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February 26, 2019

Beatles Fans Then and Now: Ringo Starr Reunited With Mystery Beatles Fans From a Photograph

During The Beatles’ first U.S. visit in February 1964, Ringo Starr snapped this photo as the carload of teens passed the band on a freeway.

Bob Toth (front passenger seat, left), Gary Van Deursen, (next to him) Suzanne Rayot, Arlene Norbe and Charlie Schwartz pictured by Ringo Starr on the day they cut class to see their idols The Beatles. (Photo: Ringo Starr)

For years no one identified the occupants of the car — and the mystery was solved only after an article in 2013 in USA Today sparked a nationwide search. The gang surfaced and sat down for an interview on TODAY, and finally everything came together.

Fifty years may have passed, but the smiles and excitement remain the same between five Beatles fans who have been reunited to recreate an iconic shot taken by Ringo Starr five decades ago. (Photo: Today)

“I never knew that you were such a gifted photographer,” chuckled Arlene Norbe. “That’s a lucky shot... don’t tell anyone,” joked Starr of the photo.

Norbe, along with Gary Van Deursen, Suzanne Rayot, Charlie Schwartz and Bob Toth met the former Beatle, who was having an exhibit of his photography in 2013, and saw him play live with his All Starr Band. (The missing member of the sextet was Matt Blender, who passed away in 2011.)

When he wasn’t behind the drums, Ringo Starr was behind the lens. He shared over 250 rare and unseen photos from his personal archives in a book published in 2013. Titled Photograph, the book contains, in his own words, “a lot of shots of ‘the boys’ that only I could have taken,” as well as some mementos like letters, promotional posters, and newspaper clippings that his mother was able to save.

“That photo became much bigger than I thought it ever would,” said Starr. “I mean, I just put it in the book because it’s a great shot and then, suddenly in America, everyone was trying to find them!”



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