Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read This: The incredibly true story of The Beatles’ incredibly fake opener

The Beatles meet with the press prior to their August 15, 1966 concert in Washington D.C. Not pictured: The Cyrkle, or the group of local teens posing as The Cyrkle. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Fifty years ago this month, The Beatles embarked on their final concert tour, an outing marred by the Stateside publication of John Lennon’s infamous “more popular than Jesus” remarks, which touched off a public outcry among the type of people who’d take the writer of “I Am The Walrus” at his word. Calls for protest and various threats against the band led to increased security measures, yet a group of six people still managed to infiltrate the tour’s Washington, D.C. stop, gaining access to the backstage area and field of what was then known as D.C. Stadium. Fortunately, they meant no harm: John Koehler, Bob Booth, Timothy Harr, Tom Hinton, Ed Merrigan, and Mark Welsh just wanted to meet The Beatles. And all they had to do was impersonate the opening act.

Now, in an article published by the Washington Post, the main players in the hoax detail how they pulled it off, from the police escort they scammed to their strategy of posing as The Cyrkle, the “Red Rubber Ball” group that was actually on the evening’s bill. As the members of The Circle (“spelled the right way, so that if anyone asked, it would be technically correct to say we were the Circle,” says Harr) tell it, The Beatles were quite tickled by the caper, with Lennon reportedly responding, “So you wanted to meet us, now you’ve met us.” The oral history is illustrated with snapshots from the day of the show, a few of which feature an unidentified police officer who appears less impressed than The Beatles by the kids’ antics.


Share This Story