Sunday, May 14, 2023

Mac'd Out in Hollywood


Mac’d Out in Hollywood

By Kris Spackman

With a Little Help From My Friends

October 1984


The ol’ boy’s done it to us again, gang!  What a mad, wonderful two days were October 22nd and 23rd (1984) in LA Beatle history!  As he did in New York and Chicago, Paul breezed into town to promote “Broad Street,” and gave us the chance to see him again.  I hadn’t seen him since the ’76 tour, so I was both thrilled to pieces and absolutely determined we were gonna track him down!

Good old Simmons phoned to let us know he’d left Chicago Friday morning and was LA-bound.  We cruised around town a bit on the weekend, but the weather was so lovely, we guessed that they could be at the beach, Disneyland, the zoo visiting the Chinese pandas?  Anyway, wherever they were was definitely where we weren’t.

But Monday evening was another story.  Thanks to a good friend, we found out that the official press party was being held at one of those fancy Beverly Hills restaurants, the Bistro.  I zoomed over there immediately after work and was joined shortly by my two good pals, Leslie and Sue.  As the legions of Hollywood press descended on us, along with the video camera, crews from Entertainment Tonight, half a dozen local TV stations, and even a film crew hired by Mac himself to film his arrival for his archives.   Tension began to mount as the 6 pm arrival time drew near.  The Beverly Hills police assisted Fox publicity people in lining everyone up in a half-orderly fashion on either side of the doorway, and Sue and I found ourselves sandwiched behind a video cameraman and his boom-mike man on one side while Leslie peeked between two photographers on the other side.

We waited…and waited…and waited…while Jane Seymour, Michelle Phillips, Richard Perry, Michael McDonald, Victoria Principal, D.J. Rick Dees, and Weird Al Yankovic all arrived.

I guess they must’ve been waiting for the eggs to boil again because it was 7:15 before they finally turned up.  And there he was!  What a sight for sore eyes!  In the shock of drinking in that face again after all these years, all I could do was just look at him.  They paused momentarily to pose for the press, and Linda made a funny face at “our” video cameraman as she went through the door.  I remember thinking he seemed smaller to me and that he was wearing an iridescent green suit!  I couldn’t swear to it at the moment, though.  But oh, how gorgeous he still is!

In a minor state of shock, and that glow you feel after seeing one of them, I had to rush off then to the next part of the day’s adventure, leaving Sue and Leslie to await his departure for the LA premiere of the film.  Of course, he was late leaving the restaurant, but the girls reported that there were less people around, so they got another brief but good look at him.

Meanwhile, I connected with my good friend, Kim, at the UA Egyptian Theater in Westwood.  Kimmie miraculously had managed to secure a ticket for herself and guest to the premiere itself!  Westwood was absolutely one gigantic scene!  On both sides of the street, barriers had been erected to hold back hordes of cheering, yelling crowds who’d come to wish him well.  Spotlights crisscrossed the night sky while the Broad Street soundtrack blasted over speakers set up outside the theater.  For a panicked moment, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find Kim in the mass of humanity, but there she was, right at the arranged point of meet.

On pins and needles, we went through the barriers and were admitted to the theater.  It was only about 7:45, and we were among the first to arrive.  A friend of Kim’s who was an usher pointed out to us the row of seats reserved for the Macs among the four set aside for “celebs,” so we promptly sat down in the next row behind.  And what a choice of seats!


We could tell when Paul and Linda arrived by the spontaneous roar of the crowd outside.  And in they came, flashbulbs and TV lights going off around them.  Paul was signing a hasty autograph for someone at the door, and then, as Trevor escorted them down the aisle, the whole audience broke into applause.  It was fantastic!  He looked so happy, smiling, and proud.  He and Linda edged down the row of seats, past friends seated in the first 5 or 6 seats, and then there he was, seated directly in front of me and only two rows ahead.  I couldn’t believe it!

Before he sat down, though, he turned around he gave a thumbs up, and thanked everyone for coming to another burst of applause.  The security people made sure he was surrounded by people he knew.  Bob Giraldi was in the row directly in front of us, Paul in front of him, so we had a wonderful view of him the whole time.

As he and Linda settled in their seats, Michelle Phillips asked him if he wanted the rest of her popcorn, and he accepted, ate some, and handed it to Linda.  Then he turned around and said to the guy next to Giraldi, “And who are you?” so Bob introduced him to whoever it was.  He also chatted to the guys seated to his left, who looked like musicians but no one we knew (Toto maybe?).  When the lights went down, Kim said she thought he was biting his nails.  He made comments to the guys on his left and to Linda.  They leaned heads towards each other during “Here There and Everywhere” which was real sweet.  When her first appearance came during “Ballroom Dancing,” Linda kind of laughed and leaned toward him to say something, almost as if she were a bit embarrassed…and she did the same almost every time there was a closeup of her.  For the most part, Paul seemed to be listening to the audience’s reaction, and he got lots of applause for all of the wonderful songs.  I wished I could see his face, but I was glad to be behind him, so I didn’t have to turn around to look.  Occasionally, his head would bop to the music.  At one point, I was reaching under my seat for my Coke and knocked it over!  In a moment of horror, I imagined it running down under the seats and getting his feet wet, but thank God, the lid stayed on tight, and I was saved!

