This blog first mentioned the helicopter girls in this post written by Tony Barrow. I have always loved their passion and determination! I can only bet that fans all around the Los Angeles area were saying, "Why didn't I think of that?" when they heard of what these girls did.
Well The Los Angeles Times caught up with three of the foursome and shared their story again 50 years after the fact.
To Connect with the Beatles all the needed was imagination and a helicopter.
By Nita Lelyveld
If only, even for one day, you could blink yourself back in time — to
when you felt freest, when you felt boldest, when the sheer power of
youth made you certain you'd succeed.
More than half a century
ago, as the Beatles took the world by storm, a group of teenage girls
made a pact. They would find a way to meet their idols, face to face,
when the band arrived in L.A. Who cared that theirs was a dream
shared by a million screaming, bawling fans? These girls didn't cry.
They plotted and succeeded, pulling off a caper so audacious that Life
magazine pinpointed it as the moment when "Beatlemania reached its
apogee." Who wouldn't want to try to relive that glory?
so even though one of their crew, Sue Candiotti, said she couldn't make
it, Paula (Glosser) McNair, 67, flew in from Salt Lake City, and
Californians Kay (Zar) Crow, 66, and Michele "Mikki" Tummino, 67, made
their way south, determined to recapture the thrill of their wild quest.
Crow remembers its start, lying in her bedroom in 1964, listening to her little gray Zenith transistor radio, hearing "I wanna hold your hand..." In
seconds, the Hamilton High 15-year-old was dialing a friend on her
turquoise Princess phone, convinced that the world as she knew it was
When news broke that the Beatles would play the
Hollywood Bowl that August, young Kay turned detective. To be ready to
track down the Beatles, she decided, she'd practice finding other bands
heard that another new British group, the Rolling Stones, was coming to
town. Out came the Yellow Pages, starting with "A" for "Ambassador."
"Long distance calling for Brian Jones," she said in a bad British
accent, and struck gold when the Beverly Hilton operator told her that
Jones hadn't checked in yet. When she and a friend arrived to stake out the lobby, they stared down two other girls: Mikki, still in braces, and Paula.
then Paula was asking people to declare their loyalty to the Beatles by
signing their names on pages of notebook paper, which she taped end to
end into an ever-thickening scroll. It's how, she said, she spent
much of her time at Woodrow Wilson High in El Sereno. "I even went to my
algebra teacher, who told me: 'I wish you put as much attention into
your schoolwork.'" That evening, Kay met Brian Jones and offered
to take him sightseeing. The next day, she left school early to do so,
after a friend sent a telegram: "Your uncle Brian Jones is in the
sleuthing and sightseeing with bands followed. When the Beatles
arrived, Kay quickly sussed out that they were staying in Bel-Air.
and a friend were at a Beverly Hills bus stop when Paula pulled up in
her father's 1959 DeSoto with four other girls and asked Kay if she knew
how to find the band. Paula had the car. Kay had the info. "If you
can't beat 'em, join 'em. Get in!" Paula told her.
gated house, the car was allowed to stay parked as long as it was
running. The girls had to give up their stakeout a few times to refuel —
gas for the car, Ben Franks French fries and Cokes for themselves.
next morning, when the band was due to leave for LAX, a limousine
pulled out. But Paula suspected it was a decoy. Soon the gates opened
for a beige Lincoln Continental.
When the Beatles returned to Los Angeles in 1965, the girls still were intent on meeting the moptops face-to-face. They
had read that the Beatles would be staying in Benedict Canyon. They
drove its twisty street for days. But when they finally found the spot,
security guards turned them away.
again Kay turned to the Yellow Pages, for helicopter rentals — and
found pilot Russell O'Quinn, who agreed to take them over the house for
$50 an hour. The girls alerted the media, and on Aug. 25 flashbulbs
popped as, one at a time, they took off from the roof of the Federal
Building — where O'Quinn had permission to land — in the two-seat
The girls had sent the band a telegram, saying they'd take
a wave as a sign that they could visit later that day. After several
passes and still no sightings, the Beatles waved from the pool. On her
turn, Mikki lunged forward as if to leap in, but O'Quinn grabbed her
When the helicopter landed for good, the girls again drove
to the house. Again, they were rebuffed. So Kay called DJ Sam Riddle and
made one final plea on air. She got a call from Capitol Records, inviting the girls to the Beatles upcoming press conference.
On Aug. 29, at the Capitol Records building, they squeezed their way to the front row.
came the band, Harrison right in front of Kay. She told him that they
were the helicopter girls. He asked, "Is your father rich or something?"
John Lennon signed a book for Paula. The girls took it all in
On Friday, those same eyes filled with tears again and
again as they met at Camarillo Airport to pose for photos in front of a
similar helicopter. So much had happened to them — children,
grandchildren, arthritis, cancer.
O'Quinn, now 87, made the trip
from Tehachapi — and got a big hug from an older, wiser Tummino who
thanked the pilot for saving her life. Her family stood nearby, taking
"She's always been a ball of energy," said granddaughter
Grace Silva, 19. "She's the one who's influenced my imagination.… She
taught me that anything's possible if you just put your mind to it."