The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

February 6, 2014

Memories of the Beatles' US television debut

It was 50 years ago today (almost) that this mop-topped band began to play (in America).

The Beatles made their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," America's must-see weekly variety show, on Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964. And officially kicked off Beatlemania on this side of the pond.

More than 70 million viewers were tuned to the program, airing live from the Manhattan studio now housing the "Late Show With David Letterman."

Here are recollections from some notable viewers and participants — including one Beatle.

___

Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall were an up-and-coming husband-and-wife comedy team that specialized in carefully crafted character sketches. They were thrilled when they landed their first appearance on "Sullivan."

Unfortunately, they were booked on that first Beatles show — slotted just before the Beatles hit the stage for their second set. Needless to say, the studio audience — packed with teenage girls — wasn't interested in watching grown-ups doing comedy.

Charlie Brill: "Mr. Sullivan called us into his dressing room after dress rehearsal. He said, 'You're doing a very sophisticated piece of business and my audience is 14-year-old girls. They won't understand it. So why don't you show me everything you have, and we'll rebuild your whole act.'"

MM: "The biggest laugh we got was when I ad-libbed, 'I was backstage and I stepped on a beetle.'"

CB: "That got a roar."

MM: "And I thought, 'Oh, boy, are we in trouble!'"

CB: "After we finished, we stood in the wings and watched, but I couldn't hear anything. The screaming from the audience was so intense that I didn't even know what the Beatles were doing."

MM: "Now I feel like it was an honor to be on that show with them, but our performance wasn't what we wanted it to be. We never look at the recording of it."

Text Only
Lifestyle
Poll

Do you think Athens-Limestone County is better prepared than in April 2011 to provide shelter from a major tornado?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee