Monday, August 25, 2014

When George threw the drink

Excuse me while I totally Beatle Geek out on you all for a moment.   The exact dates of when the Beatles did various things in 1964 while in L.A. is very confusing.   Today I have seen the date of August 25, 1964 going around as the date that three of the Beatles went to the Whiskey a Go-Go and George threw the drink on a photographer.    Well, I found a newspaper (the Herald Examiner) with the photos and it gives the date as August 24, 1964.    I spoke with Beatles concert expert, Chuck Gunderson along with some other Beatle friends and it was figured out that the Beatles did their Hollywood Bowl concert on the 23rd and had a party (where John broke a camera) afterwards.  On the 24th they had the party at Alan Livingston's house and went to the Whiskey a go-go, and on the 25th they did a photo shoot at the pool at the rented house and went to Burt Lancaster's house.  But I have to admit that even that time line does not match up with the first hand accounts and other reports.   Did the Herald Examiner made a mistake in the date?  

The newspaper that shows the date of the event.

Here is how the Herald Examiner reported George throwing the drink.   Just think if this happened today.  It would be all over TMZ and everyone would have captured it on their cell phone cameras.

Beatles Leave L.A. Gasping

The Beatles, Britian's anti-barbershop quartet headed for Denver after visiting L.A. in which property damage was estimated at $5,000.

Appraisals of havoc wrought around Beatle Manor in Bel-air came early today as shaggy George Harrison was tossing a highball at a photographer in a Sunset Strip night club, and the last of more than 50 juveniles was being released from police custody.

Even so, authorities who worked overtime during the millionaire recording artists' three day stay were inclined to agree with night club operator Shelly Davis' conclusions as he mopped thrown Scotch from a Beatle fan, Mamie Van Doren, who ogt between George and the photographer.  "It was frantic," said Shelly, 17 years a newspaperman, flack and showman.  "It was frantic, impossible, ridiculous--but fun."

The fun started about 12:45 a.m. when 200 patrons jamming Davis' Whiskey A Go-go at 8901 Sunset Blvd., and 100 or so crowding the street outside, discovered John Lennon had been slipped into a corner booth by Sheriff's deputies. 

Within a few minutes the wall of human flesh around the booth was so solid that Harrison and Ringo Starr, also slipped by the deputies, had to be lifted bodily and passed over heads, where they joined seven others, including Jayne Mansfield, in a booth upholsterer for four.

A few lucky fans got Beatle autographs on cocktail napkins smuggled through the wall by a waitress as Davis announced over the loudspeaker, "We have honored guest from England here tonight.  Give 'em air or I'll have to close the place."

Paul McCartney missed the group's first visit to an American night club as patrons.  "Paul just stayed home."  Ringo told the Herald Examiner, breaking off a conversation with two girls in an adjoining booth -- Cheryl Crane, 21, Lana Turner's daughter, and her roommate, Andrea Lucy, also 21.

Robert Flora, United Press International photographer, got the highball treatment after Harrison warned him not to take any more pictures and Flora snapped one more which showed George tossing the drink.

Earlier, West Los Angeles police took more than 50 adolescents into technical custody for violating a 10p.m. curfew as some 400 persons milled about the intersection of Bel-Air road and Sunset Blvd. hoping over several hours to catch a glimpse of a Beatle.

St. Pierre Roads, where the singers disappeared into a rented mansion at No. 356 for some rest after their Hollywood Bowl appearance Sunday, was blocked off by police, who estimated damage to flowers, shrubs and other residential property at $5,000.

