Tuesday, November 25, 2014
By Jingo, you just can't beat touching that Ringo
By James (Ringo) Becon
Hollywood--- Some people will tell you that the Beatles are Britain's revenge for the War of 1812. I don't buy that.
They're okay in my book.
Up until this week, I was just another Hollywood writer. true, I was a confidante of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Eddie Fisher and others who have generated mob hysteria.
Then I met the Beatles and talked with them. More important, they touched me. Ringo Starr laid his hand on my shoulder.
Man, it made me an instant celebrity.
Ringo, with that sad, sheepdog look did it. He's no Rock Hudson when it comes to looks but he's got something that girls crave.
My encounter with Ringo and the other Beatles took place at the airport. A mob of teenage girls saw it.
When the Beatles got in their plane, I walked up the ramp to the lobby. I was mobbed by the girls. One screamed, "Ringo touched him!"
The girl touched my arm and shrieked as if she had put her finger in an open light socket. Soon girls by the score touched me. All went through the same shrieking ritual.
One girl noticed some notes in my hand. They included Ringo's answers to questions about a reported romance with actress-singer Ann-Margaret.
"That a lot of roobish," answered Ringo in his Liverpool accent.
Some television newsmen had asked Ringo how he found America. "We went to Greenland and made a left turn," answered Ringo. It was all there in my notes and more. "You mean you recorded what Ringo said?" asked the girl pleadingly. I gave her the notes. She couldn't have been happier with a mink coat. But not for long.
About 20 girls pounced on her and tore the notes to shreds. Each girl seemed happy with a little scrap of paper.
A couple of the girls asked for my autograph. "Yeah! Yeah! yeah!" I shrieked. I signed autographs for a minute or two and then someone yelled that the plane was taxing to the runway. the girls en mass fled to the other side of the lobby.
Three U.S. Marines sauntered calmly out of a bar just as the screaming exodus began. All three were knocked flat on their chevrons. IT was like a banzai attack on Iwo Jima.
I figured that was the end of my minor fame. It wasn't. I stopped by a set party at 20th Century Fox for "The Sound of Music" company. I was a little late but apologized because of the Beatles.
British singer Julie Andrews and British actor Christopher Plummer, the stars asked me what I thought of their countrymen.
"Sensational!" I answered. Then the child stars of the movie surrounded me. The same ritual. The quick touch, the quick drawback and the electric shriek. One young actor's mother even touched me.
I went home. One of the neighborhood girls had seen me on a television newsreel. She came to the house with a half dozen of her girl friends. The same touch, the same shriek. The same questions.
Then Paul Harvey, the ABC radio newscaster, quoted a line I had used about the Beatles --that they are the only performers in the history of show business who makes a million dollars a year for letting the audience entertain them.
That brought phone calls -- hundreds of them--all from girls whose voices put them in the 8 to 14 group.
"Does Ringo really look that sad?" "Is Paul McCartney really that cute?" "Is John Lennon really married?" "Is George Harrison funny?" In a rock n roll beat, I shrieked the same answer to all questions, "Yeah! yeah! yeah!"