I never met the Beatles.
They released their first single 50 years ago in the UK on October 5, 1962, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” on the flip side. It went to number 17 on the British charts and was later released in the US. All my girlfriends in high school loved the Beatles from the start and we got our first glimpse of them in Life magazine and were blown away by the moptops!
Because I never got to meet the Beatles this is another “Six Degrees” story, although I did get within a few feet of them. Here’s what happened: My older brother was in his third year of studies at the University of Southern California in preparation for Dental School and then Oral Surgery specialty. He and his best friend, Jimmy Christ, worked at Disneyland during the summer and one of their friends mentioned that they had heard a security firm was looking for young men to guard the Rolling Stones at their Hollywood Bowl appearance on July 25, 1966. They signed up and were instant rent-a-cops.
After that job, the supervisor at the security firm was looking for guards for an even bigger job: guarding the Beatles. Only a week before John Lennon had made his infamous comment, “the Beatles are more popular than Jesus,” so the supervisor was skimming the list of new part timers and came across my brother and Jim’s names: Jim Christ (pronounced krist, but looks likes Jesus Christ) and Jack Moses. He called their supervisor at Disneyland to speak to them immediately and he told them he needed them right away. On August 24th they were told to be at the iconic round building that looked like a stack of records, Capitol Records in Hollywood. They went to their posts and were suddenly in front of a throng of reporters and photographers as they flanked each side of the four podiums on stage. The Beatles were introduced and they sat on stools, left to right, George, Paul, John and Ringo. Jim was to George’s right, Jack was to Ringo’s left.
I attended the press conference for Tiger Beat and made sure I was in my seat early, a seat in the front row, just 3 feet from the podiums. Because John’s quote about Jesus was still so fresh, he was hammered at every press conference and interview as they went about their summer tour. I didn’t have the opportunity to ask any questions, as the conference was dominated by male reporters, mostly from TV and radio stations. You can watch the You Tube video of the conference:
I was enthralled to be so close to the Beatles. This was one of those times when I was more a fan than a professional, because, after all, this was the Beatles! But while I was disappointed that I didn’t get to ask a question, at one point when John Lennon was trying for the umpteenth time to explain why he had said what he said, Paul McCartney looked over at me and winked! That was more precious to me than having my reporters questions answered!
I called my brother that evening and he said they really didn’t get to interact with the Beatles much, that it
was just getting them in and out of the building to the armored truck safely, but he, too, was super excited that he had experienced them up close and personal.
He was called two days later by the security firm and told they had another assignment for them on August 28. They had to report to the security firm’s headquarters in Los Angeles, so Jimmy and Jack drove together. When they arrived they received their itinerary: that’s when they realized they had been given the plum assignment of all time. They were to be a part of the crew of security guards escorting the Beatles to Dodger Stadium for their Los Angeles concert before 56,000 fans.
Jack remembers, “When we first saw the Beatles they were eating dinner at their house. After about half an hour I left in an armored car without the Beatles. We were followed by a limousine full of security men and people from the house. As we drove out almost all the kids followed us. They were screaming, honking their horns, making wild turns and almost getting in accidents at every corner. As we headed onto the freeway, the limo behind us blocked all the fans that were following, so we got to our secret location just 2 miles from Dodger Stadium. ”
Jim, meanwhile, was at the house waiting for John, Paul, George and Ringo. Jim recalls, “While I was waiting, John came out and he had a little rubber ball and was bouncing it against the wall while he talked to David Crosby (of the Byrds). Then they got into the van with their road managers and we rendezvoused with the armored truck in the parking lot.” Jim and Jack helped the Beatles into the truck.
Jack continues the story: “There were no chairs, so we all just sat on the floor. As we approached the stadium they got really bugged because fans were getting through the barriers.” George joked, “That’s right, let ‘em through. Don’t hold that one back, let ‘em get us and rip us apart!” Finally they made it to the back side of the stadium and safely into their “dressing rooms,” which, at this venue, was the Dodger’s locker room!
Jack said, “The first thing they did was pick up regular guitars (Paul, George and John) and they each went to different corners of the huge room and played to themselves. Then they picked up the instruments they were going to play on stage, plugged them into small amps and began to rehearse the songs they were going to do in the show.”
