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Beatles Entertain at Kennedy Airport Press Conferenc

Feb. 7, 1964 - Arriving today at Kennedy International Airport, the Beatles were met by 200 reporters and photographers in addition to 3,000 screaming teenagers. The reporters were from newspapers, magazines, foreign publications, radio and television stations, and teenage fan magazines.

The British group’s press conference was bedlam. While the Beatles stood quietly on a platform, smoking and smiling, photographers cried: “Down in front — gimme some room — whatsa matter — I can’t see — please down — hey Beatles, looky over here!” When order was at least partially restored, the four young men fielded questions with the cheeky assurance of veterans.

Why were they such a hit? “We’ve got a good press agent,” said John Lennon.

How did they like the American girls? “We’ll tell you tonight,” winked one.

How did they like Beethoven, who figures in one of their songs? “We love him,” said Ringo Starr, “especially his poems.”

What about the burgeoning movement in Detroit to stamp out the Beatles? “We have a campaign of our own to stamp out Detroit,” said one Beatle.

Are you going to have a haircut over here? “What do you mean?” asked George Harrison, fondling his haystack of hair. “We’ve had one yesterday.”

A reporter cried: “Hey, you’re keeping kids out of school!” “That’s a dirty lie,” Mr. Lennon said, laughing.

“Yes, we have a message,” said Paul McCartney in answer to a question. Suddenly there was a moment of silence. “Our message is,” he began, “buy more Beatle records!”

The Beatle wit was contagious. Everyone laughed. Photographers forgot about pictures they wanted to take.

Meanwhile, merchants are climbing on the Beatle bandwagon and selling Beatle wigs, boots, T-shirts, sweatshirts, toss pillows, and scarves. Twenty thousand wigs have been sold in Britain. Clothing manufacturers are in the process of cutting Beatle suits and sweaters: very tight, very black.

Brian Epstein, their 29-year-old manager, said, “The Beatles get a percentage of everything. Soon they’ll be making a film for United Artists. Capitol has already sold 3 million Beatle records.” Their single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” is No. 1 on the best-selling record lists, and their long-playing album, “Meet the Beatles,” is No. 3.


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