Many residents turned on lawn sprinklers to discourage trespassing, but teenagers by the dozens ignored a drenching in order to penetrate barricades, only to be caught by officers in extra force and returned.

photo by Bob Flora

photo by Bob Flora

The no longer updated website, The Beatles Connection, which was not in English  and they plastered those annoying watermarks in large letters all over the photos they shared, wrote a story about the Beatles and Jayne Mansfield at the Whiskey a go go.   I found on the Beatleslinks forum from 2007 that someone had translated the article and here it is:

Jayne Mansfield was a platinum blonde, born in 1933, especially famous for being a sex symbol in mid 50's, starred in ''The Girl Can't Help It'' (1956) and ''Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?'' (1957), a 20th Century Fox star by then, when this major film studios began to have problems with Marilyn Monroe and decided to duplicate her, a bad copy would be better to say ... but Mansfield soon believed in her own publicity. She imagined herself as much or even bigger than Monroe and she spent all her time starring headlines of scandals, her habit for drinking, her addiction for pills for hysterics, for getting up, for sleeping, etc ... this would happen especially in the last part of her life around June 29, 1967 when she died in a tragic car accident ... (Newspapers said she was decapitated, but it was not so).

But the reason for this brief review of Jayne Mansfield is not to describe her artistic achievements (if she had any), nor to talk about her physical attributes ... we're trying to place the moment in which the Hollywood star was when she met The Beatles... Marilyn Monroe's death (August 5, 1962) was the end of blonde bombs' era, while the sexual revolution in USA was finishing with the "bad girls" roles in films, so Jayne Mansfield was facing up to a crisis of popularity by 1964, when she met The Beatles. Mansfield's career was descendent by that time, making only ''B'' films (low in quality and budget). In 1964, Mansfield was also doing tours in classless night clubs and made some sporadic TV appearances. She was going to get married (after a recent divorce) to the film director Matt Cimber, who was her manager too ... 

Going back in time till 1956, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were among the rock 'n' roll fans that went to the cinemas to see the ''The Girl Cant Help It'' film, one classic of its time, with a constellation of rock 'n' roll stars such: Little Richard, The Platters, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Fats Domino, and with the voluptuous actress Jayne Mansfield (playing the role of Jerri Jordan), that would become till that moment on one of sexual fantasies of those teen Beatles.
Who would guess that destiny would get these characters together 8 years later (in 1964) in different situations: The Beatles as the biggest act in the world and Jayne Mansfield with her career extinguishing and needing urgently of publicity to get back to the headlines.

On Sunday, August 23, 1964 (7:30 pm), in the middle of their American tour, The Beatles were in Los Angeles, California giving a press conference at the teen night club called ''Cinnamon Cinder'' (2 hours later they would play at the ''Hollywood Bowl''). 

-Journalist: Would you like to make a film in Hollywood? 
-John Lennon: Yeah
-George Harrison: We don't mind, but we make the film where the company thinks it's suitable.
-John Lennon: ...and cheaper (laughter)
-Journalist: What movie actors would you like to meet in Hollywood?
-Ringo Starr: Paul Newman
-Journalist: What about actresses?"
-Paul McCartney: Jayne Mansfield 
Chris Hutchins, a ''New Musical Express'' magazine reporter, who was close to The Beatles (he would arrange the meeting between The Beatles and Elvis Presley in 1965) took advantage of this McCartney's wish from the press conference.
Hutchins was precisely at the press conference and approached McCartney. ''Seriously, Paul, would you really like to meet Jayne Mansfield?''... McCartney nodded. 

Immediately, a note written using a pencil was given to Derek Taylor, The Beatles' press agent.
The message said: ''Derek, Paul stated that he would like to meet Jayne Mansfield. 
If I can arrange it, could I have the photos and the story?''
''Do you think you can arrange a date?'' was Taylor's answer, that was answered affirm.
A half an hour later, to ultimate details for the meeting ---originally thought as a Paul McCartney & Jayne Mansfield meeting only-- it was talked to Derek Taylor in the backstage of the ''Hollywood Bowl''. Next day, August 24 --while The Beatles were taking a rest in the rented mansion in Bel Air, Derek Taylor called Matt Cimber (Jayne Mansfield's boyfriend and manager). 

By then, not only McCartney but the other three Beatles wished to meet Jayne Mansfield too, but they refused to have them photographed with the blonde bomb ...Paul McCartney was the only one who was determined. Mansfield's manager's idea was that The Beatles would have being drinking some tea, poured by Jayne Mansfield, all by the swimming pool. It was publicity thanks to The Beatles' fame.

