CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day trippers Ringo Starr: Sir Paul McCartney and wife Nancy

 

 

It's me! Man, 67, claims he and his friends were teens photographed by Ringo Starr in New York 50 years ago after musician appeals for them to come forward

  • Charlie Schwartz, who now lives in Sonoma, California, claims he is in the back seat of the car that was photographed by The Beatle in 1964
  • Starr had appealed for the teens to come forward after publishing the photograph in a new book
  • Schwartz, who had cut school with friends to see The Beatles at JFK airport, said it was taken in New York, not Miami as originally thought
  • He named the other kids in the car but has fallen out of touch with them

A 67-year-old California man has claimed that he and his friends were the teenagers photographed by Ringo Starr in 1964 after the musician appealed for the group to come forward.

 

Charlie Schwartz, who lives in Sonoma, said that he and five of his fellow classmates at Fair Lawn High School were driving along a New York highway when they pulled up alongside The Beatles.

He came forward after Starr, 73, wrote in his new book 'Photograph', which contains never-before-seen images, that he would like to know who the teenagers were.

'It's just a great shot,' he wrote. 'They're looking at us, and I'm photographing them.'

That's me! Charlie Schwartz, 67, from California, said he's the teenager pictured right with his hand over his face. The image was taken by Ringo Starr in 1964 - and The Beatle had put out an appeal for the kids

That's me! Charlie Schwartz, 67, from California, said he's the teenager pictured right with his hand over his face. The image was taken by Ringo Starr in 1964 - and The Beatle had put out an appeal for the kids

Schwartz said he is in the back seat of the car with his hand over his mouth. From left, he said were
Bob Toth, Gary Van Duersen, Suzanne Rayot, Arlen Norbe Ressler, Schwartz and Matt Blender.

'We were hardcore rock-and-rollers,' Schwartz told the New Jersey Record. 'It was all about the music.'

He added that he still remembered the incident - and had recounted it to friends over the years, but no one ever believed him.

The chance meeting took place on February 7, 1964 when The Beatles were to arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport, two days before their first appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

Schwartz, then 17, had just arrived at the school student lounge when his friend Gary said he had a car and was going to drive to see the musicians.

Schwartz said: 'He said, "Are you in or are you out?" I said, "I'm in".'

Schwartz

Blender

School days: Schwartz (left) is pictured in his year book in New Jersey, where he went to school with the other teens. He said that his closest friend from the group, Matt Blender (right) has since passed away

Van Deursen

Robert Toth

Skipping school: He said that Van Deursen, left, asked him if he wanted to miss classes to see the band at JFK airport and they jumped into his car. They were also joined by Robert Toth, right

They skipped class and headed to Queens - but when they arrived it was madness.

'The police were turning people away,' he recounted. 'They would see carloads of kids, and say, "Sorry, no more room". The airport was in total chaos. We never really got to the terminals.'

So they were forced to turn the car around for the direction of home - and during the drive, either on the Van Wyck Expressway or the Long Island Expressway - they came across the group.

'Then Gary says, "Oh look, there seems to be a funeral procession behind us",' he said. 'It was four limos with their headlights.

'He pulled over slowed up a little, and the limo started passing us, and we could see it was the Beatles. Ringo was the really friendly one. What he did was lower the window - he's right next to us, going at least 50 miles an hour - and starts clicking pictures like crazy.'

Memories: Starr stands beside the image at Genesis Publications unveiling of the book on Wednesday

Memories: Starr stands beside the image at Genesis Publications unveiling of the book on Wednesday

He said he is now longer in touch with the others in the car, and said that Blender - his closest friend - has since passed away, NewJersey.com reported.

Another classmate from the high school, Kenneth Kolpan - who was not part of the group - told the Miami Herald that two of the teens, including the driver Van Duersen, have now passed away.

Ringo's team has not yet contacted him, but the media has been knocking, he said.

'The whole thing seems quite surreal, but it’s a gas,' he said. 'It's a lot of fun. I've talked to people I haven't talked to for quite a while. I’ve gotten calls from all around the country.'

The Beatle had put out an appeal for the group, hoping that someone would recognize them.

The picture is being published for the first time in Starr’s new book Photograph, along with over 200 never-before-seen shots.

