The Beatles at Shea & The Birth of Stadium Rock featuring Laurie Jacobson
The paths of 56,000 exuberant music fans intersected in Queens, NY on August 15th, 1965, the night the Beatles played Shea Stadium and forever altered the arc of rock history. Present and accounted for were celebrities, writers, agents, producers, photographers, opening act performers, security guards, radio personalities, cameramen, and hordes of teaming, screaming fans. Among them: Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, Steven Van Zandt, future Beatle wives Linda Eastman and Barbara Bach; Bobby Vinton, Ed Sullivan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Felix Cavaliere, Marvin Gaye, and so many more.
More Path Links
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Fritz Coleman (00:06):
Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.
Louise Palanker (00:08):
And I am Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:10):
You know, we've been off for a couple of weeks. In show business, we call that a hiatus. I was with my grandchildren, wheezy was touring the Arctic Circle, photographing, melting glaciers, spreading goods here amongst the Inuits and other Northern European tribes. We'll learn about that in just a couple of seconds. But we're back to providing our public service, which is sharing ways to massage your mind, ideas from all media, books, and films, and TV shows and podcast. Plus, we have fantastic guests. I'm really looking forward to talking to Lori Jacobson. She's an author of a bunch of fascinating books. If you are a fan of all things, show Business as Weezy and I are, you need to own Lori's whole library. We'll tell you about it in a second. The book we're gonna spend most of today talking about is Top of the Mountain, the Beatles, at Shaa Stadium in 1965, which was a seismic event. I'll mention all the other books and we'll give her her proper introduction in a few minutes. Wei, welcome back. What do you have for us?
Louise Palanker (01:09):
Well, I took a scenic eclipse cruise to the Arctic, beginning in Oslo, Norway, traveling to spa Bard, the last stop before the North Pole, and then heading towards scores be sended, east Greenland, population icebergs, polar bears, and musk ox <laugh>. We then headed into <laugh>. I have to say the name of this town. There's a lot of Qs and Ks, so be patient with me. We headed into, it, took Coit, one of the most remote settlements on Earth, population 345, and we finished in Iceland before arriving home with a brutal blend of jet lag and covid. So it was quite an adventure. It was a kind of cruise with a lot of adventurous, sort of like, you know, wilderness wildlife types. And so they wake you up, you know, with an announcement that scares the crap out of your sleep too. Alert you to, there's a, been a sighting, you know, of a whale or a polar bear, or get up, you know, put on your long underwear and your dry pants, and head out to the deck.
And, you know, and I'm, I'm asleep thinking like, you can wake me if you see Tom Jones or Paul McCartney, but I, other than that, <laugh>, I'm sleeping through this polar bear. All right. So, but when I travel, I enjoy blending my media path with my physical path. And so along the way, I read two great books. The first one is called A Frog in the Fjord, and it's by Lo Lou de Jarden about a French woman who moves to Norway. And, uh, the second book is called Names for the Sea, and it's by Sarah Moss. And it's about a woman who relocates with her family from Great Britain to Iceland. Both books provide a look at these two marvelous countries through the eyes of a newcomer. They each delve into history, culture, lifestyle, and the unique challenges of finding yourself while finding a way to fit in. And, uh, it was, it always compliments the journey. And I'm constantly sort of like reciting facts that I've read in my books to, to those, uh, poors, uh, who were, find themselves with an earshot. So Fritz, what have you been up to this week?
Fritz Coleman (03:10):
Okay, I, I have two, um, offerings. The first one is a book. It's called 1861 by Adam Goodhart. This is a read about the year preceding the Civil War. It describes the atmosphere and lists the circumstances, some very little known that led into the bloodiest battle in American history. It's not the typical Civil War book, which is about bills and battles. This one is more about hearts and minds. It gets inside the heads of decision makers and makes you empathize with the ordinary folks that made hard decisions during this moment of crisis. It starts with a confederate shell of Fort Sumter on April 3rd, 1861, which started the Four Year War. And there's some interesting and little known details about when and how the first shots were fired. But the real reason why this book really resonated with me was the atmosphere in the country. Pre-war is very similar to where we find ourselves today, A deep political divide, religious extremism, geographic differences, misinformation, malignant racism.
And it all proves what historian John MechE said in his book, the Soul of America. And that is that this is all familiar territory. We have been here before and we will survive, Lord, I hope he's right. Great book. 1861. The second offering, Weezy is a documentary film called Rumble on Netflix. This is a documentary about the influence of Native Americans on American music over the last century. It was a p b s special in 2019, and now it streams on Netflix. It shows that every aspect of American music, blues, and country and jazz and rock and roll all have a Native American imprint on them. The Title Rumble is actually the name of a song by link Ray, who was a part of the origin story of Native Americans in rock and roll. The film travels back to the deep south in the 19 hundreds when American Indians blended cultures with the blacks, and the combination gave us a rich gumbo of musical styles and like the r and b of the Neville Brothers, uh, who were Choctaw Indians.