The Beatles wanted to meet Mansfield, better if she came to their mansion in Bel Air, but without photos, because it was a Brian Epstein's habitual rule to avoid photos with celebrities.
A new problem, agreement between The Beatles' diary and Jayne Mansfield's, who had obligations for the whole week at the Anaheim night club ... time was short because The Beatles would only be available for a couple of days (until August 26), when they would left to Denver with their tour, but Jayne Mansfield didn't want to miss such an opportunity to be in the headlines, because it was and it would be, for the group's entire career, the only time The Beatles invited a female film star to their home to meet her.

August 25, The Beatles lost hope of meeting the voluptuous blonde, so they accepted one invitation from the actor Burt Lancaster to have dinner and to see the ''A Shot In The Dark'' film (starring Peter Sellers and Elke Sommer) at his house, being John Lennon alone at the Bel Air house, who seized the opportunity to receive some guests and to give some interviews. 
For Lennon surprise, that midnight Jayne Mansfield appeared at the Bel Air mansion entrance. 
There and witnessing this indescribable scene were: Bess Coleman, Derek Taylor, Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall, her manager and boyfriend Matt Cimber, an assistant and two Jayne Mansfield's bodyguards.

Jayne, was wearing one Persian cat coat, and Lennon told her ''I was dying to meet you, Miss Mansfield'', to what she corrected him by saying, ''Call me just Jaynie'', adding, ''I was also dying to meet all of you, wonderful guys---but where are the others?''.

Then Mansfield suggestively caressed Lennon's hair, whispering: ''Is it your real hair?'' and Lennon answered, taking a look at her prominent bust, the most famous attribute of Mansfield, ''Well, and are those real?''... to which Mansfield, without turning a hair, answered: ''There's only one way of ascertaining that, ain't there?''

Lennon mixed cocktails for her and her assistants, mixing gin, vodka, red wine and cocaine as the ''secret ingredient''...Jayne asked her friend to read her the Tarot, for her and Lennon. 
Her friend began the cast and suddenly he dropped them horrified,  exclaiming, ''Oh my God, this is terrible, I see a tragic end for both of you in all this" (right prediction, as it's said before Jayne Mansfield died three years later victim of one car accident and Lennon was shot in 1980). By hearing this, Lennon got angry and threw the cards.

Chris Hutchins suggested Lennon to take Jayne Mansfield and her retinue to the famous pub ''Whiskey-a-Go-Go'' on Sunset Boulevard and maybe to dance the watusi. 

Lennon liked the idea but Hutchins warned him that the other Beatles would never forgive him if he didn't tell them of this date with Jayne Mansfield. And because of Lennon couldn't be alone with the blonde actress--as he wished--because of the presence of Matt Cimber, her boyfriend  and manager and the Mansfield's bodyguards, he had to leave a telephone message to Harrison and Starr to search for them at the ''Whiskey-a-Go-Go''.

Actually, Lennon was angry because of the presence of Mansfield's boyfriend, because his intentions were different. George Harrison and Ringo Starr, already a little drunken after the dinner with Burt Lancaster, went rapidly to join Lennon. The paradox, Paul McCartney who had originally caused it was not present at any moment, because it was supposed that he disappeared to have a romantic and secret date with the actress Peggy Lipton, who he met the previous evening.

Entering 'Whiskey-a-Go-Go' was terribly complicated, because the three Beatles: 
Lennon, Harrison and Starr, wanted to go unnoticed and not to be annoyed or photographed ---obviously Jayne Mansfield's interest was the contrary, she wanted to exploit the situation, so she might have made some telephone calls to the press and the paparazzi of Hollywood went rapidly where they were.

It took the Beatles twenty minutes to get from the door to their table, because everybody wanted to be near them.

At the table and calm, Lennon disclosed Jayne Mansfield about the ''secret ingredient'' which he had mixed the cocktails at the Bel Air mansion, they also talked about poetry and the Shakespeare Festival of that year, about John's new book and Mansfield's new album (she had recorded several LP's ) the one titled ''Tchaikovsky, Shakespeare & Me''. 

