Time does fly.
Three weeks ago, on a previous post, I promised to get back to this blog and the Summer of 1964 right away after I found my old letters from that summer from my best friend, Sherryl. Easier said than done. Life intervened with my plans – it has a way of doing that.
Fifty years ago, there was so much Beatle history being made which was intertwined with my youth. And, at present, this evening at 8 pm Pacific Time, there will be more musical history made when one Beatle, Paul McCartney, ends his OUT THERE tour at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Again, I so wish I could be at this concert but I’ll be there in spirit.
Paul’s concert tonight also marks the end of the Candlestick Park itself – they will be demolishing it after tonight‘s final performance to make way for a housing project. But, tonight’s ending of the park promises to go out with a blast! (No pun intended.)
Candlestick Park’s history figures prominently into Beatle history – on August 29, 1966, the Beatles gave their last full-length live concert there. Good luck tonight, Paul, as you say farewell to your fans on this leg of your tour and as all say farewell to Candlestick Park. The park, host to the football team, the 49ers, expects to host 49,000 tonight! Nice ring to it!
Meanwhile, fifty years ago, “A Hard Day’s Night” single was #1. The film had just premiered in the US on August 11th. Sherryl and I were writing letters feverishly to each other back and forth between coasts. You can read the post marks “AM” and “PM” and sometimes Sherryl would write two or three letters to me in a day. Re-reading them, it strikes me how small our world was and how much we repeated ourselves – “We love the Beatles!!!” were written all over the pages along with the titles of their then current songs. How patient we were in waiting for each other’s news and any news we could scrounge up about the Beatles; so vastly different than today where there is such an overload of information everywhere we turn.
Our mood depended on the music charts and what number the Beatles placed during any given week!!! J It was a time of innocence and fun. It strikes me how pleased and happy we were with the simple things – a letter, knowing we had a ticket to the Boston area premiere of the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” and knowing that we would attend the Beatles’ concert in the fall of ‘64 at Boston Garden (though we were quite disappointed that the concert was scheduled AFTER school started, on September 12th). The knowledge and anticipation of these few future events filled our everyday lives from moment to moment.
Digging up personal history is emotional. But, I’m glad I kept Sherryl’s letters and had another chance to read them. It’s amazing to experience again the sense of hope we exuded in those letters and the certain expectancy that we would be the directors of our own lives.
Fifty years ago, in the world around us, Viet Nam raged and there were more race riots in Jersey City, Patterson and Elizabeth, NJ. At that time, these events seemed very far away from the life I led.
Variety reported on August 12, 1964 that the Beatles had sold approximately 80 million records worldwide, a staggering amount at the time considering the, so far, short length of their careers. Also, in August 1964, the Beatles were on the cover of Life magazine. I lived for each and every Beatle milestone. My own life seemed inconsequential in relationship to the historic tapestry the Beatles were making.
Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles arrived in the US on August 18th to begin their US/Canadian tour. They played their first concert on August 19, 1964 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Oh, how I wanted to follow them to each and every city. But, I was way too young. I had to experience them through what media I could get my hands on and by attending whatever concert dates came my way to Boston. I did my best to assimilate the Beatles into the confines of my then 13 year-old life.
I explore this time in ROAD TO SHEA STADIUM, my coming-of-age screenplay about the early days of Beatlemania and how it affected the lives of two teenage girls and their families. I blend fact with fiction, adding those things that I wished had happened.
I’m happy that I was a witness to Beatlemania and that I can still reminisce about those days. It also makes me happy to know that one Beatle is still making history and that he will be weaving his magic at Candlestick Park later tonight. Here‘s to you, Paul!!!