It talks about the big bang of native influence on rock and roll link Ray, who is the inventor of the power chord and invented distorted fuzz tone. In rock music. It talks about Jesse Ed Davis, a Native American who was celebrated as one of the greatest guitar players in the history of rock. He played with The Stones and Eric Clapton and George Harrison and John Lennon. It's partially narrated by Robbie Robertson, who played with Bob Dylan before he started the band. He's Canadian and he's also Mohawk and Kaiga, and he learned to play guitar at the Sixth Nations Reservation in Canada. It goes on and on about all these wonderful influences and ends at what I think is the pinnacle. Jimmy Hendrix, who is part Cherokee, and it goes on to talk about Randy Castillo, one of the great drummers. There is excellent commentary by George Clinton and Taj Mahal and slash Jackson Brown, Quincy Jones, uh, Tony Bennett Aggy Pop, and on and on. It's an eye-opening look at an often overlooked segment of American music history, and that is the Native American influence. Loved it. I would recommend it to you because you were a student of all things music.
Louise Palanker (06:26):
Oh, absolutely. That sounds absolutely incredible.
Fritz Coleman (06:28):
I will check that out for sure. All right, now I'm so excited to introduce this lady. Uh, uh, Lori Jacobson is a really accomplished author. She's a really a leading Hollywood historian, so her books are interesting dives into show business topics. Top of the mountain is the one we're gonna discuss today. The Beatles at Shay Stadium in 1965 shows a red dishing Hollywood, which covers 43 Tinsel town scandals with pertinent recipes for each scandal. Where are you gonna find that? Hollywood haunted, 100 years of ghostly goings on in Hollywood, Hollywood Heartbreak, which was her first book, 75 years of the History of Hollywood, told Through the Lives and Deaths of 31 Hollywood People. And my best title of all, Timmy's in the well, the John Provost story. John Starr is Timmy on the Lassie series. It just happens to be her husband. And her title that I love the best, honest to God, is she calls herself a recovering standup comic <laugh>. She studied with Harvey Lembeck in classes that included Robin Williams and John Low Roquette and John Ritter, and, uh, some of the best of the business. Lori, it's so nice to have you today.
Lori Jacobson (07:34):
Hey, Fritz, it's so great to see you again.
Fritz Coleman (07:38):
Yep. And, uh, uh, top of the mountain, uh, your title came from a comment John Lennon made about performing at Shaa Stadium. Talk about that.
Lori Jacobson (07:49):
Yes. Years, uh, after the concert, he was out one evening with Sid Bernstein, who was the concert promoter, and they were reminiscing about that incredible night. And John took a deep breath and said, it was so amazing. I saw the top of the mountain that night. It, it truly was the absolute peak of Beatlemania. By the following year, everything had changed, including the Beatles. They had changed so much. They, you know, they just never stopped evolving. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, uh, yeah, that, that was the pinnacle for them.
Louise Palanker (08:30):
Now, I wanna hear more about your decision to write this book. I have this book here. This is a wonderful book. I just absolutely adored it. You placed the event in detailed context, time, space, culture, et cetera. And I'm kind of obsessed with how focused our attention was during this brief window in human history between the dawn of radio and the ultimate fragmentation of curated social and streaming media. I don't think ever again, will teenagers or anyone be so focused on four young men, and you really captured it and, and, and boiled it down to that one evening. Talk about your inspiration to, to write this book for us.
Lori Jacobson (09:09):
Um, I met a very close friend of the late Sid Bernstein's, and Sid had told this friend over and over again, all of the details of, of the concept and how he got it through, um, a desperate situation and, uh, and how it blocks him. And then I began searching for people who were witnesses to the event or who participated in some way. And that's when the whole thing really exploded. I was just amazed at what I found.
Fritz Coleman (09:46):
Yeah. You, you've mentioned Sid Bernstein a couple of times, and we should say who he was. He, he was this, uh, forward thinking guy. He was the first person ever to do a rock concert in Carnegie Hall, and he was the first person ever to do a concert, which turned out to be the first time it had ever been done in, in a stadium, right? Yes. With the Beatles.
Lori Jacobson (10:03):
Yes. Yes. You know, Sid Sid was a great New York concert promoter. He had, uh, he, he promoted concerts for people like Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, uh, and he always took classes. He loved to stay fresh and educated, and he was taking a class which directed him to read papers from foreign lands. He could only read the English newspapers. So he started buying British papers, and he kept reading about this group called The Beatles. And the word pandemonium was constantly used to describe their appearances in Germany and in the uk. And he just had to get ahold of these, these, this group. He was absolutely entranced by the promo for them. So he figured out the number for their manager. Brian Epstein, Brian's mother answered the phone, and Sid was literally, can Brian come out to play <laugh>? Is he home? And he was the first person from America to call.
