Monday, August 27, 2012

Allen Theatre: Beatles - Away With Words

One of the more unusual shows came the weekend of  Friday, August 25, through Sunday August 27, 1972; The Beatles Away With Words was a multi-media extravaganza. A few weeks before this a man named Howard Ragland came into the Allen, asking about rental availability. We were sort of skeptical of this guy in a cowboy hat with the southwestern accent as he boasted of sellouts across the country. But when showtime rolled around, mobs swarmed the box office. There were three shows a day, at 8, 10 and midnight on Friday and Saturday, and at 4, 8 and 10 PM on Sunday, all nine were sold out. The show itself consisted of a 360 degree sound system, with the sound set at the maximum level. 26 film projectors and a wall of slide projectors bombarded the film screen with 6,000 slides. The show opened with a brief montage of rock and roll before the Beatles, then a quick Beatlemania segment, before heading into the much longer later Beatle era. Dick Wooten in the Cleveland Press didn’t care much for it, but the crowd did seem to enjoy it. A couple days before the show, when it was time to put the show up on the marquee, Ray was insistent that the Beatles, should be spelled Beetles, and it stayed that way all weekend, I seem to recall Jane Scott poking fun at us in her column. Ragland and his associate, whose name I can’t recall, were sort of shady individuals. On Saturday night they got a few counterfeit $20 dollar bills, which they passed at a local restaurant. By Monday morning, these guys had left town and the phone was ringing off the hook as hotels and other suppliers tried to collect on their bills. We took cash up front, so we did OK.

Dick Wootten review, The Cleveland Press, Saturday, August 26, 1972, p. C-2.


Anonymous said...

I saw Away With Words in Omaha, NE on aFFriday night. The main thing I remember was that I "chemically enhanced" the experience. I remember it ended on "Lucy in The Sky" and that long chord. I kept saying "wow" and it was like I was forced into the back of my seat. From what I recall, the place was packed and most everyone was giving it "thumbs up".

Donna Petty said...

I am sitting here at this morning dubbing the cassette tape I made by sneaking my tape recorder in my coat. I saw it with a friend and enjoyed it. Yes, it was very loud, but I enjoyed the 'ultimate Beatles slide show. :) - D. Petty (Lexington, SC)