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The Texas Observer SEPT. 3, 1965 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c BEATLE BATTLE Georgia Earnest Klipple Houston The five-dollar tickets read: “Sixth Annual Back-to-School Show, starring The Beatles!” Sam Houston coliseum in Houston prepared for the Beatles’ blast-off at 3:30. Across town, Houston Space Headquarters set for the countdown of Gemini 5 at 2:00. On the way to Houston, papas and mamas transporting offspring and their friends in cars identified as “Beatles Houston,” or adorned with pictures of Beatles let you know you were not alone. A man in the drugstore across from the coliseum said, “Looks like the Beatles got here.” The waitress said, “I wish they’d go back to Egypt or wherever they came from.” The Houston Post Holding The Line “We don’t,” said a teenager at a table. “They had gang fights this morning right here by the coliseum,” said the waitress. “Had switchblade knives and everythingthis long,” and she measured off a foot and a half between her hands. “I don’t think it’s right. We have enough trouble as it is.” We were sunk in the middle of stereophonic teenagers. Some wore Beatle picture buttons on their chests; some, red arm bands with four B’s on them; some, black leather John Lennon caps. Teenagers were camped on City Hall steps; some picnicked in the adjacent park; some milled; some were entering the coliseum, opened at 1:30 a.m. for the 3:30 matinee. At the entrance a sawhorse barricade and a contingent of the 185 policemen assigned to the Beatle show held back a gray-faced, hollow-eyed bank of teenagers holding tickets for the 8:00 p.m. performance. Three ambulances of the fleet of twelve and attendants wearing white shirts labeled “Mercy Corps” waited . at the sidewalk. One contained a patient, one of the 300 hysteria, heatstroke, and exhaustion cases transported to hospitals during the event. At 12:30, the auditorium, which seated 12,500, was a third filled. We found seats in the first balcony near the center. A boy about twelve passed, smoking a cigarette. Another unraveled cotton candy. “See ’em right here in the field glass,” bawled a teenage binocular peddler. “Bring the Beatles up closer.” Two preschoolers wearing “I Love Paul” buttons looked at the empty stage through huge binoculars. The hardcore fans, predominantly girls, occupied folding chairs in the arena immediately in front of the stage, which was guarded by a solid line of policemen linked arm and arm before a row of sawhorses. The fans amused themselves by clapping, whistling, and displaying homemade signs proclaiming “I Love Beatles” in different ways. They chanted, “We Want Beatles.” They tried football yells: Clap, clap, clapclap-clap, “Let’s go!” Great screams came when the stage was set up, especially upon the placing of the drum. A boy sat on another boy’s shoulders. A girl stood on the back of a folding chair while her friend stood in the seat. Behind the hardcores, the fans included a good many boys. In the balconies, on the padded permanent seats, were the chap eroned teenagers. Harried parentS and grandparents strove to find compromise seats that would please their unwilling charges. One father settled his brood and plunged his face into a paperback murder mystery. Another stuffed cigar wrappings in his ears and chewed the cigar. Some mothers looked patient, some looked impatient, others looked self-consciously patronizing; still others in short, young dresses were indistinguishable from teenagers until they turned and revealed their faded faces. A steady stream of adolescents poured in, among them a boy with long bleached hair; a congenital idiot helped by his mother; several girls and boys on crutches; two obese giants of young girls; a grossly misshapen young hunchback with a carefully teased hairdo. Some girls were dressed up and wore heels; others wore dirty shorts. Some boys wore coats and ties; others wore tattered dungarees. Four long-haired boys toured the arena in group. “Look at the hoods,” someone said. They left and returned presently, wearing gray suits, whereupon many teenagers asked for their autographs. The two sons of Astronaut Charles Conrad were recognized by reporters. IN THREE HOURS the show began, with Weird Beard emceeing. Four female dancers discothequed. Cannibal and the Headhunters did the Monkey and sang, then sat on the stage and locomotived off. A girl in a short, low dress shouted out three songs. Sounds, Incorporated, played a jazzed-up “William Tell Overture” in curious barnyard cacophony, also Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” to which the audience clapped hands and stamped feet in gathering crescendo. All this was applauded patiently. “You are a well-behaved audience,” complimented Weird Beard. However, half-screams punctured the act of Sounds, Inc., as fans thought they caught sight of the Beatles. “Quiet!” yelled Weird Beard into the microphone. “Do not leave your area. If you come charging up here when the Beatles come on, the show will be stopped and the Beatles won’t appear.” The fans groaned. The Beatles had admitted to the press