Ringo’s Hair

For the sold-out crowd in the Town Hall auditorium last weekend, Fred Cantor’s documentary “The High School That Rocked!” combined Woodstock and class reunions with a trip down memory lane.

Men with far less — but grayer — hair than in the mid-’60s, and women wearing not granny but actual glasses smiled, laughed and clapped as the true story of how the Doors, Sly & the Family Stone, Rascals, Cream and Yardbirds played at Staples High School was told by folks who Really Were There.

There were plenty of anecdotes. Two Westport girls baked a cake for the Rascals; another touched Jim Morrison’s face.

Ed Baer

And then there was the tale told by Ed Baer. A former WMCA radio “Good Guy” and longtime Westporter, he spoke on camera about the astonishing effect the Beatles had on everyone at the time. The example he used was a contest his station sponsored. The grand prize: a locket of Ringo Starr’s hair.

The audience smiled knowingly.

But one woman could not believe her ears.

Leslie Schine graduated from Staples in 1971 — Cantor’s year. But in 1964 she was 11 years old.

And she won the same contest Ed Baer described in the film.

A Bridgeport Post news story shows 11-year-old Leslie Schine clutching her Beatles album.

At a reception after the showing, she mentioned the astonishing coincidence. And, she said, she had not even entered the contest. She did not know who sent in her name.

A 1964 story in the Bridgeport Post suggested it was a colleague of her father’s. Leonard Schine was a noted local attorney, and a former Westport Town Court judge.

The lock of hair — clipped from Ringo’s head on the Beatles’ 1st US tour — arrived at Leslie’s Bayberry Lane home, along with a photo of the Beatles cutting his hair; an affidavit signed by Ringo; a letter from WMCA, and a fan club postcard signed by all the Beatles (except John).

More than 50 years later, Leslie Schine mimics her previous pose. Here, she holds a photo she was sent by WMCA, showing “the Good Guys” cutting Ringo’s hair. (Photo/Carlotta Grenier Schaller)   

When Leslie told this story last weekend, she thought she still had it “somewhere.”

Sure enough, the next day — in just 15 minutes — she found it in her attic.

Along with the documentation.

“I seem to remember bringing it to Coleytown Elementary, and handing out single strands to friends,” Leslie says.

It’s amazing. Of all the anecdotes Ed Baer could have told, that’s the one he chose.

And of all 300 people in the auditorium last weekend, one of them was Leslie Schine.

Ed Baer was there too. Unfortunately, neither he nor Leslie knew of the coincidence, so they did not meet.

Still, it’s an astonishing story.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

6 responses to “Ringo’s Hair

  1. Fred Cantor

    For me, last Saturday’s events made for–as they might have said back in the sixties–a mind-blowing experience. And finding out about this afterwards made it even more so. I mean, what are the odds of this having happened: the WMCA contest winner sitting right there in the audience?! Ed had to leave shortly after the film to go to a local wedding but I conveyed the story to him later, which he too found amazing. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hi, I’m Staples class ’66 and now live in Hamden CT. I saw “The High School That Rocked!” at Yale June 3rd. I has born one year to early, the concerts were held while I was at Norwalk State Technical College. I would have attended if I known about them!
    I also married a member of Staples ’66, Ginny Martin, whom I met at the Graduation. We walked in the procession side-by-side.

  3. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I just cannot believe the irony of this story! Who would have ever thought???I wonder how many other stories like this are still to come? I just still am so thankful that I attended Staples during those years and that I got to see the documentary with all the people who were there! What a day/night!!

  4. Laurie Sugarman-Whittier

    I was at Staples ’66 to ’69, and went to those concerts! Is there any way those of us no longer in Connecticut can see the film?

  5. Fred Cantor

    Laurie, we have applied to a small group of film festivals and are still waiting to hear from several that run in the fall. After that, we will look to do widespread, public distribution and are starting to explore what options might work best. Thanks for your interest.

  6. Alan Bravin

    Wow. Just wow. I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like back in the 60’s to win a lock of Ringo’s hair.