Wednesday, June 19, 2013
|Photo by David Anthony Hall Posted with permission.|
Lately it seems like if you want to see Ringo in person, a sure place to see him is at the press preview day at the Chelsea Flower Show. Ringo and Barb have been there for the past several years, and he used to go with Olivia and George in the 1990's. Of course you can't just be any old fan to get into the preview day, you have to be a member of the press. But when a Beatle is around, even press people turn into fans. I think this is a very nice Ringo photo.
I just love this shot from the Lennon & McCartney 1965 T.V. special. I wonder if those dancer girls (who looks every so Swinging London!) got to talk to Paul and John very much. I know there are photos of this show backstage with girls hanging all around, but I wonder if they just did photo ops, or did they get to actually talk to them.
It has been difficult for me over the years to find photos and very much information about when the Beatles played Atlantic City in 1964. So when I was going through stacks of magazines, I was happy to locate a story written by a former Atlantic City, New Jersey police officer named Robert F. Clifton. Officer Clifton guarded the Beatles (particularly Paul) during their stay in Atlantic City and was even on the stage while they played! He wrote a very nice article about it all in the August/September 1983 issue of Beatlefan Magazine.
|I am not sure, but that might be Robert Clifton behind Paul in this press conference photo.|
It was the end of August 1964. At the time I had been with the Atlantic City, NJ police Department for five years. During that time I had experienced a lot, particularly when it came to celebrity security details. There was Sinatra at the 500 Club. There were Ricky nelson, Dick Clark and Paul Anka at the old Steel Pier – now gone, lost in the change from a family resort to a gambling resort. But the impact left by four young mean from Liverpool, England is still with me. At the end of a 25 year career, I saw nothing during that time that can even equal that one night many years ago.
As the last days of the summer season faded away, we stood and watched as the political banners, streamers and confetti from the Democratic Convention blew away, caught in an ocean breeze and scattered along the Boardwalk. It was the finish of what had been three long weeks of security, dignitary protection and the beginning of protest demonstrations. Now it was over but there was more to come.
The Beatles were coming.
George Hamid, owner and operator of the Steel Pier, had somehow induced the group to come to Atlantic City, a place with a total population then of 60,000 people. It was unheard of.
Harrid leased the Atlantic City Convention Hall and the tickets went on sale. They sold immediately and naturally this one night show was a total sell-out. That was to be expected. What happened next was unexpected.
WE arrived on past at 5 p.m., the night of the show. Even at that early hour, there were at least 1,000 fans lining the north side of Pacific Avenue, the street that fronts the stage door entrance to Convention Hall. We were told that the motorcade with The Beatles would arrive at 6 p.m. During that one hour wait we watched as the crowd in the street and on the sidewalks grew larger.
About 5:45 pm, we were alerted by radio that the caravan was en route. Black and white wooden barricades were moved into position on the sidewalk creating a passageway from the curb to the stage door. When the crowd saw this happening, it was their cue to move into a better position to see, to touch, to be part of it. They kept repeating, “They’re coming!” In an instant, hundreds of people made a rush across Pacific Avenue, oblivious to moving traffic, concerned only with getting a better place to see, a chance to be closer. Somehow order was maintained and the excited crowd waited patiently.
Then the Beatles were there. First the motorcycle escort, a few radio cars and at last the long black limousine. The crowd moved as one, like a great wave of humanity, pushing, showing, straining to see, holding cameras up over their heads, hoping to be lucky enough to get on decent shot. As the limousine pulled up to the curb, an eager fan jumped in front of it, only to be pinned at the knees, caught between the front bumper of the limo and the rear bumper of the radio car stopped in front of it. There were mixed screams, those of anguish from the caring who witnessed the accident and those of excitement from the crowd as they caught sight of the Beatles seated in the car.
The car door opened and out came the Beatles, wanting to smile, wanting to be friendly. The crowd made its move, rushing forward to greet them. For their own safety each young man was surrounded by police officers. Paul McCartney, the last Beatle to exit from the limousine, was practically shoved through the single opened door that led into the building. The crowd continued its surge and in order to restrain them, police officers picked up the wooden barricades and charged into the mob of people. Finally, the stage door was closed and bolted. The band was then escorted up a flight of stairs to a series of rooms where a press conference was to take place.
The four young men, each dressed differently, sat comfortably at a long table. Each Beatles had his own microphone in front of him. Derek Taylor stood in front of a floor mike and the interview began.
