Monday, 17 November 2014


Moments after a documentary played detailing her life running the fan club for the most popular band in the world, Freda Kelly was off to the side of the stage in the Flora-Bama’s main room signing posters, DVD cases of the movie and anything else fans offered up to her.
It was her job back in the day to present item after item in front of George, Paul, John and Ringo to get the famous quartet’s signatures for the hundreds of thousands of fans.

Belinda Ringpfeil, Suzette Byars, Freda Kelly and Carolyn PocusHer “lads,” as she called them, weren’t always in town. The Beatles were a pretty big live draw in those early days of touring. So she’d go to their homes when they were in town with items to be signed in tow.
After the crowd dwindled after Sunday’s showing of "Good Ol’ Freda" she talked about requests coming her way for autographs.
“At first I didn’t want to do it,” she said of demands for her own signature. 
She eventually warmed to the idea and is now she’s an old pro, Sharpie at the ready, hugs and smiles and handshakes for anyone and everyone who wanted a moment of her time.
Recently, she said, someone encouraged her to send a signed copy of the DVD to Ringo Starr, one of only two remaining Beatles.
“I wasn’t so sure about it, but decided to go ahead with it,” she said. “So I signed it and wrote on it ‘PTO’ for please turn it over.
“And on the back I wrote, I know you don’t sign anymore so I just want you to know I’m out there doing it for you.”
Starr, who still tours with an all-star band and has played The Wharf in recent years, decided sometime after his Beatle days were finished to give out no more autographs.
The little autograph antidote was just one of several touching stories about Freda’s live now and then during a question and answer session following the screening of Good Ol’ Freda, a movie about her days with the Beatles. The film, produced by new Gulf Coast resident Kathy McCabe, details Freda’s interaction with the band, the lads’ families and how she kept it all – and most of it still – to herself after the band’s split as the 1970s dawned.
Out just over a year and a half, the movie, the only independent film allowed to use original Beatles’ master recordings in the soundtrack, has kept Freda and McCabe busy crisscrossing the globe and more recently the southern United States.
The recent Flora-Bama stop was part of the 30th annual Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. The film was played at noon on both Sunday and Monday, each screening followed by a visit with Freda.
One of the highlights of the day was when GulfShores resident Vicki Hudson presented Freda with four letters Freda signed in the late 1960s and early 1970s in response to Hudson who was a fan club member.

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