Sunday, June 22, 2014

The girls with the autograph on their arm

Two girls, Annette Fairey and Winkle Pettit had the opportunity of the lifetime at the St. George Hotel when they met Ringo.

Here is how the story was originally reported in the newspaper:
GIRLS BEAT BEATLES’ SECURITY GUARDElaborate security precautions taken to guard the Beatles at the Hotel St George broke down last night.
Four Lower Hutt girls calmly walked past a security man guarding the Beatles’ sixth floor suite and into the arms of Ringo Starr.
Everyone except Ringo was taken by surprise. When the girls mobbed him he took control of the situation.
"Now girls, no nonsense or I’ll leave," he shouted. The girls then quietly produced autograph books.
The excited fans, all 14-year-olds from Chilton St James School are Winkle Pettit, Christine Mantell, Wendy Allen and Annette Fairey.
"We just walked into the hotel and asked to see the manager but they wouldn’t let us," Annette said. "A radio announcer told us the Beatles were on the sixth floor so we walked up the stairs."
But the girls were not content with autographs in books. Ringo also autographed each of the young intruders’ arms.
"I won’t wash this for weeks," Winkle told a laughing Ringo.
The Beatles’ surprised press officer, Mr D. Taylor, summed up the intrusion. “Well girls, if you can get past the security men, good luck to you.”

And here is how Winkle Pettit talks about what happened in 1984

"We just walked up the stairs of the St. George.  That's all.  As we came out at the 6th floor, Ringowas just going across the foyer, so  we grabbed him!  So amid great excitement he signed our arms and we were all saying, "Oh! It's really him!"  We just couldn't believe it.  There was a photographer there and a reporter from the Dominion and the next day our pictures were in the paper.  Back at school we got called out at assembly while our friends said, "Look, she's going to make you scrub the signatures off!"  So we put fake signatures on our other arm.  The head mistress produced Ajax and said, "Scrub it off," so we all pulled up the wrong sleeve and she said, "and I'm going to check both arms." 

Another story states that the girls first got autographs in their autograph books and then asked Ringo to sign their arms as well, which he agreed to do as long as they remained calm.   When they got to school, not only did they have to scrub off the autograph, but they were told that their action was a "disgrace to the school.'  As punishment, they were ordered to write a letter of apology to the school board.

So that just makes me shake my head.   What kind of apology do you write, "I am sorry that you are offended that Ringo Starr signed my arm."    The kids I teach come to school with things written on their arms, temporary tattoos, etc.   I know we live in a different time than 1964---but really---how is Ringo's autograph on your arm a disgrace to the school?    Thank goodness these teachers aren't around  today where people get autographs tattooed on their arms.

Information found in
The Beatles in New Zealand (book) by Bruce Renwick (1999)
 "Fab! Said New Zealand, It's Them!" by Chris Bourke for the New Zealand Listener June 23, 1984

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