It was the summer of 1964 and the Beatles were a hot item worldwide. They were about to perform their first concert appearance in Toronto. After landing at the airport they would be whisked to The King Edward Hotel with a Police escort. A bunch of us decided to shoot down there to get in on the action. The front of the hotel was jammed with kids when we got there so we wandered around to the back. We noticed some kind of activity in a laneway so we walked in to check things out. Much to our surprise there was a bunch of cops there in perfect formation with three abreast and about ten or twelve rows deep. Not only that but they were marking time, that is they were marching on the spot but going nowhere. Standing beside them was a higher ranking officer with a walkie talkie. Something that we couldn't understand came over the radio and the officer yelled a command and the cops started jogging on the spot. Now something else squawked over the radio with the officer barking out another command and the cops started to trot forward to the street.
So this is when all the fun begins. The centre cop in the first row trips and and falls flat on his face causing the one directly behind to also do the same. A couple more went down on one knee and the others were either stumbling or spinning around their downed buddies. By the time they hit the street their tight little formation was in a shambles. The first cop that fell was the last one to get up and he glanced over at us with one of those "if looks could kill" stares. That's probably because we were busting a gut with laughter by this time.
Anyways, we followed them out onto the street and they ran over to this huge garage door at the back of the hotel and it was already starting to open. They clasped each others arms and formed a barrier against the few kids that were there as a police truck came roaring down the street and in the door which then closed behind them. Of course The Beatles were in the truck.
We figured we'd better get the hell out of there before the cops remembered us. This is a true story folks, no matter how strange it sounds. I've got to hand it to the Toronto cops though, even when everything fell apart they got the job done efficiently. The Beatles were transported from the airport to their hotel rooms without a scratch. If you've ever seen the chaos of a Beatles arrival you'll know that this was in itself a miracle.
Oh, by the way, we did go to the concert. How? See the page on Stones Concert.