Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Ringo's L.A. Press Party

 The Story goes along with the one from a few days ago that I shared about the fans that got to be extras on the Ringo TV Special.   This time some of the same fans were invited to a special party in LA where they were able to watch a preview of the special and meet Ringo. 

The author of this story, Pattie, with her friend, Sil.

Ringo’s L.A. Press Party

By Pattie O’Neil

With a Little Help From My Friends

April 1978


It all happened on Monday, April 17 (1978), the official release date of his album.  Sponsored by his newly acquired Portrait people, and held in one of the exclusive rooms at the Beverly Hills Hotel, it turned out to be just the unique opportunity.

“Ringo Bad Boy Starr requests your presence…”  That’s an invitation a lot of people would like to receive.  I can still only imagine it all over again, what just such an evening would be like…” for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, time 6:30, R.S.V.P….”

The host arrived on time and spent the early evening hours with his company, spending time talking and greeting everyone, and to be sure, he was definitely “the host superb.”  I had been a subject of anxious anticipation, wondering if the outcome would be one of a quick appearance, an enormous crowd, or if perhaps there would even be an opportunity to talk to him.  I was far beyond relief.  To say the least.  We never had the thought that our Starr would give his guests such a personal, gracious treatment.

My friend, Karen was my accomplice, and I owe her my thanks in the biggest way.  She was able to receive an invitation through her position at Tower Records, and her dealings with the promotional people connected with her job as a buyer for the store’s huge tape department.  I simply came along as her guest.  As a result, along with getting a preview of his TV special and seeing him honored by the general manager of Portrait with a gift and his praise, Karen and I had the special chance to watch and participate in the friendly personality and warm wit of one very charming and handsome host.

At the door, we were greeted by a friendly hostess and a stern bored looking security guard, standing at one side of the entrance to make sure all arrivals were welcomed.  We were checked off a list and given a badge saying “OGNIR RRATS.”  Once past the reception table, the atmosphere changed and the anticipation was satisfied.  The room seemed somewhat full, but never the quantity of people I would have expected, and Ringo was just there casually talking to a group standing around him.  The feelings was friendly.  Unfortunately, my only regret was realizing through the party that a few friends were left behind and stood in the hotel lobby without invitations.  Kris, my closest friend was among them.  I regret that she wasn’t able to share the incredible encounter with me.

Only a few steps brought us closer to Ringo, who stood shifting his attentions and conversation from one to another of the people loosely gathered around him.  Easy to observe, those executive and media guests were just as delighted to meet Ringo as ever.  He was flanked by one photographer who shuffled busily around taking flash after flash, recording all of the introductions and meetings of the guests.  Face after handshake, Ringo turned to pose for the camera with every guest he greeted.  He wore a black velvet jacket and white high-collared dress shirt, but somehow, he always gets away with looking great by underplaying the bottom half with jeans.  Another accessory, his dark glasses.  I heard him explain to guest that the dark glasses were a necessary combat against the constant persistence of his photographer’s high powered strobe unit.  After watching him for a short time, I understood the reasonings there; but he continued, seeming not to be bothered – his attention and antics were all focused on his company.

Before long, Karen started looking around for the man who was responsible for getting her invited, and we soon found him at the far side of the room.  He asked us if we had our pictures taken with Ringo yet.  Upon reply he took it upon himself to lead us over to him for introductions.  When it came to the moment, the poor man drew a blank and forgot Karen’s name, ironically, a name he knew well!  I would expect that he was a bit embarrassed, but I couldn’t help realizing the effect Ringo can have on people, and the result of it causing his loss of words.  Karen spoke to Ringo and he reacted warmly, and when he turned to me, Karen had reminded our introductory of my name as well.  Ringo extended to me his warm handshake and a sincere smile.  It was a reaction, I’m sure, to my own beaming and a wink that was spontaneous.  I wasn’t aware of the photographer at first but apparently, several photos were taken; when I heard someone say, “Just with the girls” and the camera kept on until Ringo teasingly said, “With these two ... FLASH. he’s going mad …FLASH … we’ll go on all night…FLASH.”   It was a delight.  I couldn’t help thinking he recognized me from the taping of the special or other times, and he did have a recollection.  Karen told him later on the evening that we were his rooting section during the concert taping from the special and he immediately reacted by telling us where we sat… “on my right side…so how come they let you in here?”  I must say, he takes us very well.

