|photo taken by Cindy Rosenthal|
|Ringo and Cindy|
A Personal Meeting with Ringo!
By Cindy Rosenthal
The Write Thing Jan/Feb 1977
It was pure luck that I won a contest to meet Ringo. The contest was originally advertised as “Win a Diner with Ringo!” To enter, I had to go to the local record store, put my name, and address on a slip of paper for a drawing. There was also a replica of the Apple door standing in the store, which anyone could scribble on. It was a clever idea to promote “Rotogravure.” I won’t mention that I haven’t seen it used for any promotion yet.
Then came the drawing. The object was to call the radio station within 5 minutes after the DJ called your name. The first three names didn’t call within 5 minutes, and the 4th name he called was mine. I went into shock as I tried to dial the phone. I got the station and proceeded to scream and cry to the DJ. I had won!
What started out to be a diner with Ring in Hollywood, eventually turned out to be 20 minutes at his home and lunch with two Atlantic Records promoters. Oh well, Ringo didn’t know what was going on so I couldn’t blame him. It was three weeks before I even knew November 23rd (1976) would be the day. No one gave me details. When Mary Ann took me to the airport, I still thought I was having lunch with Ringo. I drank 2 glasses of wine before I got on the plane. It really helped! I had my instamatic camera and an 8 x 10 photo of Paul and Ringo from the LA Wings concert that Art Barry took for Ringo to autograph. I flew to LA with the radio station promoter, his wife and their baby. Gerry (the promoter) informed me I was going to go for a limo ride around Hollywood, then go to Ringo’s house to present the door to him, then to lunch. Good thing I was a bit drunk or I would have jumped out of the plane. I thought he meant Ringo was going to show me Hollywood by limo and go to lunch with me. Wrong again.
The Atlantic Record promoters, Steve and Barry greeted us. We drove around in their limo for a couple hours. They had to show me Beverly Hills, etc. Barry explained that we couldn’t go to Ringo’s until 2:45 because People magazine was there interviewing him. Great! By that time I’d be sober again and scared to death. Finally we drove slowly up to his home. But then I wanted to ask Ringo if I could use his loo. I was pretty calm as we walked into his front yard/patio. I could see the swimming pool, the famous door, and a group of people. Then suddenly all the people parted and I could see Ringo standing there waiting. He was wearing a black oriental shirt, white scarf, blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, red boots and sunglasses. No bald head either, folks. He looked a lot like the cover of “Rotogravure.”
As I walked towards him he yelled, “I’ll take the one in the short skirt.” (A bit embarrassing since I was the only one in a skirt!). I was introduced to him and shook hands. Everyone else was introduced. He looked at the baby and said, “give us a kiss.” Steve told Ringo that he’d been at the Eric Clapton concert the night before and had seen the great ovation Ringo got when he came in. Ringo said, “I always do!” (And after the Wings concert, how could I doubt him?) . Then Steve asked him if he had enjoyed the concert, and Ringo said, “some of it.” Then Steve told him hello from Jim Keltner. Ringo explained to Steve that he’d just been up partying all night with Jim.
Of course I was just standing there staring at Ringo. There were several photographers there who wanted photos of Ringo with the door. So Ringo went and stood by the door. Barry told me to go point to my signature on the door. I said, “No.” I didn’t want to point to my corny message. Marry told e to go stand by the door for photos. Ringo stood to the left of the door and I was to the right. Click, click. What fun! Now I know how the Beatles have felt all their lives. I told Ringo all of the good stuff was on the back of the door. So he and I stood reading the back (forget the photographers). I mentioned all the phone numbers he could call. He pointed to one and said, “I’m wondering about this one. It says for a good time –call Tim.” I told him San Diego has weird people.
Then Ringo came over and stood by me. I was taller than him in my shoes. He put his arm around my waist and sang , “Diamond are forever.” (I can’t’ figure it out either) I couldn’t get myself to put my arm around his small waist. It took me a minute to gain my composure and then put my arm around his waist. I asked him what he was going to do with the door. Answer—“I don’t know. Leave it here I guess.” I said something about how people could knock on it. He immediately started singing, “someone knocking on the door, someone’s ringin’ the bell..” Didn’t’ sound bad at all either. I told him he should do a cover version (no comment). Then everyone else got into the photos. Gerry stood on Ringo’s other side. He asked him what kind f stone was in his ring. Ringo licked the stone so it would shine (I guess) and told him; I don’t remember what his answer was. I then mentioned the Eric Clapton concert and Ringo told me had had been at the Clapton party until 9am that morning. About this time all the other people got into the photos. The baby walked into the photo area, too. People told her to move away. Then someone said to keep her in the photos. Ringo yelled, “Let her in the pictures!” A clever lad pointed out that Ringo’s new single would be “Hey Baby” so the baby would fit in.
About then someone asked Ringo if the door really looked like the original door (Apple’s Savile Row). Ringo stood in front of the door, back to cameras and said, “Actually, it doesn’t look like it at all.” Everyone laughed. Then to me he said, “The joke about this sign (pointing to the sign on the door) was that there wasn’t a ground floor. It was just a hole.”
The photographers wanted to take photos of Ringo with the baby. I grabbed my camera and took photos too. He put his sunglasses on her and tried to tempt her with a sucker. It was very cute. Barry handed me my 8 x 10 to get the autograph. I felt embarrassed to ask Ringo. But when I asked him to sign it for a friend he said, “Of course I will.” The photo was in a cardboard sleeve and when he opened it he saw Paul he jokingly turned away and said, “I’m not signing this!” He turned back and stuck the wad of wrapping paper off the suck down the front of my jumper. I explained that my friend had taken the photo at the concert and wanted an autograph. He asked, “What’s your friend’s name” I said, “Art.” He asked, “Artie?” I said, “No, Art.” He seemed to be wondering where to sign the photo. I told him I thought it was great that he had some out on stage at the Wings concert. (He never answered my comment). I took the photo and put it by my purse. When I came back everyone was standing around. I noticed Nancy on the lounge chair. She’s pretty.
Rich was standing alone so I approached him and asked, “When are you going to tour?” He said, “I don’t know,” in a way that made me believe he doesn’t plan to. He asked me if I h ad come all the way from San Diego. “Yeah.” He asked if I h ad driven up and I told him I had flown. (I don’t think he knew I had won a contest!)
Someone was yelling that we should leave. I shook hands with Ringo again and told him I had been a fan of his for many years and that it was great meeting him. He was so nice and calm. I really wish I could have talked more to him. My sincerity had to show. I asked Barry to take a photo of Ringo and me. A few photos were taken of Ringo with people. Then we all said goodbye and left Ringo to have his interview. I did get my free lunch with Steve and Barry. It seemed ironic that form where I sat and ate my steak and drank my wine, I could see the building where I had frantically tried to see Paul at the Tommy premiere party in 1975. Where does time go? It was a day I’ll never forget. Thanks Ringo!
Here are a few of the more professional photos taken that day