Boarding the way back machine for The Beatles at Atlanta Stadium, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
By Guest Columnist BO HIERS, a semi-retired marketing officer in the reinsurance industry and super-proud grandfather of his beloved grandson, Fletcher.
Epic news, Sunday School class! I have access to a perfectly functioning Way Back Machine! Who’s ready for a time travel adventure? I can only take three with me, so let me know fast. Come on, think of the story you’ll have to tell! For the brave adventurers joining me, I do have a few packing tips: No need to bring your cell phone, not when there are zero cell towers. Not sure about bringing your Apple watches, either. A Timex would be more fitting.
Wait a minute, Bo! We’ve got questions! Exactly how far back in time are we going? Where are we going? How long are we staying? Will it be hot or cold? Have you booked hotel rooms for us? How much money will we need? And, oh yeah — have they invented Thai restaurants yet?
Great questions! I like you guys more and more. Let me take them one at a time. We’re going back practically 60 years! I’ll be in the 6th grade, meaning the rest of you haven’t even been born yet. We’re staying local in Atlanta, but don’t be looking to go to a Braves, Falcons or Hawks game. Or Avalon, for that matter. None of that exists yet. We’re only staying one night, so PJs and a change of summer clothes should suffice because it will be warm. But do pack comfortable shoes — there will be plenty of walking.
But, hey, warm weather is OK because we’re attending The Beatles concert in Atlanta Stadium on Aug. 18, 1965! And no – I’m not making this up! Ready for more great news? We’ll be staying at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, directly across from The Fox Theatre! If it was good enough for Clark Gable and Vivian Lee in 1939, it will be good enough for us in 1965.
I’m glad you asked the money question. Money is easy to pack, right? I suggest you bring $100 in cold hard cash. Besides getting Beatles souvenirs, we’re going shopping! Just know your Visa debit card will do you no good in 1965, although it would be great fun to see the reaction you get from the waitress or cashier when you produce your debit card instead of cash. Too bad we can’t capture the reaction on video!
Hold up! We have more questions! What about transportation? Surely, we’re not walking long distances in the heat and humidity. Do we have a planned agenda? Where can we spend our money? And you never answered our question about the Thai Restaurant.
Don’t even worry about transportation. After all, there were cabs in 1965. We’ll only walk if the weather is bearable. Plus, we’ll be staying in a hip, now and wow area with plenty of entertainment, shopping and dining options.
Of course, I have a planned agenda! They don’t call me “Camp Counselor Bo” for nothing! Read and rejoice!
Aug. 18, 1965
7:01 a.m. Arrive in the back alley behind The Fox Theatre. Proceed to the front of the venue to take in the scenes. Yes, those are really old cars. But remember, they’re new or newish cars in 1965. And you can stop looking for Teslas and Chevy Tahoes. But you should keep a keen eye out for Falcons, Impalas, VW Beetles and station wagons! Remember those?
7:05 a.m. Quick tutorial on current events. After all, we need to blend in. On the national front, the two biggest stories were the conflict in Vietnam — which was rapidly getting out of hand with mounting casualties — and the scheduled launch of Gemini 5. Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad were ready to blast off at 9:00 a.m. on the longest spaceflight in history. In all, the Gemini 5 would orbit earth 120 times, for a total flight time of eight days, before splashing down approximately 600 miles from Bermuda. On the local front, you should know Ivan Allen, Jr. was our mayor and Carl Sanders was governor.
7:15 a.m. We ditch our bags at The Georgian Terrace Hotel. Trust me, the lobby oozes class and opulence. As do we!
7:30 a.m. If you will kindly indulge me, we’ll grab a cab to Emory Village. We’ll take a quick stroll through the Emory Campus and then dip into Horton’s Shop N’ Basket, the best Five and Dime in Atlanta. Wait until you see the candy bar selection! Zig Zag or Mars bar, anyone? Hold it! There’s one more thing. I need to leave a note in the mailbox for my 11-year-old self. There are five quick things I need to convey to young Bo:
- Don’t become a lifelong fan of the Atlanta Falcons. There will be way more lows than highs, and one particular low may or may not require mental counseling.
- Just wait until you meet your grandson, Fletcher! He will light you up inside like the ginormous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza.
