Monday, July 27, 2015

Movie Review - "Good Ol' Freda"

I first heard about the documentary movie, "Good Ol' Freda", a few months back and made a mental note to make sure I saw it, but thanks to a conversation last week with friend Nick Frankhart, I got off my duff and ordered the DVD from Amazon (less than ten bucks!).

It is the story of Freda Kelly, who was a teenager working in some corporate typing pool in Liverpool back in 1962.  One day on her lunch hour, she and some co-workers went to see a local band play at the Cavern Club.  The band was, of course, The Beatles, and Freda became an immediate fan.  Shortly thereafter, she joined a Beatles Fan Club in Liverpool, and soon after that, she was hired by Brian Epstein to be the secretary for the Official Beatles Fan Club.  At the age of seventeen (yes, she was just seventeen...) she was working closely with Epstein and "the lads", who were, essentially, just four guys from the same neighborhood as she.

She held that position for close to ten years, until the band broke up, and the Fan Club was dissolved, a decision that was largely hers.  Freda had never told her story, never wrote a book, never revealed the close confidences that she shared with The Beatles, never cashed in on her proximity to the most famous rock band in history.  A few years ago, some young film makers approached her, and she agreed to be a part of this project so that her grandchildren would know of her role in this remarkable story.

In the movie, Freda tells how she got to know the Beatles and their families as well.  Remember, in 1962, each of the Beatles' parents (or the aunt who raised him in John Lennon's case) were still alive, and Starr and Harrison were still living with them.  Freda tells stories of meeting and sharing delightful times with the Starkeys and Harrisons.  I loved how she still always refers to Ringo Starr as "Richey".  (Similarly, Brian Epstein was always "Eppy" to her.)

After the band and the fan club dissolved, Freda continued to work as a secretary in various jobs over the years ("I had to make a living").  She raised two children and is now a grandmother.  She gave way most of her Beatles "stuff".  The remnants of her association with the group exists in three or four cardboard boxes in her attic.  She treasures her days with the lads to whom she was "good ol' Freda".  She was a part of their families, as one of them mentions at the closing of the film, and this movie is one that every Beatles fan should see.

Freda Then

Freda Now

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