Thursday, August 28, 2014

The adventures of the St. Christopher Medal

When the Beatles arrived at the Delmonico Hotel during the early hours of the morning, 3,000 fans were waiting for them.  As the Beatles got out of the car, the group of fans broke through the police barricade and ran towards the boys.   One of those fans was Angie McGowan who managed to rip Ringo's shirt and take the St. Christopher medal that was on a gold chain off his neck.   One newspaper report said that "retired triumphantly into the crowd."

What a souvenir!  A necklace that Ringo Starr had around his neck!  But what Angie and everyone else weren't aware of at the time was that particular necklace had sentimental value to Ringo.  He got it as a gift from an aunt in Liverpool for his 21st birthday.   Ringo had a big party on July 7, 1961.  80 people squeezed into his home in the Dingle for a celebration.   And one of his aunts gave him the medal of the saint that looks after you during travel.   Since Ringo was really starting to make it big with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and was doing some traveling, he was happy to receive the necklace and put it on that night.   It remained around his neck every day until it got removed at the Delmonico hotel in 1964.   Ringo was upset and wanted his necklace back.

After Cousin Bruce noticed that he didn't look very well, Ringo told the DJ for WABC radio that someone had grabbed his St. Christopher medal.    Knowing a good scoop when he sees one, Cousin Brucie used the radio to not only help Ringo, but also help the station.   He got on the air and asked if the person that "found" Ringo's St. Christopher medal (he used the word found and not stole or took or grabbed on purpose) would come forward, he would see to it that the fan would get a personal meeting with Mr. Starr.    Ringo told the listeners that "It means more to me than almost anything."   After that, 155 people called in, claiming to have the medal in their possession.    One of the callers was Mrs. McGowan who told Brucie that her daughter, Angela had found Ringo's necklace and wanted to know if her 16 year old daughter was in trouble.   Brucie assured her that Angie was not in trouble, and arranged for the mother and daughter to stay at the hotel and meet up with Ringo the next day.    With the medal and the finder  secretly tucked away, please for the return of the necklace continued throughout the night and into the daylight hours just for ratings boosts.

Finally the time came.  Film crews as well as radio crews were on hand to see the safe return of the necklace.  Angie apologized for ripping Ringo's shirt and Ringo said, "I can buy another shirt, I can't replace this." (meaning the medal).   Ringo was very sweet to Angie and her friends.   He allowed them to kiss him on the  cheek and signed autographs.   In watching the footage, I am surprised by how composed Angie appears to be.   She speaks in a quiet voice but with confidence and not like an out of control fan.

Angie has visited this blog on several occasions over the years and emailed me a long time ago.   She says that there is more to her story than what Cousin Brucie says and that her adventures continued after the kiss from Ringo.  One thing that happened was that she became a sudden celebrity among Beatle fans!   People were writing to her and wanting to know about what it was like to kiss Ringo!  She was sending out photos and corresponding with all sorts of fans.    I hope Angie writes a book or an article about what  exactly happened.


  1. How many young folks of the time went out and bought a St. Christopher medal after reading that Ringo wore one?