The Beatles formed in Liverpool in the late 1950s with their most famous line-up being John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Fab Four: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr shot to stardom as The Beatles

Fab Four: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr shot to stardom as The Beatles

The group’s first big hit in the States was I Want To Hold Your Hand, which sold 1.5 million copies in less than three weeks.

A crowd of thousands greeted them at the airport in New York when they arrived for their tour and one radio station even aired a running commentary on the event.

Their first gig in America took place in Washington DC and their first US TV appearance – on the Ed Sullivan Show - attracted around 70 million viewers.

 

Day trippers: Sir Paul McCartney and wife Nancy Shevell turn heads as they casually stroll through New York...after surprise gig in Times Square

He had just performed a surprise gig which caused havoc in Times Square, but legendary musician Sir Paul McCartney had no delusions of grandeur in New York City, yesterday.

After thousands of fans watched him deliver an unprecedented live set in the heart of the city, the 71 year-old singer simply strolled back to his hotel.

Arm-in-arm with his wife Nancy Shevell, the former Beatle turned heads as he walked across Fifth Avenue. 

Love me do: Paul McCartney walks arm in arm with wife Nancy Shevell after performing a surprise concert in Times Square

Love me do: Paul McCartney walks arm in arm with wife Nancy Shevell after performing a surprise concert in Times Square

Arm in arm: The happy couple looked happy and well-matched as they navigated New York City

Arm in arm: The happy couple looked happy and well-matched as they navigated New York City

The happy couple, who celebrated their second wedding anniversary yesterday, looked very much in love as they laughed and joked - seemingly oblivious to the fuss they were creating.

Sir Paul wore black jeans with a retro-inspired black and white shirt, topped with a black Puffa jacket. His hair, a very consistent block shade of brown, looked casually disheveled.

Meanwhile, Nancy kept her cool in a simple ensemble which consisted of a silver top and black cardigan with skinny jeans. She accessorised with a long beaded necklace.

Celebrations: The two celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Thursday

Celebrations: The two celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Thursday

Black and white: The pair looked almost in sync as they wore similar shades of clothing

Black and white: The pair looked almost in sync as they wore similar shades of clothing

The ordinary scene was a stark contrast to just moments earlier when Paul delivered a rousing, unexpected four-song set to shocked onlookers in Times Square.

The Twitter-announced concert, which was designed to publicise his latest album New, saw modern New York experience the crazy days of Beatlemania.

Crowds bayed for a sight of the suited former Beatle - and when he appeared the screaming was pitched to the heights of the Swinging Sixties.

Paul McCartney and his band give a surprise pop up concert in Times Square on Thursday to the delight of hundreds of fans

They'd wait in line for Eight Days a Week! Paul McCartney and his band give a surprise pop up concert in Times Square on Thursday to the delight of hundreds of fans

Clearly, Sir Paul's popularity has not waned in the city that never sleeps as scenes were reminiscent of the Beatles' now iconic arrival at Kennedy Airport in 1964.

Fans of all ages - and not just Baby Boomers - were quick to react after Macca Tweeted: 'Wow! Really excited to be playing New York Times Square at 1pm this afternoon'.

The singer pulls up in taxi for his last-minute concert in Times Square wearing a cropped black blazer and black pants

Here, There and Everywhere: McCartney's been cheerfully promoting his album all over the world, including at a 15 set historic gig on Hollywood Boulevard last month

Paul tweeted about the concert just minutes before to let his fans know

Singer Paul McCartney gestures to the audience as he leaves the stage with members of his band after playing a surprise mini-concert in New York's Times Square

Love Me Do: Paul tweeted about the concert just minutes before to let his fans know, but they all clamoured to see him

The singer engages while his guitarist plays for the crowd as hundreds of fans take pictures with their cameras

Magical Mystery Tour: The piano's colours hark back to the 1967 album and film

 Concert goers got a treat of a lifetime as they got to be part of an historic concert

Paul performs

Come Together: Concert goers got a treat of a lifetime as they got to be part of an historic concert

Paul sang a few songs from his new album as well as some oldies but goodies

I Feel Fine: Paul pumped up the crowd with by singing a few tunes from his new album

At 1pm, as promised, McCartney and his band casually pulled up in yellow cabs in a moment that could only have been more exciting for Beatles fans had it been newspaper taxis appearing at the shore.