Close to the table, the actress Mamie Van Doren, another blonde celebrity and a competitor to Jayne Mansfield was at the ''Whiskey-a-Go-Go'', who came to greet and meet The Beatles, but it seems that they didn't know her.

Mansfield was sitting between Lennon and Harrison, supposedly she had her hands very busy caressing either side of both the Beatles' ''groins'' (one story confirmed by Harrison in the Anthology)
Suddenly or with some help (we guess) one photographer came to the table where the group were and began to take photos with a powerful flash, very quickly. 

Harrison upset and very drunkenly threw one glass of whiskey & Coca Cola over photographer, but accidentally knocked over a bucket of ice, soaking actress Mamie Van Doren's face, who was close to the table. (Harrison, denied this, because he said that the ice was melted in the glass and that it was only liquid what he spit over the face of the actress, but Mamie Van Doren in her autobiography ''Playing The Field'' stated that it was a bucket of ice that hit her in the face.

A racket was kicked up at the ''Whiskey-a-Go-Go'', so big that there was no way of exit from there, because everybody was surrounding there. Mansfield's bodyguards lifted George Harrison and Ringo Starr up in the air in order to take them out of the place, because people were trying to get near them. On the next day, a pair of photos of the incident appeared in the 'Herald Examiner'' daily, where one drunken and annoyed George Harrison can be seen. 

Jayne Mansfield stated later: ''Unfortunately, we couldn't have privacy. To enter ''Whiskey-a-Go-Go'' you've got to be 21-year-old, but all the adult people who were there were acting as teens.''

Jayne Mansfield described The Beatles in this way: ''John is very ingenious and funny...George is really great. So relaxed and polite. Ringo is adorable, very reserved. He doesn't say a word at all, unless it's something important...''

What did Jayne Mansfield think of Paul McCartney, the one who started all this and never met Jayne Mansfield? ''Paul and I couldn't meet each other; he lost all the joy...''

--September 18, 1968--years later of the premier, The Beatles interrupted one of the ''White Album'' recording sessions. They were recording takes of the ''Birthday'' song at Abbey Road Studios and they left the work to go with various people (including Yoko Ono, Pattie Harrison and Chris Thomas ) to Paul McCartney's house at Cavendish Avenue to see ''The Girl Can't Help It'' film on TV for the first time in England.

Hours later and influenced by the film, McCartney with more energy in his veins and with Little Richard and Fats Domino in mind restarted the ''Birthday'' session with everybody in support. 

--Jayne Mansfield is shown in the inside cover of the ''Beatles For Sale'' album (designed by Robert Freeman). It was exactly in the inside of the album where a collage pic shows the group standing with a collection of images of films including Albert Finney, lan Carmichael, Victor Mature and Jayne Mansfield who appears near Paul McCartney.

--Jayne Mansfield died in a car accident in 1967. John Lennon always remembered that fact of the Tarot when she met Jayne Mansfield in 1964 and he was in alarm. 
As it's known, Lennon was obsessed with numbers and, particularly, with number nine.
Lennon said to Chris Hutchins: ''Jayne was born on April 19 and died on June 29. 
April is the forth month and June the sixth. If you put them together you have one ten. I was born on October 9, the ninth day of the tenth month. 
Jayne Mansfield died two months after her birthday, that means that I'm going to die on one day with a nine, in the month of December.''


  1. The Jayne Mansfield death collision is said to be the impetus behind a change of truck design. The "Mansfield bar" is attached to the underside at the back of truck trailers to help avoid cars sliding underneath, which was nearly always a fatal accident. Since the actress is not remembered in show-biz history with much regard for her work, I like to add this to stories about her. She did have a positive effect on the world, and should be remembered for this.

  2. Fantastic article! Thanks for publishing - just when one thinks they've read everything about the Beatles, there is always something new to discover.

  3. You can see how the Whiskey still had its original faux-French decor at this time.