Friday, June 27, 2014

Will you drive my car?

I think this is a sad story because I personally think that the Beatles were making jokes about the Christchurch girls.   I can almost hear them saying the words.    Little did they know that their driver had a teenager Beatle-fan daughter and he was a bit offended by what the Beatles were saying.

This story was written by Bruce Renwick and is in his book The Beatles in New Zealand.

Ramsay Gibson of Darfield had only had his new 1964 Chevrolet for a couple of months when he was contracted by Blackwell Motors in Christchurch.   They were the local agents for General Motors who had been contracted to transport the Beatles while in NZ.

Blackwell’s didn’t have a new car in stock so they asked Ramsay if he would drive the Beatles from the airport in his car.

Being keen to meet the Beatles Ramsay said yes and reported to the airport at the requested time.  He was positioned in the cavalcade consisting of two traffic officers on bikes, one police car and then Ramsay.

They waited on the tarmac for over an hour until the flight from Dunedine arrived.           Ramsay remembers the terrifying sight of 5,000 frantic fans trying to rip the fence down and he being between them and the plane was not a good place to be in the event of the fence collapsing.  The original exit point was to be the freight gate but the eager crowd prevented that being used to the back gate out onto Avonhead Road was decided on.

When the plane arrived the crowd went wild again.  One lad managed to scale the fence and head for the plane only to be taken in a flying tackle by a policeman and was unceremoniously returned back over the fence from where he had come.

The Beatles came over to the Chevrolet along with one of the support artists and got into the car.  The support artist slid into the driver’s seat and proclaimed that he would drive but a short sharp shove from Ramsay sent him across the seat to the passenger’s side.

Ramsay was told not to stop for anything, just to keep driving.  As they started off toward the rear exit the crowd realized what was happening and headed for the Russley Road corner.  All traffic was stopped by traffic officers on point duty at the corner while the cavalcade passed through.  They travelled 30 mph and three feet apart.

Conversations started with one saying, “We’ve heard that one in three Christchurch girls has V.D.”
Ramsay at this point put his daughter’s and her friend’s autograph books into the glove box where they stayed for the rest of the trip.

“Hey, that Judy looks alirght.”

“Yea, but she probably got V.D. though.”

And so the conversation continued.

The cavalcade went down Cambridge Terrace and into Oxford Terrace which was fenced off.  This didn’t stop one girl breaking through the cordon and grabbing hold of the door handle of the Beatles car only to be thrown onto the road as the car continued.  She picked herself up and chased after the car which incited the rest of the crowd.

The lads arrived at the hotel and went inside leaving Ramsay and his new car surrounded by screaming fans but with the help of the local police he was soon on his way home.  Listening to the radio on the way home Ramsay heard that the Beatles had had eggs and vegetables thrown at them when they were out on the balcony of the hotel, this amused Ramsay especially after the topic of conversation in his car.  He never saw the Beatles again after they entered the hotel.

When Ramsay got home his daughter came running out to meet him and to get her autograph book, but after explaining to her about the conversation in the car and asking her if she was aware of what V.D. was she assured her father that she did having been to a mother and daughter evening at school quite recently.

The daughter went into her bedroom and ripped down all her posters and burnt them.


  1. Well, this IS unfortunate.....and not to excuse these guys, but when you're in your early 20s, and a guy, and among your little gang of dudes.....sometimes the conversation turns blue (I'm sure girls have their equivalent) (in fact, I KNOW they do!). It's sad about the daughter, and her Dad.....but (as I said in an earlier comment), this tour is OBVIOUSLY starting to wear on them, it's a pressure cooker, it's obviously exhausting....I just read Mary Pickford's autobiography....probably the only other person EVER who could relate to this level of fame....when she and her husband Douglas Fairbanks went on their honeymoon to Europe in the 1920s (at the height of their fame), they experienced mobs like these Australian crowds every single place they went. And she writes how at first it's so encouraging, but then how it gets really scary and wearing and exhausting, and all you can do is keep smiling.

    These guys - and that's all they are, just four young guys - they're having some locker room banter, and even though they know they're not alone, how could they censor themselves 24 hours a day.

    Reminds me of the story (later on 64), when they're at the Capitol records "garden party" at Alan Livingston's....and Dave Dexter points out to John that some of the kids are waving to him, and John says "Ah, to hell with them!". Dave Dexter used that moment as a Polaroid of John's entire character for the rest of his life.

    I wonder how any of us would fare.

    (having said that, I hope the daughter wasn't so much as hurt as angry and offended! I hope it wasn't tearing down the posters in tears! I hope it was more "screw them"! Heck...the Beatles themselves would have respected that attitude!)

    John: "We were bastards."

    They could be angels, also. At least if they had KNOWN that the man's daughter was a fan, I think we all know they would have been better behaved. They weren't like Led Zeppelin, humiliating their fans doesn't seem to be their way, not in the hundreds of stories posted on this great, great blog.

    Thank you Sara!!!