Jim interrupted, “It sounded fantastic! They were just working out, it was groovy! The whole time Ringo just sat in the one corner not saying a word. And what was really odd was that he only had one ring on!” After they dressed, they were behind the opening doors to the field and they were really disgusted at how long the dj’s kept saying things like “Here’s the guy who made it all possible, Rodney J. Feathersmith. . .” Finally John just blurted out, “I’m going on” and started toward the field. Paul and George pulled him back and finally the dj shouted “And here they are – the Beatles!” and then John sat down on the concrete floor. Ringo and George pulled him up and they all ran out onto the field.
The stadium scene was absolute pandemonium. The Beatles dressed in green sharkskin bell-bottomed suits
with velvet lapels. Their coats were six-button, double-breasted jackets over shirts of white and green printed flowers. Paul wore boots, the rest wore loafers. It was Jim and Jack’s assignment to stand below the stage in the center of the stadium and they both said, ‘It was so exciting standing just four feet from them as they performed.” In the video of this performance you can see Jack in front of the K and Jim in front of the A in the radio station call letters KRLA fronting the stage. They are dressed in gray shirts with black ties.
The security plan was for the Beatles to exit through the center field gate. There was a mix-up and as they rushed off stage and into the limousine and proceeded out of the stadium the gates opened and hundreds of fans surged toward the car. Jack said, “we were told to run along side the car, which we did. When they opened the gates, the limo couldn’t get out because a bus and 2 cars were blocking the way. Then about 1,000 kids swarmed in and all around the car! The Beatles looked really scared. Finally one limo was able to back up and they closed the gates.”
The Beatles rushed down to the locker rooms and prepared for a long wait. Jack explained, “The Beatles just sat down and began opening Pepsi’s. They handed each of us one before they had one. Every time they’d pull out a cigarette they’d offer us one first, and when we declined, they lit their own. They were really friendly!”
Jim went on, “Before long the conversation drifted to devious plots to help the Beatles escape. Everyone kept repeating the idea that a helicopter would have been the smart thing, but George wanted to leave in the armored truck and just slowly force their way through the crowd. This, however, was impossible since the crowd outside was bigger now and because someone had let all the air out of the trucks four tires with the driver inside!”
“We were alone with them for an hour and 45 minutes,” Jack said, “because their road managers were busy on the phones to the police trying to figure out how to get the Beatles out. The entire time they were talkative and asked us lots of questions. John asked me about my family and I told him that I was married and had a 2 year old son. He asked what it was like to have a child and I told him how great it was to watch him learn to talk and to watch him grow. I asked each of them for their autograph on the back of a security firm invoice and they all signed it, but then John wrote ‘Best Wishes, Jeff’ for my son. Then they all signed the back of our itinerary for me to keep. I gave the autograph framed with the picture of me with the Beatles to my son, Jeff, for his graduation present from medical school. I framed the other for my other son, Cote, beside the cover of their butcher shop album (The album Yesterday and Today which came out with the cover with headless dolls and became known as the ‘butcher shop’ album and was quickly pulled from record shelves).”
Jack told them how he had worked at Disneyland in high school and John and Paul wanted to know what it was like to work there. “How are the birds out there?” John asked Jack, “Chicks ya know?” Jack told him there were some really cute girls. John also asked Jack what it was like to date in high school in California. John told him he thought he was lucky because he didn’t have to wear all kinds or coats and sweaters. He said when he used to date he couldn’t get close to a girl “because we had so many coats on!”
“After an hour and 45 minutes someone came down and told us arrangements had been made for the Beatles get-away. The guards around the stadium had passed around a rumor that a girl had fainted. An ambulance pulled in down by the first aid station and the Beatles climbed in and laid on the floor. Then the ambulance left without lights or sirens,” Jack said. “before they left they all said good-bye and thanks.” Jack gave John his name badge, which read MOSES from his uniform and John ran over to Ringo and said, “Look at this, Ringo! You can bet I’ll wear this, thanks!” Jim gave his name badge to Paul that read CHRIST. John gave his black ace comb to Jack and I have it in my memory box to this day. Can I prove it was John’s comb? Not really, but it will stay in my special memory box and be the closest thing to getting to meet the Beatles as I will have!
Good times. . .Ann Moses (with a little help from my “friends”) reporting about “back in the day.”