Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Nearly two years ago, I posted a blog (link: http://kateinla51.blogspot.com/2013/05/good-ol-freda-yeah-yeah-yeah.html) about a high school friend of mine whose teen obsession with music and all-things-Beatle resulted in her production of "Good Ol' Freda", an acclaimed documentary film about the Fab Four's long-time, faithful secretary, Freda Kelly.

The film premiered at the famous SXSW (South x Southwest) Film Festival on March 9, 2013.  Since then, Kathy McCabe, her nephew-director Ryan White and Freda Kelly have been touring worldwide to over 100 film festivals and Beatles fests.  You may have heard of Ryan in the meantime if you watched HBO's presentation of "The Case Against Eight".  He and Ben Cotner were the directors and writers of this look at the aftermath and events that led up to California's Proposition 8, which added a new provision to the state's Declaration of Rights that defined marriage as only "between a man and a woman".  They won the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014 and, more recently, the prestigious Humanitas Award in January 2015 for this film.

From its Kickstarter fundraising campaign beginnings, "Good Ol' Freda" has grown from claiming multiple Best Documentary awards at its many screenings to mainstream Netflix status.  Television stations in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia and South America have featured this amazing film.  This special part of Beatles history was the first independent documentary to receive permission to license The Beatles' music from the master recordings.  Kathy and Freda can't help but laugh when they exit an airplane restroom, only to see Freda's face on the video screens of passenger seat backs during their travels.

When asked what sticks in her mind about her travels to promote the film, McCabe shakes her head and states, "What's beautiful to see as we travel is the love and respect that Beatle People give Freda.  She has been so touched by the response.  In a way, they're paying her back for all the great things she did for The Beatles, their families and fans.  People just want to hug her, tell her their little stories, and have their picture taken with her.  Many of them bring items to show her what she sent them 50 years ago from The Beatles Fan Club.  In Mexico City last December, a man brought in two sets of Beatle autographs (one set included Freda's own signature) and asked her to authenticate them.  They were the real thing...probably worth about  about $50,000. She sent things like this to fans routinely during those years and when the Beatles Fan Club ended she gave away all the leftover Beatle items to fans."   

The juggernaut that is "Good Ol' Freda" continues in 2015.  Visits to Rome, Austria, Mauritius, Italy and Chicago are already scheduled, with more to be added.

The big local news is that Freda Kelly herself will appear at a fundraising screening for the Catonsville (Maryland) Community Foundation on October 10, 2015.  Tickets are $30 and available from Joe Loverde by phoning (410) 788-2425 or by contacting him at joe@realtyconcept.com.  Don't wait - because the show is already half sold out!  

When I asked Kathy how she felt about her amazing accomplishment, she smiled.  "It's the little film that could.  We never dreamed it would take off the way it has.  We figured it would be big for Beatle fans, but never dreamed we'd be traveling for two or three years straight since the film's release.  It's really been a wonderful ride, but it wouldn't have happened without the support of family, friends, Beatle People/organizations, and many total strangers.  We're very grateful to everyone who helped us."

If you want a copy of Good Ol' Freda, you can order it on www.goodolfreda.com.

Kathy also keeps autographed copies on sale if you'd like to get one directly from her (kmccabe44@comcast.net)  If you would like to follow Freda, you can 'Like' the Good Ol' Freda Facebook page.