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November 13, 2020 11:25 am  #1

50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Hello everyone.
Greetings from the U.K.
It's been quite a while, indeed, since I last visited the SOWNY yellow board.
Now, this is definitely a topic that you, many of you, may recall. It has meant
a lot to me, over the years. Please forgive me for overlooking many details here.

Today, Friday November 13th, marks exactly 50 years ago, when our beloved
I cannot believe that 50 years has gone by so rapidly.
Doug Thompson has related this story, as to how the Beatles programme came about.
He, Warren Cosford, the incredible writing talents of Bill McDonald, the late Larry Solway
(I believe Larry was connected with this somehow) along with some great behind-the-scenes
production folks at CHUM, pulled off what, to me, has to be, arguably, one of the finest Beatles
stories ever produced. Large thanks must go to the late Chuck Riley, a great voice-over talent,
who never really liked water served at any restaurant (ask Doug about that story).
This whole production came about within 12 months of the Beatles calling it quits, much to the shock of
many fans around the world.

(Note: THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY-1995, followed the same chronology as the CHUM production,
some 21-25 years earlier. Interesting to note.)

Now, many subsequent Beatles stories have been produced either in Toronto, the US, and most notably
at the BBC, in 1972, hosted by the late great Mr. Brian Matthew ( a longtime friend of the lads, since 1963)
However, sounding very bias here, CHUM's  production stands as , arguably, about the best !!!
Some may take exception to this. That's fine. I believe what started the whole thing rolling was the publication, by  British author, Mr. Hunter Davies, "THE BEATLES; THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY". He knew them, they knew him.
 He was granted nearly unlimited access to their lives, both professionally and personally. Great book for
anyone interested.
Doug, Warren, along with Bill McDonald (Hunter Davies' book in hand as research) and the rest of the production
team , set out to make a 12 hour programme which, eventually, travelled around the world.
I was prepared, that weekend, to record (on reel-to-reel tape) every second of this special show.
The airchecks even included all the commercials, news breaks, CHUM jingles, everything.
Sadly, and through no fault of my own, all of those treasured aircheck tapes were thrown out in the 1990s.
I was so very happy to have the entire original 12 hour show sent to me, here in England !
Right. To wrap up this little bit of mine, I want to thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to share this special memory with you. Thank You Doug. Thank You Warren, Thank You Bill, thank you to everyone involved.
Oh...THANK YOU  1050   C H U M !



November 13, 2020 11:42 am  #2

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Welcome back Mr. M! Is there any place on the web where this special is available? I imagine with the Beatles involved, rights would be a huge issue, but it sure would be interesting to hear this again. 


November 13, 2020 11:56 am  #3

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Hello Radio Active

Sadly, there isn't any location, on the net, that has the CHUM  produced  STORY OF THE BEATLES.
It might be worth asking Mr. Doug Thompson about it.
I've often wondered if any of the Beatles ever listened to it.
Sir Paul McCartney was at CHUM, in 1991, for a visit. My guess is, he must have known about the 
wonderful 12 hour show. If so, hope the others heard, or knew about it as well.
All the best my friend.
Cheers !

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 12:35 pm  #4

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

You say you're now based in England.

How do you find the DAB radio system works over there? Not sure where you're located, but are there reception problems of any kind? Are there more stations than there used to be? Was there any kind of backlash when they converted over? And did you have to buy a new radio to get everything? Was that expensive?

It must have been a huge change and I wouldn't want to make the switch here. But it doesn't look like that will ever be an issue on this side of the pond.  


November 13, 2020 1:54 pm  #5

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Hello again.
Yes, I've been here in England for 21 years now. Have a wonderful family, including two smashing granddaughters.
DAB ?  It's really not what many have made it out to be. Just depends on who you ask. I am not personally impressed
with it. Many stations, here in the UK , are still using the AM & FM band, with many using DAB as well.
As for reception, if you're in, or near, a city with DAB, it's not bad. There isn't the range that the Medium Wave (AM) frequencies , or FM frequencies can send out. Long Wave (162-288 AM)  is still popular on this side of the world.
Yes, there was a backlash as many weren't prepared to spend extra money on a new receiver , specifically designed for DAB reception. I think that there will be a real tussle over stations closing down the analogue transmitters.
Purchasing receivers, with DAB, could be expensive indeed. 
My argument ( indeed,  for many here) is that, although DAB may provide you with a superb sound, why bother?
AM sounds just fine here. FM still retains a great sound in stereo. (BTW, sadly, there is no AM STEREO here.)
So, it's just an added  cost to purchase a new receiver with DAB. 
I'm old school.  FM and AM , thank you very much !
I've been keeping up with what's happening back there in Canada. Think you're right. Don't see Canada switching off the AM & FM analogue transmitters any time soon. Personally, I think it was a mistake to try to force DAB down people's throats here. Can't believe Norway got away with it.
Leave digital in the recording studios. Mind you, there is something to be said about using digital signals for other applications. Special  sub-channels, etc.
Mentioning FM,  Toronto seems quite overloaded with FM stations. Unbelievable.
Hope I've helped answer some of your questions. 

