Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Momentous Meeting

December 3, 1961

Today the Beatles, in addition to playing a gig at the Best basement's Casbah Club, meet with Brian Epstein at his office above his store in Whitechapel Street, a short distance from the Cavern.  The story goes that Paul McCartney was late for the meeting.  George is recruited to "ring him up" and see what's keeping him and soon returns with the news that Paul is in the bath.  Epstein is furious.  How could Paul be so cavalier as to forget to be prompt to this meeting which might have such a large impact on his entire future?  George's reply?  "Well, he is late, but at least he is very clean!"  The quick and natural wit immediately takes the edge off Brian's anger.

Brian Epstein, decidedly a member of the upper crust of Liverpool society, seems to have been in a constant search for a place in the world.  So far he has failed as an English schoolboy, a member of the military and as an actor.  Epstein had made fast friends with the successful  English actor named Brian Bedford, while Bedford was playing Hamlet at Liverpool Playhouse.  Bedford convinced Epstein that he should try out for a spot at the Royal Academy of  Dramatic Art (RADA), the most prestigious acting school in England at that time.  After three promising terms there, Epstein again became dissatisfied and returned to the furniture store founded by his grandfather in Liverpool and specialized in the record department.

Epstein, a sensitive soul if ever there was one, sees immediately what makes the Beatles tick.  In addition to their musicianship, which is considerable, they seem to possess that certain undefinable something we call charm.  And he also knows that that quality is an essential ingredient in the making of a popular act.  But while many performers are groomed for it, Brian knows he is looking at that rarest of birds, a bunch of kids who come by it naturally.  It doesn't take him long to see that there was a future for these boys and that he wants to be part of it.  ( I think there can be little doubt that the 100 proof sex appeal the Beatles exude has influenced the closetted gay businessman on some level, whether conscious or not.)

In any case, on this day, Brian Epstein and the Beatles adjourn to a local cafe and seem to get along well.  Brian begins to think in concrete terms of how he can be part of this phenomenon  But before anything gets signed, he has some research to do.

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