Thursday, September 11, 2014

In a car and airplane with them!

In Car and Airplane with (Shriek) them!
Writer not listed
Jacksonville Journal
September 11, 1964

The Beatles and I sped around that curved road at Evergreen Cemetery at 70 miles per hour, dodging trees and limbs felled by Hurricane Dora.

Then I boarded the Beatles' chartered plane and talked with John and Paul.

What a wild night, I felt the same sensation once before -- while riding the Coney Island roller coaster.

Derek Taylor, the Beatles press agent, broke a precedent and nearly shattered what was left of my nerves when he invited me aboard the plane parked at Imeson Airport.

He said I was the first reporter anywhere, other than newsmen who regularly travel with the Beatles, to board their plane and have an exclusive interview.

It all started when I knocked on the door of the house trailer under the north stands at the Gator Bowl which the Beatles were using for a dressing room.

Taylor stuck his head out the door.

I wanted to get a statement from him about a misunderstanding he and about eight movie film cameramen had.

Taylor had refused to let the Beatles perform until the movie-makers left the Gator Bowl last night.

Next thing I knew I was shoved into one of the racing cars awaiting the Beatles, who had just finished their show and were dashing for the cars like mad.

Girls screamed and grabbed for our cars as we raced out Gate 5.  I'm amazed that no one got killed.

The foursome had to change their clothes while being driven to the airport.

Paul McCartney saw me right away when I boarded the plane.  He looked shocked at first.  I guess he thought I was a stowaway.  But he was the friendliest of all the Beatles and the most talkative.

"It was a well behaved audience compared to some," Paul said.

All four were in a surprisingly good frame of mind, considering that they had just escaped several thousand screaming fans.

But they do have their little hideaways where they can relax and be undisturbed by loyal but sometimes annoying fans.

Paul said that sometimes they can even walk in and out of a London movie unnoticed.

"We just come after the lights go off and leave before they come on again."

The group enjoyed a restful day at Key West yesterday after being rerouted there by Hurricane Dora.

When someone asked them at the press conference held yesterday evening what they thought of Dora.  Paul said, "Dora?  Never met her."

Paul quickly corrected my pronunciation of the word golf when I asked him if he played the game in his spare time.

"It is g-uolf," he said in his brisk British accent.

I told him that he was in the wrong country to try to correct the English language..

"We invented the language, what do you mean?"  he said.

Ringo remarked that Jacksonville had given the four a very poor reception in comparison to other towns.

Diplomatic Paul added, "It was small but friendly."
"The hurricane blew them (the fans) away,"  George Harrison said.

The Beatles received a gold key to the city of Tampa and a trophy for being the "fabmost" from four unknown fans.

When asked what was the most unusual gift that they had ever received, John said very subtly, "I once got a bra."

They feel that their major contribution to the music world is just "a laugh and a smile."

All they could say about President Johnson's arriving in Jacksonville the same day they did was "Amazing timing."

Even the Beatles said that it will be interesting to see who draws the biggest crowd and the most police protection when they, President Johnson and Barry Goldwater all visit Dallas, Texas on the same day -- September 20.

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