It was easy to see as the interview went on that the group who entered the room – sincere, eager and willing to answer questions – soon lost interest in the meeting. This was probably caused by the people conducting the interview (not all professional media) who asked such questions as, “What do you think of America? What do you think of American girls? What do you think of Atlantic City? Of all the cities that you have been in, which one do you like the most?” I distinctly remember John Lennon’s answer, “Liverpool!”
This type of questioning continued and Ringo Starr casually leaned back in his seat, as if disappointed with it all. Hundreds of flash bulbs kept popping. At long last, and I’m sure with a sense of relief to the group, the interview was over. It was getting near show time.
The Beatles went about the preparations, changing now into matching suits, combing what was then considered long hair. Each performer was quiet, reserved, yet friendly in a shy way. Each was calm. There was a total professionalism about them despite their youth. They were ready to perform, if the audience would let them.
I escorted Paul McCartney into the hallway outside the dressing room. At that moment, I looked out through the window and saw that in over an hour the crowd on Pacific Avenue had increased to a few thousand people. Those with tickets were out front on the Boardwalk, entering, taking seats, waiting for the show to begin.
Showtime came at last. We left the dressing room and walking down a narrow staircase to the backstage area. Each Beatle still remained clam, patiently waiting to go on stage. The noise from the audience at this time is rather hard to describe. It was different, not an impatient murmur, but more like one of expectation, a funny kind of excitement. Then came the words from the giant speakers situated throughout the large auditorium, “The Beatles!” And, all at once we were moving the long wait was over. We were walking quickly out on to the stage. Once there we were met with a mighty blast of sound, a solid wall of noise that actually struck you with a force that stopped your forward momentum. An estimated 25,000 people had jammed into the Hall and they were letting the group know that they were appreciated.
Instead of performing on the stage, the Beatles were on a 15 foot high platform constructed on scaffolding in front of the stage. Eighteen police officers stood below us. Eighteen police officers between the Beatles, us (security detail) and 25,000 screaming fans. But, while they screamed in happiness and appreciation, no one moved from in front of their seats toward the stage.
The Beatles began to play. Don’t ask what they played, because no one except the Beatles can answer that question. No one heard one song, one lyric, not even one note. The cheers never stopped. The screams never died and the tears from the eyes of young girls never stopped flowing. It was Beatlemania.
A little over an hour later it was over. At least the show was over. There was plenty more to come.
As the auditorium cleared, hundreds of fans raced to Pacific Avenue to join thousands who had been there before them. All wanted to see the group one more time. The street was filled with milling people. Traffic stopped and had to be rerouted. The limousine that brought them was unable to make it into the street from the garage, and even if it had made it there was a danger that the vehicle would be swarmed upon by eager fans. It became a security nightmare. As time passed it was evident that for the safety of the people in general and for The Beatles in particular something had to be done.
Finally, a solution was agreed upon and a distinctly marked laundry truck made its way down Georgia Avenue about 30 minutes later. It made its way slowly through the crowd, eventually arriving in a secure area of the garage.
Each Beatle was taken to the garage area located below the Convention Hall and placed inside the van, made comfortable and very quietly taken from the building. The laundry truck was completely ignored by the fans.
Once they arrived at the Lafayette Motor Inn, located at the other end of town, The Beatles became virtual prisoners in their own suite of rooms. Outside the fans began to gather, but at this point created no real problems.
In the protection of their rooms, the group relaxed. They talked briefly about the show, the audience response and how they had left the area. Later, they ate submarine sandwiches form the White House Sub Shop. While they relaxed, the fans continued to mill about, calling from the street below, “Ringo, Paul, George, John!”
Radio cars were sent into the area to clear the streets and sidewalks. Teenage girls found their way to the rear of the hotel and like human flies began climbing from balcony to balcony in an attempt to see the group, or just one Beatle, or just to be able to say they saw the rooms.
The summer night turned into morning and a few hours later The Beatles were gone, off to some other city, to some other concert. Many things have happened since 1964, but looking back over the years, that one particular evening stayed with me. I never forgot it. I never will. The Beatles made an impact not only in show business, but in the world. And I was there seeing, hearing, feeling it, maybe in a very small way a part of it, a part of history that summer of 1964.
By Robert F. Clilfton
What I do not understand about this photo is the little old man (who looks sort of like "Paul's Grandfather") behind Ringo is holding him in his middle. What is he doing? Putting on some sort of human Ringo puppet show? Trying to guide Ringo through the mob of fans and reporters and wasn't sure how to do it? It seems like that man is smaller than Ringo and could end up getting hurt himself. Sometimes when you really take a look and see what is going on in a few of these photos, you really have to wonder what WAS going on? (By the way this was from December 1964 when Ringo was released from the hospital from getting his tonsils removed).