Brian had been trying to get America's attention for the boys for quite some time, and he had note takers. And so Sid made arrangements to bring the Beatles to Carnegie Hall. Now, Carnegie Hall didn't know they were having a rock and roll concert. They didn't, they didn't know from the Beatles, really. No one did. But of course, Sid was totally connected to radio personalities. And months before they came over, he made sure the Beatles were being introduced to New York. Then Ed Sullivan and his wife are traveling through the uk. They're in Heathrow, and they happen to be there when the Beatles are landing. And they see this screaming group of thousands of girls, and he says, what's going on? Finds out Sid Bernstein's bringing them to New York and hops on Sid's coattails and says, can I have 'em on my show that weekend? And Sid thought, well, hey, that'll guarantee me a sellout. And after that, the Beatles were always associated with Sid, with Ed Sullivan. And Sid was very modest, and he was happy for that to happen.
Louise Palanker (12:32):
But tell this story while we're on Sid, of how he went about, um, cultivating hype. He was not really permitted to promote the Shea Stadium idea, but he had to get the word out. And I think even he was amazed at the word of mouth, social media, that was the, the communications systems between teenagers and how, how quickly things spread and how quickly he was able to let everyone know, uh, what was about to take place and how they could, uh, access the event. I, I think this story is absolutely brilliant.
Lori Jacobson (13:07):
I, it's my favorite part of the story. Louise, and I have to laugh when you say social media, because there was long distance phone calling where your parents were saying, get off, get off. It's long distance, <laugh> and letters. Okay? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So Sid convinces, you know, Brian Epstein was very wary at this point in 1964. A lot of people still considered the Beatles of passing fad. And Brian thought, if they play to a half empty stadium, that's going to give the naysayers a lot of fodder. And I will not have my boys play to empty seats. Sid guarantees him that he will pay $10 for every empty seat in the house. This at a time when he had planned to charge a top ticket price of five 50. So Brian says, okay, I'll, I'll agree to the concert. I want a $100,000 guarantee, which was so enormous, and I want 50% of that in three months.
And you, and until you give me 50%, you can't advertise the concert. So Sid says, how am I gonna make 50 grand if I can't advertise? And Brian said, well, I didn't say you couldn't tell anybody, <laugh>. So every day day, Sid goes to Washington Square Park in New York, and he tells teenagers, I'm bringing the Beatles to Shea. He gets himself a PO Box. He tells them how much the tickets are. Sid's wife is hysterical. They have a young baby, and she's pregnant again. And he's promised Brian Epson $10 for every empty seat. She's ready to walk. He is depressed. After three weeks, he works up enough courage to go to the PO box to see if anybody has sent in anything. And guys, he had mail from behind the Iron Curtain. He had rubles, he had yen. Somehow this network of teenagers had spread the word around the world.
Fritz Coleman (15:29):
He had like $300,000 waiting for him in bags at the mailbox when he got there. And
Louise Palanker (15:33):
He believe, and he made good on all of 'em, he wrote back and he sent everyone their tickets. And then when he saw Brian, he was able to say, here's the check paid in full. Correct.
Lori Jacobson (15:43):
Correct. And, you know, there was no such thing as a, as Ticketmaster or a processing center. Sid, um, called one of the girls that babysat for him. She was in nursing school. And he said, do, do you, do you have six or seven friends who wanna come over and go through all these envelopes with me? Everybody wanted to go to Sid's house because maybe Mick Jagger would call or wanted to do those, and they wanted to answer the phone. So yeah, they signed on, and they, they each had their little job, and they, uh, processed thousands and thousands of letters that way.
Fritz Coleman (16:22):
You know, Lori, I think it's really important that we put the Beatles into a historical context and, and, and see what the atmosphere was when they came to America. First of all, you had the Kennedy assassination, you had the civil rights struggle. You had the beginning of ground troops in Vietnam, and one of your great interviews who was the bassist for the Love and Spoonful, Steve Boone Oh, yes. Made a really interesting comment. He said The change in music was gonna happen then with or without The Beatles. I thought that was so interesting. There was just this, this tumult of change within, you know, the folk scene in New York City and jazz and r and b, and it was gonna happen with or without the Beatles. They just happened to surf on this enormous wave coming from Britain, which I thought was wonderful.
Lori Jacobson (17:10):
Yes. But you know, the important thing also to remember is that when Opportunity knocked, the Beatles were 100% ready. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they had, they had already played hundreds of concerts in the UK and in Germany, they, they played more concerts than some of today's performers play in their entire career. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they, they, their style was set, their haircuts were set, their suits were set, and they were, they were ready to go, ready for the intention, the call
Louise Palanker (17:47):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. And when you're that tight, anything can go wrong and you recover. You can feel each other's rhythms. Figuratively. Literally, they just, they had the 10,000 hours in and they were good to go. You could knock 'em down, they'd get back up, and they'd keep playing, which is what Shea was. I mean, they couldn't hear themselves play, but they could look at each other and know that they were playing together.
