Tuesday, September 26, 2017
From the Mother of a Beatlemaniac
This story was taken from the Mount Vernon Register newspaper September 15, 1964 and was written by the mother of a Beatlemaniac, Enid Turner, that used to live in Southern Illinois but had moved to Los Angeles.
August 1964 was a month to remember! First the reserved seat tickets for the first day's performance for the first Beatles movie, "It's been a Hard Day's Night" went on sale. Gail was one of the first in line. The last I heard, she has seen it six times, which she says equals "the Parent Trap."
I still felt no alarm. A summer evening at the Bowl would put an end to this whole thing. Gail was saying, "Oh Mom, aren't they so cute when they say 'Clap your hands and stomp your feet?'" Around this time my car radio ceased to function, so Beatle music was all I ever heard from the home front. To my own horror, I caught myself humming "I Want to Hold your Hand" and some of the other songs!
Then one day I got a panicked phone call at work going something like this, (breathless) "Mother! Dave Hull just announced they are putting 3000 tickets on sale at the Sahara Hotel's office up in Wilshire Blvd. for the Beatles' Las Vegas concert!" To plan for this seemed utterly ridiculous so I told Gail to calm herself and we would discuss it that evening at home. I learned a vague "maybe" sometimes can pacify them for a few hours. That evening it was disclosed that a friend's mother had won a two-night stay for four at at the Rivera Hotel in Vegas as a prize and hadn't yet collected it. She was willing to donate her prize and would accompany the girls if another mother was willing to go along! How much of a heel could I be??? The only problem was the purchase of the tickets and the trip to and from. I was still in the clear because I refused to take them for tickets before 6:00a.m. and we learned via radio of the girls in sleeping bags on Wilshire Blvd. I felt they would never have been able to purchase a ticket and I would save face.
To my dispare, I was wrong and quickly learned at least 400 to 500 other Los Angeles mothers have more sense than Gail's mother. There was a long line extending around the corner, but they had tickets to spare.
I don't know why I saw this through except that I hadn't planned a vacation for the children, and I had only to think back to my own crush on Benny Goodman when some friends of the family took me to St. Louis to see one of Goodman's first concerts at the Keil Auditorium. I was eternally grateful to him.
I learned from watching Pat Boone on the Tonight Show that he was going to appear at the Sahara Hotel at the same time the Beatles were to invade Vegas. Also that he planned a party for them while they were there. I made the mistake of mentioning this to Gail. Immediately she wanted to write to him and beg for an invitation to the party. Feeling like he would never see the letter, I gave my O.K. and it was on its way.
I won't go into all the details of the planned trip and its eventually, but one evening the other girl lost her ticket at the beach and was until midnight tracking it down. Gail shed enough tears to last the rest of her teens plus her first five years of marriage at the thought of not being able to go! They went, saw, and probably would have conquered if the State Police hadn't brought out police dogs to corral the star-struck girls. One girl had been carried out of the Convention Hall in a state of hysterical shock. The real payoff was when our group walked away with a pink jellybean which they feel ONE OF THE BEATLES STEPPED ON!!! Toward the end of the performance, girls threw jellybeans onto the stage and this one is a fraction short of being a full jellybean. Since it was retrieved from where George was standing, they feel sure that George planted his heel on it. I expect it to go into a glass case, displayed with other mementos.
By the time the evening for their appearance at the Bowl arrived, it was like a second piece of apple pie, but their excitement wasn't diminished for long. I prayed that Gail wouldn't try to swim the width of the pool which separated the stage from the audience. She didn't, but other girls jumped in at the close of the performance. Gail and Mimi's seats were close enough and enough to the side for them to see the Beatles make their getaway, so once again I thought this was the "last of the Beatles."
Monday brought a reply by Pat Boone -- written by hand -- on the bottom of the letter Gail had mailed to him. How kind and thoughtful. In it is explained that he had to ban the idea of a party altogether because of the mobs. However, he was able to share that he visited with the Beatles for about 20 minutes backstage and he ended with, "The Beatles asked me to give you their regards." To Gail this meant that John, Paul , George and Ringo chorused in a body -- "Please tell Gail Turner we said hello." I didn't destroy her trust.
This Monday was a red-letter day at our house for another reason. The Orthodontist that day had removed the braces from her teeth. These were replaced by a plastic retainer which is attached by a rubber band to hold the teeth in place. After the braces, this seemed like nothing at all.
Now there was only one day left before the Beatles took off like big birds, and then we mothers felt like we could settle down into normalcy. Had seven of us only known, we would have stayed in bed all day. The day started peacefully enough. About the tenth phone call revealed that another mother would drive the girls to International Airport to bid the Beatles farewell. Gail joined six of her friends and they took off. It's only a 10 minute drive from our house and aside from the thought that she could get crushed by a mob, I wasn't overly concerned.
The next thing was an emergency phone call at my office with the voice on the other line yelling, "OH MOM, OH MOM I TALKED TO THEM!" No need to ask who. I was practically covering my typewriter at the time so I tried to get a message in to the effect that she should try to calm herself until I got home. I began to wonder if I would find her all in one piece - I half expected her to fall apart.
I walked in the house and the barrage started. Amidst the laughter and tears it went something like this: "Mom, we were let off at Pan-Am where there were a lot of girls milling around. We couldn't get much news from anyone when all of a sudden some girl who had been talking on the phone, dropped the phone, and yelled "follow me!" We all took off after her through the parking lot across the airport to Western Airlines (The next day I drove through International Airport to check the distance, which appears to be a mile. She wouldnt' walk that far for a loaf of bread if she was hungry.) "When we got there, we all ran up the stairs, up the escalator and down the escalator There were no Beatles in sight. "
"Then Mom a group of us were upstairs on some sort of a landing about five feet high and five girls jumped off and ran towards the plane. All of a sudden a bunch of policemen appeared from nowhere and got them off the airfield!" (I was worried about her swimming the Hollywood Bowl pool -- I hadn't considered her tearing across a landing strip!) "After that we were just standing at the railing, wondering what to do next. We went down a corridor and spotted the Men's Room. We had to hold one of the girls because as he said, 'If they are up here, they got to go in here sometime!'"
"We wandered around for awhile when all of a sudden there was Dave Hull. Mom he promised us that if we acted like ladies he would lead us to THE BEATLES! Oh Mom!"
"He must have taken us through a back door because on one side there was a group of policemen. But they didn't bother us. There THEY were just sitting there! And Paul had his feet up on the table! Mimi stumbled over Ringo's foot and and he said, "Pardon me" and Mom, Mimi almost went stark-raving mad! There was an empty envelope on the table and so I borrowed a pen from a lady interviewer and tore that envelope in half and I got all their autographs! When George handed me the envelope back, his hand brushed against mine and all I could say was, "Wait until I tell my friends that I was the lucky girl that touched George Harrison!" And John said, "George is the lucky one that touched you." Oh Mom! And then they were gone! They pulled the same trick like they did in the movie. They went in one plane and then boarded the one alongside of it. The first plane took off and the girls thought they were in it. We waved and waved to the real plane. Then Dave Hull said that we had better go and the police agreed with him. Oh Mom!"
After things subsided a bit I said, "Now Gail aren't you glad you got your braces off when you met the Beatles? " And she said, "Guess what happened? I was so excited that I snapped the rubber band back with my tongue and it disappeared. I almost swallowed my retainer!"
After all this I needed to rest. I was thankful that her crush was on the Beatles and not on the boy next door!