“Confessions of a Beatlemaniac!!” by Dee Elias (2014) recounts the author’s hilarious and harrowing experiences as a young 14-year old fan in the 1960s who desperately loved the Beatles–and did what it took to finally meet them in person. Luckily she kept a diary that has provided the fuel for this book, nearly fifty years later. But, still nervous about landing in hot water with her mother, it has taken her this long to get the nerve up to tell her tale. We spoke to her this morning. October 28, 2014, about the book and what inspired her to share her memories.
In an email to the John Lennon Examiner, she said, “I started writing the manuscript soon after I met the Beatles in 1966 before their Cleveland concert. I didn’t want to forget anything that happened–from the first time I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, to the day I shook their hands!”
“I got my information from my diary, scrapbook, and articles in the Cleveland newspaper. It took several years to compile.” But she hesitated.
“I never planned on it being published–I mean, I didn’t want my parents or my school to know what we did during those years! I wrote it for me and my close friends, and my children, if I had any, in the future.”
Dee said that all changed with a fateful meeting with a publisher. “It was just a coincidence that I met Michael Bowker of AuthorsBound.com and I mentioned my manuscript. He loved it and encouraged me have it published. That all started about 8 months ago! Now I want everyone to know my story and share in our adventures!”
Dee’s own illustrations open each chapter. The colorized cartoons exude the energy, frustrations and devotion that Dee and her friends felt during their escapades. Dee grew up outside Cleveland, Ohio, and was bored stiff with her life until she heard the Beatles’ first U.S. hit, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on the radio. She was instantly invigorated with a strong case of Beatlemania, and from there on out, her “dull life” changed.
The book tells the whole story of two girls who became the epitome of what it meant at that time to be a bonafide Beatlemaniac. From taking buses to attend Beatles rallies in town, to submitting dozens of entries so she could buy a concert ticket, to getting into an event to meet Louise Harrison, George’s sister, by creating a phony fan club so she could claim to be its President–it’s all there. Going to complete physical extremes to get to the concerts early enough to see a Beatle arrive at the venue were always futile–until August 14, 1966.
Dee’s ingenious plot to be admitted into a press conference with “legitimate” credentials (not!) ended up with bumping into Paul McCartney in the hall. He led the two girls back to the Beatles parlor suite where they got to show the Beatles their scrapbook and give them a present. It could have been a script out of a movie. Ringo was the only one they didn’t meet. Has she ever gotten to meet him?
“Never met Ringo!” she says. “I did give it to his Tour Manager in Santa Barbara in July when Ringo performed here and he said he would give it to him. I hope so!”
What is her mother’s reaction about the things she and her friend Paulette got up to? “My mother, 92 yr old, just found out about 3 months ago about this book. She read a little and started yelling at me! Do you believe it? I said ‘Mom, let it go, it was 50 years ago!’ She ended up selling 4 books for me at the Assisted Living Home she lives at!”
Readers both young and old will be amazed at the hoops Dee and her friends jumped through to meet their idols. Dee’s story is energetic, breathless, and epitomizes that unexplainable phenomena we called Beatlemania. Dee definitely proves that she is the ultimate Beatles fan.
Dee currently owns “Deetours of Santa Barbara, Inc.”, a wine-tasting tour that she operates. And she says, “I still love the Beatles!” Check out her website to buy the book or see her schedule for future book signings.