For the past few years, I’ve become telephone pals with Sid Bernstein. If you’re not familiar with Sid, he’s the guy who promoted the Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium in 1965. Before we met via telephone, Sid was part of my Beatlemania history of the mid-1960s when, for me, the world was fresh and new and the Beatles pervaded my senses.
In the summer of ‘65, it was Sid who would deliver me to my Mecca, to the Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium in New York City. In ’64, I managed to see, not hear, the Beatles in Boston’s old but real Garden. They were four specks on a makeshift stage but the memory still stays. ’65 would not be Boston’s lucky year – the Beatles wouldn’t be stopping off here but going straight to New York. Was it our fault? What could we do?
16 Magazine, my teen Bible, previewed the eagerly awaited itinerary for the Beatles’ 1965 American Tour which I carried in my school-girl blazer pocket. That raggedy piece of paper was creased a thousand times from reference by the time that summer arrived. My best friend – BFF to some of you – and I swooned every time we looked at that list, that is, once we hatched our plan to actually go to New York City and see THEM. Back then, in ancient times, this was an amazing idea to initiate and navigate…with parents, no less! Along with the tour list, 16 Magazine listed addresses of where to get tickets in those lucky towns to be visited by the Beatles. Imagine, we WROTE away for tickets. Looking back, this thought astounds me!
Sid didn’t know it then but he was my saviour that summer. The two tickets I wrote away for got lost in the mail. I wrote Sid a note telling him what had happened and, a short time later, I received two Press Passes in the mail for the about-to-be most famous concert in rock n’roll history. Since I opened that hand-addressed envelope with those Press Passes in it, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Sid Bernstein.
If only the world had stayed that kind to me.
This Press Pass moment is in my screenplay, ROAD TO SHEA STADIUM, a Beatles’ story told from a fan’s point of view. Sid read ROAD TO SHEA STADIUM. He told me he loved the story and that it made him cry. I treasure his complement.
We have talked over the past few years about the screenplay and other things – he by his beloved telephone in the mornings, still conducting business up until his recent illness. Lately, I’ve phoned less regularly but, when I do, he says, ‘I love your story. See, for an old guy, I remember!’
I hope Sid will be around for a long time to come – it will be a lesser world without the likes of him. I continue to thank Sid for his original kindness to me though I suspect he doesn’t quite understand the impact his gesture had on me as a teen. Thank you again, Sid, for your kindness.