The Beatles In Manila 1966

Posted: Januari 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

After the trials and tribulations of Japan the Beatles headed for a two shows in the Philippine capital Manila. On July 3, 1966, The Beatles landed on Philippine soil for the first and last time. This two-night stopover in Manila proved disastrous from arrival to departure. Upon landing, The Beatles were immediately whisked to a pier and put on Marina, a yacht owned by Don Manolo Elizalde, two miles from the port. This arrangement completely cut The Beatles from their associates for at least two hours— the first time it ever happened.

On July 4, The Beatles held two soldout concerts at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium with a combined attendance of 80,000; the evening concert registered 50,000 paying audience, being rivaled only in size by the concert The Beatles gave at Shea Stadium in New York on August 15, 1965. Such record-making statistic though was supplanted by the succeeding events owing to a fiasco that happened earlier in the day.

The Beatles’ alleged snub of then-First Lady Imelda Marcos occurred on July 4, where a lunch was scheduled at Malacañang Palace at 11 a.m. with 300 children waiting to see The Beatles. An hour before the party, a delegation came to the Manila Hotel to collect The Beatles. Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager, declined the invitation on the grounds that no earlier arrangement had been made and The Beatles were still in bed.

The day’s scheduled concerts, however, later proceeded successfully. In between concerts, local televisions reported the alleged “snub” showing footages of children, some crying, disappointed by The Beatles. Epstein watched in horror and went immediately to the television studio to apologize and set the facts straight. But barely had he started reading his press statement when the transmission blipped.

Newspapers carried the headline, “Beatles Snub President.” The following morning was the scheduled departure of The Beatles to New Delhi. Suddenly, The Beatles and their entourage realized they were practically on their own without any help: Room and transportation services were withdrawn. In the airport, the whole Beatles entourage was manhandled as it made its way to the plane.

Tony Barrow, the tour’s publicity man and part of the entourage, claimed that Epstein received the invitation the night before the concerts but remained noncommittal. Whether it was wise for the local promoter to take this silence as approval is now moot.

Bill Harry, in his book The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia, acknowledges the existence of an invitation from Ramon Ramos, the local promoter, for The Beatles to pay a courtesy call on the First Lady, but it was slated for 3 p.m. of July 4, an hour before The Beatles’ scheduled afternoon concert. Ramos did not pursue this invitation, since The Beatles wanted to be in the concert location two hours before the set. Nor did he inform anyone in Malacañang about this. A further mixup in schedule emerged when the Palace set the meeting at 11 a.m. as reported in The Manila Times on July 3. Whether anyone went out of his way to settle the matter, and what transpired in this effort, if any, remains unknown.

Peter Brown, the executive director of NEMS Enterprises (The Beatles’ Vic Lewis, the tour agent, received the invitation while still in Tokyo but failed to relay this to him.

Much to the Beatles surprise, the palatial tyrants were extremely angered at the Beatles neglect and the morning after the concert, The Manila Times ran the headline “Imelda Stood Up!!”. The ramifications were to become serious. Philippine promoter Ramon Ramos refused to pay the Beatles for their performance! Bomb and death threats were telephoned to the deluged British Embassy and to the boys hotel suite. Brian Epstein was so distressed with the situation he arranged for a press conference from the hotel to apologize for the misunderstanding. BUT…as fate would have it, some unforeseen static blipped out his interview from most all TV screens in the country! (more than a few thought it was probably more shenanigans by the Marcos clan).

Pulling more strings the next day when the Beatles were scheduled to depart the country, Misael Vera, Philippine Tax Authority, insisted the group could not leave the country until every penny of the taxes owed them was paid! Of course, they never got paid anything but Brian hurriedly forked over a bond out his own funds for P.74,450 (around $18,000) to settle the matter.

To make matters worse, all security detail assigned to the boys were withdrawn leaving them extremely vulnerable. They were literally kicked and jostled as they left their hotel and totally harassed all the way to the airport. Things were no better there where the airport manager has also removed all security for the Beatles. They went so far as to shut down the power to stop the escalators, forcing the boys to scale several flights of stairs with their own luggage, only to face an angry mob of 200 Filipinos brutally manhandling them! Ringo was literally floored by an uppercut and kicked on the ground. He suffered a sprained ankle as well and had to be helped to the customs area. Mal Evans and Brian Epstein were injured as well. Alf Bicknell suffered a cracked rib and a spinal injury.

When they finally approached the plane, a large booing crowd jeered and mocked them chanting “Beatles Alis Dayan!” (Go Home Beatles!) Once in the plane, some scraping government officials “decided” the Beatles were NOT authorized to leave the country due to inaccurate “check in” procedures days earlier… This led to another 40 minute wait on the Tarmac while Mal & Tony Barrow went back to the terminal to clean up the necessary paperwork. Only minutes after the Beatles angrily departed, did the press run a statement by President Marcos stating “Their was no intention on the part of the Beatles to slight the first lady or the government of the Republic Of The Philippines”. Obviously a bit too late to do the Beatles any good.

The Beatles Ticket

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