Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doll-A-Day 153: Exactly What constitutes a Doll? Happy Birthday Paul McCartney and How to Meet a Beatle

  Just a quick mention: the photos contained in this post are all my photography, except for the two I have indicated. Please don't use any of them without giving due credit. 
  Ok, today's doll isn't so much a doll as a ...figurine? Statuette? Whatever you want to call it, it's today's feature, to celebrate Paul McCartney's 72nd birthday today.

As readers of this blog will know, I am a Beatles person. Lori and another friend, Nancy, bought this for me for my birthday yeeeeears ago. All four Beatles were available, but they were a bit expensive. I think they were around $50 each, which was way more than my friends and I spent on each other for birthdays.

 So, after much deliberation, and quizzing me on whether or not I would mind if I only got one thing from the two of them if it were something really special, they bought me this Paul.
He's made of plaster or something, very heavy. He's gotten a few dings over the years.

The company that made 'Paul' was called Esco. They made  these statuettes of a lot of celebrities, including W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, and Laurel and Hardy.

Paul is about 17" tall. My kids think he looks more like Barnabas from Dark Shadows.

Beatlebas Collins?
  Most people who meet us think I got my husband Ken while I was in England, but those trips were before I met him. On my second trip I was lucky enough to be able to spend several months in England, most of it in London. Other than always coming home at the end of the day and blowing black soot out of my nose, I love London. There's always something to do or see. I spent a lot of time in the National Gallery and going to the theatre. I used to sit in a little park called Soho Square to eat my lunch or write letters. This park sits surrounded by buildings, and  it was not a coincidence that one of them is MPL, Paul McCartney's office. Yes, I was on stake out. I figured it was a pretty little park, not too far from the train station where I came into London proper every day, and if I was lucky I could snag an autograph. Paul did used to come into his office fairly often back then, and had just released the Press to Play album, so my chances were pretty good.

I also met a lot of like minded people there, some of which I couldn't stand, and some I became friendly with. One of the friends I made there I still exchange emails with.
 The first time my stake out produced the goods, Paul was in and out with Linda.
Me, (I'm the reflection on the left,taking the picture.), Linda, and Paul with his back to the door. It's hard to photograph through that super shiny bullet proof glass.
  He came in, and then left for lunch. Later they came back. Linda posed for some pictures with him, and then left him to the fans and went inside. She had a camera with her, as any true photographer would never leave it behind.
   I remember when they came back from lunch he had booze breath, but when he came back out of the office he was chewing gum and his breath was 'minty fresh'.  
For being someone on stake out, I was ill prepared, and had to bum a promo postcard from the office to have something to get signed. Unfortunately, Paul had recently had photographs taken for the cover and promoting the new album by George Hurrell,photographer of classic Hollywood stars of the 30's and 40's...

Jean Harlow by George Hurrell
...and in these he was dressed all in black. Black pen does not show up well on black.

And these were the days before Sharpies were the thing, so it was just a ball point pen! Even worse.
  The second time he popped into the office while I was on stake out was 10 days later. It was a quick in and out and nobody got an autograph. I only snagged one photo.

  I had to wait nearly a month for my next chance. But, I was more prepared than the first time, since I had taken to carrying a 10" EP around with me everywhere. Paul was still a little touchy about Beatles stuff then, so I had his latest record instead of a Beatles item. That would have been cool, but one didn't want to pee him off, especially since my first experience hadn't been the most well received: A nice German tourist I had become friendly with had asked me to take her photo with Paul when he came out of the office. I agreed. She offered to take my picture with Paul too. I kept saying no, because it was embarrassing. Finally, figuring it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, I said, "Well, I'll just stand next to him and you get a photo." So we waited. I figured she would ask him like most people did, or at least stand next to him and wait until he was ready and they would smile together at the camera. Well, instead, she ran up and hung on his shoulder while he was dealing with someone else---and just hung there! He looked none too pleased. Worse yet,when I had taken her photo she grabbed my arm,threw me at him and said "Now you!" I was stunned and he was NOT HAPPY, both of which show in the photos.
"Duhhhh..." I don't look nearly as shocked as I felt!
  So this third time I had another chance at a decent autograph.I took lots of photos, some of which turned out very nicely.
Just back from making a video in Arizona, with a new haircut and a tan.

