Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Beatles in Cleveland


From the Desk of Marilyn Doerfler...
By Marilyn Doerfler
With a Little Help From My Friends
October 1978

This time around, I have been asked to write about The Beatle days in Cleveland, so here goes.  The typewriter is willing, but the gears in my mind have rusted some.  However, let's take a trip back to 1964 and the Beatles' first personal appearance in Cleveland at the Public Hall.  Maybe we'll find some memories there.  The front acts are finished, and The Beatles seem to be in the middle of their set when a wave of girls rushed the stage.  The police want The Beatles to leave the stage, and George is arguing with one of them, and if I remember right, it went something like this..." this isn't the first city that our shows had to be stopped because of rowdy audiences.  We've never had to leave the stage before.  We would just wait for things to calm down, or if they didn't, a representative, like a disc jockey or someone would talk to the crowd and calm them down."  This is so!  Did not hear the rest of George's commentary as he was ushered into the wings.  As I recall, John found it all rather amusing, and he leaned against his amp, taking the whole situation in, but later, all were angry and said they were being treated like children.  Brian Epstein put it another way..." this is insidious!"  Twenty minutes later, The Beatles returned to the stage and, in case no one noticed, did their whole show over again.  This time, believe me, no interruptions. 

The Public Hall was closed to all rock-oriented shows after all the destruction that happened when The Beatles played there. That is definitely why the Beatles didn't play Cleveland in 1965, but 1966 was a different story. 

The Beatles returned to Cleveland and this time to the Cleveland Stadium, a "field day" for all. After settling in our favorite hotel, it was interview time for the entourage, followed by various phone calls to radio stations, frantic to know what The Beatles did that day, how they felt, what they said, how they held their mouths when they said whatever, etc.  Then it was to the Press Conference, where two major newspapers and half a dozen radio stations, and various, various, various college, high school, and what have you papers were represented.  From there, The Beatles, their opening acts (The Cyrkle, Ronnetts, Bobby Hebb), and entourage were ushered to the stadium amid a standing ovation!  The Beatles then entered their dressing room behind the stage -- a large mobile home  made specifically for them and relaxed until showtime. 

I'm sure most of you will recall that, once again, the show was stopped!  During one of the songs (Day Tripper), thousands of Beatle people rushed the stage, and they just kept coming!  Finally, the boys were literally shoved in the trailer until order could be restored.  It was some time later when the field was cleared then, once again, The Beatles appeared amid the shouts and cries of adoring fans!  Fantastic!

Before I continue, I must add that since 1966 was an all-baseball park tour, we all lived on hot dogs (to this day, I hate them) and Coke.  Or, once in a while, hot dogs and beer, and if we were really lucky, some of the ballparks put a little sauerkraut on top of them.  And all the time, I bet the general public thought we dined on steak and the like..fooled you!

After The Beatles were through, we were ushered back to the hotel, where we were informed that we could all go to the press party that was already in progress.  John whispered to me, "Get me out of this one. I'm tired and way behind on some cartoon things," and before I could say yes, no, or maybe, he did a typical John Lennon idiom by raising his voice and saying "that's a darling girl."  So, I went but decided that I would stay just a short while, too.  But that wasn't to be.  After excusing John to Brian Epstein et al., I was politely backing out, smiling all the way, when I felt something hit my back.  Ringo had stuck his finger in my back and said, "I'll pull the old trigger if you don't stay here and escort me about."  Needless to say, I did, and so, the evening melted away. 

The next day was similar to all Beatle tour days, except that when we walked out of the door supposedly to the limos, we were confronted with a bus.  Every other city had limos to pick us up from the airport and take us back, but not Cleveland. Besides the Beatles and their opening acts and entourage, there appeared 1000 disc jockeys in an unairconditioned bus on a hot August day.

When we came to the runway where our rented American Airlines plane was to be, there was not a vehicle of this proportion in sight.  We waited quite a while and then were told that our plane would be a little late...no kidding!

When the plane did arrive, a young gal was escorted off.  "Eh," John said, "why did you take your sweet time then?" The American Airlines representative whispered as low as he could, "there were no stirrers for your drinks, and we had to get them from the terminal.  It took a while."  John replied, as we drove out of sight, "that's alright, chap.  If it had been anything else, we might not have forgiven you" as they walked up the aisle, overheard John ask, "now that we've got that settled, are you sure we have something to stir?"

"Goodbye, Cleveland..." Paul and George yelled, and as the people on the ground began to look like ants, the poker cards came out, the drinks were served (with stirrers) and it was off to another city which The Beatles own for the day. 


  1. It isn't completely understood who wrote this article. Was it a member of the press? Someone from a teen magazine? Seemingly, The Beatles knew her by what she wrote but it isn't explained anywhere. (MarkZapp)

    1. It was written by Marilyn Doerflers who was a member of the traveling press with the Beatles during the 1966 tour. I have mentioned her before and I guess I assumed she was known. Sorry about that!

  2. wow what they went through touring

  3. Touring conditions were rough and not luxurious at all compared to now. No wonder they didn't want to tour any more, by the end of the '66 American disaster.