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Beatles Interviews Database: Beatles Junior Press Conference, NYC 8/22/1966
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On August 20th 1966, with just two days before the Beatles arrival in New York City, Gary Stevens and 'The Good Guys' at radio station WMCA invited Beatles fans to take part in a contest -- the winners of which would attend a Beatles Junior Press Conference on August 22nd, and would be able to talk directly with the Beatles.

Gary Stevens stated just after the one-of-a-kind event, "We were cordially invited to invite 75 lucky guys and gals to attend a special Beatles Junior Press Conference... The (kids) did a great job, and I'll tell you something, the Beatles got such a kick out of it. I could tell they were really digging it."

Felice LaMastra, one of the lucky teenagers in attendence at the Beatles Junior Press Conference, would later remember: "Gary said that 75 postcards were to be picked out of some sort of bin, and those winners would be able to attend this Beatles Junior Press Conference for the chance of a lifetime… to ask the Beatles any question they’d like. There was a similar contest that was held by the official American Beatles Fan Club, and they had picked 75 of THEIR winners from their club as well.  So the entire conference wound up consisting of 150 attendees. In just 48 hours, WMCA Radio received 48,000 post cards as I recall, and I was one of the 75 winners picked. It is beyond words how overjoyed I was to win. I worshipped the Beatles. They were the best thing that ever happened in my life."

John Lennon and Paul McCartney both confirmed that the idea for the special fans-only event came from the Beatles, themselves. The Junior Press Conference was held on August 22nd 1966 -- on the same day but separately from the usual Beatles press event for New York City reporters.

Remembering the events as they occured that day, Felice states, "Arriving for the conference was like arriving at an event where the President of the United States was appearing along with the Oscar Award Show going on at the same time and in the same place! That’s how many fans and security surrounded all blocks around the entire perimeter of that Warwick Hotel area in mid-town Manhattan.  New York literally came to a stop in that section of the City."

Felice recalls of the Beatles' entrance into the press conference, "The 150 winners went wild with screams when the doors behind the Warwick conference table opened and the Beatles all appeared.   I remember the four of them kind of jumping down a step on to the level of the conference table and then taking their seats. The room went ballistic.  Kids were screaming their heads off.  It was magical."

For more of Felice's firsthand account of what it was like attending a Beatles' press conference and being up close with the Fab Four in 1966, click here.

Some of the audio excerpts from the Beatles Junior Press Conference luckily have survived, as well as nearly one minute of black and white video. The text of the surviving excerpts is presented below.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Q: "Paul McCartney, are you going to get married with Jane Asher?"

(crowd of youngsters yell with excitement)

JOHN: (loudly) "Yay! Tee-hee!"

PAUL: "Umm, I'm PROBABLY gonna get married with Jane."

(crowd of girls scream)

Q: "I want to know who your favorite American group is."

JOHN: "Just one? There's a lot of them."

PAUL: "There's quite a few of them, you know. Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful, Byrds, Mamas And Papas."

Q: "I'd like to know, John, are you making a movie without the other Beatles?"

JOHN: "Yes."

Q: "When?"

JOHN: "When I get home from doing this."

Q: "Are you gonna have a lead part?"

JOHN: "No."

Q: "A small part?"

JOHN: "It's... you know. I wouldn't take a lead part. I wouldn't like to."

Q: "Will they put your name in the mo.. you know in the umm..."

JOHN: (jokingly) "I'm big enough to get a mench."


Q: "I'd like to ask Paul when the whole group is going to make their next picture."

PAUL: "The next picture -- We'll probably make it, I think, early next year. But at the moment the man's writing a script, and it depends on the script, you know, when we make it."

Q: "I'd like to ask John -- Is it true he went around London in a gorilla suit?"


JOHN: "No. That was a film called 'Morgan.' I've got a gorilla suit, which I've worn about twice to frighten a few people, and it's too hot."

Q: "I'd like to know -- Do you mean all the lyrics that you write?"

PAUL: "We mean them as lyrics. But I mean, if we write 'We all live in a Yellow Submarine,' we don't REALLY mean THAT."


Q: "Paul, is Eleanor Rigby cryptics? Does it got a hidden meaning?"

PAUL: "No, no. No. It's just a straight song."

JOHN: (comical voice) "That aint no hidden meaning, baby."


Q: "I wonder, being in a group with four people and becoming famous so young, how you managed to evolve with separate personalities."

PAUL: "The main thing is, it's true that we're a group of four people together with an image, but we don't believe that. We don't take that bit of us too seriously."

JOHN: "We're still us, you know."

PAUL: "We're still individuals."

Q: "I'd like to wish John a happy wedding anniversary."

JOHN: "Oh, thank you!"

(crowd yells and applauds)

Q: "I want to know if any of you know Patricia Flater in Cumberland, England."

PAUL: "Patricia who?"

Q: "Flater. F - L - A - T - E - R."

PAUL: (pause, then comically) "Suuuuuure!"


Q: "I'd like to ask Paul, who is Eleanor Rigby? I read in The Beatles Book that she is a person. Who is she?"

PAUL: "No, she isn't. It was just a name. It was nearly gonna be Daisy Hawkins."


Q: "I read that she was someplace with you fellas -- That she met you."

PAUL: "No, it's not a real person. It's only imagination."

Q: "In the beginning of your album (Revolver), right before Taxman, there's a lot of squeaking..."

GEORGE: "It's just the bit before we recorded it, what happened to be on the tape. That part usually gets cut off. We thought you'd like to hear it."

Q: "I want to know - How come you don't have the same 'Help' movie and 'Hard Day's Night' movie here in the United States... It's not as long... Why did you cut it?"

GEORGE: "United Artists cut the pieces out of it. Not us."

PAUL: "It's got nothing to do with us, you see. Other people do that -- Cut it. We just make it."

Q: "I heard that Sid Bernstein offered you to come back next year. Are you looking forward to it?"

JOHN: "We never heard about it."

Q: "What do you think of miniskirts, and do you think they will go higher?"

PAUL: "Well, I like miniskirts. I think they're fine. The thing is -- At the moment it's miniskirts, but in Victorian times people were ashamed to show their ankles, you know."

(girls giggle)

PAUL: "It's just got a bit higher, now. It may go even higher. (smiling and rocking his head side to side) WHOOPIE!"


Q: "George, do you have a cousin named Maggie?"


Q: "I'd like to know what you think of the boys that followed you from the airport last night."

JOHN: (jokingly, in effeminate voice) "We didn't notice them."


Q: "I'd like to ask any of you -- Have you seen the Beatles cartoon show?"

RINGO: "Yeah."

Q: "What do you think of it?"

RINGO: "It's okay."

Q: "Do you think it's a good portrayal of your character?"

PAUL: "It's not really like us, but it's fun."

Q: "I'd like to know if this press conference was your idea or if you're just here because of..."

JOHN: "Ours."

PAUL: "Yeah."

RINGO: "Everybody's having a good time."

(crowd yells)

Q: "Ringo, where do you get all your rings?"

RINGO: "Umm, people buy them for me, you know."

Q: "I'd like to know -- How do you decide who is going to sing the lead in any of your songs?"

JOHN: "Whoever knows most of the words."


Source: Transcribed by from video and audio copies of the press conference

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