In celebration of Paul's 71st birthday, I have seen a lot of photos of Paul's 22nd birthday party in Australia during the 1964 world tour. I wasn't sure if everyone knew the story behind that birthday party, so I looked it up and spent half of Paul's birthday typing it up. This information comes from a book that was published in 1982 called The Beatles Downunder it was written by Glenn A. Baker. It is a very good book about the Beatles in Australia and New Zealand in 1964 and has a ton of photos. The basic story is that newspaper, the Mirror held a contest for 15 girls between the ages of 16-22 to attend Paul's birthday party based on an essay they wrote explaining why she should attend the party. There have been other instances where you were allowed to meet the Beatles due to a newspaper or magazine contest, but I think this one was one of the largest and for the long period of time (in comparison to a backstage meeting for a few minutes).
|I scanned this from an issue of Paul's "Club Sandwich" It shows the newspaper contest.|
|Janette Carroll, 'The Red Devil' (left), watches Carmel Stratton plant one on Paul as he attempts to cut his cake one more time for the benefit of photographers.|
The main thrust of the birthday celebration came from the Daily Mirror newspaper which organized an exclusive party at the Sheraton – approved and supervised by Brian Epstein and Derek Taylor, who had flown up to Sydney a day early. “This Easy Contest Offers The Chance of a Lifetime” howled the headlines, above a neat coupon that girls between sixteen and twenty-two could fill in and append with a fifty word essay on “Why I would like to be a Guest at a Beatles’ Birthday Party.” The judging was in the hands of Derek, Irish comedian Dave Allen, Sunday Mirror editor Hugh Bingham, promotions manager Leicester Warburton, and cadet journalist Blance d’Alpuget. More than 10,000 entries flooded the newspaper office, from as far away as Brisbane, Bendigo, Hobart and Canberra.
After great deliberation and searching interviews, seventeen girls were chosen for the honor, with another fifteen runners-up promised a brief backstage meeting the following night. The party contingent was initially intended to be fifteen, but was extended by Beatle decree to allow inclusion of girls from the cities of Canberra and Newcastle.
The winners were Glennys Smith, a secretary from Cremorne (20), Jenny Lamb, a sales assistant from Vaucluse (18), Sandra Linklater, a student nurse from Earlwood (17), Caroline Styles, a secretary from Henley (21), Ines Trues, a mannequin from Canberra (21), Evelyn Mac, a model from Concord (21), Patricia Thompson, a student from Newport, Christine Buettner, a student from St. Ives (16), Claire Hogben, a secretary from Pymble (18), Carolyn Keirs, a librarian from Newcastle (19), Carmel Stratton, a showroom assistant from Bondi (18), Anne-Marie Alexander, a secretary from Collaroy (18), Marcia McAtamney, a student from Strathfield (17), Delphine Dockerill, a university student from North Bondi (18), Jannette Carroll, a student from Ultimo (16), Nancy Haddow, a secretary from Cremorne (22), Sandra Stevenson, a teacher form Cronulla (21). For Glennys Smith and Claire Hogben (the editor’s daughter), it was a double celebration, as they also had birthdays on June 18.
Jannette Carroll, and inner-urban Sydeny-ite among some fairly daunting silver spooners, was the youngest winner and now, as a school teacher in her thirties, remembers vividly the event which altered the course of her adolescence:
“It was my eleven year old sister’s idea to enter. I thought it was rigged and that only politician’s daughters would win but was bored one Sunday so I sent in two coupons. I had read John’s book so I composed my entry in that sort of language. I felt a bit silly about doing it so I didn’t say anything to my friends.
Then about a week later mum came up to school to say that I’d made it into the final and I had to go for an interview at the Mirror. We rushed into the city so I could get my hair done and then I was shoved into this room at the Mirror that was entirely full of men. Derek Taylor was there but most of the questions were form Dave Allen. They asked me why I’d entered and I said I didn’t have anything else to do at the time. That must have amused them because I was chosen over a whole lot of rich debutantes that were streaming in and out of the place while I was there.
On the night, we were all dropped off at the Mirror by our parents and then driven to the Sheraton hotel in big black limousines. Along the way there were girls by the side of the road booing us and throwing things at the car.
We got there first and waited for the Beatles who were coming from their second show at the Stadium. They came in to meet us before the press were allowed entry and they weren’t anything like I imagined superstars would be. Paul, George and Ringo came around to talk to each of us personally but John seemed to hang back a little, as if he was shy. Because of that I went out of my way to talk to John and I think I ended up monopolizing a lot of his time.