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 2:16 pm  #6

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Interesting stuff. I'm not surprised the public isn't happy. Some had the same reaction here to being forced to buy a new TV when HD came in and eventually shut down all the analogue signals. Some days I still miss analogue (well, really, when the DX conditions are favourable!) 


November 13, 2020 2:37 pm  #7

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

So do I. Recalling, way back in the summer of, I believe, 1960, our dad was up very early on Saturday morning.
He turned on the old TV set (remember when we used to call them that?). Anyway, he had the dial on channel 4 (WBEN TV back then). They weren't on the air before 6 or 6:30am, and because of tropospheric skip, there was channel 4 MIAMI !!  Great test pattern with palm trees and beach. We actually drove down through the eastern US to Miami, just mere weeks Family holiday.
Ah yes, the good old analogue days.
My feeling is...don't pack up all those analogue transmitters just yet.
Oh yes. HDTV. Once again, if you receive a good picture, and sound quality,(analogue)  why bother?
Yes, HD is superb. Great quality for restored motion pictures, older TV shows, etc.
Yet, why force it on people? Cable Bundles, wireless packages. Fine, if you want them. What I would argue is..
OTA  TV and radio, costs nothing to watch and listen to. Rogers, Bell, Shaw, and the rest. The cost, there is incredible. Just an observation.

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 3:57 pm  #8

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

SteveM, fantastic that you remembered the 50th Anniversary of CHUM airing The Story of the Beatles.

This to me is one of the reasons that made 1050 CHUM different and above other top 40 stations.  Nobody did radio documentaries like CHUM, so well produced and written.  To me they hit the peak with the Evolution of Rock in 1976.  That 64 hour production won a best radio documentary award from Billboard Magazine.  I understand that their US distributor TM Productions added three more years and a few more hours to bring the program up to 1980.

I found it interesting that you feel that Toronto has an overload of FM radio!  Does the city have more available OTA than London? I had a friend from Europe visit years ago and he said the same thing that we had so many radio stations.  He couldn't believe all of the off air signals he could listen to in Kitchener/Waterloo. 

I really enjoyed the radio in the UK when I was over years ago.  Top 40 in Britain takes a back seat to nobody.  BBC Radio One and Two were huge when I was there.  I enjoyed how the announcers were real characters on air with lots of personality.  Some even seemed to be bona fide stars.  It is great how many of Britain's most popular announcers present and are part of the Brit Awards, which is the best music awards show on television in my opinion.    Keep safe and healthy SteveM!

Last edited by paterson1 (November 13, 2020 4:00 pm)


November 13, 2020 4:08 pm  #9

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

In 2015, featured the story behind the "Story of The Beatles" by the great Warren Cosford. It's five years old but still worth a read. 

CHUM, Toronto: The Beatles and Elvis



November 13, 2020 4:33 pm  #10

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Thanks for remembering was 1050 CHUM's program Director J. Robert Wood who started The Beatles ball rolling.  Bob was our guiding star and cheerleading champion as we made our way through the 12 hour special in the late Fall of 1970.  The previous year, Bob had commissioned a 28 hour History of Rock and Roll that Larry Solway wrote, Chuck Dann voiced and I produced.  For The Beatles Story, Bill McDonald wrote all 12 hours, Warren Cosford took on CHUM's day-to-day production while producing Hours 5 through 8 of The Beatles Story.  I was tasked with producing Hours 1 through 4 and 9 through 12.
And we had less than 2 weeks to do all this after Bo;; McDonald finished the script. Bill wrote and wrote, Chuck Dann flew in from Indianapolis where he was a jock on WIBC one weekend to read the script, and Warren and I set to work.  As the deadline drew nearer, I worked 6 days straight through, Monday through Saturday, day and night, only stopping to go home in the morning for an hour to take a shower, then back to the studio.  After I'd made the final edit on the final segment of the final hour, my friend David Haydu aka Geets Romo, drove me to Toronto Western Hospital as I'd scraped my left ankle early in the week and it had swollen to almost twice the size.  I was in hospital for 3 days until the swelling went down.  I received visits from many CHUM staffers and Bob Wood brought me a hot baked potato (my fav at the time...still is actually).  The Story of The Beatles was the first special CHUM produced that was heard around the world.  CHUM gave it to stations for free.  Stations requesting it only had to pay for the cost of the 12 reels of tape.  Over 100 stations aired that special.    

