Thursday, August 6, 2015

DOCUMENTARY WEEKEND: GOOD OL' FREDA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Once upon a time, a young secretary in Liverpool used her lunch break to hear a band play. It was love at first sight, as it was for so many girls. Soon The Beatles made it big, and the secretary worked for them. Her name was Freda Kelly, but to the four lads she was Good Ol' Freda (2013, PG, Available on DVD and Netflix Streaming).



After I watched Good Ol' Freda on Netflix Streaming, I discovered it on some lists of "Must Watch" documentaries. I agree with the folks who created the lists. Freda's story is thoroughly enjoyable, and she tells much of it herself, though she hasn't made a career out of being the Beatles' former secretary.

Freda tells great stories about her days answering fan mail and writing a monthly newsletter for Beatles' fan club members. Every time the boys had their hair cut, the barber carefully swept up the trimmings and gave them to Freda. When a fan sent a letter that said, Oh, may I please have a lock of George's hair?, Freda saw to it that it was George's hair mailed to the fan.

Freda struggled to get backstage at one concert and couldn't make her way to The Beatles' dressing room, so she hung out with The Moody Blues. When she finally got to The Beatles, John told her that if she preferred to hang out with the Moodies (John was moody himself), then she could consider herself fired. Fine, said Freda. She asked the other fellows if they wanted to fire her. Each said, No, no. Then I work for everyone except you, she told John. John immediately begged to re-hire her.

For someone who avoided the limelight so long and is described as shy, Freda was one tough bird. Anyone who dropped by her office for a cup of tea, including a lead singer from another band, ended up running an errand for Freda.

Asked if she dated any Beatles, she immediately says, No, and then changes her response to, I won't kiss and tell.

Freda Kelly could have made a fortune with The Beatles' memorabilia she had when the band split. Instead, other than a box of items in her attic, she gave everything to the fans--because it was for the fans all along.

Good Ol' Freda earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. I don't know if your kids will be interested in this documentary, but if they don't know who The Beatles are, then you'd better introduce them.

The man she calls Richie appears at the conclusion of the film. Do you know who Richie is?

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. You have until midnight EST today (Thursday, August 6th) to vote in my Battle of the Bands HERE. For Killing Me Softly, you can choose Roberta Flack or the Fugees. I'll announce the winner tomorrow. Be there, or be square.



26 comments:

  1. I loved that documentary, but it has been a while since I saw it.

    Ringo Starr was called Richie (Richard Starkey). Is that who she meant? It's been a while, like I said...I can't remember.

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    1. Ringo is his stage name. In private, he is Richie, short for Richard. Freda was especially close to Richie's mum.

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  2. That sounds fascinating. I'll add it to my 'Flix list.
    Play off the Page

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  3. Hi, dear Janie! I didn't notice this title in my NetFlix listings and I will immediately check it out. I know Mrs. Shady will want to see it, too, because she loves documentaries and loved the Beatles. Freda has already earned my admiration for three reasons.

    1.) She refused to trade on her association with the Moptops.

    2.) She put the fans first.

    3.) She was a tough bird who never got star struck and treated the Liverpool Lads and other major rock stars like ordinary people instead of royalty.

    Thank you for the review, dear Janie Junebug!

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    1. I think knowing The Beatles before they were famous probably helped her relationship with them. They knew she was devoted to them, and she knew they were four Liverpudlians. Thank you for your comment, dear Sir Shady!

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  4. Refreshing story, especially in an age where everyone's trying to make a fast buck selling other people's lives.

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    1. It's amazing that Freda gave away so much. Even the box of memorabilia she has is worth a fortune.

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  5. I was a big Beatles fan so I'd probably like this documentary.

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    1. Aren't we all big Beatles fans? I don't think I know anyone in my age group who doesn't love The Beatles.

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  6. What a fascinating story, Janie. She must have been quite a gal, and so generous to the fans. Cool.

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    1. Going to the trouble to have the barber collect each man's hair, keeping the hair separated, and then sending it to fans who requested it? I can't imagine anyone would do that now.

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  7. This documentary does sound interesting but I don't have Netflix. It sounds as if John needed to be brought down a peg or 2

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    1. She says John changed from one day to the next. Good Ol' Freda is also available on Amazon Prime and DVD. Try Googling it if you're interested. I've discovered that a lot of movies are available online for free.

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  8. Followed you here via Sonya Ann's blog. Will be stopping by regularly now and thank you for the Nexflix recommendation.

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    1. I'm following your blog now. Although I rarely cook. I enjoy seeing new recipes.

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  9. Thanks to your description, I really want to see this movie now. Even though, when I read the title, I thought it was a misspelling of Frida Kahlo. The story of how John fired her and so she worked for the others is what sold me. Love that.

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    1. I love Frida Kahlo. John told Freda Kelly he was kidding about firing her. She knew better, but she allowed him to have her as his secretary again. Freda Kelly didn't take crap from anyone. It reminds me of something Dr. The Hurricane said: When my students give me shit, I give it right back to them.

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  10. OK. I'm excited about this one! My husband and I went to Liverpool two summers ago. My husband is, and has always been, a HUGE Beatles fan. Me? Not so much. BUT--after visiting Liverpool and doing the Magical Mystery Tour, I'm now developing a taste for their music. And I'm really interested in all things Beatle now. I will be checking this one out!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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  11. I saw this! It is a rarity. I liked her, very down to earth.

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    1. She's someone who would make a good friend--if I wanted friends.

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  12. I watched that a few months ago on Netflix. It was one of the best documentaries and hearing her tell her stories of the boys was just awesome. She really was a lucky and very loyal lady. They were lucky to have her.

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    1. I think it's great that she was so young, but she bossed everyone around.

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  13. Never heard of this................just saying

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    1. Most people have probably never heard of it.

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