With A Name Like Smucker’s The Beatles Have To Be Good!

February 18, 2008



Last night I had my annual viewing of The Beatles’ debut film, A HARD DAY”S NIGHT. For 20 years or so it has become a tradition at my home that at least once every winter I watch A HARD DAY”S NIGHT, my all-time favorite film. I’ve seen it countless times over the years on television and have had it on video since sometime in the 80’s. My wife bought the new deluxe DVD edition when it came out for me. 


The film was originally released on July 6, 1964 and served as an added rocket booster to Beatlemania, a force that was sweeping the world as this film was released, a film that has been credited with motivating young men (and women) all over the world to grow their hair long and start a band (just ask someone like Paul Stanley of KISS, to name one of hundreds, perhaps thousands).



When it came out way back in 1964 I can remember seeing it with my older sister, Cheryl, and cousin, Sue, at the Orr Theatre in Orrville, OH. The reason I was there to see it was in all likely hood my parents’ doing. My sister was a teenybopper and I think I may have been utilized during much of the 60’s to ‘spy’ on Cheryl in case she was with a boy at the movies. I can only recall her being with a guy maybe once or twice but I’d never tell! And didn’t! 


As far as what memories I have of attending A HARD DAY’S NIGHT that summer afternoon was seeing the Beatles on screen, the music but most of my memories that remain are the tremendous amount of teen age girls who were there (it was packed!) and VERY vocal! They were loud! And yes, it was Beatle-screaming. Kinda freaked this young kid out, you know? 


The magazine you see here was released during 1964 to help promote the movie and I guess act as a souvenir of sorts. I have a very hazy memory of seeing this magazine at my cousin Sue’s home (she bought all the music and teen magazines) and spending time going through all the pages more than once. 


Jump ahead 12 years and I am helping out a relative who was a painting contractor and one job we had was a Smucker home in Orrville. The home belonged to Mrs. Welker (Helen) Smucker on High Street. It was probably only five or six years since her husband, Welker, one of the sons of the founder of the J.M. Smucker Company, had passed on. Having never met Welker Smucker I nonetheless knew who he was by name and reputation.




In addition to his corporate work and ownership with his brothers and family in the Smucker’s jam & jelly company, Welker, like the rest of his family, was generous to a fault. The city and schools, among other entities (like Boys Village, the Orrville Boys & Girls Club, etcetera), have had tremendous benevolence bestowed to them by the entire Smucker family for generations now (it continues), and Welker was a leader in civic responsibility, especially when it came to children. His wife, Helen, was also one to show acts of kindness and I had first hand experience in that.


As we were preparing the basement, if you can call it that, as I was taken aback by the size and luxuriousness of it. It had been completely remodeled and consisted of several rooms, mainly as an activity and social room that their children, then grown, had used to entertain friends. Mrs. Smucker told me they used to hold dances and parties down there. 


The second day as we were taking a lunch break Mrs. Smucker came downstairs to check on our progress and to prepare some boxes, with items taken from a large cabinet, to be moved upstairs. When she asked me to carry the boxes upstairs I noticed on the top of one box laid a copy of the magazine you see here! I couldn’t believe it! I asked her if she minded if I took a look at it over lunch downstairs and she said that I could have it! She informed that all the items she removed from the cabinet downstairs and boxed up were going to the trash! 


I thanked her profusely! She couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about but I tried to explain it was a blast from the past for me, something that even in 1976 held nostalgia for me. To her it was just an old magazine and in the way. A couple years later I met her son Larry and related the tale about his mother, who had since passed. He just smiled and said, ‘That sounds like her!’ 


No, it doesn’t compare to the untold thousands, likely millions, of dollars the Smucker family has given, many times if not most times without seeking, asking or wanting any fanfare or glory. But it’s just a small, random act of kindness that I haven’t forgotten in over 30 years.





Contact Doc Lehman at: DocLehman@sssnet.com



  1. i live just up the road in Aigburth not far from where ringo used to live in liverpool 8 and i actually work in liverpool 8. my grandad so i am told used to live in the same road and remembered ringo as a child.

    fabulous blog by the way. i can’t wait to read more.

  2. If only I had a penny for every time I came here.. Amazing article!

  3. Hah I am honestly the first comment to your incredible read!

  4. If only I had a quarter for each time I came to doclehman.wordpress.com… Superb post.

  5. […] With A Name Like Smucker’s The Beatles Have To Be Good! […]

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