Coach House Employee Mementos
ŠTed Schaar 2013



A fellow Brookfield resident named Heidi came across "A Day in the Center of Beatlemania" and contacted me. She attended the 1964 Milwaukee concert and later married a man whose father, Ted Sheldon, was a night manager at the Coach House Inn and had interactions with The Beatles during their stay. Her future sister-in-law, Diane, was admitted to the Inn by her father and, Heidi said, "...took this picture (below) of them either leaving or coming back to the Coach House...you can see Neil Aspinall in the front seat, and Ringo appears to be looking in her direction."  Her future father-in-law also came into possession of two mementos (below) that were left in the room.

Beatles in Milwaukee
I thought it might be interesting to determine the make and year of the limousine, so I posted a cropped image--with The Beatles removed--on a classiccar.com forum.   Members thought it was an early 60s Cadillac but couldn't be more exact because the photograph doesn't show much of the car.  I then reviewed Bob Barry's video of the band being driven around town and copied two frames (posted below).  After comparing the limo holding The Beatles to images of early sixties Cadillacs I found online, I concluded it was a 1961 model.  Fins are present--a vestige of 50s styling (appropriate given the band's roots)--but much reduced from the heights reached on 1959 Caddys. For comparison purposes, I found the accompanying color shots of the nose and tail of a 1961 Cadillac.




Beatles limo MIlwaukee grill
Front of limousine that transported The Beatles
around Milwaukee.  Courtesy of Bob Barry.





1961 Caddy Limo Grill
1961 Cadillac grill.
Courtesy of volocars.com


Beatles Milw Limo tail wide shotBeatles Milwaukee Limo tail CU
 Rear of Beatles-Milwaukee limousine--wide view (left) and close up (right). Note the distinctive
pair of round tail lights held in an oval under the right fin.
 
Courtesy of Bob Barry.



Tail of 1961 Cadillac.
1961 Cadillac tail.
Courtesy of motorera.com


The Beatles left two mementos behind after they checked out, Heidi said, "...a prescription (below) written by a local doctor to John for his sore throat. Unfortunately, his name (John's) is not on it or the date, but it was a known fact that a doctor was called for his throat problems, so it must be his. My sister-in-law says he didn't fill it because he didn't trust the drugs in this country. What a laugh, hey?!"  It was widely reported that John Lennon skipped The Beatles' Milwaukee news conference on Friday before the concert due to a sore throat.


John Lennon prescription--Milwaukee
I took a copy of the prescription to Walgreen's and showed it to two pharmacists. Neither could identify what it called for other than the "hydrocortisone oint" listed in the penultimate line which they said was an anti-itch preparation.  Next I contacted the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin,1 located in Madison. My e-mailed inquiry and image of the prescription were forwarded to Sarah Sorum, PharmD, vice president, Professional and Educational Services who replied:  "Several of us around the office took a shot and no one came up with a definitive answer. Here’s what I can make out--'hydrocortisone oint' equals hydrocortisone ointment (a steroid ointment usually used for itching that is available over the counter). The 'c' with the line above it that appears after hydrocortisone oint stands for 'with,' but I can’t make out the word that starts with D that follows; it does seem to be signed by the physician 'B.L. Chapman.'  It really doesn’t look like a valid prescription to me, but I’m not used to reading prescriptions from the 60s.  I almost wonder if it served as scratch paper and the real prescription was turned in to be filled at a pharmacy.  Another place you could reach out to is the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy which happens to be located at the UW School of Pharmacy in Madison.  Greg Higby is my contact there."

Soon I was on the phone with
Gregory J. Higby, Ph.D., R.Ph. executive director, AIHP. He reviewed the prescription and replied:  "Well, this is a pretty bad Rx and pretty typical of the day. Yes, near the bottom that is definitely hydrocortisone ointment with something. As Sarah said, this product then--as now--was for an itch.   A couple of the items near the top are probably Bicillin (a penicillin antibiotic), Terramycin (oxytetracycline, another antimicrobial drug). What is between the Terramycin and the hydrocortisone ointment is a mystery to me as well! :-)  So, from what I can decipher, the patient probably had a bad cold or something similar (sinus infection). The ointment was for some other problem leading to an itch.  What you really need is a 70-year-old pharmacist, preferably of the corner drugstore variety. Oddly enough, if you can find one of the guys who worked near Dr. Chapman's practice, he might be able to read the Rx without much trouble."

Beatles in Milwaukee
Heidi said her father-in-law also found,
"...a receipt for pressing--$8.00 for eight suits." 
Not to forget Wisconsin's then 4% sales tax.


1. http://pswi.org/
2.
http://www.pharmacy.wisc.edu/aihp


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Center Of Beatlemania.