|photo by Walt Burton
|photo by Walt Burton|
|photo by Walt Burton|
|photo by Walt Burton|
|Total Beatlemania: shoes off and standing on a folding chair trying to see the Beatles|
Young Fans Drop Veneer of Civilization for Beatles
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A screaming, howling "Beatle-cane" struck Cincinnati Gardens Thursday night. Veteran reporters and policemen were stuck for words to describe the demonstration 14,000 seemingly demented teenagers put on for their idols. "Unbelievable" was the closest they could come to creating a word picture of the bedlam.
The frenzied mob began its ritualistic dance about 7pm when the doors of the Gardens opened, but the demonstration was only the "eye" of the Liverpool spawned storm. The worst was yet to come.
The first act on the program, The Bill Mack Combo (sic) stimulated the mood of the crowd, and the second act, the Exciters, sang and danced the Monkey, which whetted the appetites of the adolescents.
The it struck. The Beatles made their appearance, and the mob exploded into a maelstrom of sound--screaming, stomping, crying, begging, moaning -- every imaginable sound a human is capable of making.
The Beatles played for 25 minutes, but they might as well have been doing a pantomime. The screaming was so loud for 10 minutes that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Marine Corps Band would have been drowned out.
The youngsters were in the midst of an emotional banzai attack against anything that remotely resembled logic and order. Some sobbed, clutching their hands to their mouths. Others waved their hands above their heads and screamed at the top of their lungs. Some umped up and down on their seats.
The estimated 115 degree temperature melted bouffant hairdos as well as inhibitions. Well groomed girls who had hoped, without really hoping, that they would attract the eye of a Beatle, began to look like Brillo pads.
A priest turned around in the crowd, looked at a reporter with tears in his eyes and said, "I don't believe it. Just look at them...at their faces!"
A technician from a television station was trying to measure the sound with an instrument. He gave up when the instrument recorded its maximum reading and broke.
Pushed past their psychological limits, members of the audience began to "break" too. Girls started to faint en masse. Eyes turned cherry red. Throats became too hoarse to utter even a whisper of adoration. Shock began to set in, and the merry go round gradually broke down. The time was 10:07 p.m.
More than 100 police officers, detectives and Pinkerton detectives were assigned to the Gardens for security reasons and to maintain order. They were helpless to do anything except stare.
The Beatles ran off the Gardens stage before the audience knew what was up, scooted into waiting automobiles and headed toward Lunken airport from which their chartered plane took off for New York shortly after midnight.
Captain Ted Bird of the Cincinnati Police Department said that the young audience "conducted themselves like young ladies and gentlemen. They screamed, yelled and panted, but there was no other sign of disorder. They were a credit to Cincinnati."
When it was over, the stage was littered with tattered notes that had been thrown there by fans. "I love you Ringo." "Please call me Paul, my number is..." "I can't go on without you, my dearest darling John." Most of the notes had been stomped on by the high-heeled Beatle shoes, mute testimony of the undying devotion the British performers felt for their faithful flock.
An English reporter traveling with the Beatles is named George Harrison, too. He complained to American newsmen that he always is getting his laundry mixed up with Beatle Harrison. He said the entourage has received no mail from home since it left for the United States.
And after it struck, the "Beatle-cane" moved on to strike again somewhere else. And the maintenance men at Cincinnati Gardens began picking up the trash and Beatle buttons.
Tried to Hold 'em Back
Cincinnati police blocked off Kellogg Avenue near Eastern Avenue, at 3:45p.m. and tried to hold down the spectator population as much as possible. Judging from the crowd at the airport, they didn't succeed.
Four acts accompanied the Beatles on their trip, and departed in a chartered bus. The Beatles rode in Cadillacs.
As the day wore on, the crowd would anxiously peer at every plane that landed, including the smallest single-engine craft.
A lone pilot stepped from the twin-engine plane and was roundly booed.
Concessionaires prepared for a big night.
They stocked 5200 hot dogs, 5200 buns, 2000 pounds of popcorn, and 20,000 cups for soft drinks for the expected 13,000 spectators.
A television commentator told the Enquirer three girls, 16, 17 and 18 had gone to his studio Thursday morning and said they had hitchhiked by train from Warren, Ohio, to see the Beatles.
They said they hid in a train's washroom, changed at Lima, hiding this time in a boxcar, and arrived in Cincinnati at 7:30a.m.