- Do not even think about flunking 10th-grade Biology. Do so and you’ll miss out on a family trip to Hawaii, one so great that our beloved sister, Jan, still talks about it to this day. Instead, you’ll be stuck in summer school with the stern 70-year-old Mrs. Atkinson and the rest of the losers.
- Remain vigilant of cooked carrots. They’re everywhere, and there’s nothing grosser.
- Hug our mom tightly and tell her you love her to the moon and back every single time you see her. One day she will be gone, and you will miss her more than you can ever imagine.
We applaud the advice you’re sharing with young Bo, especially the parts about your mom, Fletcher and cooked carrots. But it’s not even 8 a.m., and this trip seems to be all about you!
Not true! This is just your first-time travel adventure. Next time we’ll do the same for another adventurer. Honest. Besides, I’m handling all the planning. All you need to do is show up and prepare for an amazing time! Did I mention we’re seeing The Beales?!
9:30 a.m. Taxi! We’re going shopping and… bowling! Next stop – Lenox Square! Believe me, Lenox Square was the place to shop — and bowl — in Atlanta in the 1960s. After clothes shopping and bowling, we’re heading to Kay Jewelers at Lenox, where half-carat diamond rings can be had for $129!
I know, I know, we’ve got to eat! That’s why we’re headed to S&S Cafeteria. Not sure about your food preferences, but I’m springing for the cube steak special. Ready for the price? It’s $1.29!
12:00 p.m. Limo! That’s right, I’ve lined up a Limo for the rest of our travel needs. Don’t ask how — I’ll explain later. We’re taking a side trip to Central Chevrolet at 2970 Peachtree Road to walk the lot and check out their inventory. We may even call ahead. I have the number right here: CE-4661. Rumor has it Central Chevrolet has the largest inventory of new Corvettes anywhere. New Impalas too for only $2,651. Too bad we can’t take one back with us!
1:00 p.m. Back in the Limo we go! I’ve got shotgun! We’re headed back to The Georgian Terrace to check into our rooms and grab a quick lunch. Not sure about you guys, but I plan to test-run the bed and take a quick 30-minute nap. Either that or I could check out daytime TV, 1965 style. Channels 2 and 11 are offering continued coverage of the Gemini 5 spaceflight, while Channel 5 is airing “As the World Turns” and “Password.”
2:15 p.m. It’s movie time! We’re crossing the street to The Fox Theatre, where we’re seeing “The Sandpiper” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The movie starts at precisely 2:58 p.m. No way we’re sticking for the whole movie, though. We’re going for the ambiance of The Fox, previews of coming attractions, and 25-cent popcorn. Besides, we have things to do! Did I mention the Beatles concert?
3:45 p.m. Here’s where the comfortable shoes you smartly packed come in: We’re hoofing it to Piedmont Park. We’ve got this — it’s only a 25-minute walk. Fresh air and sunshine will rejuvenate us. Besides, how cool will it be to take in the 1960s sights and sounds along the way? Way cool, that’s how cool! Good news — we’re not walking back. Not when we have a Limo! You’re welcome.
4:45 p.m. Back to the hotel to freshen up for the concert we’ll remember for the rest of our days — hopefully, for the right reasons!
5:30 p.m. Let’s do this! Next stop – Atlanta Stadium! Bottoms up! You’ll be happy to know the Limo is packed with all sorts of goodies, including Mama Mia’s pizza, ice-cold Coca-Cola’s, Fanta Grape sodas, plus Falstaff and PBR beers. Tailgating at the brand-new Atlanta Stadium with pizza and cold beers is not the worst thing in the world, right?
10:45 p.m. Our Limo awaits! We’re headed to the Bank of Georgia Building in downtown Atlanta at Five Points. Know why? Because we’re going to party like it’s 1965 at the Top O’ Peachtree dinner club on the 30th floor! Here’s a big bonus for us — at the time, the view from the Top O’ Peachtree was considered by many the best in the entire South. Post-concert nightcaps with the best view in the entire South — this can’t be real; this can’t be happening! Somebody pinch us!
Aug. 19, 1965
5:30 a.m. We meet in the back alley at the Fox Theatre for our return trip to 2023!