Lori Jacobson (18:10):
<laugh>. Exactly. I mean, they, they were, yeah. Nobody could see them. Nobody could hear them. They couldn't hear themselves. Ringo has a quote in there, uh, about, uh, he, he knew where they were in the song, by the way. Their butts moved back and forth.
Louise Palanker (18:24):
<laugh>. Yeah. So, I wanna hear about how you connected. How did you get the word out that you wanted to talk to people, that that had been de because you, in your book, you have such a, a beautiful collection of souls that were touched by that one evening and their presence there. And, you know, as, as you, as you're reading Lori's book, it builds and builds and builds to where you, the reader, is actually excited for the show. Like, I'm going <laugh>. And that was, that was the experience of reading the book. So I would love to hear about how you were able to collect, uh, these, these, uh, stories and, and then weave them together for us.
Lori Jacobson (19:01):
Well, Facebook was a great place to start. Okay. Just asking, was anybody at Shea Stadium mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I got a lovely selection of people, uh, who, who never lost their enthusiasm for that night, which was when they talked about it, I could feel the energy and, and the love, you know, this, there was no haze of marijuana hanging over Shaa Stadium. This was all before that ever happened. It, it was just the pure joy of being in the same place at the same time with four guys. They worshiped. And, uh, and the Beatles felt that too. They had never felt anything like this. 56,000 people they played to. So, to get back to your question, I got wonderful fans, and then I started hearing stories. Uh, oh, two two of the future Beatle wives were there, Linda Eastman and Barbara Bach. And Barbara Bach was only there to chaperone her little sister. And her little sister's future husband was there. Joe Walsh of the Eagles. I'm thinking, what are the odds of this <laugh>, you know, um, a 16 year old Mary Louise Streep, who became better known as Meryl Streep, was in the audience, a nine year old. Whoopy Goldberg was in the audience. Steve Vanzant was there. Um, the Ronettes were there. Uh, Felix Cavalier, that's Yes, Felix. I talked to Felix, uh, and the Rascals about being there. Sid had just signed them, and he wanted them to see what a real show is.
Fritz Coleman (20:47):
Like, tell the story about Sid, always the promoter. <laugh> put the, the, the Rascals was coming. The Rascals are coming up on the Sha Stadium, uh, uh, advertising board. And Brian Epstein didn't react well to that. Tell, tell that story.
Lori Jacobson (21:00):
No, he did not. Uh, you know, he hadn't even thought about the Diamond Board. Um, the guys at the stadium said, don't, you know, don't waste it if you have a message you wanna send out. And he thought, the Rascals are coming. Yeah. Put that up there. The Rascals are coming. And, uh, Brian epn got to the stadium, took one look at that, and basically said, uh, if that isn't down in 10 seconds, Syd, we're walking. So
Fritz Coleman (21:33):
Nobody rides on the coattails of the Beatles, or something.
Lori Jacobson (21:35):
That was, that's right, baby. Interesting.
Louise Palanker (21:38):
Yeah. And, and talk about what, you know, who all was backstage. I I kind of love the juxtaposition of Bobby Vinton being there. Yeah. And kind of watching, you know, his crooner career being eclipsed, you know, in real time. Although, of course, you know, he's had a lifetime of, of, uh, success. But still, it's, it was, it was an era. It, the eras were shifting.
Lori Jacobson (21:57):
Yes. He, he was delightful. He was, um, one of the big, big clients for Alan Klein, another promoter and, and manager. Alan had hoped to wrestle the Beatles away from Brian Epstein, which eventually he wrestled three of them away. Um, so Alan brought Bobby and his newest clients, the Rolling Stones to Shay Stadium that night. It was just Mick and Keith who were there. Bobby and Mick were trying to navigate the stadium and get down inside to the locker rooms where the Beatles were. And, uh, he did have a big laugh because some tough New York kids started to hit Mick Jagger. And Mick started running, and Bobby started running. And then Bobby said, wait a minute, they're not hitting me <laugh>. So he, he walked casually downstairs while Mick made a run for it. And during the concert, Mick leaned over to Sid and said, gee, Sid, do you think the Rolling Stones will ever be able to play a stadium one day? And since, said, maybe a couple years from now,
Louise Palanker (23:16):
Fritz Coleman (23:17):
Brian Epstein's a really, uh, complicated person. Yes. And of course, he was the Beatles manager and owned a record store in London. And, uh, talk, talk about him a little bit.
