From the Beatles first tour of the United States in 1964, most of the published photographs have been in black and white. That's how most photographers rolled in those days. But in March, 65 color slides taken by a Los Angeles scientist, Robert Beck, will be auctioned off in the United Kingdom. Omega Auctions is timing the sale to the 50th anniversary of the band's first album, "Please Please Me."
The auction house has yet to publish the catalog, but media reports this weekend say that the Beck collection includes color slides from the August, 1964 party for the Beatles at the Beverly Hills home of Capitol Records president Alan Livingston. Now, there have been a lot of exclusive private parties held in LA-area backyards through the decades. But it's kind of hard to imagine what the buzz must have been like for this invite. The Beatles were playing the U.S. for the first time and the bedlam of Beatlemania greeted the foursome at each stop. They were forced out of rooms at the Ambassador Hotel to stay at a private home in Bel Air (the home of British actor Reginald Owen at 356 St. Pierre Road, according to Art Fein's "The L.A. Musical History Tour.") Burbank Airport wouldn't let the band's plane land there, and the Hollywood Bowl even tried to cancel the performance there on August 23, 1964. Hours before the Bowl show, the band snuck into Studio City to meet the press at KRLA deejay Bob Eubanks' Cinnamon Cinder nightclub — only the word got out and hundreds of fans swarmed the place.
The photo above runs in the New York Daily News without caption details, so for now we don't know if this is from the Livingston backyard. But when the catalog comes out, I intend to find out. That would be a pretty cool snapshot of a moment in Los Angeles. Who are those kids of the music business today? [Note: The Telegraph in the U.K. also has a gallery from the Beck collection.]
The BBC describes Beck as "a researcher and inventor who died in 2002, leaving a huge archive of photographs and slides in his Hollywood home." A little poking around on the web finds that he's mostly associated with non-traditional cancer treatments using electricity.
Update: The photo is from the Livingston party. Read more
Photo: Dr. Robert Beck/Omega Auctions/PA/NY Daily News