Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beatles appear before 20,000

Beatles Appear Before 20,000 in the City
By Frank Murray
The Florida-Times Union
September 12, 1964

Twenty, thousand Beatle fans screamed, "We want the Beatles" at the Gator Bowl last night, while their idols refused to go on until newsreel and television news cameramen were forced to stop making movies.

When Beatles' press agent Derek Taylor stepped to the microphone shirt-sleeved and issued an ultimatum over the public address system, police physically restrained eight cameramen, covering their lenses with hands and leading them by the arm from the performance area.

Taylor said the film made as newsreels is ultimately sold and shown in movie theatres with no royalties paid to the shaggy quartet.

"The Beatles are 100 feet away," Taylor said, and the crowd shrieked.

"They came thousands of miles to be here.  The only thing preventing their appearance is cine cameramen."  Taylor said.

At that point, police led by Captains C.L. Raines and I.L. Griffin, ended the movie-making.  Extensive police precautions for the safety and security of the Beatles and the 20,000 persons who attended the show were a roaring success.

Except for one near-riot about 7pm in the parking garage of the George Washington Hotel, there were no incidents.

Then, however, the garage and the intersection of Julia and Monroe streets became a battle ground for 15 minutes between city police and more than 500 teenage Beatle fans.

The police, about two dozen strong, were trying their hardest to wrest the four shaggy haired singers from Liverpool, England from the hotel where they had just been hosts to about 150 persons at a press conference.

Surrounded by motorcycle patrolmen, the singers finally began a siren-heralded dash to their trailer hideaway at the Gator Bowl about 7:15pm.  They had spent 15 minutes coming from an elevator to the street -- perhaps 25 feet.

Hundreds of girls and few young boys in their teens screamed and clamored unsuccessfully for autographs.  Girls literally cried and danced, shouting 'I saw john" or "I saw Paul."

The Beatles, for those many parents who'd like to know what the shouting is about, are George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.  Three of them play guitars, Ringo pounds the drums and they all sing after a fashion.  Each of them has three times the normal amount of hair for young men with age (which is the early 20s).

Girls in the 12-20 age bracket think they're neat.

When the Beatles bomb a city, girls quiver and parents palpitate with concern for their offspring.

Last night about 30,000 persons paid $5 each to scream at the Beatles in the Gator Bowl while they screamed right back somewhat in rhythm.

One miss in that audience may have been happier than the rest.  She is Pam Creticos, 17, of Daytona Beach, a British exchange student.  She is  junior at Seabreeze High School, Daytona Beach.

Pam painted a picture of John, the married one, three months ago.  Since then it has rested on her bedroom floor.  Now, sigh, John has it.

Said Pam of the Beatles whom she has seen live once before in England.  "I don't really feel anything.  They're just people."  And that after John put his arm around her.

The boys sat in the ballroom of the George Washington answering generally inane questions inanely.  The few serious questions tossed their way drew the usual wisecrack or an "I don't know."

They munched on turkey sandwiches, sipped tea which they said wasn't as good as English tea and patiently, politely dealt with a group of reporters, who were outnumbered by teen-aged infiltrators.

Asked to rate their reception here with that in other cities.  George said, "Very poor,"  Ringo, referring to the lack of any reception, committee at the airport, said, "What reception?"

He found out when it took fifteen minutes for police to battle through 1,000 people including 500 clamoring young people to get the boys free from the hotel.

Today the boys fly to Boston.

The Beatles left Jacksonville in the post-midnight minutes this morning after successfully keeping their airplane location a secret.  No teenagers showed up at the airport after the show to wish them well.

A Florida Times-Union reporter did get aboard the plane, however, and talked briefly with Taylor., Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Taylor was somewhat apologetic for the showdown he had brought about over the cameramen, but said a great deal of money was involved.  He said this was the first time in the tour history he had to make such a speech.

Through Dora was far gone, the winds in the park blew Beatle hair in all directions and, at times, threatened the instruments.

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