He emerged to huge cheers and climbed up onto the truck which was transformed into a small stage replete with what his band refer to as 'the magic piano' as it's painted in the psychedelic colours of 1967's Magical Mystery Tour.

'OK, we're just going to do a few songs from my new album,' McCartney, who played Hollywood Boulevard last month, announced.

Beaming despite the grey day, Sir Paul rocked through title track New, then rattled through the catchy Save Us.

The singer plays the piano which was decked out in multi-colored psychedelic lightning bolts

A Little Help from his Friends: McCartney always likes to get his fans involved in the gig

'We're basically busking,' McCartney quipped, 'I'll be putting a hat out there later.'

Paul's wife Nacy Shevell could be spotted dancing to future sing-a-long Everybody Out There but it was soon time to go.

McCartney rounded off the set with Queenie Eye.

The concert came one day following another surprise concert for 500 high school students in Queens.

Paul and his band members also had a great time as they raised their arms, reacting to the cheering crowd following the concert

Band on the Run: Paul's lucky crew are having a whale of a time touring with the legend

The band can't control their laughter as they laugh at something very funny

A Day in the Life: It's an epic mini tour to promote the album but Sir Paul loves to tour

'This beats going to class,' McCartney told excited students at the performance according to ABC, who weren't born at the height of his fame.

He played hits including Hey Jude, Eight Days a Week and a solo acoustic rendition of his paean to the US civil rights movement, Blackbird, according to the Associated Press.

New is released on October 15.

Even with a few hours notice, fans made sure they weren't going to miss out on this historic event

Twist and Shout: The crowd are chivvied along by Paul's enthusiasm despite the grey day

Toast of the Big Apple: The Beatles sold out Shea Stadium for this August 15, 1966 show; it was their last US tour

Toast of the Big Apple: The Beatles sold out Shea Stadium for this August 15, 1966 show; it was their last US tour

Familiar scenes: Fans wait for a glimpse of The Beatles in New York, 1966

Familiar scenes: Fans wait for a glimpse of The Beatles in New York, 1966

The American invasion: Over 73 million people watched The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and it seemed that many of them were at Kennedy airport - like these girls - to greet the boys on February 10, 1964

The American invasion: Over 73 million people watched The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and it seemed that many of them were at Kennedy airport - like these girls - to greet the boys on February 10, 1964

 

 

 

Photograph taken by Ringo Starr of high school friends peering out of Chevrolet is reconstructed 50 years on as group is reunited

  • The photo was taken when the band first arrived in America 49 years ago at JFK airport
  • Ringo Starr: 'How great that they found these people! And how cool to now know a little of their story'
  • Bob Toth, 66, who still lives in New Jersey, has stepped forward as the passenger in the car
  • Best friend, inventor Gary Van Deursen, 67, who now lives in Connecticut, was at the wheel
  • Starr had appealed for the youngsters to come forward after publishing the photograph in a new book
  • Chance meeting took place on a New York highway in 1964 after the group had skipped school to see the band

Nearly fifty years may have passed, but the smiles and excitement remain the same between five Beatles fans who have been reunited to recreate a now- iconic shot taken by Ringo Starr five decades ago.

The friends were photographed by the drummer after they skipped school to see the Fab Four during their first trip to the US in 1964.

But they had no idea the photo existed until a search began after Starr, 73, wrote in his new book, 'Photograph' how much he would like to know who the teenagers were in the Chevrolet Impala who he snapped with his personal camera when they drew up next to his limousine.

And now their teen dreams of Beatlemania are about to be revisited as next month Starr has invited them to Las Vegas, Nevada, to watch his concert and meet him after the show.

The trip was arranged by NBC after the search ended with the group appearing on the Today show to reconstruct the black and white photograph.

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Reunited:

Reunited: Fifty years may have passed, but the smiles and excitement remain the same between five Beatles fans who have been reunited to recreate an iconic shot taken by Ringo Starr five decades ago

Caught:

Caught: Bob Toth (front passenger seat, left), Gary Van Deursen, (next to him) Suzanne Rayot, Arlene Norbe Ressler and Charlie Schwartz pictured by Ringo Starr on the day they cut class to see their idols The Beatles

And excited to learn the identities of his subjects Starr issued a statement saying: 'How great that they found these people! And how cool to now know a little of their story and what that moment was like from their perspective,' said Starr in the statement. 'Right now I'm off in Latin America on tour and I won't be back until November when we play two shows at the Palms in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting them when I get back. See you in Las Vegas!'