Paul seems friendly enough in the photos one of the other fans took of him signing my record.
This picture is by Alfredo de La Torre.Alfredo took some really nice photos and he made everybody who was there that day copies. He had come all the way from Mexico and hoped to get a chance to meet Paul.That's my fat orange head.I totally do not remember Paul looking at me.I think he may have spoken...
Paul was very nice and signed my record. I had a black pen, since I only ever write with black ink, but as sometimes happens, he hung onto the pen a previous person had handed him. Who goes around with a GREEN pen?! It was another ballpoint and didn't write well on the slick record cover.What?! Am I cursed?
  Somebody even did a little home video. He made everybody who was there a copy. Unfortunately, they're  on British PAL video, so I haven't seen it in almost 30 years. I hope it still plays. (Update:It does, and I took it with me to England when we went in 2015 and left it with my sister in law. She had it made into a DVD for me and sent it over.Emma brought my video back when she went over last fall,so I still have that,just in case.)
  He must have forgotten I was the one thrown at him a few weeks earlier, or maybe he was cutting me some slack. So I could have walked away clean, but NO! I had to put my foot in my mouth. Can't just leave well enough alone. He was in the office quite a while, so when he came out again a lot of the people who had been there earlier had left. Since there were so few of us, (5 or 6 people), Paul stood around talking to us for a while, and showed us the new issue of his fan club magazine. (Actually, it was like a newspaper.)

Paul holding the fan club magazine.
 He was flipping through it, critiquing photos of himself.(Some of the girls, in their late teens or early 20's seemed to forget WHO was showing them these pictures, and would occasionally let out squeals of...delight.Paul found it amusing. I found it even more so.) He pointed out a picture he said his son James liked, but as for himself, he said, "Oh I 'ate that photo." Ok. Now if you were someone with Paul McCartney's power, why would you let your own fan club magazine use a picture you hated that much? Surely he could have said, "Throw that one away!" So, the first thing that popped out of my mouth was,"Why did you let them use it then?" OW! He gave me the dirtiest look. Oh crap! That's not how I meant it! Really! I am definitely not smooth.
  After that the only time Paul was 'spottable' was on his and Linda's way in to the Royal Variety Show, where he was performing. That was a quick in, so all I got was a photo of the back of his head. I was too cheap to buy tickets to the show, which were quite expensive. I wish I had though.How many times do you get to go to the Royal Variety Show? (Plus then the only way you can see the show is to beg the guys in the BBC's remote van to let you lay up their steps so you can watch on their live monitor, because you have to go home before it airs!Uhh...Just saying...) The only royals who actually attended were the Duchess of York, (Fergie. No! Not that Fergie!), and the Queen Mother. I got a veeeeery long distance picture of them in their limo. For security reasons their car parked waaay down the street, and they walked to the entrance. (Sounds more dangerous than pulling up to the door, but what do I know?This is why I'm not a royal security person. Well, amongst other reasons.) The entrance was surrounded by real photographers, (Hey, I later got a photography job on a local paper...), some of whom had LADDERS. At 5 feet tall I had no view at all. I think I saw some feet going up the steps.
   So anyway. Final memories? The stone in his wedding ring looked moldy. It was a weird pale greenish stone. He has lots of dark hair on his hands, (Remember,I'm short, so that's what was in my face as he signed my stuff.), and he smells like soap, only better. Also, that false tooth was a different colour from the others. "What false tooth?!" The one he got to replace this one:
Paul in 1966, after wiping out on a motor bike. That big scar on his lip only added to the rumours that the real Paul had died and been replaced by a double. Give me a break.
  So those are my Paul stories.Happy birthday Paul. Even if you did give me that dirty look. (Come home Paul! All is forgiven!)
Tomorrow will be a real doll. I promise!

1 comment:

  1. Cool. I have been a Beatles Fan since the beginning. My face was three feet from the TV screen when they had their Ed Sulivan Shows. I had a Beatle hair cut and wore Beatle Boots with black pants and black turtle neck pull-over. They were great times, think I was eleven. Still love their music. My name is John S.


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