Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It was 50 years ago tonight when Sullivan spoke those historic words:
“Now yesterday and today, our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agree with me that the city has never witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool, who call themselves the Beatles. Now tonight you’re gonna twice be entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of our show.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles!”
And throwing his arm the group’s way, followed by a united scream perhaps never before heard on national television, the cameras started with a long shot of four skinny, mop-topped young men wearing suits and holding guitars. The camera zoomed in slowly on Paul McCartney singing “All My Loving.”
“Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you. Tomorrow I’ll miss you. Remember I’ll always be true. And then while I’m away, I’ll write home every day and I’ll send all my loving to you.”
And “love” it was, from first sight, said Lockport’s Carol Malcomb, who remembers it well.
“There was nothing like them,” she said. “When they shook their hair, girls would cry and some even fainted. They sang ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and I thought I was going to die! They were all so cute and different,” she said.
Sullivan used the finest TV technology of the time — hard to imagine today — and he wasted little time showing it off, running close-ups of each Beatle one by one, then inserting their names (by essentially blending two screens together), adding a “Sorry girls, he’s married” after Lennon’s name.
The Beatles continued with “Til There Was You,” followed by their international sensation, “She Loves You,” by which time Sullivan was trying to calm his audience by promising them a second appearance later in the hour-long show.