The teenagers who have now been identified as Bob Toth, Gary Van Deursen, Suzanne Rayot, Arlene Norbe Ressler, Charlie Scwartz and Matt Blender were all suspended as soon as they got back to High School.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline Bob Toth, 66, shown in the passenger seat of the car said: ‘The principal certainly suspended me for three days as soon as we got back to school. 'The story didn’t even make it into the yearbook because he didn’t want to look like he was encouraging kids to cut school.’

Forty years later he met his former principal at church: ‘He said to me, “You know, in retrospect what you did that day was a very good idea."'

'It's just a great shot,' he wrote. 'They're looking at us, and I'm photographing them.'

Dream:

Dream: Their teen dreams of Beatlemania are about to be revisited as next month Starr has invited them to Las Vegas, Nevada, to watch his concert and meet him after the show.The trip was arranged by NBC after the group appeared on the Today show to reconstruct the photo

Mystery teens in Ringo Starr photo come forward

And Mr Toth admitted that he had no idea the photograph even existed until recently. He said: ‘It’s kind of nice to have something legitimise the story we’ve all told on and off over the years.'

The car belonged to Mr Toth's best friend, Gary Van Deursen, 67, who today revealed himself to be the driver in the photograph.

He told MailOnline that none of his friends had believed his story until now.

The chance meeting took place on February 7, 1964 when The Beatles were to arrive at JFK, two days before their first appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

Van Deursen No invention: Gary Van Deursen at his home in Connecticut holding a copy of the picture (he is circled) caught by Ringo Starr on February 7 1964

No invention: Gary Van Deursen at his home in Connecticut holding a copy of the picture (he is circled) caught by Ringo Starr on February 7 1964 and left as a schoolboy

Robert Toth x

 

 

The way they were: Bob Toth,66, today pointing to himself in the Ringo Starr picture that has become a sensation. He was in the front of the car next to best friend Gary Van Deursen, 67. Left, Mr Toth as a teenager at school

Van Deursen explained: 'I took my Chevy convertible – it was white with a red interior. We cut school and decided we'd try to see The Beatles. It was so hyped so of course we got to the airport and it was mobbed.

'We went up to the top of the international building I believe it was. There was a crowd on the roof and reporters and one of my friends, Matt Blender, put on a British accent.

'A reporter overheard him and interviewed him life on the local radio. I was laughing so hard I had to move away.'

He continued: 'As we were driving home, back across George Washington bridge a limousine passed us, then another, then another, then another and we realised it was The Beatles each in a separate limo.

'I crossed over lanes and overtook so they would all pass us again. The last one had Ringo Starr in it and the reporter from TIME magazine – though we didn't know that then.'

According to Mr Toth until then the friends had actually left JFK disappointed: ‘It was such a mad scene at JFK that we left disappointed because we just thought there was no way we’d get close to the band.

'Then we saw all these limousines as we were driving home and pretty soon realised it wasn’t a funeral it was the Beatles.’

Starr, he said, was ‘the friendly one,' who leaned out of the window and spoke over the screams of the two female passengers who, Toth laughed, could not contain their excitement.

He said: ‘Suzanne was behind me, screaming her lungs out. It was crazy.'

Charlie Schwartz, Matt

 

 

School Days: Charlie Schwartz (left) has also recounted the excitment of meeting Starr - but how no one believed them. He said that his closest friend from the group, Matt Blender (right) has since died

Highlight of their lives: Suzanne Rayot pictured in her yearbook in 1965, the year after that unforgettable day

Highlight of their lives: Suzanne Rayot pictured in her yearbook in 1965, the year after that unforgettable day

Mr Van Deursen continued: 'Ringo gestured to us to wind down the window so we did. He asked where we were from and one of the kids in the car held up his jacket with the school name on it because it was hard to hear Fair Lawn.

'We didn't have tickets to the show which was sold out and we asked Ringo if he could get us any. He said he was sorry he couldn't help.'