OK, we admit it. This sounds like great fun, especially the parts about seeing the Beatles in person and partying at Top O’ Peachtree. So that you know, we’re ordering dirty martinis. But here’s the thing — you’re asking us to take a tremendous risk. What if we get stranded in 1965? We’d be separated from family and friends, meaning we would be living without iPhones and Netflix. We can’t do that – not when we’re in the middle of “White Lotus.”
I get it. That’s why I’m looking for adventurers! But here’s the best part. I had the exact same questions for my good friend, Professor Buster Bean, the brilliant creator of the Way Back Machine. And guess what? Professor Bean and I have already made the trip and returned safely. I’ve even got the receipts to prove it. And the blue jeans! That’s right, I was in the downtown Rich’s on December 23, 1962, where I purchased my new Levi’s for $3.16. Just wait until you see them! They’re very dark and a little stiff, but I like them fine.
Anyway, my point is we’re going to be fine. Professor Bean has safely taken this exact time travel trip 15 times. He will be our tour guide for parts of the trip. You’ll enjoy meeting Professor Bean, who assures our safety. Not only is he brilliant, but he’s also hilarious. How about it? Who’s with me?
OK, Stefanie and Andre are in! Wait! Jennifer is in too! Let’s do this! We take it there are no Thai restaurants, but we’re big-time down with Mama Mia’s pizza and the Limo!
Epic news, and you’re correct about the lack of Thai restaurants. Stand by for Professor Bean’s address in Dunwoody, along with everything you need to know about our time travel adventure.
Postscript: We made it back safely! The shopping at Lenox and Horton’s was beyond epic. I scored a corduroy parka and toys for Fletcher, while Stefanie and Jennifer scored zip-lined weather “defy-ers” at Muse’s for $19.98, and practically free half-carat diamonds from Kay Jewelers. Andre was the shopping winner, though. He made off with a major toy haul in Davison’s basement, and earlier in the day at Horton’s. Oh, and I didn’t even mention the memorabilia we scored at the concert.
Professor Bean is the man! He hooked us up with dead-center front-row seats at the concert. The Beatles were amazing. We later shared one major complaint, and one minor complaint — the screaming teenage girls did their very best to make sure no one heard the concert — and just think, most of those scream-agers are in the 70s now! and the Beatles didn’t take the stage until 9:37 p.m.
Still, the Beatles played plenty of their major hits, including ”She’s Got a Ticket to Ride,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Feel Fine,” “Twist and Shout” and “Help!” All in all, we had a blast and would absolutely do it again.
The second very best part of the trip – and it’s not even close – was the Top O’ Peachtree. Besides a stunning view, the music and atmosphere were stellar, the dirty martinis were flowing, and Andre danced up a storm. Even better, I made three new spectacular friends in Stefanie, Andre and Jennifer. No matter what comes next, we will always have the Beatles live and in person on Aug. 18, 1965. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
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You forgot to stop by the Varsity. Next time ! Great articleReport
Thanks, Robert! I’ll have 2 slaw dogs, a chili dog, rings and a Frosted O BoReport
Well, Bo, many thanks for that ride in the Way Back machine. Brought back memories. In ’65 I was getting ready to begin the 11th grade at my southside high school. Didn’t make the concert that August, but was a fan of the Fab Four…still am. I believe Cannibal and the Headhunters were an opening act. (“Land of a thousand dances”) Lotta screaming that night. DJ Tony “the tiger” Taylor of WQXI AM (“Quixie in Dixie “) was master of ceremonies. You mentioned a number of Atlanta businesses…..some gone to history. Don’t recall Mama Mias…but Happy Hermans’ pizza was pretty good. Muses is gone…as is Central Chev,.where my pop had bought our ’60 Chevy Biscayne. Other downtown dealers then were Boomershine Pontiac, Pugmire Lincoln-Mercury, and on the southside…Ed Voyles Rambler and Nalley Chev. (“Don’t dally…see Nalley”) Fine dining could be had at Harold’s Barbeque and the palatial Rio Vista Catfish House. (Heh) True, the Atlanta Braves were almost year away from appearing in Atlanta Stadium, but there was baseball being played on the field where the Liverpool Lads entertained Atlanta….the International League Crackers…having left Ponce De Leon Ave finished 2nd in the league to the Columbus Jets that season.
Carry on, Bo.Report