VIDEO: Sussex Sounds Back to Beatlemania
As a County Times reporter once said, ‘The Beatles have a way of cropping up everywhere nowadays’, and it seems to have certainly been the case in 1964 for the Horsham district.
With the release of the band’s major motion picture debut A Hard Day’s Night, plenty of competition opportunities to win tickets to the legendary gig at the Brighton Hippodrome, and the big trip to the US that catapulted them into worldwide fame - it was the year of Beatle-fever, and the Liverpool boys could be seen and heard everywhere - with a little help from the County Times, of course.
Spring 2014 has finally arrived and the days are promised to be milder - the verdant season five decades ago saw plenty of sun as the Chanctonbury Lions Club hosted the annual Storrington Carnival.
The main attraction that year was a London Transport bus which featured in A Hard Day’s Night. It was in fact owned by three enterprising young men who planned to tour Europe in it.
However, someone who worked at Twickenham Film Studios saw the bus and offered the owners £30 a day for it to feature in the British film.
Villagers sat in the very same seats as The Beatles did and marvelled at their signatures on the upper deck.
Buses, planes and trains were fast becoming The Beatles’ second homes as they toured the length and breadth of the country.
Their live appearances have become synonymous with crowds of girls clamouring in the streets and passing out in the isles of venues.
Josie Gumbrell may have been one of those girls. The West Chiltington resident won a pair of tickets to see the band at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London in a nation-wide food slogan competition. The promoters also provided two return railway tickets from Pulborough.
Unfortunately, there is no record of what the winning slogan for Central Stores was - but Josie’s ditty may have rivalled anything Lennon and McCartney could have thrown together - alas, we will never know.
It was not always sunshine, roses and mop tops for the fans as one journalist reported in June:
“Local Beatle fans are angry. They went to Horsham ticket agencies to buy tickets for The Beatles show at Brighton Hippodrome and instead of yeah, yeah, yeahs, they got no, no, nos.”
That is right - they had sold out! Not only that, but the businesses had advertised the sale of tickets and failed to tell fans that most had been pre-sold to ‘special customers’.
One frustrated resident who had queued outside Cole Brothers in London Road said it is wrong to advertise the sale of tickets if they are going to ‘special people’.
A spokesperson for Cole Brothers said it was advertised previously that tickets would be on sale and customers had already made pre-bookings in store.
Queue The Beatles track ‘Misery’ and you have a very sad scenario on your hands.
On a lighter note, if you did not see them in person, you could have caught the cheeky lads at Horsham’s Odeon Cinema.
In August, it was reported A Hard Day’s Night had broken the Brighton Road branch’s box office records.
Although the screenings were packed out each night, manager at the time John Gower said there was only one incident of trouble when a group of teenagers were ejected after causing a ‘disturbance’. Tut tut, kids back then...
Could you imagine how youths would have reacted if a member of The Beatles visited the district?
When Ringo Starr stopped by in Rudgwick to ask for directions in October, fans had missed a golden opportunity.
He was reported to have pulled up outside the police house in Bucks Green driving a red sports car and asked how to get to Weybridge.
That was a bold move Mr Starr - Had he not heard about the trouble at the local cinema or the raging fans who missed out on tickets earlier that year?
It was in fact The County Times that eased Beatle-lovers over the Christmas period with a competition to see the boys live at their Christmas Show in the Odeon, Hammersmith.
The ‘Teens-and-Twenty Christmas Cheer Contest’ in conjunction with Durrant’s Music Shop in North Street, put together ten questions about the fab four for residents to answer.
Beatle-experts could win four tickets to the show on December 30, the band’s latest album courtesy of Durrant’s, and to top it all off a photograph autographed by all four members!
Entries must be in by the December 18, but you may be 50 years too late...
If you or anyone you know featured in any of these articles, or remember the events, get in touch and let us know - the County Times would like to hear the full story.
Call 01403 751200 or email [email protected]