Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hard Day's Fright (part 2)

The Beatles had 60 pieces of luggage/instruments/gear to load into the cars without any assistance or security.   The were lucky that their drive hadn't abandoned them at this point.

The Beatles things that had to get on the plane in Manila 

John Lennon recalled that on the ride from the hotel to the airport, there were still fans screaming and joyful along with groups of people booing them.   Some of them were holding these signs:

When they finally made it to the airport they found out that the airport's general manager had announced that the Beatles would get no help or security.  He told one reporter, "They will get what they deserve."     The escalators had been turned off so everyone in the Beatles entourage had to work at lugging the luggage and gear up the escalators (which magically started to work again once the Beatles were finished with this hard task).   They had to go through all of the check points that all passengers go through.  All the while (as you see in these photos) there were fans wanting autographs and to talk to the guys.  It had to have been a lot of mixed emotions---one group adores you and the other is trying to hurt you.   They all were corralled into a lounge to wait to board the plane.

In there were men wearing the same clothes and held guns that were spitting and pushing the Beatles.  Paul stated that they were "pushed from one corner of the lounge to another."   Ringo and John decided to hide behind some nuns and George behind a monk, figuring that they would not harm these religious leaders.

Brian Epstein, Tony Barrow, Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans, Peter Brown, Alf Bicknell and Vic Lewis all banded together to make sure that the Beatles themselves were not harmed and took the most of the abuse.  Someone kicked Brian and he fell and sprained his ankle and was punched in the face.   Mal Evens was kicked many times in the ribs and was punched to the point where he was bleeding.   Ringo was almost punched at one point, but ducked and one of the Beatles crew took the punch instead.     Neil explained later that it could have been much worse if any of the Beatles crew decided to fight back, but because none of them chose to punch or kick those that were hurting them, the injuries were less than what they could have been.

Here we see Alf Bicknell has gone down--are those men help or hurting him?

Neil Aspinall seems to be avoiding a punch and we see the back of Mal Evans while John looks on in shock

Mal checks on the luggage 

Finally the Beatles are told that they could board the plane.  They moved quickly on the tarmac, praying that no one with a gun takes a shot at them.  

Once they get on the plane, the Beatles began to kiss the seats.  They finally felt safe.  However, the nightmare wasn't over quite yet.   Through a loudspeaker they heard, "Mr. Tony Barrow and Mr. Malcolm Evans must return to the departure building."    Tony and Mal had to go back into that mess and Mal though it would be the end of him as get told the Beatles, "Tell Lil I love her."    However, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.   It turns out that in all of the insanity, those two men didn't get their passports stamped through customs.

While they were waiting for Mal and Tony to return (and hoping that they would return), Brian was being cared for.   His ankle was sprained and he was bloody from a punch.   Vic Lewis decided at that moment to ask Brian if he had gotten the money from the promoters for the concerts.    Brian couldn't believe it and started yelling at Vic.   The two had a physical altercation that ended with Vic yelling at Brian "I'll fucking kill you" while chocking his neck.   Someone had to pry him off of Brian and the two didn't speak to each other for a year.

At 4:45pm Tony and Mal were back on board and the plane took off to a round of applause.   The Beatles and their entourage had never been so happy to leave a country and the Beatles began to have some serious conversations about ending touring forever.

Source for these articles:

"Beat the Beatles" By Oliver X.A. Reyes for the July 2015 issue of Esquire Philippines (with much thanks to Joanne)



I also want to point out that over the years the stories of those in Manila have changed.   Imelda Marcos said long after the fact that she was always a Beatles fan and was never upset that they did not make the luncheon because there was miscommunication.    Ramon Ramos said in 2003 that the Beatles had to leave the yacht because it was overtaken by fans and that he believed that the Beatles did not appear at the palace because they were under the impression that they were going to have to perform there for free.  

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