Friday, August 21, 2015

How an intern got into the Beatles' hotel

Holly (previously Susan) Stocking, now a retired professor of journalism at Indiana University, was a reporting intern at the Minneapolis Tribune in the summer of 1965 when the Beatles came to visit. Their one and only concert in Minnesota was on August 21, 1965 – 50 years ago.
Stocking dressed up as a waitress at the hotel where the band was staying, in hopes of getting access to the band. Here is the story of her encounter – and how John Lennon took pity on a fledgling reporter, enabling her to get a page-one story, transcribed word-for-word below.
Monday, August 23, 1965
By Susan Stocking, Minneapolis Tribune Staff Writer
I didn’t faint, I didn’t scream. I didn’t even squeal.
I ate potato chips.
In a room with Beatles Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon – and all I did was munch potato chips!
And nervously slop coffee in their saucers.
“Half up,” said Lennon, sprawling on the blue spread of a bed in Room 528 of the Leamington Motor Inn. “I drink it white.”

It must have been 9 p.m. Saturday while the Beatles were still bugging the crowd at Metropolitan Stadium when I slipped into a waitress uniform and began the long wait in the tiny kitchen of the motor in.
After 10 p.m., the order from the fifth floor Beatles headquarters finally came in: one medium rare steak sandwich, two trays of assorted sandwiches, seven glasses of ice water, seven coffee cups, a pot of hot water and one of coffee, a bowl of teabags, three small pitchers of milk, a dish of sweet pickles, and chips.
Tray in hand, I tottered behind a waiter with his card and ascended by freight elevator to the security-tight hideaway.
And there they were, living, breathing, moppy: Lennon sitting cross-legged on the bed near the window and wearing a blaring yellow sweatshirt, Harrison in a black knit T-shirt wandering aimlessly up and down in front of the light mahogany bureau – a pocket radio hugging his ear, and Starr in his red and white polo shirt ushering in the food.
But where was Paul McCartney? “He’s ringing home,” said Lennon, and he lit out for the coffee pot.
“May I pour?” I blurted, biting hard on a potato chip that I’d picked up without thinking.
For an hour and a half I sat and poured and munched and listened to the visitors from Liverpool banter across the small, blue-walled cubicle.
On 4th Av. S., five stories below, “We want the Beatles!” chants drifted throught he draped windows. No one seemed to notice.
“A reporter in a waitress uniform, eh?” Harrison smirked. “How original.”
A Beatle with a sense of humor, eh? How refreshing.
“Hey, whose food is this anyway?” asked Starr, chomping into the $3.75 tenderloin steak sandwich on the cart. “We didn’t order any food, did we George?” He plopped onto the double bed next to the door, shrugged as if to say “who cares?” and licked his fingers.
(Must have been ordered by one of the 30 members of the Beatles’ official party on the floor, I thought.)
On the television set, sound off, a horse was dragging a cowboy through the dust.
“Aw c’mon,” grumbled Lennon, “they did the same thing last show back!”
Harrison, his radio roaring a Cannibal and His Headhunters tune, growled something about “those bloody DJs.”
“Thot’s a lie, whot they tell the kids about us playing longer if they’re quiet,” he said. “We play the same 35- to 50- minute show no matter whot.”
“Yea,” added Lennon. “And when the audience screams so loud they can’t hear us, we just wave more.”
I asked Starr if his shirt was the same he’d worn at the concert.
“Whot d’ya mean?” he replied. “Same shirt I’ve worn all week!”
Then I asked where they’d be headed next morning.
“On to Portland or some-whar,” one of them said. “I don’t know.”
“Fact is, we never know whar we’re at,” Lennon added, pouring a bag of sugar into his coffee. “Take on the way over here in that truck, for instance … I forgot where I was, but I didn’t dare ask anybody for fear of hurtin’ their feelin’s!”
(The Beatles made their escape from Metropolitan Stadium in a laundry panel truck, sneaking into the motor inn by way of the basement.)
“But don’t you ever go out on the town to see the places you’re touring?” I wondered.
“Who’d want to see a bunch of statues?” Starr mumbled.
“But Minneapolis has a bunch of lakes,” I countered.
“See one lake, you’ve seen ‘em all.”
Starr and Harrison sauntered out of the room without saying goodby.
“They’re ringin’ home – like Paul,” Lennon explained. “I’d ring home, too, but my wife’s in Libya visiting her brother … You can’t ring Libya.”
He sipped a glass of honey (”The manager says my throat’s raspy”), struck a match to his Marlboro cigarette and watched a TV detective get stabbed in the stomach.
He told me how the Beatles “beat each other down” if one gets cocky; how even when they’re not “in the mood,” they quip in public to avoid being labeled “swell-headed,” and how their managers normally set up five or six “escape gimmicks” to avoid the mobs when they’re on tour.
He told me other things, too: about the “greenness” of England, the greatness of rock ‘n’ roll, and the goodness of knowing what you’re talking about before you criticize. (He was referring to the Beatles’ critics.)
“You know,” he mused, “those kids out there on the street … they always find out where we are … They’re clever, some of ‘em.”
A “We love you Beatles” song struck up off-key and someone shouted, “We know you’re up there Beatles … yea, yea, yea.”
I asked if the noise would keep him up that night.
“I can sleep through anythin’,” he said. “Thing I’ll beat it to bed after this cigarette.”
I got up to leave. He walked me to the door.
“Cheerio, now,” he grinned. “And let me shake your hand like an Englishmun.” He gave my much-calmed hand a solid shake.
It was going on midnight. Outside, a police speaker boomed, “OK, now let’s go, everybody home.”
At 10:55 a.m. Sunday the Beatles would whisk out the front door – past another crying, yelling mob of fans – and head for the airport in a big black limousine.
Their destination: “Portland or somwhar.”

This article/photo was found here. 

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