"THEYYYYYYY’RE gonna put me in a podcast …”
“Good Ol’ Freda” Kelly chats with Beatle Brunch’s Good Ol’ Tom Frangione
Apple Store, New York City, September 5, 2013
On the eve of the release of her new documentary film, Beatles Fan Club Secretary Freda Kelly appeared at the Apple Store in downtown NYC for iTunes’ “Meet The Filmmaker” series, accompanied by the film’s director Ryan White. Our own “Tee Eff” was selected to host the session, which is available to BBC Members on DOWNLOADS Video.
While the film went into general theatrical release on September 13, 2013 the official public premier was held on September 6 in Los Angeles, the same day it was made available on iTunes and Video On Demand. Prior to release, the film received universal acclaim from critics and fans alike when screened at film festivals, museums, and of course at the Fest For Beatles Fans in Chicago.
During the podcast, Freda discussed not only the film, but her days anchoring the fan club under the direction of manager Brian Epstein, and later, the Beatles own Apple organization. With unmatched charm she regaled the audience with stories of the vaunted Christmas recordings (a fan club driven project), unique fan requests, and her relationship with the Beatles (not only as her employer, but as friends and of course, as a fan). Jaws dropped when she cited the “couple hundred” number of times she saw the band perform, at the Cavern and elsewhere. Beyond the stories covered in the film, she delved a bit deeper into certain fan club challenges, including the change of drummers in 1962, the orchestrated down-playing of anything to do with John’s marriage to Cynthia and of course, the “Paul is Dead” rumors.
With the film’s trailer and select clips sprinkled throughout, the 40 minute session touched on some of the challenges of putting the film together, not the least of which was obtaining clearances for the use of actual Beatles recordings. White and Kelly told of meetings with the Beatles reps, labels, publishers and other levels of red tape, none of which proved an obstacle for the high regard the organizations and surviving Beatles have for her. In the end, the clearances were given with everyone’s blessing, a true testament to the grace and dignity Freda exhibited during an long after her tenure with the group.
On point, when discussing her lack of involvement with other documentaries and books over the years, she has no regrets, in fact citing one example which she was glad to have avoided, if only by circumstance. Apple associate and best man at John & Yoko’s wedding, Peter Brown (as in “… called to say you can make it okay”, from the Beatles single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”) had approached her to participate in putting together his 1983 book The Love You Make. Given Brown’s sullied reputation resulting from the sordid affair, it was a godsend that schedules did not permit her to lend her name to the project.
Following the chat, fans in attendance were given the chance to ask Freda about the film, the Beatles and the fan club. And while the film itself is “must see” caliber for every Beatles fan, we recommend checking out the podcast as well to hear more from “Good Ol’ Freda”