26 January 2013
Beatles' Bournemouth review 2
When the Rank Organisation booked The Beatles for a six-day summer season at the Gaumont in Bournemouth, hardly anyone at cinema knew who they were. But their kids did and The Beatles' arrival in town on 19 August 1963 caused great excitement with fans crammed into the alleyway by the stage door craning their necks for a glimpse of their idols as the soon-to-be Fab Four drew up in their Ford Zephyr.
By then the papers were on full Beatles alert and in Bournemouth it fell to already seasoned showbiz scribe Tony Crawley and the characterful photographer Harry Taylor to cover the group's stay in town, at the Palace Court Hotel, and keep abreast of the shows for the Bournemouth Times. As a weekly paper the Times could afford to circumspect than the somewhat breathless reviews of the Evening Echo's Stan Sowden.
This is how the Bournemouth Times reported those first shows in August 1963...
Cinema manager Charles Booth says he has a minute to relax, "Well, 45 seconds." He sits down. Somewhere between the pile of programmes, stack of autograph books, and the last mail delivery. (Most of the letters are marked "You're fab" on the envelope.)
"We've never had anything lie it," he says. "I've been in this business for 30 years. I've arranged film premieres, and big stage shows. But never have I experienced a week of demand and commotion like this."
Mr Booth is general manager of the Gaumont. And he'd right. His cinema has never witnessed such a commotion for visiting stars.
Not even Cliff Richard, Adam Faith or Billy Fury have won such screams, cheers, shouts, stomps, than is currently happening with ear-piercing regularity twice-nightly at this cinema.
The reason? Britain's most revolutionary and extraordinarily successful records stars: THE BEATLES.
It's their first visit to Bournemouth since virtually ruling the Top Ten for the last nine months. Holiday-makers, too , are making sure they don't miss the town's biggest attraction.
There are even dedicated fans on special one or two-day trips from - honest - as far away as Edinburgh and Hull.
Policemen on duty in the auditorium agree they have never heard anything like it.
Once the four, long, lean and lanky Liverpool lads come on-stage, real pandemonium sets in. Girls scream, jump up and down. Boys yell, stamp their feet. And hands are lifted outwards, upwards.
Fortunately, 99 per cent of the packed audiences (26,000 by tomorrow) know the Beatle songs by heart. I say fortunately, because no matter how much they pay, they don't hear them at the Gaumont.
Surprisingly, as these Liverpudlians don't claim to be the quietest quartet in the business. Their audio-histrionics, raucous voices, and electric guitars are loud, lusty - gutsy.
They yell, howl, stomp with gay abandon. So do their audiences.
The Beatles have won a sensational brand of success that has escaped even Cliff or Elvis.
Success like two successive no.1 hit single discs; an LP and EP (the first ever to crash the Top Ten) both selling way past the 100,000 mark; and a new single out today, She Loves You, which will be in the top three by next week as the advance orders for it already total 235,000.
They've every right to be big-heads. But off-stage, they are quiet, almost reserved, gently-spoken, expertly-mannered - and good fun.
Lead guitar is George Harrison, 20; Ringo Starr, the oldest as 23, is the drummer; the others are the singers and songwriters Paul McCartney, 21, and John Lennon, 22.
They write the main songs and the two hits by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas; and now more songs for their other partners in the success, Tommy Quickly, The Fourmost, etc.
When do they get time to write?
"Oh anytime," murmurs a pensive Paul. "In the train, dressing room, in bed, in our sleep," adds John.
How about the fans? "We love them all,"smiles Ringo. "They made us."
And their screams? "Sam thing," grins George. "Wed start worrying if they stopped."
Also in town this week is Beatle no.5 - their ex-Etonian manager Brian Epstein, suave as their suits.
Tony Crawley, Bournemouth Times, 23 August 1963
:: This, and all the local press reviews of The Beatles' shows in Bournemouth can be read in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, available for order at www.beatlesandbournemouth.com.