Once the press and the other performers were allowed in and the party got underway, I danced with Paul, George and Ringo a couple of times each but I noticed that John wasn’t dancing at all. So I got a bit cheeky and went up to him and said, “Don’t you know how to dance? I thought all English people could dance.” He started laughing and got up and danced with me and we got along great for the rest of the night. I was wearing a bright red dress so he christened me the “Red Devil.” They were all really sensitive, soft, intelligent guys but John was the most amazing of all. He opened my mind with some of the things he was saying, things I’d never talked about before.
After about an hour, all the reporters were sent away and the party became much less formal and restricted; it became just like a gathering of good friends. Ringo and John became very funny; like whenever a photographer came near me, Ringo whipped the glass of Scotch out of my hand and replaced it with a salt shaker. Then once the photographers had gone they became much more relaxed. When one tried to sneak back in, George gently kicked his camera out of his hands.
The seemed to be a little infuriated with Little Pattie, who kept putting Beatles records on, because they really wanted to hear the Rolling Stones and Motown stuff (Little Pattie denies this). But apart from that they were in a great mood and the party went on until about 2a.m. I didn’t notice much of the other performers, except Johnny Chester who poured a drink all over the front of my dress.
As we were leaving Paul shook all our hands and by this time I was even braver so I said, “I’m not used to shaking boys’ hands on their birthday” and offered him my cheek. He very gently took my chin, turned my face around and gave me a beautiful kiss right on the lips. I know it sounds corny, but for about two weeks I washed every part of my face but my lips.”
The Beatles themselves seemed to be in enormously good spirits throughout the midnight bash. ‘Ee, it’s a proper do isn’t it?” Paul had quipped when he first walked in the room. “Hey Ringo, don’t get yourself plastered, “instructed George. “Shurrup kiddo, watch hows yer speaks to yer elders,” he retorted, adding later, “I love these Australian girls mate, they’re smashing.” “You’d never meet such marvelous girls from a contest like this in England.” Smoothly offered Derek Taylor. “Their reasons for wanting to attend the party were excellently explained. I couldn’t write better myself – and that’s my job!”
Bob Rogers (who was allowed to stay throughout) has his own recollections of the party. “The thing that sticks in my mind the clearest is how absolutely rotten drunk Ringo got. At about 3 a.m. he passed out on his feet and just slowly sunk to the ground where he stood.” This incident was not witnessed by special guest Patricia Amphlett, who had departed some hours earlier. After all, she was only fifteen, hit record or not.
As Little Pattie, the diminutive Eastlakes schoolgirl, Miss Amphlett had scored a freak hit record over Christmas 1963 with the charming novelty song, “He’s My Blond Headed Stompie Wompie Real Surfer boy” and was on the charts with her second hit, “We’re Gonna have a party tonight” when the Beatles arrived.
“I went to see them at the Stadium on Thursday night with my friend Noeleen Batley and one of the security men that we knew offered to take us backstage to meet the Beatles. I was absolutely terrified because I was very very shy and I only looked about twelve. But they were marvelous; they’d heard about my first record and wanted to know what a “stompie wompie” was – something which I had great difficulty explaining.
Ringo was extremely warm and friendly towards me and he insisted that Noeleen and I come to the party. I rang mum and she said yes so I went back to the hotel in their car. I think I spent most of the night sitting a corner though.”
One gentleman spent most of the evening locked n his room, although he was somewhat unaware of it. According to Lloyd Ravenscroft: “the M.S.S. security guard got stuck into the grog and started causing problems, so we carried him down to his room, blink drunk, took away the key and rang Devon Minchin to say I’d sacked the man and wanted another. He was so upset that he got in his car in the middle of the night and came straight to the hotel and announced that he was replacing the man personally for the remainder of the tour.”
Dave Lincoln saw the second half of the party that the press were forced to miss. “After all the journos and officials left, we all went back to our rooms, changed into dirty jeans and the like and rocked on without having to look over our shoulders. It was a great party, just like being with your best mates at the local.”
At one point, guests Evelyn Mac and Carmel Stratton gave their hosts a crash course in the dancing of the Australian Surfer’s Stomp. Ringo and Paul caught on quickly, George gave up after a few clumsy attempts and john wouldn’t’ have anything to do with it.
Among the afternoon media guests had been Dale Plummer of Woman’s Day, who delivered a white fondant fruit cake baked by cookery expert Margaret Fulton. With the candles blown out (in four attempts) before the concert, it became a handy photo prop later in the evening. The astute Ms. Plummer noted that while George and John were consuming the “Beatle drink” of Scotch and Coke, Paul was partaking of vodka and tonic because “vodka leaves no smell.”
