Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beatles and fans meet social set

Beatles and fans meet Social Set
By Gay Talsese
The New York Times
September 21, 1964

Coolly elegant women in mink coats and pearls together with men in black tie and in no need of a haircut found themselves in the Paramount Theater last night sitting amid 3,600 hysterical teenagers, who should, perhaps been home in bed or doing their homework.

But the Beatles were at the Paramount, the show was for charity and all was tolerated.  It took 240 policemen to keep things tolerable, however, as teenager girls, even five hours before the 8:30pm show  began, lined 7th Avenue and West 43rd and 44th streets causing traffic jams and confusion in the Times Square area.

The screaming and squeeled at everything, these hundred and hundred of girls between 13 and 18, some wearing "Ringo for President" buttons or carrying banners that read, "Beatles please stay here 4-ever!"

At 8:30 pm when the theater darkened, the girls inside shrieked and cheered.  When a shaft of light flashed onto the bandstand, the shrieked and cheered even louder.    When the announcer just mentioned the word "Beatles" - even though they would not be on until 10:45pm- the whole house reverberated with the jumping, thumping, flailing, shrieking crowd of young people.

Anyone over the age of 21 yesterday felt ready for Social Security.

The included, in addition to the policemen and the Beatles' chauffeur, many of the adults who put on the $75,000 benefit for Retarded Infants Service, inc. and United Cerebral Palsy of New York.

It was an incongruous sight last night, one that brought together the chic and the shriek sets.  The latter sat mostly in seats ranging from $5 to $25 each; the former sat mostly in seats costing $50 (380 were sold) to $100 (224 were sold).

The Beatles, when they got on stage, shortly after 10pm, sang for 25 minutes, strumming out tunes that nobody could hear.   They sang 10 numbers, but as they did, teenagers rose to their feet and jumped and twisted in the aisles; others tossed jelly beans, slices of bread or rolls of toilet tissue towards the stage.

Flashbulbs illuminated the theater, from the orchestra up to the remote reaches of the upper balcony, and policemen stood elbow to elbow in front of the high stage, neither frowning or smiling, just looking tired.

For everybody, The Beatles and their fans, it was a long hard day and night.

The Beatles, who had been in Dallas, and stopped over in the Ozarks yesterday, landed in a remote cargo area to avoid the mobs at Kennedy airport.   Then, at 5:30pm, they left by helicopter for Manhattan.

At that time there were 4,000 teenagers squashed behind police barricades along 43rd street and seventh Avenue  near the theater.

Unwisely, they assumed that these spots would give them a view of The Beatles' entrance.  But at 6:10, The Beatles chauffeur, Louis Savarese slyly slipped the rented Cadillac through West 44th street, sliding up the sidewalk just beyond Sardi's.

Then, as a few dozen teenagers spotted the British mopheads, and came running and howling towards the car, 40 policemen ringed the singers .  The best the girls could do was smear fingerprints over the car and rock it back and forth a bit.  By then, however, the Beatles were safely indoors.

Many girls---there were relatively few boys  at the Parmount last night -- were in obvious pain at having missed the Beatles' entrance:  a few of them began to weep.   Others just howled louder than before.

By 8pm, the theater was filled. The pre-Beatles show included songs by Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, Leslie Uggums and the Tokens, Bobby Goldsboro, the Shangra-la's, the Brothers four, Jackie DeShannon, and Nancy Ames.   All of them worked without fees, as did the Beatles.

Following their performance, the Beatles were honored with a presentation of a scroll by Leonard H. Goldenson, chairman of the United Cerebral Palsy Association.  It read:

"To Jack Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr who, as the Beatles, have brought an excitement to the entertainment capitals of the world and who, as individuals, have given their time and talent to bring help and hope to the handicapped children of America."

After the 10th number, the Beatles ran off the stage and left the building at 10:45pm, before the crowd inside could get to them.

The chic set was not interested in chasing them, for they-- who had either $50 or $100 tickets had a champagne party in the downstairs lobby to attend.

In seven limousines, and 14 members of their entourage,   sped to the Riveria Idlewild hotel for a night of rest before flying back to England today.

Only two people were in the lobby when the Beatles arrived, neither of them Beatlemaniacs.  They were reading newspapers and went back to them when the Beatles disappeared up the elevator. 

1 comment:

  1. First off, all of these Paramount pictures are fantastic. I've always been intrigued (for lack of a better word) about this show, I could never find many pictures about it!

    Well....I see who had all the was Sara!!!!! Saracadabra, there they all are!!!

    Also....look at Gay Talese writing about The Beat Brothers!

    Sara, you outdone yourself with this US tour series, I learned a heckuva lot I didn't know......brava, daaaahling!!! (get it? I'm a member of the social set!)