Friday, September 5, 2014
Squealing in Delight
The Beatles Descend--Thousands Squeal Delight
By Leighton McLaughlin
Chicago Sun Times September 6, 1964
The Beatles made $1000 a minute Saturday night in the International Amphitheatre during ritual ;bedlam. More than bedlam. It was the loudest thing since Casey Jones hit that freight train.
Young lungs filled the huge hall with a sound that was worldless, wild and to all appearances witless.
The four young Britons -- John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were the last act in a two-hour rock n roll show.
For their fans they were the only act. The living gods of Beatlemania bounced onto the stage, and the faithful leaped into the air and began speaking in tongues.
The Beatles wore pipestem pants, pointed shoes and one of the more curious haircuts in town. They could not be heard over the roar. 25 feet away from the stage, it was impossible to detect any more than an ;undercurrent of loud-tuned electric guitars.
A young fan took issue with this after the show, "It wasn't too bad," the girl said. "You could hear a little bit...sometimes."
If the energy expended by the fans were directed property, The United States could have man on the moon tomorrow.
In a sense, however, the energy has been captured. The Beatles made roughly $250 a man a ;minute.
That is $15,000 an hour, or $600,000 for a 40 hour week. With 52 weeks in a year and with paid vacation, that is $31,200,000 a year apiece. But, of course they do not work full time.
After the show, about half dozen fans were taken to Evangelical Hospital in various states of emotional and physical exhaustion.
There was only one casualty during the show. An unidentified young girl was poke in the eye during the frenzy as the Beatles entered. She was calmed down by ambulance attendant and hurried back to the fray -- one of the walking wounded.
Girls hung precariously from balconies. Sweating ushers, 170 of them, supplemented by 320 policemen, firemen, private guards, and various functionaries, labored to keep the girls in their seats and from falling out of the balconies.
They stood on their seats and screamed anyway, but none plunged to the floor.
As a demonstration of affection, they pelted the stage with whatever was at hand: flashbulbs, candy and a couple of stuffed teddy bears. McCartney was smacked in the face with a spent flashbulb, but hardly missed a beat of whatever he was playing. It couldn't have been heard anyway.
Many of the fans paid premium scalper's prices for tickets and other bought counterfeits. About a dozen ersatzi tickets were discovered at the gate.
Crowds started showing up at the amphitheater, 42nd ;and Halsted, at about 6am. Saturday, even before police got th4ere. Police Comdr. Robert Lynskey estimated that at the peak there were 15,000 persons inside the amphitheater and 4,000 milling outside.
Children from all over the nation called the Stockyard Inn next door for reservations. They were turned down. A group of four girls appeared with bedrolls Friday night and announced they were going to camp in the inn until the Beatles arrived. They were turned out.
As the fans -- 95% of them young girls -- began filling the amphitheater, they were screaming to surrender their homemade signs all professing love and objects that would be hurled as missiles.
One reporter was approached three times by young girls and asked to take them into the Beatles' press conference. He was offered up to $30 for the favor.
When the Beatles arrived at Midway airport, there were some 5,000 faithful on hand. a number of fans scaled a fence but were repulsed by the police.
The quartet was hustled by limousine and motorcycle escort to the inn. Girls waiting in line could not see them arrive. But when they ere informed of the arrival, the news could actually be seen passing down the line.
The girls leaped in the air, squealed and came down in the same spot. No one wanted to lose her place in line. Immediately after the show the Beatles were hurried into the waiting cars and back to the airport. They flew directly to Detroit for another engagement.
Even after they left, policemen under Lynskey guarded the door to their hotel room to prevent souvenir hunters form tearing it apart. Before the show, crowds milled outside the amphitheater and the inn, hoping to catch a glimpse of the four. For some reason word got around that they were near a window facing Halstead.
Girls screamed, cajoled and raged at the window intermittently for hours. The Beatles were nowhere near it, but the pleading kept up anyway. At one point, fans stormed a break truck pulling up to the amphitheater which was suspected of concealing the Beatles. The driver barely got away with his life and police restored order.