The party was still very young after our introductions with Ringo and so we soon felt like taking our potions at a nearby table, by way of the bar.  We couldn’t have been in a better place, joining one young man at an otherwise empty table.  Ringo continued favoring his subjects only a few yards away as he was very gradually edging his way in the direction of our table.  Karen jokingly suggested that since there was the space, we might as well invite him to sit with us.  For what seemed like forever, we watched his antics, and his expressions he exchanged.  He teased shy laughs out of a younger guest, repeatedly accepted people’s comments on his appearance on Mike Douglas aired that same afternoon, and jived dancing in place now and then to the music coming from the back room system, playing other Portrait artists’ records.  You would have really been fooled if he wasn’t enjoying himself.  Eventually, or finally, he was standing at our table.  Just then I saw about familiar face – Sil Perrone was also in front of me!  After I’m sure, a deceptive entrance into the party, she mingled int the right direction.  “Where is he?”  One more step and she would have stood on his foot!


As it all progressed, Ringo found himself at another side of the room and his table where Keith Allison and, of course, Hilary were among his own personal entourage.  He stood nearby while the scattered greetings continued.  Eventually, everyone’s attention was asked from the small stage and Portrait’s General Manager was announced.  (I had noticed a fabulous neo sign sitting to one side of the stage saying simply RINGO, the I dotted with a star).  “This is a first time for Portrait; Ringo, would you come back up here.”  As he continued to say, “on behalf of our gratitude, etc... And we would like to present…etc.”  Ringo muttered, “Not another pillow.”  And from behind stage, Ringo as handed peculiar-looking…that’s right. Pillow.  Made of black satin, half-circle shaped, it had red embroidery on either side, one saying “Portrait,” the other “Ringo.”  IT was somewhat explained that its function was to fit the inside of his bass drum as a muffler, but Ringo seemed a bit puzzled about it.  It created a bit of comedy as he said, “What can I say?”  pause “I mean…what CAN I say?”  He shifted it around in his hands, tried putting his head on it, and said…” You shouldn’t have gone to such an expense.”  The room filled with laughter.  Next, we were prepared for the treat of seeing the preview of the special.  Ringo had explained that the concert scene was a “dry mix.”  He returned to his table and the lights went down.

I couldn’t start to say how fantastically delighted we were with the film.  We saw some of the bits that Kris and I had seen filmed at A&M Studios and the final concert scene.  I was charmed.  We were delighted.  What can I say?  Ringo sat at one side of the room, and we, the other.  To Karen’s advantage, she was able to watch his continuous glances our way to see our reactions.  We clapped and smiled at the film and felt without a doubt that he enjoyed being enjoyed.

Many people started to leave after the film, but Ringo stayed.  After a few more drinks and a lot more of Ringo, eventually the evening was gracefully closing.  His new album was passed out as the guests exited and I overheard someone commenting that the guests shouldn’t have them inside – “He’s not supposed to sign them.”  Irregardless of promise or formalities, Ringo signed anyway.  As I watched and waited, I was wondering if he might finally be getting weary of what seemed to be the constant exchange of faces and contact of hands; but he carried on sharing his charming ways, the camera still busy.  Sil was able to get a roll of shots too, and he didn’t seem to mind a bit.  I had been standing observing him all this time; then there was a break and he turned directly towards me.  It was quite spontaneous yet very definite.  His reaction was warm and sincere.  I said, “If the film is the best bit of an indication…your special is nothing short of fantastic.  It’s positively delightful.  You definitely have a winner.  There’s no possible doubt.”  To wish him good luck wouldn’t have been correct.  There is just no luck needed to carry it.  He IS the greatest.  HE made me feel he understood my enthusiasm and appreciation completely and returned his appreciation warmly.  What a moment.  How often is there an opportunity to really tell Ringo just how much you enjoy his just being himself?


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