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Old Mar 15, 2003, 10:10 PM   #1
Sun King
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Default Being for the benefit of Beatlemaniacs

Two devoted fans of The Fabulous Four have opened an exhibit featuring an extensive and expensive collection of Beatles memorabilia

By Cris O. Ramos, Jr.

I STOOD in awe as soon as I saw the original vinyl cover of The Beatles Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. The cover showed The Beatles’ posed with decapitated mannequin parts all over them.

“It ought to be the cover picture of your article,” said its owner, Danny Samonte. “That’s the Holy Grail of The Beatles’ memorabilia collector. That album was dubbed as The Butcher Album. Highlight the picture and the purists will consider you their equal.”

“Idol ko sa mga collector ang meron niyan,” says Danny’s partner Louie Roncal.

Apparently, only 750 of those were bought before Apple Records pulled out all the other copies and replaced the covers with a more pleasant and less morbid picture. The market value for that is estimated at an equivalent of a staggering million pesos. Jeez, I wonder if my red Jingles Beatles songhits is worth anything …

That is just one of the many things you’ll find in The Beatles Memorabilia Exhibit located at the fifth floor of The Shangri-La EDSA Mall. The exhibit formally opened this March 15. Samonte and Roncal were still expecting more memorabilia to flow in before the big day but the stuff already on display was massive by itself already. Inside you’ll find loads of Gold and Platinum awards, first press vinyl Beatles albums, autographed pictures, original promotional posters, Beatles-covered imported magazines, concert tickets and a white grand piano originally used by John Lennon, among others.

Samonte and Roncal share the load for what was on already in the exhibit on the day the interview was conducted. Avowed Beatle-maniacs such as Ian Lingad of the UST Conservatory, Prof. Doroteo Abaya of UP Manila and businessman Dante Abaya pledged to bring some juicy Beatles stuff before the big day.

You might be more familiar with Samonte’s pseudonym, Steve O’ Neal. Sometime during the ’90s he conceptualized, produced and hosted The Beatles Show for local television. He flies regularly to the UK to hunt memorabilia not just from the Fab Four but from other Hollywood stars such as Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts, Madonna and Frank Sinatra as well. Just in case you still can’t make up your mind if the guy’s rich or not, he has four Butcher albums. One of the biggest disappointments in his life is having a scheduled interview with Paul McCartney canceled.

“When he knew that he was going to be interviewed by a Filipino he backed out,” says Samonte. “Apparently, he still had fresh memories of their experience here in Manila and he still was not yet ready to talk about it so as not to offend Filipinos.”

I then asked them what the real score of The Beatles in Manila was. “Well, the itinerary was disorganized,” says Samonte. “They had a presscon and they were asked such silly questions, things like how many times do they eat each day (This part sounds eerily familiar.) And there were too many front-acts during the concert.”

Roncal then lead me to the black electric Rickenbacker guitar Lennon left behind when he was being chased by an angry mob at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport. I asked if I could hold it for a while and he said it was all right. My arms started to get numb as I held it in my arms and I strummed a D chord. Oh my God, I thought. A touch of greatness.

“If there’s anything positive that The Beatles learned from that experience is that the Manila tour was one of the many experiences that made them realize that they’re just too big or phenomenal for their own good,” says Roncal. “People weren’t going to Beatles shows for the music anymore. Once they got back to the UK after their world tour they stopped touring and concentrated on recording studio albums, the best they ever made.”

And one of these is Roncal’s favorite Beatles album of all time. “The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club expanded their musical horizons. It’s when they started being psychedelic with their music. After that album a lot of musical doors opened.”

I then asked Roncal of the impact the Fab Four brought to the world. “The Beatles’ music transcends all generations. You don’t have to be an expert to notice that. You know their appearance at the Ed Sullivan Show (where the Fab Four performed “All You Need Is Love”)? J.F.K. just died then, America was still in mourning. The Beatles lifted their spirits. According to police records in the States, the crime rate was down during their stint at Ed Sullivan. Everyone watched the show. So that’s what they call The British Invasion. Before The Beatles British and American cultures were separate and distinct. The Beatles bridged both.”

As the exhibit goes full swing, Roncal and Samonte hope to achieve their aim. “We want to consolidate all the dedicated Beatlemaniacs in the Philippines. We want to unite all the Beatlemaniacs and have an official Beatles club, we want to let The Beatles know that the Philippines loves them. We hope this exhibit will plant the seeds,” explains Roncal.
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Old Mar 15, 2003, 11:43 PM   #2
Dr. Robert
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Default Re: Being for the benefit of Beatlemaniacs

thanks ShyGirl for posting that article on Beatles Memorabilia I would like to see it come to my area. Does anyone else have a hard time collecting Beatles Memorabilia as it's so expensive, about the only thing I can afford are sometime buttons or magazines.
I was lucky I had a friend who owend a records store and he sold me two items pretty cheap price.
Q: to everyone out there in Beatlelink land what's
your favorite item in your Beatles collection?

[size="1"][ Mar 15, 2003, 11:48 PM: Message Edited By: durstie ][/size]
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Old Mar 16, 2003, 06:40 AM   #3
Vertical Mom
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Default Re: Being for the benefit of Beatlemaniacs

Durstie...Have you tried eBay? I have gotten some really great things for very little money.I am not a big collector but I have an obsession for Ringo promotional items. My favorite item is on it's way to me now...a 5ft. tall Ringo stand-up from the "Stop and smell the Roses" promotion.($25 from eBay).
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Old Mar 16, 2003, 08:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Being for the benefit of Beatlemaniacs

Thanks for the article, shyGirl; maybe we should send Katrina to check this exhibit out for us. It's too bad Paul still feels he can't discuss the incident in Manila with Filipino fans, though.
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Old Mar 17, 2003, 12:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Being for the benefit of Beatlemaniacs

Thanks for the post Shygirl, I wanted to correct something in the article, the Beatles were recording for Capital records at the time of The Butcher cover, not Apple records, Capital pulled the cover.. [img]graemlins/flower1.gif[/img]
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