Music

Beatles party in 1964: now more video *

beatles-color-beck-telegrap.jpgCouple of things to add about that color photograph of the Beatles on their first visit to Los Angeles in 1964. First, the party where Robert Beck shot his slides was not held in the Beverly Hills backyard of Capitol Records president Alan Livingston, as recent coverage of the Beck photos has suggested. The party was hosted by Livingston but actually held in Brentwood, in the backyard of Livingston's mother-in-law. (Livingston's yard was under construction at the time, his widow said this week.) The event was held Aug. 24, 1964, the day after the Beatles performed at the Hollywood Bowl, in front of a sold-out and crazed crowd.

The party was a charity fundraiser for a hemophilia foundation. Hollywood celebs were charged $25 each to bring their kids to see the Beatles, according to news coverage at the time.

There is existing news footage of the Beatles arriving at the party, as well as of the arrivals of guests such as Los Angeles mayor Sam Yorty, actors Edward G. Robinson and John Forsythe, and Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper. The four-minute clip begins with teenagers outside the Bel-Air home where the Beatles were staying, then moves to the Brentwood party. The reporter is Saul Halpert, the late KNBC political reporter. I don't know which station Saul worked for in 1964.



In the second clip, which runs seven minutes, the Beatles stop outside the party for an impromptu photo op. They also pose for photos with guests. and you can hear the press photographers jostling with each other for position. Yorty arrives with his wife and their son Bill, and Halpert reaches into a crowd of screaming girls behind a police line to ask why they are outside the party. He signs off: "This is Saul Halpert, close to being swallowed up in Beatlemania."



I've seen a longer collection of clips from that day that includes Groucho Marx outside the party, and also a young Janice Hahn (now the congresswoman) arriving with her late father, the longtime Los Angeles political figure Kenneth Hahn. Those people are not included in the two clips on YouTube. Hat tip on the videos to Rudy Martinez of the Rio Hondo College Library.

* Jan. 10 update: Rudy Martinez tracked down YouTube videos that have more of the footage I've seen before. In this one, Rock Hudson, Jack Benny and Groucho Marx chat with the press outside the party — Groucho says with a twinkle in his face that he'll go anywhere there are free drinks. There are also some Beatles fans who rent a helicopter to fly over the Bel-Air home where the band was staying. In part two, there is more interaction between the reporters and teenagers outside the party, plus a little footage of the Hollywood Bowl concert and of Halpert interviewing Beatles handler Derek Taylor through the gate of the Bel-Air home.

If you have never seen it, here is some footage of the Beatles arriving at LAX, where the band held its first press conference in Los Angeles.


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