Alcohol may not have tainted Paul’s breath, but his kiss had devastating effects on one of its recipients, Jannette Carroll. “The next day I was an absolute celebrity at school, with kids questioning up at the canteen to ask me questions. But I think I lost as many friend as I gained. One close friend got really angry and asked why didn’t you tell me you’d entered, I would have too, and then didn’t speak a word to me for six years. After a while, getting mobbed in the playground wasn’t much fun, in fact it nearly got me expelled from school- the very staid Fort Street Girls high.
A reporter from the Sunday Mirror came out to interview me and took of photo of me in my school uniform. It appeared on page three with a heading of “Pals Make it Hot for Red Devil” and on the Monday I was called before an absolutely furious headmistress who was threatening all sorts of things.
Seventeen year old Sandra Linklater also found that meeting the Beatles had more repercussions than she had imagined. A student nurse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, then the biggest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere, Sandra entered the competition when a close friend won two concert tickets and refused to give one to her.
“RPAH had a hard rule that training nurses couldn’t be photographed in their uniform but that was the only shot I had so I sent it to the Mirror. A few weeks later I got a call at home form a livid Matron Nelson who demanded to know why I was on the front page of the Mirror in my uniform. When I got to work I had to go and see her and try my best to explain it. Then a few days later I went to the newspaper office with my mother for an interview and the next day I was on the front page again!
In 1964, a seventeen year old girl was a little more protected than she is now. My father thought the Beatles were totally disgusting and he rang the Mirror demanding to know where this party was going to be held and who was going to be there. Matron did the same thing. At first they refused to tell him but when he said that he wouldn’t’ allow me to go, they told him it was at the Sheraton. On the night he drove me to the Mirror and then followed the convoy of limousines to make sure they were telling him the truth. Matron gave me strict instructions not to be seen with a cigarette or glass of alcohol in my hand, because the reputation of the hospital was at stake.
When we got to the hotel, I was really terrified because all these screaming girls started banging on the car, abusing us. I didn’t know those sort of things happened. I can’t remember much about the party itself except that we all danced a lot. At one point a girl fainted and someone said, “you’re a nurse, take care of her.” I took her pulse and helped her into the toilet to freshen up.”
The most memorable incidents happened after the party. A car took me to the hospital at about 5a.m. and in those days there was a 10:30p.m. curfew. I started work at six and at nine Matron called me into her office and had me recount everything that happened, though she pretended not to be really interested. Over the next week I must have told every detail to at least 200 people. Wards from all over the hospital were ringing in to ask if I could come and talk to their patients. For literally years afterwards I was known to everyone in the hospital as “The Beatle Nurse,” I got so used to it I never even thought about it.”
“The Sunday Mirror was quite ingenious,” says Dick Hughs. “If you drove around Sydeny and looked at the street posters you would read “Vaucluse girl at Beatles Party,” then “Bondi girl at Beatles Party” and so on. They printed up a poster to cover the suburb of each of the seventeen girls. “
The Sunday Mirror also carried pages upon pages of comments from the girls concerning their night with the stars. According to Nancy Haddow, who was “adopted” by Ringo for the night, “Ringo’s a bit shy but full of fun. He called me ‘luv’ all night and told me that he would never get married because he is scared stiff about walking down the aisle. He’s a beaut dancer, he taught me how to do the Monkey and the Banana – apparently nobody does the twist in England anymore. He let me read his palm and I found he had the longest line of fame I have ever seen.” Carolyn Styles was amazed by her host, “Paul had memorized very small detail he could about all the girls so that when he met one he was completely at ease and could ask her straight off about her job or something she was interested in.” Jenny Lamb, who gave Paul and a bottle of Scotch, was amused by Ringo, “When he went to the bar to get drinks for the girls, he would make all kinds of grimaces and mutter ‘work all day, work all night.’ He also went around asking everyone if they were foreign and when they said no he would shake his head sadly and walk off.” Delphine Dockergill gushes, “Paul is the most divine person I have ever met. I thought he would be terribly conceited but he was natural and friendly. He is the most fantastic dancer, the way he moves is amazing. And when he danced cheek-to-cheek with me I thought I’d faint!”
And this is why I always carry something for Paul McCartney to sign everywhere I go. I do not want to suddenly see him and have him sign the sleeve of my blouse! Alright maybe from the angle of the photo it just appears at a glance that he signing her sleeve, she might actually be holding something for him to sign with her other hand. It doesn't really matter....the moral still remains...be prepared!