Junior press conference: Warwick Hotel, New York City

Following their press conference at the Warwick Hotel, New York City, The Beatles held a second one attended by young fans.

The junior press conference was The Beatles’ own idea, and was intended as a change from the usual format in the hope that they would be asked different questions. It was jointly arranged by NYC radio station WMCA, and DJ Gary Stevens invited listeners to send a postcard with their name, address and telephone number.

Around 50,000 entries were received, and 75 winners were chosen at random. A similar contest was held by the official American Beatles Fan Club, so 150 fans in total attended the conference at the Warwick Hotel.

Upon their arrival in the conference room each of the children was given a gift pack containing individual signed photographs of The Beatles. When the group entered the room there were screams, and the excitement continued throughout.

At the end of the conference John Lennon was presented with a guitar, a custom-made gift from the Guild Guitar Company, based in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The instrument was a Guild Starfire XII electric 12-string guitar, in flame-style patterned maple with gold-plated hardware. A one-off, it was presented to Lennon by Mark Dronge, the son of Guild’s founder Alfred Dronge. Mark was given access to the conference by a photographer who knew Guild’s advertising agent.

I marched up and walked past George, and he’d kind of seen me coming and thought it was for him. I could see his expression getting sour, but I walked right past him and gave it to John. I thought John played the electric 12! I gave it to John… and George was pissed. I don’t even know if the case and the guitar ever got back together until years later, when I saw that guitar in Hawaii, at the Hard Rock Café.
Mark Dronge
The Beatles’ Gear, Andy Babiuk

Some time after the press conference, the guitar came into the possession of Yoko Ono‘s former husband Tony Cox, who sold it to the Hard Rock Café chain. It is not known whether it ever appeared on a Beatles recording.

Not all the audio from the junior press conference has survived, and much of what has is obscured by screams from the fans. Here is a partial transcript.

Q: Paul McCartney, are you going to get married with Jane Asher?

JOHN: Yay! Tee-hee!

McCartney: Erm, I’m probably gonna get married with Jane.

Q: I want to know who your favourite American group is.

Lennon: Just one? There’s a lot of them.

McCartney: There’s quite a few of them, you know. Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, Byrds, Mamas And Papas.

Q: I’d like to know, John, are you making a movie without the other Beatles?

Lennon: Yes.

Q: When?

Lennon: When I get home from doing this.

Q: Are you gonna have a lead part?

Lennon: No.

Q: A small part?

Lennon: It’s… you know. I wouldn’t take a lead part. I wouldn’t like to.

Q: Will they put your name in the mo.. you know in the um…

Lennon: I’m big enough to get a mensh.

Q: I’d like to ask Paul when the whole group is going to make their next picture.

McCartney: The next picture, we’ll probably make it, I think, early next year. But at the moment the man’s writing a script, and it depends on the script, you know, when we make it.

Q: I’d like to ask John – Is it true he went around London in a gorilla suit?

Lennon: No. That was a film called Morgan. I’ve got a gorilla suit, which I’ve worn about twice to frighten a few people, and it’s too hot.

Q: I’d like to know, do you mean all the lyrics that you write?

McCartney: We mean them as lyrics. But I mean, if we write ‘We all live in a yellow submarine,’ we don’t really mean that.

Q: Paul, is Eleanor Rigby cryptic? Does it got a hidden meaning?

McCartney: No, no. No. It’s just a straight song.

Lennon: That aint no hidden meaning, baby.

Q: I wonder, being in a group with four people and becoming famous so young, how you managed to evolve with separate personalities.

Paul McCartney: The main thing is, it’s true that we’re a group of four people together with an image, but we don’t believe that. We don’t take that bit of us too seriously.

John Lennon: We’re still us, you know.

McCartney: We’re still individuals.

Q: I’d like to wish John a happy wedding anniversary.

Lennon: Oh, thank you!

Q: I want to know if any of you know Patricia Flater in Cumberland, England.

McCartney: Patricia who?

Q: Flater. F.L.A.T.E.R.

PAUL: Suuuure!

Q: I’d like to ask Paul, who is Eleanor Rigby? I read in The Beatles Book that she is a person. Who is she?

McCartney: No, she isn’t. It was just a name. It was nearly gonna be Daisy Hawkins.

Q: I read that she was someplace with you fellas, that she met you.

McCartney: No, it’s not a real person. It’s only imagination.

Q: In the beginning of your album, right before Taxman, there’s a lot of squeaking.

George Harrison: It’s just the bit before we recorded it, what happened to be on the tape. That part usually gets cut off. We thought you’d like to hear it.

Q: I want to know – How come you don’t have the same Help! movie and Hard Day’s Night movie here in the United States. It’s not as long. Why did you cut it?

Harrison: United Artists cut the pieces out of it. Not us.

McCartney: It’s got nothing to do with us, you see. Other people do that, cut it. We just make it.

Q: I heard that Sid Bernstein offered you to come back next year. Are you looking forward to it?

Lennon: We never heard about it.

Q: What do you think of miniskirts, and do you think they will go higher?

McCartney: Well, I like miniskirts. I think they’re fine. The thing is, at the moment it’s miniskirts, but in Victorian times people were ashamed to show their ankles, you know.

McCartney: It’s just got a bit higher, now. It may go even higher. Whoopie!

Q: George, do you have a cousin named Maggie?

Harrison: No.

Q: I’d like to know what you think of the boys that followed you from the airport last night.

Lennon: We didn’t notice them.

Q: I’d like to ask any of you – Have you seen the Beatles cartoon show?

Ringo Starr: Yeah.

Q: What do you think of it?

Starr: It’s OK.

Q: Do you think it’s a good portrayal of your character?

McCartney: It’s not really like us, but it’s fun.

Q: I’d like to know if this press conference was your idea or if you’re just here because of…

Lennon: Ours.

McCartney: Yeah.

Starr: Everybody’s having a good time.

Q: Ringo, where do you get all your rings?

Starr: Erm, people buy them for me, you know.

Q: I’d like to know, how do you decide who is going to sing the lead in any of your songs?

Lennon: Whoever knows most of the words.

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