I MAKE PAUL McCARTNEY SMILE AND SAVE THE DAY!
1984 was 20 years since the Beatles arrived on the scene. Like all of you at the time, I had 20 years of non-stop enjoyment from Beatles music and subsequently the solo career of Paul McCartney.
In 1982, the entire “Internet” consisted of one company only—CompuServe. I created the world's first online (and only) showbiz entertainment service on CompuServe. The only movie reviews online were coming from my company, written by myself and others I hired.
I was invited to see movies before they were released. These screenings were held at the studios or sometimes at a Los Angeles movie theater that was leased for the night.
In 1984, Paul McCartney decided to star in a movie that he would write from his own script and his own music. It was called "Give My Regards to Broad Street."
I looked forward to see an advanced preview of Paul's movie. I went to many studio movie screenings with other reviewers every week. It was part of the job.
I liked to get seats in certain areas of the theaters, so I always came very early to be at the front of the line.
The screening of “Give My Regards to Broad Street” was being held at a small Westwood (near UCLA) theater.
When I arrived, something seemed odd. There was a large number of younger girls hanging out in front of the theater. Sometimes, when a preview was held at a leased city theater, studios would give a few seats for a radio station contest in exchange for free promotion. Maybe these girls won some tickets.
While standing at the front of the line, a limousine pulled right up in front. To my absolute surprise, this became something extremely special when Paul and Linda McCartney walked out of it, walked right past me, I'm talking just a few feet, and I was standing there with my mouth dropped open.
I had never been near a member of The Beatles. We were too poor growing up to even think about asking for parents to take us to a Chicago concert when they appeared in the city.
When I got into the theater, I sat as close as possible to my dream coming true. Paul was in the row just in front of me to the left! I was going to go talk to him, but the studio executives guarding him were making it clear that he was not to be bothered. I knew if that I tried, that would be the end of special invitations from this studio which I could not have happen.
The movie was like a big music video. It had its moments--like the production number for "Ballroom Dancing"--and some new versions of Beatles favorites. Paul had financed the film himself. It would lose a great deal of money and was scorned by critics everywhere.
And this room full of professional movie critics sat there clearly not overwhelmed as it played on.
When the movie ended and the credits came on, there was absolute silence in the room.
I looked over and saw Paul very uncomfortable by the total non-response. This was clearly an awkward and humiliating moment for the Beatle turned movie maker.
This was the moment I was going to pay Paul McCartney back for 20 years of musical heaven.
I solely started applauding loudly and wildly. Then a second person followed. And a third. Then the whole room followed in unison. This was clearly a tribute to Paul for his musical legacy rather than his movie.
The famous Beatle now was smiling and I was the one that made this happen.
As I left the theater, a fan was outside.
"Paul McCartney's in there!," he said to me.
"Yea, I know,” I said.