Today the friends who drove to JFK that day are scattered across the country, but Mr Toth still lives in New Jersey where he works as a Senior Sales Engineer for an Air conditioning and Heating firm and lives with wife Nanci, 49.

Mr Van Deursen runs his own company as an inventor and designer. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Alison, with whom he has a son and daughter. His career as an industrial designer and inventor has seen him live in Europe as Vice President and Head of Design for Black & Decker as well as Head of Design for General Electric and Coleman Outdoor Camping Equipment.

But however successful his career and life since that day on George Washington bridge he said: ‘It was the highlight of our lives really. Though I should say it was reported in TIME that I lost control of the car – I never did. Still we were glad when that piece came out.

'We had gone back to school and told everyone the story about how we had seen the Beatles and spoken to Ringo Starr and nobody believed us. They thought it was just some crazy story we were all making up.'

Suzanne Rayot never told her family about the the once-in-a-life experience saying she knew her parents would have grounded her.

Now living not too far away from her childhood home in Hawthorne New Jersey, the travel executive who works for American Express, told The Daily Telegraph: 'When Ringo rolled down the window, we were so excited. He said "Hello love." I didn't know who was saying that to but I hoped it was me.'

Arlene Norbe, 66, is excited about seeing the Las Vegas show saying her favourite song is I Want To Hold Your Hand. 'It takes me back to turning 17. Wonderful.'

Now living in southern New Jersey, she started university in Missouri, but left after one term.

She has worked as a receptionist and in a home for the elderly. Recently her 42-year marriage to husband Paul broke down and then their younger son, Corey, died at just 22, after an accidental drug overdose.

She says her older son. Todd, 35, lives in New Jersey and is 'the love of my life'.

School days: Norbe is circled again. She is now believed to be living with her husband in New Jersey

School days: Norbe is circled again. She is now believed to be living with her husband in New Jersey

Youth: Arlene Norbe, circled, also joined the group in skipping school in an attempt to see the band

Youth: Arlene Norbe, circled, also joined the group in skipping school in an attempt to see the band

Charlie Schwartz, now 67, recounted his experience decades ago.

'We were hardcore rock-and-rollers,' Schwartz told the New Jersey Record. 'It was all about the music.'

Schwartz, then 17, had just arrived at the school student lounge when Van Deursen said he had a car and was going to drive to see the musicians.

Schwartz said: 'He said, "Are you in or are you out?" I said, "I'm in".'

They skipped class - the only time Schwartz ever did - and headed to Queens.

But when they arrived it was madness so they were forced to turn the car around for the direction of home, they came across the group.

He recounted how they pulled up alongside Ringo's car and that the musician began snapping away at them.

The 67-year-old moved to San Francisco and worked as a barman before meeting his wife Stacey Lynn Cook 15 years ago. The pair moved to Sonoma and worked for Project Fit, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improve children's fitness.

Memories: Starr stands beside the image at Genesis Publications unveiling of the book on Wednesday

Memories: Starr stands beside the image at Genesis Publications unveiling of the book on Wednesday

He said he is no longer in touch with the others in the car and said that Blender - his closest friend - has since passed away.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Blender died of heart failure two years ago in Portland Oregon, having worked as a music promoter and IT analyst.

Schwartz said Ringo's team has not yet contacted him, but the media has been knocking, he said.

'The whole thing seems quite surreal, but it’s a gas,' he said. 'It's a lot of fun. I've talked to people I haven't talked to for quite a while. I’ve gotten calls from all around the country.'

The picture is being published for the first time in Starr’s new book Photograph, along with over 200 never-before-seen shots.

Beatlemania:

Beatlemania: The Beatles arrive at Kennedy Airport, in New York, for their first U.S. visit. The image shows a car full of teens trying to catch a glimpse of the fab four when they skipped school

Fab Four: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr shot to stardom as The Beatles

Fab Four: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr shot to stardom as The Beatles

The Beatles formed in Liverpool in the late 1950s with their most famous line-up being John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

The group’s first big hit in the States was I Want To Hold Your Hand, which sold 1.5 million copies in less than three weeks.

A crowd of thousands greeted them at the airport in New York when they arrived for their tour and one radio station even aired a running commentary on the event.

Their first gig in America took place in Washington DC and their first US TV appearance – on the Ed Sullivan Show - attracted around 70 million viewers.

 

   

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