Who's your favourite Beatle?

Fans turn out in force when the Beatles play Toronto and give a press conference on Sept. 7, 1964.

Band refuses to accept suggestion they should be role models and quit smoking

Fans turn out in force when the Beatles play Toronto and give a press conference on Sept. 7, 1964. 1:56

The Beatles were the biggest band in the world in 1964, and they had finally come to Toronto.

These teenage Beatles fans were just two of thousands who thronged outside Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 7, 1964. (CBC Archives/This Hour Has Seven Days)

After their first Canadian stadium show in Vancouver on Aug. 22 and playing dates in the United States, they reached Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 7. 

Fans weren't sure they'd last

Even their biggest fans predicted their popularity wouldn't last forever. Two girls interviewed by the CBC's Larry Zolf gave them six months — "at least," one added.

Not everyone was enamoured: Zolf found a group of boys in the crowd who said they didn't like the band. "The Beatles are bad news," said one, after another said he preferred Peter, Paul and Mary and a third said they wouldn't last.

"He's just fabulous," said one fan of Beatle George Harrison. (CBC Archives/This Hour Has Seven Days)

Zolf was there to capture the frenzy for the for the CBC-TV program This Hour Has Seven Days and it seemed everyone outside the Gardens that day had their favourite Beatle. 

"Ringo for kingo!" shouted one boy.

"What happens to you when you see Paul?" Zolf asked a McCartney fan. "I go nuts, I guess," she replied.

Another girl said she found John Lennon appealing. Why? "I don't know ... I think he's good-looking."

John Lennon didn't accept the suggestion that the Beatles were setting a bad example by smoking in public. (CBC Archives/This Hour Has Seven Days)

"I love George," said her friend, wearing a badge emblazoned with Harrison's first name. "He's just fabulous."

The Beatles played two concerts that day. 

Role models? Not them

Inside the Gardens between shows, the band didn't accept the suggestion by a Toronto reporter that they were setting a poor example for their teenage fans by smoking in public. When he asked if they'd consider quitting, their responses were unanimous. 

"No. Why should we?" replied Lennon. "Everybody smokes in front of everybody else." 

"And we don't set examples to people," said Harrison.

"Why should we? We even drink," said McCartney, to laughter from the assembled press.