Monday, May 6, 2013

Good Ol' Freda

Freda Kelly then
As a teenager, Freda Kelly became a fervent fan of a local Liverpool band known as the Beatles.  She was convinced they'd make it big - by which she meant they might get to sing on the Empire stage in Liverpool.

When Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, asked her to be the Beatles' fan club secretary, she was in 17-year-old heaven.  Self-described as naive and immature, she had a talent for organization, a passion for answering all the mail addressed to the fan club, uncompromising loyalty to the Beatles, and a deftness in evading Epstein's periodic tantrums.  She was scrupulously honest, eschewing the signature stamp and funneling pictures to be autographed to 'the boys' in their spare moments.  She rescued hair from under the barber chair for those who wanted locks of hair.  She even sent a pillow case home for George to sleep on at the request of one avid fan.  She also believed in boundaries, and there were personal questions that would never be answered and secrets to kept.

Freda Kelly now
Good Ol' Freda follows Freda as she reminisces today about those heady times, revisiting scenes from the past, such as the balcony where the Beatles greeted their delirious Liverpudlian fans at their civic reception, and sorting through old scrapbooks.  Freda never got rich with her job, as evidenced by her modest home (somewhat to the chagrin of her daughter) but she obviously cherishes fond memories of her time.  She acknowledged having crushes on the Beatles, each of them on different days, and when probed about how close her relationship was she smiles coyly and declines to answer.

There was some great music from the era in the movie, though sadly not much Beatles music - presumably rights for Beatles music was beyond the budget of documentary filmmakers.  This was a sweet film and lots of fun to see.

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