Last edited by Doug Thompson (November 14, 2020 12:36 am)


November 13, 2020 6:08 pm  #11

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Good evening my friends.
     Dale, I will try to answer your queries first.
Down in London (we're just north of Manchester) there are between 30 & 35 FM stations. They aren't just in Central London, they are in the Greater London Area. This would take in 30 - 50  miles.  
Back in November/December of 1999, I was on the air at one of the GLR  FM stations.
Also, the transmitter output is nowhere near the output of FM signals used in Canada or the United States.
It may sound cluttered yet its really not.
Quite a variety of formats on the FM band here. From Classical to Jazz, Easy Listening to Rock-all types.
Yes, many on-air personalities are stars in their own right. Some, particularly from BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 appear on BBC television shows, or, on ITV or even SKY.
There are no stations OTA airing Christmas music 24/7  either. Rather shocked that stations such as CHFI-FM would do that. Oh well, that's the way things are today.
That is interesting about CHUM's  THE EVOLUTION OF ROCK (1976) having an extra 3 hours added, through TM Production , bringing it up to 1980. I used TM Production materials for many years while being in the U.S.
The wide variety of music, played over here,in the U.K., reminds me so very much, of the radio of years ago in Toronto.  Hope I've been answer some of your queries Dale.
Great to hear from you again, my old friend !

Radio  Active.
I do believe that I stumbled across that FYI article, by Warren Cosford, myself. It was a great read !
Very informative indeed.
Cheers my friend.

Hello Doug !!
I thought I had my information slightly incorrect. Larry Solway wrote THE HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL.
Wasn't sure if he was involved with The Beatles Story as well.
I read your complete write-up about putting THE STORY OF THE BEATLES  together, beginning in October, with, I believe was only 4 weeks, before its scheduled air dates (Fri.Nov.13- Sun.Nov.15).
I've heard of working under pressure, yet, that whole thing re-defined it.
Thank you again, and again, Doug, for really putting that incredible 12 hour special together, along with Warren Cosford, Bill McDonald, and other fine production folks who were at CHUM.
Thank you, again, for the show !
Now, maybe you can answer this question, which has bothered me for many years.
Did any of the Beatles actually hear this special? Were they aware of it at all? Come to think of it, Ringo was actually on it, via a transatlantic phone interview from London. Anyway, was just curious if John, Paul and George knew about it ?
Also, and this could be for everyone here...
John wrote an errily melodic tune, appearing both as the B side of TICKET TO RIDE, and, as track 2 Side 2 of BEATLES VI, song called YES IT IS.
This is my all-time favourite Beatle tune.
Now, an American singer/guitarist named Scott McCarl ( he was a member of the 70s group THE RASPBERRIES, appearing on their last album STARTING OVER, 1974)  recorded his version of YES IT IS. The similarity of his version to the Beatles'  version is nothing short of absolutely astounding !
Carl's own voice sounds like John's !
You'll find it on YOU TUBE. Just enter  SCOTT McCARL - YES IT IS.
Right. Tonight, and throughout this weekend, I shall say HAPPY 50TH  ANNIVERSARY, THE STORY OF THE BEATLES. Thank you so very much Doug. BTW, glad you were able to receive the medical help you needed, back then. Baked potatoes are my favourite as well !
Sending back to you, there, in Canada.

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 6:15 pm  #12

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Oh my goodness, Doug. 
Yes...I remember you stating, a while back, that it was J. Robert Wood who got the whole BEATLES STORY rolling. Thank goodness he did. All of you did an absolutely superb job. !!!!

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 6:35 pm  #13

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

SteveM- I am sorry, I am not Dale Patterson!  I am the secondary Pat(t)erson on the site.  Dale is much more important and worldly than me.  But I thank you so much for answering my questions.  I am sure that the real Patterson will chime in at some point!
  All the best..


November 13, 2020 6:39 pm  #14

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Uh oh.
I'm sorry.  I'll need a scorecard now to keep track of who's
Glad to have been able to answer your questions.
Please STAY  SAFE !!!

     Thread Starter

November 13, 2020 11:26 pm  #15

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Radioactive: Re: Warren's Beatles story.  There are several inaccuracies in Warren's recollection.  First he said we had six weeks to produce.  If we'd had 6 weeks, I would never had ended up in hospital.  Bill McDonald may have had that time to write, but once th script was written, we had less than 3 weeks to write, record and produce.  Also, he states we produced 15 hours and cut it down to 12.  That was an erroneous story in Billboard magazine.  There was NEVER a 15 hour version.  BillMcDonald only wrote 12 hours.  Warren and I only ever produced 12 hours.  I still have the master tapes.  There were only 12 hours.  

