Beatles' secretary, "Good Ol' Freda," breaks silence in film

Sat Mar 9, 2013 9:23pm EST
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By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - For Freda Kelly, secretary to the Beatles and head of the band's fan club, work sometimes involved trailing the Fab Four to the barber shop, sweeping their locks from the floor and mailing strands of hair to adoring female fans.

Kelly, one of the Beatles' longest-serving employees, worked for the British band for more than a decade but had never shared her stories publicly until now.

She breaks her silence in a new documentary, "Good Ol' Freda," which had its world premiere on Saturday on the second day of the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.

"It's such a classic Cinderella story: Girl picks the job of a lifetime," director Ryan White told Reuters.

The tale is sure to delight fans of the Beatles, but White seeks to tell a story that transcends that audience, a story about an amazing decade in an otherwise ordinary life.

The film features four Beatles songs, which required the permission of many people, including the two surviving Beatles. It also includes never-before-seen photos of the band.

The documentary's title comes from the Beatles' 1963 Christmas recording, in which George Harrison thanks their secretary in Liverpool, and they all yell, "Good Ol' Freda!"

A mutual friend and a family connection to the 1960s' Liverpool music scene brought Kelly to the attention of White, who took the opportunity to tell her story.   Continued...

A visitor looks at a guitar signed by The Beatles at an exhibition in Buenos Aires, October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian