Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bad comparison?

In both of these newspaper article I found about the Beatles in Cleveland in 1966, the fans rushing the stage are compared to racial riots that occurred a few weeks earlier in Cleveland  in the Hough neighborhood.   Now I know that I am looking through this with the glasses of 2016 and not 1966 and times were different, but it just seems like a terrible comparison.    People died and were seriously injured in the Hough riots.    No one was seriously hurt in the Beatles "riot."      And the guy that said that both groups rioted because they had nothing better to do just made me cringe!   Yikes!      I don't think today or back then anyone did something that others would call a "riot" out of boredom.    Anyhow---I am posting these stories as they were printing in newspapers in August of 1966.

Beatle Fans go Wild again:  Worse than riot police say
Associated Press (Cleveland)

Between 2000 and 3000 screaming teenage Beatle fans rushed onto the field to Cleveland Stadium Sunday night in an attempt to mob the famed quartet, halting the show for about a half hour.

The young fans leaped a small fence and raced past police to the stage during the concert.  The Beatles finished their song and raced to a small trailer behind the stage set up on second base of the baseball diamond.

A local disc-jockey helping to coordinate the show ran to the stage and yelled over the microphone, “We’ll stop the concert unless you move back.  Hold it.  Move back.”

About 100 of the 150 policemen on duty were on the field during the fifteen minutes of rebellion.
Stadium officials said the infield of the Indians baseball diamond was extensively damaged by the rampage.   “I thought I was going to get trampled,” said one of the officers.

One policeman, who said he was the first to the stage when the fans surged forward, said the wild fifteen minutes was like the recent rioting in Cleveland’s East Side Negro Hough area.  “I got it worse in this than I did in Hough,” another officer said, as he rubbed his arm.  “But this was worse than Hough because there you could fight back.” 

“Oh, they’re the greatest,” the fans screamed.
“They’re great musicians, especially John,” one fan said.
“I love them all, especially John—he’s the brainy Beatle, you know, “ said another.

The only quiet part of the concert was when Paul McCartney sang “Yesterday.”

Earlier in the day, Lennon said he was sorry for the way people took his statement about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus.  He said the statement was taken out of context   “In England, they take what we say with a a pinch of salt,” Lennon said, “They say, ‘well, he thinks that way and I don’t.’  If you are asked about things, you can say, ‘no comment.’”

Riot made Reporter wish he hadn’t said a thing
By Jack Hartman
Norwalk Reflector
August 15, 1966

I wish I never said it!  I wish I had never told the policeman behind the snow fence that reporters and photographers would like to have a little mob action for news purposes.

When I saw the little blonde climb over the wall  back to her seat, her hair disheveled and face red with tears—I wish I had never seen it.  Let alone said it.   She had been trampled and she was hurt.  I wondered if she had just touched the shoe top of one of the Beatles if she would still feel pain.
Fortunately, Sandy Bunn and Kathie Sanders, the Reflector Beatles contest winners stayed put, but I wondered how they felt.

The concert left me with one basic question—what makes the Beatles so popular? What makes so many people go wild?  A group that barely says a word between songs.   If even repeated itself saying, “We’ll carry on now with…” between several of their songs.

What makes a group of four teenage singers from Indiana  called The Ravens come all the way here to see them perform?  What makes one of the four say, “I would give anything just to shake hands and meet Ringo?”

What leaves teenage girls with “I love George” buttons fastened proudly to their blouse sitting and crying after the concert’s over?

What makes teenagers risk their next by running in front of the limo carrying the Fab Four out of the concert?

The mob action reminded me of the recent Hough riots and both occurred, I believe for similar reasons.  The Negro population erupted because it had nothing to do while the kids swarmed the Beatles because they had nothing better to do.

Sandy, always fighting to keep her composure, broke down and cried at her father’s side during the disturbance.

I am sure that for as long as Jerry G., disc-jockey in Cleveland is on the air, Sandy will be listening.  I cornered him on the track in front of the stands during the preliminary acts and asked him to say “hello” to Sandy .  He responded without hesitation.  He climbed into the stands without hesitation and sat down beside her.

They talked while I fired away with a camera.  At least he talked.  Sandy was probably too excited to say a thing.

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