This story fascinates even me, simply due to the great ending.....

Back in 1966 I was 15 years old.  The number one singing group in the world was the Beatles.  I owned every album that they had recorded up to that point.  The announcement on WKAZ radio that Beatles concert tickets would be sold in Charleston was the biggest news I'd ever heard in my life!   They were going to play at Crosley Field (home of the Cincinnati Reds at the time) in Cincinnati.  To me,  they might as well have played in my neighborhood!  The amazing thing as I look back on it,  was that the concert tickets were only $10.... 



As poor as we were, even I could come up with $10!   Now... how to get there....

I soon discovered that the passenger train at the old C&O Depot ran right to Cincinnati that day,  and it was a quick two minute walk to Crosley Field.   Somehow I talked my mom into giving me the cash for a round trip train ticket, and all was ready.   My mom took this opportunity to head in the opposite direction with her girlfriends by car,  to Virginia Beach for a few days.   MY plan was to arrive in Cincinnati,  see the Beatles,  and then grab the evening train home.  Funny how things seldom work out the way you plan....

I got on the train that Saturday morning.  The sun was shining and the world was mine.  I had with me an old 8mm film camera that my Uncle loaned me.  It only had enough film for five minutes of recording. So after quickly filming a few stops along the way,  I left enough film to record about 3 or 4 minutes of the show.  We arrived in Cincinnati and I headed to Crosley Field.  The skys were getting very dark however.  By the time the show was supposed to start,  all hell broke loose.  I mean it rained buckets!  Then an announcement comes over the P.A. that the show was canceled.  We were instructed to hang on to our ticket stubs and return the same time the following day. (Sunday)  Now,  this posed a real problem for me,  because I only had about $8 in my pocket to start with,  and had already spent about $3 of it.  Remember,  I was supposed to go back home that afternoon. Anyway,   at least I could stay....  while all the bus loads of kids who had won free tickets through radio station contests were forced to return home from where they came. Bummer!


What could I do?  I headed back to the train station and made plans for a long night there.  I did buy dinner,  and had a few bucks left over for breakfast tomorrow.  Now it's 11pm and there's no WAY I can get any rest,  much less sleep in the brightly lit train station.  I walked outside to the platform,  towards the area where the trains arrive.  I looked around and saw a couple of empty train cars parked on a siding.  That's it!  I'll just curl-up in a car and spend the night there like a common hobo.  My sleep was not peaceful however.  I was afraid my car would be hooked up during the night and I'd wake up somewhere in New Mexico.  So off and on I dozed,  listening for any sound of trains being coupled.  The next morning I awoke, exactly where I started.  Well... so far so good.   I ate breakfast and then killed the morning at the station waiting for the gates to open at Crosley Field.  At sometime near noon,  they did....


I go inside and join thousands of others who came to watch the greatest band on earth.  I do a Pan Shot of the crowd with the movie camera and wait for the show to begin.  All of a sudden, just to my lower left the Beatles came running out onto the field.  This I captured on film.  They were wearing cream colored suits with pin-stripes.  They went up on stage,  which by now had a complete covering over it unlike the day before,  and good thing too, because this would turn out to be one of the hottest days of the year.  The girls needless to say started screaming the second they saw the Beatles, and that screaming never stopped for a second throughout the entire performance!  I hardly heard ONE NOTE of a song.  Not one Beatle could be heard singing.  I read a Bio of the Beatles, and either Paul or John once commented that they could have been singing "Mary had a little lamb" and no one would have been the wiser because they simply couldn't be heard over the screams.  Anyway,  I filmed my last two minutes and then settled down to enjoy at least the sights of the show.   Even though I hardly heard any music,  I was happy to have witnessed history in the making.  Most people don't realize that the Beatles (unlike the Stones and others) only toured two short years.  I had witnessed one of those last few concerts.   I caught the train back home to Charleston and life once again was back to normal (boring).


It's now 2009.  Over the years I had the film transferred to VHS video and then put away with little thought to it.  In the summer of the year, I'm cleaning out my basement leaving no stone unturned.  I come across a bunch of old family 8mm films and decide that as most of them had been transferred,  I had no use for them.  I tossed them all into a trash box and as I do,  the Beatles film lands on top.  I look at it for a second and think "wonder if anyone might give me money for it on E-Bay?".    So I uploaded about a minute of the film to YouTube as a sample,  and then placed the film up for auction with a $5 opening bid.  Within 2 days I had a bid of $100.  I was VERY happy, considering that I fished it out of the trash.  It then sat there at $100 for the next 5 days.  In the last 5 minutes,  the bidding started to climb:  $200,  $500,  $1000!   When the clock ran out,  the winning bid was $1,500!  Only one problem:  The guy who won the bid was in London.  Oh great.   A few minutes later I get an e-mail asking for my phone number.  It was the guy in London.  I gave it to him and he called within 4 minutes.  Turns out he worked for the Beatles!  Actually for Apple Corp,  the Beatles company.  Seems as though Paul had instructed the company to be on the look-out for any interesting memorabilia from the Beatles old days,  because they had lost most everything they ever owned through previous business transactions.  Not only that,  but they wanted to own anything to do with their likeness, especially film, so that it couldn't be used to turn a buck without them getting part of the buck.  Naturally, I had to give up all rights to the film now and forever.  I had to remove the YouTube video also.  I could never display the film in any way, shape or form ever again publicly, even though I had several DVD copies.  So I signed the official papers and the company even sent a courier to pick it up.  I was "asked" not to say anything to the Press,  because they didn't want people to know that they were willing to pay big bucks for certain items.  Now.... you may be asking yourself: "who was bidding against the guy from London?"  I'll tell you:  It was a guy from the Columbus area that was a very successful businessman and scientist.  Only due to his bidding was I able to gain that amount. Otherwise,  it would have gone for the $100 because I had no reserve on it.

This horrible photo is the only thing I can show you, as I sold all the rights to my film. This image taken from part of the film shows the Beatles running out on the field for the concert.


I thought it was really cool that I had filmed one of the greatest bands in the world,  and then forty three years later sold the Beatles a little simple film from when I was a kid.  The circle was now complete, and it's all been good.



Back to the Index