Monday, September 15, 2014

Bye Bye Beatles -- police sigh YEAH!

photo by George Shuba

photo by George Shuba

Bye Bye Beatles Fans, Police sigh YEAH!
By Bill Barrett
The Cleveland Press September 15, 1964

The Beatles were safely hedded down in New Orleans today, and no one was happier about this than Cleveland policemen who:

Stopped the show when the hysterical audience at Public Hall threatened to riot.  Suffered the bitter criticism of the indignant Beatles who called them "amateurs" for bringing down the curtain.

Struggled to free a CTS bus full of guitars, drums, and other members of the show.  The bus became jammed in the Public Hall passageway and threatened to postpone the Beatles' departure.

Inspector Michael Blackwell and Deputy Inspector Carl C. Bare stopped the show when a group of pushing, screaming youngsters threatened to storm the stage shortly after the Beatles began their 30 minute act.

More than 100 officers and Public Hall guards leaned into the point of the teenage attack but they were slowly and steadily forced back toward the stage.

Bare came charging out of the wings.  He shouldered the Beatles aside, grabbed a microphone and bellowed:

"Sit down, sit down -- the show is over!"

Still the Beatles continued -- they were in the middle of one of their hit numbers, "All my Loving."

Blackwell stormed out.  He waved the group off the stage.  He took one --  George Harrison --- by the elbow and steered him toward the wings.  The hall roared with protest as the music stopped and the Beatles slowly and reluctantly left.

Temporarily withdrawing to their dressing room, they grumbled their displeasure into the microphone of KYW Radio news director Art Schreiber who is with them today in New Orleans.

"This has never happened to us before -- anywhere," said John Lennon.  "We have never had a show stopped.  These policemen are a bunch of amateurs."

But in the wings, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles had an entirely different view.

"The police were absolutely right," he shrugged.  "This has never happened before but it was clear to me from the start that there was something very wrong.  The enthusiasm of the crowd was building much too early."

The Beatles family were allowed to continue after Blackwell, at the microphone, laid down the rules -- the children were to stay in their seats and one more charge would stop the show for keeps.

The Beatles greeted by a storm of yells, resumed where they'd been cut off, and the show went on but the house lights were kept on as a brake on emotions.

"I don't blame the children," Blackwell said when it was all over.  "They're young, and they can't be expected to behave like adults.  And I don't blame these Beatles -- there is nothing wrong with their act.  But if we hadnt' stopped it, there would have been serious injury.  One little girl was knocked down in the charge, and there were 300 other youngsters about to trample her."

The audience filed out in good order when the show ended, many of the young girls sobbing in apparent ecstasy.

There was a short lived assault by some 500 youngsters on the stage door of Public Hall, but police broke it up.  The Beatles, meanwhile, were speeding over a back route to their waiting airplane at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

As a decoy, police ran their "riot bus" -- a converted paddy wagon -- at high speed out of the hall while the Beatles were zipping out a back door.

The riot bus was on decoy duty all day, in fact.  Again and again it made empty runs from Sheraton-Cleveland hotel, home of the Beatles here to Public Hall until the teenagers gathered there grew to ignore it.  Then, just before showtime, it made the trip with the Beatles as passengers and the crowds of youngsters made no fuss at all.

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