The Beatles historic visit to rural Arkansas | - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

The Beatles historic visit to rural Arkansas

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The hey days for Walnut Ridge, Ark., were during World War II, when thousands of young men learned to fly at an airbase just outside town.

Since then, it has been like a lot rural communities across America, a place where families raise kids and people worked hard, go to church and live their lives without too much excitement.

But, on a September night in 1964, something happened that no one in Walnut Ridge could have ever imagined.

"It started at the place called The Polar Freeze, like a dairy bar, which is still there, still serves BBQ and still has the same owner," recalls resident Charles Snapp. "Jack (Allison) saw the plane circling and it was a clear night. It was in a slow flight."

"Well, I was out in this area picking up paper and back then a lot of teenagers hung out and circled this place and I had seen this airplane make a circle, a big airplane," added Jack Allison, owner of the Polar Freeze. "We didn't have much traffic, big stuff at night."

Snapp and Allison both questioned why an unusual plane would circle Walnut Ridge at that time of night.

"Then three boys pulled up and I said, 'hey boys what y'all doing?'," Allison said. " 'Just out running around.' I said, 'run out to the airport and see if the airplane is in trouble.' So then they went and that's all I had to do with it."

The three teens went to the airport and they found that a large twin engine airplane had in fact landed. What happened next was like a scene out of The Twilight Zone.

"When they first pulled up they actually thought that couldn't be The Beatles," Snapp said. "So they got out and actually visited with them a while they came off the plane with wine bottles and shared some drinks with them talked to them and found out it was The Beatles. It was when they went back to town that it was hard for people to believe The Beatles had been in Walnut Ridge."

The Beatles had taken a break from their first U.S. tour.

While the boys from Liverpool were usually greeted by mobs of screaming fans, that wasn't the case on an Sunday morning in Walnut Ridge. Most parents refused to let their kids skip church.

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