April 11, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Rock-and-Roll photographer and Beatles fan, Janet Macoska, shares her own memories of Freda Kelly, the Liverpool teenager who started a fan club for The Beatles before they were famous.
At the age of 10 years old, in 1964, I was a card-carrying member of The Official Beatles Fan Club. The name of Freda Kelly was almost as important to me as John, Paul, George and Ringo, because she was their fan club president. This meant Freda had contact with the boys on a daily basis.
Most importantly, like us, Freda Kelly was a Beatles fan. She worked a secretarial job in Liverpool, but spent her lunchtimes listening to The Beatles at The Cavern Club. Before the group became famous, she ran a fan club for them. Then when Brian Epstein took over as the group’s manager, he offered Freda a job as his secretary. She continued to manage the fan club, too, but once The Beatles became a worldwide sensation, it was a struggle to answer the thousands of fan letters that piled up each day.
For many of us, though, Freda Kelly was our personal connection to the Fab Four; she sent us fan club letters, special offers, the annual Beatles Christmas record and all the latest news about our beloved Beatles. She cut up Paul’s shirts, and sent bits of Ringo’s hair to fans, trying to communicate personally with as many as possible. On one of those fan club-only Christmas records, The Beatles gave a loud shout-out to “Good Ol’ Freda.”
When The Beatles broke up in 1970, I only accepted the news that the rumors were true when Freda sent us a letter telling us that The Beatles and the fan club were over. Freda’s word was gospel.
Photo: Freda, left, and director Ryan White, right. Photo by Janet Macoska.
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