February 6

Augusta, China women remember Beatles’ U.S. invasion

Fifty years ago Friday, the Fab Four landed in New York to forever change the musical landscape, leaving in their wake a lifetime of memories for fans everywhere.

By Susan McMillan smcmillan@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

To 13-year-old Joyce Miller, the Beatles were beautiful to look at and delightful to listen to.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Joe Phelan FOND MEMORIES: Cindy Masiero, of China, still has the set of Beatles dolls she got as a child.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Joe Phelan FOND MEMORIES: Cindy Masiero, of China, still has the set of Beatles dolls she got as a child.

Additional Photos Below

Now Joyce McKenney, 63, of Richmond, she was so enthused for the Beatles’ performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, that she made sure her father saw it too, even though the Manhattan lawyer with a fondness for musical theater and classical music was well outside the group’s core fanbase.

“I remember dragging my dad to our living room and waiting for them to come on and then, like, pressing my face to the TV, with tears streaming down my face,” McKenney said. “And my father’s going, ‘What’s so good about them?’”

The scene — with its teenage ardor and adult bafflement — was probably not too different from ones that played out in homes across the country on that weekend 50 years ago when the United States met the Beatles. Some Americans were eagerly awaiting the Beatles’ stateside arrival, thanks to the play their singles had received on a few radio stations and news reports on the phenomenon of Beatlemania in the United Kingdom. Thousands of the already smitten crowded the tarmac on Feb. 7, 1964, when the Beatles touched down at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, recently renamed since the president’s assassination less than three months earlier.

McKenney lived in Queens, N.Y., so that weekend she and her friends headed into Manhattan, where the Beatles were staying at the Plaza Hotel.

“They stuck their heads out of a window, and they waved, and we were all out there crying,” she said. “It was so stupid.”

McKenney may laugh at the memory of her youthful infatuation, but she was just one of millions of teenagers, both girls and boys, who instantly latched onto the Beatles.

China resident Cindy Masiero, 65, also became obsessed for a few years, though she’d never heard of the group before being persuaded by a cousin to watch them on Ed Sullivan.

“Up until then, I hadn’t really paid attention, but she was talking them up,” Masiero said. “I watched them on TV that night, and from then on I was a fan.”

Masiero, who was a high school student in Lexington, Mass., spent all her money on Beatles records, saw them in concert twice in Boston and even sent George Harrison, her favorite Beatle, a set of enameled cufflinks she’d made.

A couple of months after sending the cufflinks to an address she’d somehow acquired, Masiero came home to find an envelope in the kitchen with unfamiliar stamps and a postmark from England.

The note inside was mostly a mimeographed form letter, but at the bottom Harrison’s sister Louise had signed and written, “George was very pleased with the cufflinks.”

“I went ballistic,” Masiero said. “I was so thrilled.”

She still has that letter and envelope, along with a set of Beatles dolls. Their mop tops are a little ragged after almost five decades.

Augusta resident Barbara Jablon’s most treasured piece of memorabilia is her Cavern Club card, which got her into one of several venues where she saw the Beatles perform in the early 1960s in Liverpool, before coming to the United States in 1962 at the age of 18. The Cavern Club is where the band got its start.

“Somebody offered me $1,000 for my Cavern card, but I won’t part with it,” Jablon said. “It’s part of me.”

Jablon watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in Morristown, N.J., with the children for whom she was a nanny. Some of the children’s friends asked her for her autograph because she’d met the Beatles and had in particular gotten to know Ringo Starr a bit, she said.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Joe Phelan FOND MEMORIES: Cindy Masiero, of China, got this thank you note, signed by his sister Louise Harrison, for a set of cufflinks she made and sent to Beatle George Harrison.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Joe Phelan FOND MEMORIES: Cindy Masiero, of China, got this thank you note, signed by his sister Louise Harrison, for a set of cufflinks she made and sent to Beatle George Harrison.

 


Further Discussion

Here at KJonline.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)