|photo by Terry Todd|
August 20, 1964
Toy Cats the Coolest
By Donald Warman
A tried bunch of newsmen dizzy from two hours of shrieking and angry at the roughness of a key up security force, trooped into a backstage room of the Convention Center Thursday night for a close look at the Beatles.
The boys, obviously beat after 25 minutes of shouting back at the ocean of screamers who faced them in the Rotunda, walked wearily onto a platform. Side by side, like characters in a police line-up, they submitted to a mass press interview.
The “Conference” – it was anything but- was as noisy, as chaotic, as impatiently handled as everything else in that long afternoon.
But the Beatles graciously fielded, in their almost inaudible speaking voices, a hodge-podge of questions which flew simultaneously from most of the 100 persons who pushed and crowded their way to the platform.
Shouting over a forbidding cordon of private policemen, the luckier reporters and radio men managed to attach themselves to one or other of the Beatles at least for a few moments.
A Review Journal reporter, by a sheer stroke of luck, was shoved right to the feet of John Lennon, an engaging, articulate, modest young man who appears to carry the burden of the melody line in the Beatles arias.
Lennon, who is much better looking in real life than in his photographs, leaned down and answered freely and affably to such inanities as these:
Q: What do you do with your money?
A: Put it in the bank.
Q: What will you do after this fad is over?
A: I don’t know.
Q: What is your personal favorite among the gifts you have received?
A: An admirer in Liverpool sent me 40 cats … not real cats, you understand, but ah, toy cats, little things for decoration. I s’pose they’re my favorite.
(if enough of the interviewers caught that answer, the toy cat market will surely boom.)
Q: Which do you hate worse? Reporter and their questions or photographers who always want one more?
A: (with a boyish smile) I don’t hate anyone. None of us do.
Q: Do you regard yourselves as being musicians?
A: (He appears never to have been asked that question before) Well we’re in the union, so I s’pose you’d have to say that, in a way, we’re musicians. But not really, I guess. WE don’t think about it much.
Meanwhile in the hubbub along the platform, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and that Ring fellow were fielding questions like “When are you going to write your next book’?” and “What do you think of school dropouts?”
When the RJ reporter tried to edge his way along the platform to catch the answer to that last one, he was abruptly lifted back to his place by the coppers.
The mass interview, born in edginess and tedium, shortly died of apathy.
Then the Beatles trooped, Indian file, to their dressing room. It was a hard day. And the boys faced a hard day’s night ahead.