Lori Jacobson (23:27):
Um, another gentleman, uh, named Dave Glide, who was in one of the opening acts, uh, called Sounds Incorporated. Um, Dave and his band had met the Beatles in Hamburg. So they were really good buddies. And when they came, came back to the uk, George suggested that they sign with Brian Epstein. Now Dave said that because Brian was not a professional manager, he was the nicest guy in show business. Uh, there was, at the most honest, the kindest, um, he was a real gentleman, very erudite, very cultured. Uh, and he gave a, a very finished, elegant, uh, image. But he had a really dark side. And I was very, that was one of the big surprises for me in doing the research for the book. He was a gay man living a very closeted life at that time. And sometimes he, they would be on tour and he would just disappear and join them two cities later. Uh, a little bit black and blue. Um, picked up some very rough people. Um, I think, you know, uh, my personal opinion is that he had such enormous success at such a young age that I think there was a part of him. Perhaps he was ashamed. Uh, perhaps he felt he didn't deserve this enormous success that came, but, um, he, uh, didn't treat himself very kindly.
Fritz Coleman (25:16):
Lori Jacobson (25:17):
Right. Took a lot of pills, drank a lot, gambled a lot, gambled away much of the money that he made. Uh, if he won, he often walked away and left it on the table. Um, and I don't think the Beatles were even aware of how, uh, dark that dark side was.
Speaker 5 (25:37):
Can you talk about the, go ahead. Go ahead, frit.
Fritz Coleman (25:40):
I, I'm, I'm sorry. I, I, I just wanted to say that you were talking about Ed Sullivan sort of taking advantage of the situation earlier. Uh, Brian and Ed Sullivan struck a deal to film of the Shea Stadium concert. Right. So they sort of split the, uh, split the gate on that.
Lori Jacobson (25:57):
Yeah. They went right over Sid and made the deal between themselves. And, um, I thought that was really lousy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, Sid was not the kind of guy to make waves. Um, I think he just thought of himself as a straight promoter when he clearly could have had producer credit on that film. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, he didn't even introduce the Beatles that night. He let Ed carry that ball and get all the, the screams. So th that was Sid, that was Sid to a fault, I think, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> here. The Beatles made $160,000 that night, and Sid took home about $3,000.
Louise Palanker (26:39):
Wow. Right. He was just always airing, uh, uh, on the side of Grace. Yes. And, and, and just creating something that, that he could take joy in. Yes. Uh, I, my favorite part of the book is, is the two young men who, who arrive at Shea with the cameras and fake press passes <laugh>, and decide, you know, this ought to be enough to get me as far as it can get me. Let's see. And it's funny how, how far a camera can get you in spaces, uh, cuz I've, I've used this technique myself. You know, you just walk up like, cuz everyone wants photographs. And so there's a part of human nature that just says, yes, I don't wanna take photographs, but I love knowing that there will be photographs. So let the person with the camera through. So talk about those two young men.
Lori Jacobson (27:23):
What hu Chutzpah these guys had. Okay. One guy was 17, he wore his lucky Bar Mitzvah suit. So <laugh>, if you know anything about Bar Mitzvahs, you know, he was 13 when he wore it. So the pants were too short, the coat was too tight. He, he took a business card from his local Baltimore, uh, radio station and laminated it, which we all know instantly makes you professional, complete credibility. And he had a really nice camera. So when everybody was going up to their seats, he went down into she stadium and he is trying every door down the hallway, they're all locked. And finally he finds one that's open. He o unlocked, he opens it and it's full of New York City cops. And he thought, if I run, I'm done. So he instantly put on a British accent, walked up to the first copy saw and said he was a friend of George Harrison's.
He'd gotten separated from his group. And George wants me to take pictures out on the field. And I think, you know, we knew so little about British people at that time, <laugh>. They took one look at that suit and the way it fit and thought, yeah, he must be British. And they walked him right out onto the field. He stood between Ed Sullivan, Brian Epstein, and Murray the K. And not one person said, Hey kid, what are you doing here? He took 60 pictures from the edge of the stage, all of which I used in the book, which is so exciting. You know, it, it kills me that, um, Brian was so worried about security that night. I mean, with a crowd that large, if 10,000 people decided to charge the stage, there would've been pretty much nothing anybody could have done about it. They had mounted policemen, they had thousands of policemen lined up. They had wooden horses. And Sid, one of the things Sid had promoted was Judo. He brought Judo to New York City. So if all else failed, he had 200 Judo instructors <laugh> lined up behind all the policemen. And of course, you know, there were maybe 10 people who tried to make it to the stage, uh, and were quickly caught. But, um, other than that, the crowd had nothing but love.
Fritz Coleman (29:54):
And, and, and Sid talking about young, uh, kids had a, an assistant for his work there at night that he just accepted as sort of an unpaid intern. A young Jeffrey Katzenberg Yeah. Who went on to, uh, be a third of the triumvirate that started Dreamworks, David Geer and Steven Spielberg. And that was his entree into show business as well.
Lori Jacobson (30:16):
Yeah. And that it just never ends. The, the people that were involved there, you know? Yeah. He was 15 years old and, uh, he was interning for the mayor. So, uh, he, he had his destiny already chosen. He was a g real go-getter.
