Monday, February 10, 2014

What's the Magic Word? Who Wins the Prize?

Those who did not know what happened 50 years ago on February 9th...must have been living under a rock...or if you live within the Polar under the snow.  The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show!  This was their first performance in the USA!  But...there was another thirteenth birthday!  Needless to say...I felt quite special and felt each song they sang...each shake of their heads...and each oooh was directed at me.

I got this picture from the web.  I did not get to sit this close...and this picture
is from the Ed Sullivan Show.
  So...on Sunday evening, February 9, 2014....I was watching the Grammy Tribute to the surprise to my friends and family.  And...when Paul McCartney sang, "They Say It's Your Birthday"...well, of course, he was singing that to me. :-)

This all brought memories of my friend, Toni.  She got to go to their concert in Indianapolis.  Oh how envious I was, but loved listening to her relate her adventure.  Just walking into her room was an adventure to me.  Her walls, doors, (even the door knob) were covered with Beatle pictures.  I can't remember if the ceiling was covered...but it would not surprise me.  There was a small box with a "Do Not Open...Beatle Germs" sign taped on the top.  Curious as to what Beatle germs were...I almost opened it...but Toni rescued the box from my hands...opened it a crack...and inside was what looked like crumbled leaves and dirt.  One of the Beatles stepped on this stuff.  I have to admit, I felt a bit of an adrenaline rush as she closed the box and returned it to it place of honor.
Another picture from the web

Another friend, Greg Keeker, was able to go to the same concert.  He remembers that he needed binoculars and that girls were rubbing dirt from the sidewalk on their arms and faces...yelling "Beatle Dust!" that makes me wonder if Toni's box contained Beatle Germs or Beatle Dust.  I will have to ask her.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this blog...about a Magic Word?  This could be a sad post with me pining to see the Beatles in concert and never having the opportunity.  We moved from Indianapolis to Toledo in the middle of my 8th grade year.  My parents got me a guitar...maybe to help the move since I would be leaving all of my friends.  I wonder how many kids got guitars after the Beatles?  It was one of the best gifts ever!  I learned chords for Beatle songs and found many friends through singing and playing the guitar.

But what about this Magic Word?  It happened when I was 15.  The local radio station, WOHO had a contest for tickets to the Beatles concert in Detroit.  All I had to do was send in a postcard or envelope and write my name and phone number on the back.  The station would draw names during the day and call the person.  The catch had to know the magic word for that hour...and to know the had to listen to WOHO and hope to hear it when they announced it.  When I heard about this contest I was visiting a friend who lived in my neighborhood.  She was not my best friend but we got along well.  One of us (not sure who) said that we should send in cards and if one of us won...we would take the other.  So...I found a hot pink envelope, wrote my information on the back, and mailed it that day.

A couple of weeks later, I had just walked home from school, passed my sister who was sitting on the couch, went upstairs to change clothes...and of course, turned on the radio.  Swingin' Sweeney was the DJ.

This is the only picture of Swingin' Sweeney
I could find.
I was halfway down the stairs when the phone rang.  It is strange that I remember this so well.  Should I go up to my room to answer the phone or get the phone in the dining room?  I opted to continue the direction to the dining room...lifted the receiver and heard Swingin' Sweeney's voice.  I did not even wait for him to ask the question.  "JOHN!!!" I shouted. "It's John!"

My sister looked concerned.  I was garbling to her what had just happened...all the time forgetting Swingin' Sweeney.  He finally got my attention...and yes...I did win two tickets to see the Beatles in Detroit. 

The concert was fantastic.  Up until that time, any concert I had attended was at the Peristyle at the Toledo Art Museum...classical this was quite a change.  I have to admit...I did not scream.  I was never that kind of fan.  The moment the Beatles stepped on stage the screaming started, the energy of it almost lifting me from the stands.  My ears buzzed for hours afterward.  That was one of two disappointments.  The other was that I was not able to take my sister or my good friend, Ann, because I had already promised the ticket to someone else.  My parents said that since my friend and I had agreed to share tickets...that there was no question as to who was going with me.  I knew they were right...but I still feel a tug of guilt that I could not take my sister, Linda, or my friend, Ann.
This is a program from the concert...but not mine.  Mine is packed
in some box in the garage.

For my Facebook friends who participated in my contest:  What was the magic word?  You now know that the magic word was John.  As you know....Lewis guessed the right word, but he as informed me that he will bypass the prize. (I think he will still get one though.)  I hope you all had as much fun as I did.


  1. What a fun post. I was a freshman in high school when the Beatles made their appearance on Ed Sullivan. It was the first time I willingly watched the program. I immediately went out and bought a poster and put it inside my locker door so that every time I opened my locker they were there smiling out at me. Your post put a smile on my face almost as much as the Grammy Show.

  2. The description of your friend's room reminded me of my room. I had Beatles pictures everywhere! Thanks for sharing the memories.

  3. I was in the 9th grade too when the Beatles hit the US. I didn't love them right away. I refused to join the crowd, but I couldn't stay away for long. I didn't scream though but then I never saw them in the flesh. I think if I saw Paul even now I would. Maybe no screaming for Ringo. But I feel I grew up with them. :)

  4. You took me back to those days of watching the Beatles, couldn't get enough of them. How exciting to have seen them in concert! I love the way you unwind a story!

  5. Oh my goodness, Beatle dust! I am in awe of the fact that you got to see them perform - so very lucky!

  6. What a fun post! I got to live a little history with you today!

  7. How exciting! It was so fun to read about your Beetle days!