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The Harry Lush interview



Mr. Harry Lush was manager of the Adelphi Cinema in Dublin when The Beatles played there in 1963. Here,in an exclusive interview for Beatles Ireland, Harry speaks of the excitement generated, the cleverly planned escape, and why November 7th 1963 is a day he’ll never forget.


I remember Thursday 7th November ‘63 as if it were yesterday. People say to me "Weren’t you the manager of the Adelphi, the day the Beatles came to town".


When The Beatles came to Dublin, I met them at the airport and we brought them to the Gresham Hotel.


What were your first impressions when you met them?


They were very gentlemanly lads. I have been a schoolteacher all my life. I taught at St. Columbus College, and I was in charge of games including Rugby, Cricket and Tennis. They were in their teens and they could have been in my class and I would have got on really well with them.


Did you talk much with The Beatles?


Yes I did, with all four of them. I got on really well with them at the press conference. They were tremendous lads. Agreeable, kind and did not throw their weight about, not like other stars at that time.


Ticket for the showThey came to the Adelphi that afternoon around 1:OOpm. The press came in for a general chat, asking them about their future etc. The Adelphi held 2,304 people, that was one very big audience. In those days there were big cinemas in Dublin. The Savoy, The Theatre Royal holding almost 4,000 people. Jack Doyle (the boxer) was at the Theatre Royal. We were all great friends and used to eat at the Hideout (beside the Adelphi). We looked after lots of stars including Sir Matt Busby, and many others.


Did they have any rehearsals before the show?


No, they just went on and did their show. They did go down to the stage to have a look around before hand, to decide which side to come on, check lights etc. Our equipment was top notch. There was no need to test it out.


Did The Beatles make any special requests for anything?


No! They were absolutely happy with everything that was done for them. Of all the groups that came to the Adelphi, The Beatles were way out on top of the list. Bands like The Rolling Stones couldn’t hold a candle to them. They had some charm and I can feel that presence today.


So the Beatles finished their first show and the crowd just shouted for more! more! more! The Beatles just could not get off the stage, they had to stay put. By this time there were 2,304 people looking for encore after encore. Time marched on and the crowd outside gathered for the Late Show. The crowds met leaving and entering from Abbey Street.


I thought the doors of the Adelphi would collapse with the crowds, and the Hideout upstairs would come tumbling down. The Police arrived to keep a kind of order. Fighting started because some wanted to get out and others clambered to get in. Cars were overturned and one car set on fire.


I can also recall people on top of the roof taking photographs of the commotion below in Abbey Street. The crowds spilled out into 0’Connell Street and windows were broken in Clearys, leaving a trail of damage in 0’Connell Street. We were at a loss for future shows. What would we do? We never thought they would be so popular.

For future shows an answer was found. After the first show we would let the crowd out through Prussia Street at the back of the Adelphi and up to the Capitol Cinema, which was owned by the Farley brothers. That was the way the Beatles escaped that night.


The crowds still gathered during the second show. Many just to get a glimpse or photograph. Well, they (The Beatles) were in our care and we had to look after their welfare.


We got in contact with the Independent Newspaper. We were great neighbours and we had a great communication, like when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, they rang me to let me know and I went into the cinema and informed the audience of his death. Well, they just got up and left, many in tears. That was just a few weeks after The Beatles played here.


We asked the Independent to help out. They said the easiest thing would be to use one of their vans, so the boys could walk up the stairs and jump into the van and be taken to the Gresham.


At this point I showed Harry a photograph of himself and The Beatles which he hadn't seen, taken in the Adelphi boardroom.


Harry Lush with The BeatlesThe boardroom has seen many great stars there, John Heuston, Barry Fitzgerald, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. He came here when he was a cowboy actor, with a lovely actress called Patricia Neill. They did an act that was very popular. The other man in the photograph is Michael Ball, a great friend of mine. He was the assistant manager of the Carlton. He was a very jolly likeable fellow.


Did The Beatles get a chance to go and explore Dublin?


No they didn’t. They stayed in their hotel, because it was too dangerous.

Is there anything that comes to mind of one you liked or disliked?


They were all so nice, courteous and answered all the questions. They had respect for their seniors and called you sir. I look back on the day The Beatles came to Dublin as one of the shiniest days in my career.


I was very pleased to have met Mr. Harry Lush, the man they called ‘Mr. entertainment’. A very welcoming man who in his late 70’s is in remarkable shape both physically and mentally and has a great ability to make a story come alive. Mr. Lush, thank you for your time and effort in giving us this interview.


Pete Brennan


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