Louise Palanker (30:35):
Wow. I, Lori, I wanted to tell you my Vince Calandra story because Oh,
Lori Jacobson (30:40):
Louise Palanker (30:41):
I enjoyed reading about Vince and reading his quotes cuz when I was a, a, uh, an intern and a page at Metro Tape, uh, I worked on the John Davidson talk talk show, and Vince was the producer and I was like, let's just say I was a little Jeffrey Katzenberg esque in that I, I definitely was pushing beyond <laugh> the, the, the, um, the expectations of what, you know, what was appropriate for a young, a young page slash intern. And, uh, kind of just, you know, had a lot of opinions and wanted to jump in with ideas. And, and, uh, one time I'm in the kind of like bullpen area and they're kind of like brainstorming, you know, who would be a good guest? And I'm, and it's gonna be the, the theme is animals. And I'm like, well how about Betty White? And from an the, the Producer's office, I hear this disembodied voice yelling, is that Lanker again? God damn it. I worked on this Sullivan show for 10 years before I opened my mouth Shut up. Wow. And that was Vince.
Lori Jacobson (31:47):
Wow. I'm shocked.
Louise Palanker (31:50):
But it was the kind of thing that where we just laughed cuz it was Vince, you know. Oh good. But it was, but you kind of take note, like, all right, like, I'm a page slash intern. I don't book the show <laugh>, you know, shut up. Yes. Point taken. But
Lori Jacobson (32:07):
Other thing, it was a great suggestion.
Louise Palanker (32:09):
It wa you know, just like picturing him like on the Sullivan Show for 10 years before he opens his mouth is, wasn't adorable enough for me. But the kind of thing he would do backstage, I'm in my page uniform and I'm now, I'm on duty as a page. And, you know, I work sometime as an intern with them in the, in the production offices. And then when I was a page, I was on duty as a page and he'd always go like, Paka Poka, come here,
Lori Jacobson (32:32):
Louise Palanker (32:33):
Come here. You got gum. I never had gum. And I would say, Vince, I don't have gum. I don't chew gum, I never have gum. I didn't have gum yesterday and I'm not gonna have gum tomorrow. But that was our, that was our thing. And I don't know, I haven't seen him since then. That was my first kind of show biz job. And Vince Calandra was my boss.
Lori Jacobson (32:54):
Wow. That is amazing. Yeah, he's doing great. He's 88. Yeah. He's in la
Louise Palanker (33:00):
So handsome. So handsome.
Lori Jacobson (33:03):
Yeah. He had some wonderful stories and, uh, and was very much involved in the documentary that was being shot that night. So,
Louise Palanker (33:13):
Yeah. Can you talk about that a little bit? Cuz I was looking for it and I, I found it on Vimeo, but it doesn't look like you can get the, you know, the professional experience. It's almost like you're seeing some sort of kind of lifted version of it that's been posted to Vimeo. But where, where can people, is it just available on D V D?
Lori Jacobson (33:33):
Um, you know, I'm not even sure if it is available, and no one is really sure why Apple hasn't, uh, done something with that. The only time I was able to see it, uh, was when Ron Howard's documentary came out a couple of years ago, the touring years, which The Beatles only toured for two years, and they showed the entire Shea Stadium concert, well, just the Beatles in actually movie theater. So we got to see it on the big screen. Oh wow, okay. Which was amazing. You know, the Beatles only played for 27 minutes for their $160,000
Louise Palanker (34:16):
<laugh>. Yeah. And now talk about some of the other acts that were on the bill and what their experiences were like and how fans were responding and reacting to their presence on, on, on
Lori Jacobson (34:25):
The stage. Well, you know, as far as the fans were concerned, they could not wait for the opening acts to get off stage <laugh>. They were all one big Vince Callandra get outta here. Um, the year before the Righteous Brothers had been, uh, hired as opening acts and they thought, this is amazing. We're opening for the Beatles. It's going to be amazing for our careers. And they did three shows throughout, which when they performed, everyone yelled, where are the Beatles? We want The Beatles. So they quit <laugh>. And after that, uh, the Beatles hired Sounds Inc. Always because they were good buddies. And, uh, you know, Brian loved to put people that he managed on stage as well. Um, so that was Sounds Inc. Um, the most popular, uh, group that performed with them on this tour was cannibal and the head Hunters. They had a huge hit with, uh, land of A Thousand Dances,
Fritz Coleman (35:34):
East La Boys
Lori Jacobson (35:36):
<laugh>. Yes. Which was also, uh, an amazing thing because mm-hmm. <affirmative> boys from East LA weren't getting big breaks like that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, they brought Brenda Holloway, who was a big Motown, uh, act at the time. Um, they had, uh,
Fritz Coleman (35:54):
Jackie or Shannon,
Lori Jacobson (35:56):
No, she wasn't there. She was there the year before.