As the film ended, he and Linda got up immediately to leave, and he danced down the row to the aisle.  They were quickly escorted outside where we heard the waiting crowd roar a farewell.

Kim was absolutely blissed because it was the first time she had ever seen him, and I wasn’t much better, since I hadn’t seen him in so long.  And to be close for two whole hours!

After the movie, Kim and I raced back to her place to pick up her sleeping bag, and we were off to Burbank and NBC, where we joined Sue for an all-night campout for the “Tonight Show” tickets.  God bless Sue!  She’d gone directly to NBC after Paul left the party at the Bistro, arriving about 9 p.m. to find she was 7th in line.  Kim and I got there about 11:30, and we all spent a long, cold night huddled together in sleeping bags and blankets, trying to catch a couple of hours sleep.  People continued to arrive all night long, and by 7 a.m. the next day, at least 300 people were in a long line, stretching away from the building and around the corner.  The box office opened promptly at 8:30; clutching the precious bits of paper in hand, we raced around to the front of the building to the Carson studio entrance.  And so began a long day of waiting.  We didn’t date leave for fear no not getting in, though Kim had to go to work for a while, so we held her place and ticket.   

The taping itself was not scheduled to start until 5:30 p.m., so we spent the day gabbing with each other and others around us and eating out of the cooler Sue had brought. 

As the day wore on, the old “natives are restless” syndrome began to set in; as more and more people arrived, the line grew behind us and in front of us.  Some people in front of us seemed to be collecting new friends by the minute, and we finally had to protest to the NBC pages, who confronted the culprits and sent them to the back of the line.  As it was, by the time they began to allow people into the studio at 4:30, there were at least 350 people in line and a group of about 40 stand-bys, all of whom, amazingly, made it inside!  We found out later that Paul insisted that tickets be distributed to the fans who had waited all those hours and not to family/friends of NBC and Carson show staff.  Yey Macca!

We were among the 2nd bunch to be let in, and we decided to split up for single closer seats.  Sue and I were about 8 rows up, and Kim and her friend, Mary Ann, were up a bit higher.  The problem with the Carson Show is making sure the huge cameras and boom mikes don’t block your view.  I had a great view of Paul while he was in the main chair but not when he moved to the couch, and for Sue, it was just the opposite.

Anyway, by the time the taping was to start, the crowd was practically hysterical with excitement, almost to the point where I was afraid, they’d start throwing people out.  I can apricate all the enthusiasm we can muster for the man…but when it gets to the point of spoiling things for him and for the people who want to hear him, it just isn’t fun anymore.  If all those fans who screamed and yelled every time his name was mentioned had just shut up, he would’ve been on stage and on your TV screens five minutes sooner.  So please, folks…remember that in the future.


As you know, he looked just great.  He seemed just a bit nervous and a trifle low-key at first, but there was our Mac underneath it all!  During the commercial breaks, fans kept yelling down at him.  Some were ok, and then there were the idiots who made fools of themselves (like the girl who yelled, ‘You’ve got a great bum!’ which embarrassed him at that point; he just ignored them and conversed with Carson).  He responded to an “I love you, Paul” with a cute “I love you too!”  and to “How’s Linda?” and “How’s Ringo?” with “Just fine!”  Then one girl said, “Thank you so much for all the music,” and at that, he really smiled, half stood with thumbs up, and replied, “Thank you!” and everyone applauded and cheered.  Some dumb guy yelled at him, “Hey Paul, sing ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’” and in his best NY-American accent, Mac mocked him back, “Yeah…yeah, sure man…yeah!”  He mostly chatted with Carson in-between, though.

One funny moment was when they went to play the tape of the Broad Street clip, and for the first half a dozen tries, the tape would not play properly.  Carson’s comment was, “Where’d you get this thing? Fotomat?”  And Paul protested, “I didn’t touch it!”  He said he’d never looked at it, so he didn’t know if it worked on not.  The producer then stopped action until they finally got the tape going and said they’d re-start from there.  So all the “bad starts” wound up on the cutting room floor.

While Mary Gross and the magician were on, he talked to her or Ed McMahon during commercials.  He seemed rather bored with the magician and kind of looked around, swinging his foot in time to the music. 

At the show’s end, he shook hands all around and waved goodbye to the audience.   We all headed home, exhausted and overwhelmed.  Hurry back, Mac!






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