John and Jayne
By Bill Harry
Jayne Mansfield, born Vera Jane Palmer in Pennsylvania on 19 April 1933, was a pneumatic blonde promoted by Hollywood as another Marilyn Monroe. She was noted among rock ‘n’ roll fans for her performance as the blonde bimbo Jerri Jordan in ‘The Girl Can’t Help It,’ a classic movie which featured a galaxy of rock stars including Little Richard, the Platters, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Fats Domino.
The Beatles even interrupted one of their Abbey Road recording sessions to troop over to Paul’s nearby house in Cavendish Avenue to watch the movie when it was shown on British television.
May Mann, in her biography ‘Jayne Mansfield’, claimed that on the Beatles’ first American tour John Lennon mentioned that the one film star he wanted to see was Jayne Mansfield. A rendezvous between the star and the group took place at the Whiskey A Go Go on Sunset Strip. Mann further claims that John was annoyed when Jayne brought her husband along and said, “I just wanted to be alone with Jayne. I’ve dreamed about it.”
Other sources suggest that it was Paul, not John, who made the original request. Perhaps May Mann got the two mixed up because the famous photograph of the meeting at the Whiskey pictures Jayne and John sitting together.
However, Mann’s interpretation of events was different from that of someone who actually witnessed them – journalist Chris Hutchins.
In fact, when the Beatles were staying at the Hollywood suburb of Bel Air it was Jayne, dressed in a mauve cat suit, who dropped in to see them on Tuesday August 25 1964. John was said to be the only member of the group present and she tugged John’s hair and squealed, “Is this real?” to which John replied, dropping his eyes to her most famous features, “Well, are those real?” “There’s one way to find out,” she said.
Hutchins was with John at the time and reports that John offered to make cocktails. Out of the sight of Jayne and a male friend she’d brought along, he poured in gin, vodka, red wine, various liqueurs into a mixer – and then peed into it.
Jayne then asked her male friend to read the Tarot cards for herself and John. He began to read them, and then dropped them with horror, exclaiming, “My god, this is terrible. I see an awful ending to all this.” John was furious and threw the two of them out.
He then suggested to Chris that they join George at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go at 8901 Sunset Boulevard.
After they’d arrived, Jayne Mansfield suddenly entered and squeezed her way into the middle of them, allowing cameramen to take photographs. George was angry and threw a scotch and coke at a photographer, but an ice cube hit another actress, Mamie van Doren, in the face. George had said, “I finally decided to baptize him by chucking the ice-water at the bottom of my glass over him.” A picture of the incident appeared in a newspaper the following day.
The Beatles then got up to leave and before they departed John leaned over and told Mansfield about the secret ingredient he’d added to the cocktail he’d made her.
Jayne was killed in a road accident two years later, although not actually decapitated as rumours persist. John remembered the Tarot reading and was alarmed. He was then obsessed with numerology and, in particular, the number nine. He told Hutchins: “Jayne was born on 19 April and she died on 29 June. April is the fourth month and June is the sixth. Add them together and you get ten. I was born on 9 October, the ninth day of the tenth month. She died two months after her birthday, which means I’m going to die on a day with a nine in it, in December.”