Beatles Browser Four
British actress Wendy Richard is perhaps best known for her role as Miss Brahms in ‘Are You Being Served’ and Pauline Fowler in ‘East Enders.’ It’s not generally known that she appeared in the film ‘Help!’ with Paul because her scene was cut.
In her autobiography ‘Wendy Richard: My Life Story’, she recalled: “My first tentative venture into films was in 1964 with a small part in the Beatles’ second feature film ‘Help!’ I did a scene with John, Paul, George and Ringo, which also starred Frankie Howerd. The Beatles were brilliant to work with, really nice lads. Frankie was fantastic too. He played the proprietor of the SAM AHAB (Bahamas, spelt backwards) drama school and my role was as one of his drama students. The boys were supposed to be hiding out there, in their efforts to escape from an Eastern princess, played by Eleanor Bron.
“Frankie, bless his heart, was suffering with a bad back at the time and was in constant pain. The hundreds of screaming girls outside the studios certainly didn’t help his condition at all. The filming job occupied three days. On the second day John Lennon asked if I had any of their records at home. Like most young women of my age, I had loads of Beatles records and I told him I also had a copy of his book ‘A Spaniard In The Works.’
“Bring the records in I’ll get the boys to sign them and I’ll do the book too,” he offered.
“I was thrilled and John did as he had promised when I took the records and book to work next day. I still have them all now and value them tremendously.
“When ‘Help!’ was due for release in 1965 I wasn’t sent an invitation for the premiere. I was utterly devastated. It turned out my scene ended up on the cutting room floor – one of the biggest blows of my entire career. Someone later told me the producers had an uncut version of the film, including my scene, how I would have loved to have seen it!”
Later on it the book she was also to write about her appearance at the 1985 Royal Variety Performance: “When we were back stage before the show, the area was completely crowded out with hundreds of artistes, including Paul McCartney who was appearing with his group Wings. Despite the hubbub, Paul made a point of coming to speak to me.
“’Hi Wendy! It’s been a long time since we did ‘Help!’ but I have followed your career since and I am so pleased that you are doing well,’ he told me.
“You can imagine how thrilled I was that he had come over. We started chatting and reminiscing about the early days and that film, when his wife Linda, walked up and Paul introduced her to me. It was a lovely moment and I felt extremely flattered that Paul had remembered me and been so utterly charming.”
When the Beatles were filming ‘Help!’ in the Bahamas, John told Daily Mirror columnist Donald Zec: “On our American tour, theatre managers kept bringing blind, crippled and deformed children into our dressing room. This boy’s mother would say to us, ‘Go on, kiss him, maybe you’ll bring him back his sight.’ Well we’ve got as much compassion as the next feller and we’d give anything to help the poor kids. But we’re entertainers not faith healers, and if you flinch they snarl at you, want to half murder you. We’re not cruel. We’ve seen enough tragedy on Merseyside. But when a mother shrieks ‘Just touch him! Maybe he’ll walk again!’ We want to run, cry and just empty our pockets.”
When the Beatles booked into the Warwick Hotel in New York, the Manhattan hotel was receiving 3,000 calls an hour from teenage girls demanding to speak to the Beatles. Hugh Smith, a hotel supervisor carried out a massive security check before their arrival and said that they found teenagers in almost every closet.
“Some were dressed as maids. One rolled herself up in a carpet. I had to pull her out by her hair.” Adults also tried to get to see the Beatles, Hugh recalled, “One said he was from the internal revenue office. When a girl couldn’t get an autograph she asked a photographer if he’d seen the Beatles. When he said yes, she asked for him for his autograph!”
John once said ‘Avant-garde is just French for bullshit.’
Klaus on Stuart
Klaus Voormann was to say, “The Beatles were best when Stuart was still in the band. They played more or less the same repertoire later, and they played it good, but to me it had more balls, it was even more rock ‘n’ roll when Stuart was playing the bass and Paul was playing piano or another guitar. The band was somehow, as a rock ‘n’ roll band, more complete.”