America’s First Tastes Of The Beatles

According to popular legend, the first time the Beatles appeared on American TV was on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, nearly exactly fifty years ago. This is not exactly true. The Beatles were shown on American TV at least twice before then.

The first time was on the Huntley-Brinkley Report, which was where most Americans got their the news in the 1960s. Their report on the Beatles aired on November 18, 1963, just days before the Kennedy assassination. Sorry, but all that is left is the audio of the broadcast.

The report is dismissive, at one point saying, “One reason for the Beatles’ popularity is that it is almost impossible to hear them.”

The second time the Beatles were shown on American TV was on the Jack Paar Show, on January 3, 1964. It appears that Paar reported on the Beatles because he thought they were a joke and that it would amuse his audience.

As usual with Paar, the joke was on him.

There may be other, earlier footage out there that has not yet been dug up, but it certainly appears that Ed Sullivan did not have quite the scoop that he tried to make people think he had.

(H/t Michael Beschloss)

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