And there they were.
The Fab Four.
The Mop Tops. The rock band there ever was.
And they had been in the playground behind my school.
It was February of 1967, and rumors were swirling around our school a city about 25 miles north of London. Many boys had seen some black Mini Coopers with windows going into Knole Park, the site . And those Minis were said to include the Beatles.
It was lunchtime, so we walked to the park entrance, which ran down , and throughout the college grounds into the playground. And came on the outside film set at which the group was making a promo movie for their happy-go-lucky published Penny Lane / Â Strawberry Fields ForeverÂ single and upcoming Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which premiered in the United States 50 years ago Friday.
You might have noticed the footage. There is a section where the quartet ride horses one brown and white, via a stone archway. There’s a part where they surround an older piano and put paint. And there’s a scene where Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are currently sitting at an set dining table being served other items and guitars from footmen. The four then get up in the table and Paul and John overturn it.
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On the table was an Champagne jar that among my schoolmates caught as a souvenir. He got George John and Paul to sign the label. Somehow Ringo didn’t make the cut.
After a time, our lunch breakÂ was finished. “Hadn’t we better go?” Boys began asking one another. It was that — and consequently overlook the expertise of our lives that are young — or stay, and risk the anger.
I chose to stay. After all, in front of us was The Greatest Band There Was. At the height of their fame. And there was no safety. OK , so when they filmed, assistants herded us out of the way, but through breaks we could go here and there, hanging out with all the ring members that were bemused.
During the periods, they went back to relax near their cars. While Paul had one of those British cars of the day, a Humber Super Snipe John, George and Ringo had the Minis. John kept to himself, so I moved over to where George and Ringo were hanging outside. “Can I look in the car?” I inquired. “Sure,” one of them said. So I and another couple of boys peeked inside. “You can get in if you want,” explained George or Ringo. So we did.
And George decided he’d take us to get a spin on one of the drives in the park. There it was — we’d ridden in a Beatles car, although it was just a circle that is little.
Afterwards, I asked George. For some reason, for example my schoolmate, I didn’t get Ringo’s.
It turned out the Beatles had been at the park a couple of days before, staying pimply students. They had taken in some of the attractions including a trip to an antique store along with afternoon tea in one of its restaurants, at the town, where John bought a circus poster. And it was from that poster that lots of the words of this song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! , a tune on Sgt. Pepper, were taken.
Eventually, the filming reasoned and the group got into their cars. Since Paul was pushed away, I rushed upward and an autograph was signed by him . Like all the group, he was smiling and friendly.
And therefore we trudged back to school. The following morning were advised to report to their educators. Our punishment? Six “solaces” of 250 words each, where we needed to copy prose or poetry.
And instead of laboriously replicate, I wrote down lyrics.
They were Bob Dylan tunes. I was not much of a Beatles fan.
And these autographs? A couple of years after, my young sister had a notebook. And she found one, inside with only a few words. I had set it rather than have the ribbons sit amidst my schoolwork.
Attempting to begin with clean pages, they were erased by her.
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