3. Ah, cheers! This blog is absolutely wonderful by the way. Thank you so much for putting all this effort into it!

    4. Sory of a silly question but what was Debbie's connection to Roto Rooter? Did she just happen to have the shirt laying around?

  2. does anyone remember the arm and hammer t shirt he had? the company was overloaded with requests for it and didn't produce any to sell

  3. George was really a nice guy and very often kind to fans - problem was for some fans that he also considered himself a 'regular joe' and wanted some personal space. I saw him in NYC in 1982 where people started chasing him down the street and he asked to "please don't follow me". Not nasty or grumpy just a plea to be like a private human being.

  4. Hi. I'm curious how Debbie (last name) happened to choose a Roto-Rooter T-shirt to give to George, and how/ where she acquired it. Did her family own a Roto-Rooter franchise? Did she have some connection to Roto-Rooter? I work at Roto-Rooter's HQ and we often get asked about the famous George Harrison photo, so I'm just looking for some context and understanding of how it came to be. You can email me directly at Thanks!