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Cover of Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles, a Christian Crusade Publication, Tulsa, OK
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COMMUNISM, HYPNOTISM AND THE BEATLES

"And, since our teenagers under Beatlemania will actually riot, it is imperative to understand the basic underlying philosophy of the Beatles. Are they susceptible to the enemies of our Republic?"

-- David A. Noebel, Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles (1965)

Reverend David A. Noebel gets his first laugh in Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles when, in the preface, he refers to his ridiculous booklet as a “thesis.” To self-confer any kind of scholarly worth to this bizarre screed demonstrates that, if nothing else, Rev. Noebel has a sense of humor. The absurd and poorly drawn cover illustration of John, Paul, George and Ringo under the Soviet hammer and sickle might lead the average person to conclude that this anti-Beatlemania manifesto is simply an over-the-top parody. Such is not the case, however, as it is an absolutely sincere effort on the part of the author. And, indeed, it is this dogmatic and clumsily fear-mongering approach that rightly guarantees Rev. Noebel's treatise its immortal camp classic status.

The CONELRAD archives contain hundreds of civil defense and anti-Communist books, pamphlets and assorted Cold War ephemera. Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles is by far the strangest title we own or have even seen. In fact, it is so outlandish that we hold little hope of ever finding anything weirder… which is kind of a drag.

Rev. Noebel begins his “Analysis of the Communist Use of Music - the Master Plan” (the subtitle to Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles) with a series of paranoid—though heavily footnoted—ramblings against the Communists and their diabolical use of music against the mind. This is but one example of the author’s fevered text:

The Communists, through their scientists, educators and entertainers, have contrived an elaborate, calculating and scientific technique directed at rendering a generation of American youth useless through nerve-jamming, mental deterioration and retardation. The plan involves conditioned reflexes, hypnotism and certain kinds of music. The results, destined to destroy our nation, are precise and exacting. Little wonder the Kremlin maintains it will not raise the Red flag over America—the Americans will raise it themselves. If the following scientific program destined to make our children mentally sick is not exposed, mentally degenerated Americans will indeed raise the Communist flag over their own nation!

It should be noted that Rev. Noebel’s purpose in writing his booklet is larger than just ringing the alarm bell about the alleged Red agenda of the Fab Four. He spends most of the text ranting about folk music and record labels that he charges are Communist front organizations. And since the Beatles are not even referenced until page 10 (of a 26 page booklet, half of which is comprised of questionable* footnotes), it is not unreasonable to think that the author decided to attack the Mop Tops as an afterthought to exploit their stratospheric popularity.

This is how Noebel introduces the scourge of the Beatles in his booklet (note how he seeks to diminish the band’s artistic credibility by placing the word “concert” in ironic quotes):

But our younger children are not the only ones being tampered with by the Communists. Our teenager is also being exploited. Exploited for at least three reasons: (a) his own demoralization; (b) to create in him mental illness through artificial neurosis and (c) to prepare him for riot and ultimate revolution in order to destroy our American form of government and the basic Christian principles governing our way of life.

Four young men, noted for their tonsils and tonsure, are helping to bring about the above. When the Beatles conducted their “concert” in Vancouver, British Columbia, 100 persons were stomped, gouged, elbowed and otherwise assaulted during a 29-minute performance.

Nearly 1,000 were injured in Melbourne, Australia; in Beirut, Lebanon, fire hoses were needed to disperse hysterical fans. In the grip of Beatle fever, we are told the teenagers weep, wail and experience ecstasy-ridden hysteria that has to be seen to be believed. Also, we are told teenagers “bite their lips until they bleed and they even get over-excited and take off their clothes.” To understand what rock and roll in general and the Beatles in particular are doing to our teenagers, it is necessary to return to Pavlov’s laboratory. The Beatles’ ability to make teenagers take off their clothes and riot is laboratory tested and approved. It is scientifically labeled mass hypnosis and artificial neurosis.

Towards the end of his booklet Noebel turns into Lester Bangs by way of J. Edgar Hoover and provides this appraisal of rock music and jazz:

The music isn’t “art-form” at all, but a very destructive process. Teenage mental breakdown is at an all time high and juvenile delinquency is nearly destroying our society. Both are caused in part by emotional instability which in turn is caused in part by destructive music such as rock and roll and certain kinds of jazz. But no matter what one might think about the Beatles or the Animals or the Mindbenders, the results are the same—a generation of young people with sick minds, loose morals and little desire or ability to defend themselves from those who would bury them.

Noebel goes on to conclude that it is plain to him that “the Communists have a master plan for all age brackets of American youth” and turns to an unusual source to back up his assertions – the official newspaper of the Communist Party, The Worker (previously published as The Daily Worker). Noebel believes that because this publication argues for tolerance of rock music and attacks his and Hargis’s organization (the Christian Crusade) for exposing the “dangers inherent” in rock and jazz, he is on firm ground for making his loony accusations.

So that there is absolutely no misunderstanding regarding what he is advocating to protect America from the ravages of Beatlemania, Noebel sums up his recommendations in the starkest possible terms:

Throw your Beatle and rock and roll records in the city dump. We have been unashamed of being labeled a Christian nation; let’s make sure four mop-headed anti-Christ beatniks don’t destroy our children’s emotional and mental stability and ultimately destroy our nation as Plato warned in his Republic.

