Tell them that an exhibition about the Beatles is on for a year at a Montreal archeological museum best known for its shows on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient Etruscans and the somewhat younger Quebec Habitants.
What is the exhibition?
The show is called The Beatles in Montreal. It marks the 50th anniversary of the first and only visit by the Beatles in Montreal, Sept. 8, 1964, at the Forum. The exhibition venue is the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archeology and History in the Vieux Port area in Old Montreal.
What can I see at the exhibition?
First of all, you will likely see numerous 60-year-olds swooning in sheer ecstasy as they listen to audio recordings and watch film footage of the two concerts the Beatles gave in the Forum that day, after arriving from Toronto and before flying in their private plane to Jacksonville, Fla.
What songs did the Beatles sing that day?
Among them are Twist and Shout, All My Loving, She Loves You, Roll Over Beethoven and A Hard Day's Night.
Can I sing along?
Definitely. There is a karaoke microphone set up for you to become the fifth Beatle and sing along with the Fab Four who were recorded as they sang some of these same songs on the Ed Sullivan Show that same year. (A museum guide said she is astounded at the number of teenagers, not just aging boomers, who know the words to all these songs and grab the microphone to sing along).
What is the star of the show?
John Lennon's 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The outside was painted a bright yellow and then decorated with paintings of flowers. And it is Canadian. The car was purchased in 1985 for $2.299 million U.S. by Jim Pattison, best known as chairman of Expo 86 in Vancouver. Pattison donated the car to British Columbia. Normally, the car can be seen at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.
Tell me something interesting about the car.
The Beatles rode in the Rolls to Buckingham Palace Oct. 26, 1965, to pick up the medals they had been awarded as Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
What were the crowd scenes like in Montreal the day the Beatles came to town?
There were 5,000 screaming fans waiting at the airport for their arrival. To keep order at the airport, there were 300 police officers, including 120 Mounties. At the Forum, there were another 400 police to keep order for the two concerts, the first with about 9,000 fans and the second one with about 11,500 people in the audience. The audience at the Forum screamed so loud it was difficult to hear the Beatles singing. About 100 teenaged girls needed medical attention. Luckily there were 200 St. John Ambulance medics on hand and five ambulances to take hysterical girls to hospital.
How much did the Beatles make that day?
What did the tickets cost?
$4.50 and $5.50.
Why was there a fifth person on the stage at the performances?
Ringo had received a death threat from someone who did not like "English Jews." Ringo is not Jewish but he was still scared. During the performance, he tried to hide behind strategically placed cymbals acting as a shield of sorts and was seated close to a plainclothes police officer who presumably was meant to leap in front of Ringo and catch whatever bullet was being aimed at the Beatles' drummer.
John Lennon. His middle name is Winston, as in Winston Churchill.
What sage advice did John's Aunt Mimi provide during the years she was responsible for raising her nephew?
"The guitar is all right for a hobby, John, but you'll never make a living at it."
What can I do after seeing the exhibition?
You will be in Old Montreal, which is filled with great restaurants, art galleries and the Montreal Science Centre right on the waterfront near the Beatles venue.
So where and when can I see the Beatles exhibition?
The exhibition runs until March 20, 2014, at Pointe-à-Callière Archeology and History Museum, 350 Place Royale in Montreal. Place d'Armes is the closest Metro station. Adult admission is $20. Beatles fans 65 and over get in for $16. For further information, visit http://pacmusee.qc.ca/fr/expositions/les-beatles-a-montreal-50-ans-apres
By Paul Gessell, Ottawa Citizen
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