BEATLEMANIA The High Price of Success
Although teenage idolators may regard the status of the Beatles as the pinnacle of care-free mortal attainment, it's not exclusively champagne and Rolls Royces and the satisfaction of each passing whim. Far from it.
The hazards and handicaps of Beatlehood are many and constant one might gather, in chatting candidly with any member of the quartet.
"Of course we like what we're doing and the big success," said George Harrison. "But boy, if we could only go out to dinner once at the places we like -- instead of having meals sent in to our flat."
"Or see a movie once in a while," added Paul McCartney.
"People ask me why I've never bought a car," added John Lennon. "It's hard enough to get into one."
Prisoners in more ways than one of the fruits of their immense global fame. The Beatles now maintain a private bodyguard to assist in getting them through the perils of each day. The London house which the three unmarried boys share is likely to be ringed with adolescent admirers when the first faint streaks of dawn scuttle over the London skyline.
The day's harassments begin when, after their 7 a.m. coffee, the boys try to figure out which exit to use or what strateagem to employ to get into their car and off to work. At his own flat John and his wife look out of the window mornings to face a similar relentless cordon.
Getting to the studio for "A Hard Day's Night" involved a further running of the guantlet, sometimes with the loss of a coat button or two. And the problems were multiplied many times when shooting schedules propelled them somewhere into the heart of London.
Then they had to summon up extra reserves of patience and rely on the legendary tenacity of a network of Bobbies to see them through. And the homeward trek, with school out and fresh young feminine legions joining in the hunt, was the stiffest ordeal of all. Nothing like The Beatles has ever struck Britain before, and the teenage favor seems to be mounting week by week.
The Beatles have tried disguises many times, ranging from grey wigs and heavy dark glasses to beards, but rarely have any such devices fooled their alert followers.
In escaping at night from the Scala Theatre, where they filmed many sequences of "A Hard Day's Night," The Beatles often found it impossible to get past the horde of hopeful screamers to their own car and on successful days were spirited out side doors or fire exits to waiting police wagons, furniture trucks, or catering lorries; each day the tactics were altered. Even when off and away in the car, there could be no relaxation of tension, for at any moment a wild-eyed teenager might attempt to leap in their path (many have) -- presumably under the theory of that if the worst happens, there could be no happier catastrophe.
Unable without further travail to get out in the evening to a theatre, club or movie, The Beatles took to screening movies in their own living rooms. They became especially fond of the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy.
Comedies, which they had never seen before. The only fairly safe time for a walk-out doors, the boys found, was about two or three in the morning. And that didn't work with a 5.30 a.m. alarm call for filming.
So although the still exuberant Beatlemen are earning more money than anyone else in Britain, they haven't yet found a way to spend much of it in ways they would enjoy. Their chief collective aim at the moment is to enjoy a seaside weekend at Brighton or Bournemouth -- but that would be asking for it, with a vengeance.
"A rainy Sunday is a lucky one," said Ringo. "Then we figure we haven't missed anything."
Care for Famous Mop-Tops
An attractive English blonde named Betty Glasow got paid for a job millions of other girls would have paid to have.
Betty took care of the Beatles hair during the production of their first film, "A Hard Day's Night."
Miss Glasow is one of the top hairdressers in Britain's motion picture industry. In her seven years at studios and on location here and overseas she has attended such stars as Capucine and Sue ("Lolita") Lyon.
Betty recently cared for the four famous mops while their owners made "A Hard Day's Night" for producer Walter Shenson.
She reported: "A lot of times I have to condition actors' and actresses' hair before they can go in front of the cameras. Often I steam their hair with oil so that it shines and looks softer when it's filmed.
"But this sort of thing isn't necessary for the Beatles. Their hair is so healthy it doesn't need any conditioning. It's alive, with excellent texture, and the Beatles keep it very well. I love doing their hair!"
"Before they started filming," Miss Glasow continued, "The Beatles cut their hair themselves or had friends do it for them. After we started shooting in March I took care of it for them. After all, they were frightfully busy making this film."
Betty washed each Beatle's hair once every three days and trimmed it once a week.
"A wash and trim takes a total of about 45 minutes. They were very easy customers and I try to be careful not to take much off."
Miss Glasow added, "it was harder to keep their hair tidy then the average man's, but can you imagine the Beatles without their wonderful, long hair! I certainly can't.
"And, from what the boys have told me, they're every bit as fond of their hair as their fans are."
Article first e-published here by permission of the author.