Fritz Coleman (36:00):
Lori Jacobson (36:01):
Um, they had, uh, their opening act. The very first one to go out was a group of, um, dancers called the Disco Tech Dancers. Now I'm to, there was five young women and one guy I'm told, uh, by Dave Glide from Sounds Inc. That they always booked a group with lots of girls. So the boys didn't have to look very far to let nature take its course, as they say <laugh>. Um, so, which it did, all the girls hooked up with somebody. And, um, uh, you know, it just kept things nice and safe for everybody. Um, so we had the Discotech dancers. I mean, really all they did was, uh, oh. And they had King Curtis, a wonderful saxophone player, um, who died, uh, young, uh, which is, which is why he's not as well remembered as he should have been. And, um, it was just, and then they had endless, uh, disc jockeys and radio personalities. Um, one of them introduced Marvin Gaye, who only, uh, waved to everyone from the stage but did not perform. And in the one picture that I found of him there, he's holding a little movie camera of his own. And I just thought, oh, if only I could find that film. That must have been amazing.
Fritz Coleman (37:34):
And, and, and a pivotal player at all. That was Cousin Brucey, the nighttime disc jockey from W A B C, who I listened to as a kid. W A B C played all the way down in Philadelphia at night, was a 50,000 Watts station and his most recognizable voice ever. And he was pivotal. I mean, he was right there with him in the hotel and all that stuff. Lori talk talked about, I, I mean, I, what I was, what made me almost feel claustrophobic was the stories of the boys in the Warwick Hotel and what some of the rabid fans did to get inside that hotel, like being on top of the elevator. Were, I, I can't imagine a more dangerous thing. Talk about that. Yeah,
Lori Jacobson (38:17):
I, I know. What were they thinking? Well, they weren't thinking clearly. Some had their parents reserve rooms for them so they could be in, in the hotel. Um, they dressed up as, um, maids to clean the room, pushing big baskets of laundry with more girls inside the laundry. The guys were pretty hip to that. Of course, they had the whole floor, uh, uh, in the hotel where all the other bands were staying, um, and where they could just party their little heads off, which they did. Um, one girl posed as Paul's girlfriend, Jane Asher, she, she convinced the security enough and looked like Jane Asher enough that she made it to the front desk. And Paul was actually kind of freaked out about it. Um, they sent one of their guys down and, you know, he knew right away it wasn't Jane. And then she just burst into tears. Please get this photo signed for me. Um, yeah, they were, they were desperate.
Fritz Coleman (39:27):
The, the, uh, I'm, I'm, I'm always looked at them as being sort of the first sort of renegade pushback group from the sixties going against convention and music and everything else. And when they were awarded the M B E, this, um, honor that they gave civilians who had contributed to culture in Great Britain, when they were awarded that to Queen Elizabeth, they, they sort of were nonplussed about getting that at first, weren't they?
Lori Jacobson (39:56):
Um, well, I would say that Ringo was thrilled <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he thought it was fabulous. And I'm pretty sure Paul thought it was pretty fabulous too. George could have cared less, but John hated it. And one of the other big surprises for me, I, in this book was seeing that early, the inevitability of their breakup, um, and I'll start with John. That was, he, he thought that was ridiculous. He felt like a terrible hypocrite accepting that award. But Brian said, you gotta do it. Um, John was, you know, when the Beatles were on tour in 64, they found out that they were playing to segregated audiences in America. And, and they would have none of that. They refused to go on if that was what was gonna happen. Vietnam, as you said, was escalating and civil rights, and John was, um, was adamantly against the war. And then it comes down to Shea and they have to wear these military styled jackets. And John said, I don't wanna wear it. Well, you have to. Yeah. Because the other three are wearing theirs. So he said, every time something like that happened where he had to do something he didn't wanna do, he gave away a little piece of himself. So he loved playing music with his band mates, but he hated being a Beatle. And uh, oh,
Fritz Coleman (41:34):
That's so interesting.
Lori Jacobson (41:36):
Yeah, I was really shocked. And then, you know, while, while we're leading up to the concert, they're shooting the movie Help George, there's a, there's a scene in an Indian restaurant and they have musicians in the background playing sitars and George's head just exploded. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what is that music? What is that instrument? And that really was his entree into the world of mysticism and, and spirituality that he
Fritz Coleman (42:08):
Shankar mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yep. Um,
Lori Jacobson (42:10):
Bring, oh, go ahead. And I was gonna say, Ringo had the lead really in help. His acting abilities were discovered during a hard day's night. And he had the lead in help. John said, I feel like an extra in my own movie. And, uh,
Fritz Coleman (42:28):
Did they enjoy Ringo
Lori Jacobson (42:29):
Fritz Coleman (42:30):
Experience or was it just, they understood the promotional value of it and it was just kind of an irritant to them? Did they enjoy that experience? It sounded like it made their lives really hectic for
Lori Jacobson (42:41):
That period of, of making help.