Ironically, less than a year after the publication of Noebel’s screed, John Lennon himself incited the action called for in the above paragraph. It was in the March 4, 1966 edition of the London Evening Standard that Lennon made his incendiary statement:

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.

However, it was not until the summer of 1966 when an American teen magazine (Datebook, July 29, 1966) quoted Lennon’s remarks out of their full context that the Beatles record and memorabilia destruction drives started in the South (Birmingham, Alabama was ground zero for this activity).

Not all of the anti-Beatles action was confined to the South, though. An August 9, 1966 Associated Press article reported that John J. Carvalho, age 11, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island had his “Beatle-length locks cut” and he destroyed his Beatles records in protest over John Lennon’s comments. One wonders if Carvalho has ever pondered how much his collection would be worth today (particularly if he happened to have a Butcher Block copy of “Yesterday and Today”).

Noebel closes the ludicrous Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles by urging his readers to “circulate copies of this report!” However late we may be, CONELRAD is honored to have helped spread the word.

Rev. Noebel was not content just to publish thousands of copies of his booklet (55,000 copies printed in four editions according to the printing history on the first page of the copy CONELRAD owns). He also went out and promoted it on a nationwide speaking tour. Noebel did something at his engagements that the Beatles never would have done – he invited bootlegging (“tape recorders welcome” noted newspaper ads for his appearances). CONELRAD would pay top dollar for bootlegged Noebel (’65 tour only)!

A March 19, 1965 Charles Champlin column in the Los Angeles Times was published a week before Noebel’s scheduled Los Angeles publicity stop. Unlike most newspapers that simply reported on the facts of Noebel’s peculiar crusade, the Times’ Champlin challenged the premise of rock music being a threat to the republic:

It is possible to find the music unbearable, and the excitement it engenders intolerable. But as a phenomenon it is in the all-American, free-wheeling, free-enterprising, damn-the-torpedoes tradition, a declaration of independence from the moldy fig leaf my aging generation used to like. Our eardrums may not survive, but democracy will.

Noebel may not have had a fan in Mr. Champlin, but he certainly had the admiration of Mrs. C.M. Shupe, Sr. of Big Stone Gap, Virginia (but at least Champlin got Noebel’s surname right) who wrote a letter to the Kingsport Times-News that was published on September 4, 1966. Mrs. Shupe wrote, in part:

I advise all who haven’t read David A. Wachtel’s (sic) book “Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles” to read the book. We are being taken in like flies in a spider webb (sic) and the Communists are winning the battle without firing a gun. Here at home the evil is so insidious, so deceiving, that it fulfills the Bible (sic) that the devil will appear clothed as an angel to deceive and destroy.

Mrs. Shupe did not elaborate on which Beatle she thought dressed like an angel, but we’re betting she meant Paul ("the cute one").

***

From the back cover of Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles:

Rev. David Noebel, Associate Evangelist of Billy James Hargis and Dean of the Christian Anti-Communist Summer University, The Summit, Manitou Springs, Colorado, is the author of this excellent study. When Dr. Hargis discovered Rev. Noebel and recognized his leadership ability, the author of this book was pastor of a Bible Church in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was also working on his Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. Rev. Noebel enthusiastically joined Dr. Hargis’s team and has become a leading spokesman for Christian Crusade in recent months.

Rev. Noebel, who as of this posting still heads Summit Ministries, went on to create another CONELRAD favorite, the LP The Marxist Minstrels (1968).

And for those readers who just can't get enough moronic Beatle-bashing, Noebel has more material. Indeed, it is probably fair to state that Rev. Noebel has something of an obsession with the Fab Four as he has written two other Beatlemaniacal diatribes: The Beatles: A Study in Drugs, Sex and Revolution (1969) and The Legacy of John Lennon: Charming or Harming a Generation? (1982). We can only hope that an expose on Murray the K is in our collective future.

* One of Noebel’s dubious sources for his "thesis" was his patron and publisher, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based evangelist Billy James Hargis (1925-2004). Noebel includes the following quote from Hargis in the booklet: “The beatnik crowd, represented by the Beatles, is the Communist crowd.”

Hargis made headlines in 1953 when he masterminded a stunt to send thousands of balloons from West Germany into Eastern Europe as a religious statement. The balloons had biblical scripture attached to them and Hargis’s goal was to spread the Christian word to Communist nations.

Hargis made headlines again when he stepped down as President of the American Christian Crusade College in 1974 after accusations that he had engaged in sexual relations with male and female students at the institution. David Noebel, who at the time was Vice President of the college, was responsible for forcing his former mentor out. Hargis publicly denied the charges for the remainder of his life. For more on the Hargis meltdown, read the Time magazine article "The Sins of Billy James" (February 16, 1976).

Rev. David A. Noebel on the back cover of Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles, a Christian Crusade Publication, Tulsa, OK
COMMUNISM, HYPNOTISM AND THE BEATLES
David A. Noebel
Copyright 1965 by Christian Crusade
Published by Christian Crusade Publications, Tulsa, Oklahoma
26 Pages

[ 4 | COMMENTS | Dec 14, 10 | 11:54 pm ]
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