Freda Kelly grew up in Liverpool in the years after World War II. Her mother died when she was very young. An only child, she lived with her rather strict father. At 15, Freda — she has such an open, amiable manner it’s hard not to be on a first-name basis — dropped out of school and went to work in a typing pool. On her lunch hour, she’d go to a nearby club called the Cavern to hear local bands. She became a particular fan of one of them. How big a fan? When they released a single, she bought it even though she didn’t own a record player.
The single was “Love Me Do,” and the band was the Beatles. This was so early in their career that Pete Best was still the drummer. Brian Epstein was already their manager, though, and he knew that he needed someone to run the nascent Official Beatles Fan Club. Freda, just 17, got the job. She was an inspired choice. “A lot of people didn’t take these girls seriously,” she recalls in “Good Ol’ Freda,” Ryan White’s documentary about her, “but I did, because I was one of them.”