Fritz Coleman (42:43):
Lori Jacobson (42:44):
Yeah. It was a bit of an irritant. They were continually pulled away from their families and their girlfriends. Um, it, they were placed in dangerous situations. Uh, they weren't as, as John said, he, it wasn't the four of them, like it was in a hard day's night where they were being themselves. It was, they felt it was a silly story. John said later he realized it was sort of the precursor to those Batman, like bam Wow. Kind of stuff. But at the time, he didn't get it. And he would've much rather been in the studio
Fritz Coleman (43:22):
Louise Palanker (43:22):
<affirmative>. Right. And when they stopped touring, that's what they got to do.
Lori Jacobson (43:27):
Louise Palanker (43:27):
And that's when,
Lori Jacobson (43:29):
That was why they stopped touring. Right. Paul thought touring was the answer to everything. Paul was the showman from the start. Right. Clearly he loves touring cuz he's still doing it. Yeah. But, um, but
Fritz Coleman (43:44):
John, did Paul, Paul Paul admitted he was the only one in the group that wanted to be a pop star? Yes. From the very beginning.
Lori Jacobson (43:51):
Yes. Uh, yes. Absolutely. And, you know, John and George just wanted to explore the studio. They were getting a lot more creative, uh, with sounds and, and working in different things into their music. And Ringo was still the new guy and he was just happy to be there. <laugh>, you know, whatever they wanted to do, he was up for it.
Louise Palanker (44:16):
Right. Tell us a little bit about some of your other books and, uh, what we will find if we discover your author page on Amazon.
Lori Jacobson (44:25):
Well, I'm, uh, I'm a Hollywood historian as you mentioned. And, um, um, my field of expertise is really scandals and mysteries because the scandals that celebrities experienced in the twenties and thirties influenced what we saw on the screen and, uh, what happened at home. Um, courtroom proceedings and, um, and, and nudity, or not nudity, uh, um, Mary Asher's diary was exposed and, uh, you find out she's sleeping around, then you find out her husband is sleeping around and it, this is in, um, the depression when all most people had was sex. You know, so what ruined, so a sex scandal in the twenties that ruined Clara Bow only helped cement Mary Astro's career. So I found all that so interesting. And of course it influenced, as I said, what, what we saw, what the box office was, what happened in the bedroom. It influenced everything.
So scandals in mysteries and peop pe many celebrities died untimely deaths, uh, or unsolved mysteries. And there were always ghost stories attached to those kind of stories. And then I experienced a ghost at Groman's Chinese Theater. Oh yes I did. Yes I did. Oh, please tell us more. Well, we were, I was with a, um, a, an historical preservation group called Hollywood Heritage, and we were going to give a tour of Hollywood's Grand movie palaces along Hollywood Boulevard. So we were there early one morning, 8:00 AM with a guide, uh oh. And she was telling us that you could push a button and, uh, part of the wall would slide back. And Sid Graman had, um, a little, uh, cocktail area back there for when the stars came to their premieres there. He didn't wanna take them back to his office afterward for a drink. So he had this secret party room.
It was some wonderful stuff. And we went into the main auditorium. They told me I could go backstage if I wanted to. And I was the only one of six stodgy historians who wanted to do that. I looked around, nothing terribly exciting, I rejoined the group and suddenly the guide said, this place is so haunted. And we all, without speaking, turned back toward the stage and the floor to ceiling velvet drape was being grasped like this by someone standing on the stage. And it was shaken very angrily at us. It was the anger that really frightened me. And I uttered the classic phrase, do you see what I see? <laugh>. And then I sent a, I set a land speed record running for the lobby. I was terrified. Wow. Uh, and I later found out, you're gonna love this. It's the ghost of a man named Fritz.
Fritz Coleman (47:58):
Lori Jacobson (47:59):
Yes. He used to work at the theater and uh, he took his life behind the movie screen where I had just been, and I think now that he was letting me know he did not, that was his spot. He picked it and he didn't like me going back there.
Louise Palanker (48:19):
Well, I think he made
Fritz Coleman (48:20):
His point. Capitalize on this. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (48:22):
Yeah. <laugh> <laugh>. All right, well we're gonna wrap things up right now and we really appreciate your being with us. We want everyone to check out this wonderful book and all of your other, uh, writings and I'm going to do some more reading cuz you've really intrigued me with all, I love Hollywood Ghost stories and scandals. It's just fascinating. So we'll need for you to come back and talk about those books.
Lori Jacobson (48:43):
I would love to thank you both so much for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.
Louise Palanker (48:48):
All right. And here come your closing credits. Thank you so much for joining us. We would love to continue this conversation with you on Instagram and Twitter where we are. Media Path Pod, and on Facebook where our show pages Media Path podcast. And our Facebook group is Media Path with Fritz and Weezy podcast community. You can find full video podcast episodes loaded with bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. You can write to us at media path podcast gmail.com. If you enjoy the show, please give us a nice rating on Apple Podcast and talk about us on social media. You can sign up for our fun and dishy email@example.com. And we want to thank our wonderful guest, Lori Jacobson. Our team includes Dean Friedman, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill phc, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I'm Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman. And we will see you along the media
Lori Jacobson (49:40):