Monday, September 04, 2006

Beatles in Indianapolis - September 3, 1964

I was in the fourth grade when The Beatles came to Indianapolis on their first ever North American tour. I did not attend the show but remember the hype and the folklore (urban legends) very well and thought I should write a posting on my memories of these days. I tell the story of their first trip to the US and the events in Indianapolis often as the city has changed much and many don't even remember the Coliseum where concerts were played and the Indiana Pacers had their first home some 40 years ago.

The Beatles traveled from Philadelphia to Indianapolis, playing 2 shows on September 3rd at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. They had played one show at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, September 2 at Conventions Hall. After a fun and entertaining chat with the press, and a quick meet-and-greet with a group of lucky locals, the Beatles took to the stage.

According to motor racing writer Bob Jennings who was one of the teenagers in attendence that day: "There was an afternoon show in the fairgrounds Coliseum before a packed house of something like 10,000 screaming fans. Ticket demand was so hot, an evening show was hastily scheduled in front of the grandstand on the one mile dirt race track because the Coliseum was already booked for another State Fair event. I was able to get tickets to the evening show... a couple hundred yards from the stage. There was an electricity that's hard to describe... about the only thing I can compare it to is the start of the Indianapolis 500."

Following their two performances that day in Indianapolis, the Beatles departed for Milwaukee Wisconsin, the next stop along their franticly-paced 1964 North American Tour.

I remember most of the "hype" centered around where the Beatles stayed during their visit to Indianapolis. As a young boy at the time, I recall every news report speculated they were staying at the now demolished "Essex House", an upscale hotel in downtown Indianapolis which sat on the east side of Pennsylvania Street across from University Park; the actual address of the Essex House was 407 N. Pennsylvania Street. Various plans have been reported through the years for former Essex House site.

Crowds camped out by the hotel in hope of viewing the "mop tops" who were the sensation of the world at this time. Also fans made their way inside the hotel ripping off wallpaper, removing doornobs and other artifacts. The promoters then moved the Fab Four to the Speedway Motel.

The Speedway Motel (on the site of the Indianapolis 500 race track, is still at this location and in use; it is literally the same as it was during the Beatles visit with some minor innovation renovation of the rooms, but no structural changes to the building. The Beatles stayed in rooms 228, 230, 232 and 234. These rooms are virtually the same as when the band stayed in them with the exeption on new carpet, wall paper, etc.

Also, Clark Gable has stayed at the hotel; as well as virtually every driver of the Indy 500 from the time the hotel was built to present. Paul Newman filmed a scene from the movie "Winning" in room 214.

The Speedway Motel was built in 1963 and rennovated in 1981. It is now called the Brickyard Crossing Resort & Inn which includes a complete rennovation of the former "Speedway Golf Course" by local Indiana golf course architect Pete Dye. By visiting the pro shop, you can view a photo on the wall of the Bealtes in 1964 just off turn 2 putting golf balls; on what was at that time the location of the practice putting green.
The Beatles arrived at Weir Cook Airport on September 2, and
Afternoon Show1. Introduction2. Twist & Shout3. You Can't Do That4. All My Loving5. She Loves You6. Things We Said Today7. Roll Over Beethoven8. Can't Buy Me Love9. If I Fell10. I Wanna Hold Your Hand11. Boys12. A Hard Day's Night13. Long Tall Sally (incomplete)
THE BEATLES' FIRST US TOUR, 196419 August Cow Palace, San Francisco20 August Convention Hall, Las Vegas21 August Coliseum, Seattle22 August Empire Stadium, Vancouver23 August Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles26 August Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver27 August The Gardens, Cincinnati28-29 August Forest Hills Stadium, New30 August Convention Hall, Atlantic City2 September Convention Hall, Philadelphia3 September State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis4 September Auditorium, Milwaukee5 September International Amphitheatre, Chicago6 September Olympia Stadium, Detroit7 September Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto8 September Forum, Montreal11 September Gator Bowl, Jacksonville12 September Boston Gardens, Boston13 September Civic Centre, Baltimore14 September Civic Arena, Pittsburgh15 September Public Auditorium, Cleveland16 September City Park Stadium, New Orleans17 September Municipal Stadium, Kansas City18 September Memorial Coliseum, Dallas20 September Paramount Theatre, New York

03/09/1964 - Indianapolis cenes at Weir Cook Municipal Airport with newsreel voiceover.Scenes around the Speedway Motel (2:35)
12,413 people filled the State Fair Coliseum for the afternoon show (The Beatles stepped on stage at 6:21 p.m.) of which some footage follows:
State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis - Concert Footage
Concert Introduction and tuning (1:18)
Twist And Shout (1:21)
You Can't Do That (3:08)
All My Loving (2:16)
She Loves You (2:38)
Things We Said Today (3:01)
Can't Buy Me Love (2:37)
If I Fell (2:12)
I Want To Hold Your Hand (1:06)
Boys (3:36) ... followed by film of The Beatles leaving the stage Some crowd shots are the same as in the Philadelphia - Concert Footage above on disc one !And some are repeated during this footage !!
03/09/1964 - IndianapolisPress conference after the afternoon show, plus motel footage and newsreel voiceover. Also scenes at the airport.When The Beatles boarded their chartered plane at Weir Cook Municipal Airport, they were $85,231.93 richer. ($1,719.02 had already been deducted for state gross income tax).