ALSO FOR STEVE: We did have a transAtlantic phone interview with Ringo Starr specifically for this special and I'm pretty sure we sent all 12 hours to the Apple offices in London.  I worked with Ringo on an ABC Radio Network show in 1983 over two months and never thought to ask him...but I'm sure they got so many programs sent to them that they wouldn't remember.  However, we do know that Elvis Presley heard The Beatles Story and liked it, so in 1975 when Warren Cosford, Roger Ashby and Bob McMillan flew to Memphis and Nashville to record interviews for The Elvis Presley Story, all of the interview subjects made a call to Graceland and Elvis said it was okay for them to give CHUM an interview.

Last edited by Doug Thompson (November 14, 2020 3:40 pm)


November 15, 2020 12:36 am  #16

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

paterson1 wrote:

SteveM- I am sorry, I am not Dale Patterson!  I am the secondary Pat(t)erson on the site.  Dale is much more important and worldly than me.  But I thank you so much for answering my questions.  I am sure that the real Patterson will chime in at some point!
  All the best..

Nice to hear from SteveM. He was on FM 108 back in the day and was also on WJYE and other Buffalo stations. A great jock!

As for the Beatles Story, I remember listening to the end of it in my car at Six Points Plaza near Apache Burger (those from Etobicoke will remember those places). The last song was "Good Night", which I thought was a great choice.

"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram

November 15, 2020 7:57 am  #17

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

I have a bad quality tape of a few hrs of what may be this special. Have never uploaded it b/c of copyrights and in deference to the creators of the special.  I also have a few hrs of what may be the hist of rock special from 1976 but I recorded that off another station and not CHUM in the 1980's and so I am not sure if it's the CHUM production.

Anyway here's about a minute of the Beatles on CHUM but I am not 100 % sure if it's the same special that is the subject of  this thread:

Beatles Special Snip

 EDIT I have a diffrent tape that has a few secods of this special. A few seconds at the end of the first clip:

Rochester Radio 1972

Last edited by Fitz (November 15, 2020 8:45 am)

Cool Airchecks and More:

November 17, 2020 12:19 pm  #18

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Hello Again.
For Doug: Thank you for confirming my suspicions about the phone call to Ringo, helping to wrap up the Beatles Story. Someone, at APPLE/EMI  London must have taken the time to listen to most, if not, ALL of
the 12 tapes you sent over. I'm still fuming over the loss of my 6 original airchecks from that weekend.
Thank you, again, for what you did. 
For Fitz:  YES INDEED. That snippet from the November 1970 broadcast is from the show. What a thrill to hear that bit. Any More??????????? Thank you for posting that small portion Fitz. All the Best.
For Dale: Getting confusing with two(2) Pattersons  on
6 Points Plaza? Apache Burger? I practically lived there on the weekends !!!!!
Snowy evening , both Saturday and Sunday night.  I, too, thought that  GOOD NIGHT was a superb choice to end the show. 
J.Robert Wood had made mention that the BBC actually sent some people to CHUM to find out how to put together their own Beatles programme. That shocked me.  CHUM truly did produce the first official Beatles story. The way I see it, anyway.
Doug:  Is Mr. Wood correct with this?
All the best everyone.
Please, STAY  SAFE !!!

     Thread Starter

November 17, 2020 2:43 pm  #19

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Steve, the BBC, as you know, are quite adept of producing excellent radio documentaries of their own.  They didn't come to CHUM to find out how to put one together, they wanted to have access to some of the original interviews that we did at CHUM for their doc.  Besides Ringo, who talked about them 'taking a break from each other and doing our own thing', we interviewed Vidal Sassoon on the fashion/hair changes, Ed Sullivan in New York, Larry Kane, a then Miami newsman who traveled with The Beatles in North America in their 1964/65 tours, a guy ho grew up with The Beatles in Liverpool (who's name I can't remember at the moment), U.S. DJ. Dick Biondi on the impact of the group on radio and so many more that I'd have to listen to the program again to remember.  


November 17, 2020 2:59 pm  #20

Re: 50th Anniversary Story Of The Beatles

Doug, I completely misunderstood the J. Robert Wood article. Yes, they were just interested in some of the interviews you had on hand. I'm very sorry for getting that story wrong. The Beeb, as it's know, has put together hundreds  of well produced shows, from entertainment to news and sports. Everything in between.  
Their research is incredible, production is superb. Sorry about being incorrect about some things.
Thank you for correcting me.
Take care.

     Thread Starter