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Beatles Invade Washington D.C.

Feb. 11, 1964 - Britain’s Beatles turned the U.S. capital into bedlam tonight, putting on a show for 8,000 shrieking, jumping teenagers at the Washington Coliseum. Only an eight-inch snowfall just before the performance saved the city from even worse chaos. President Johnson’s two daughters, Lynda Bird, 19, and Lucy, 16, did not show. “Too much homework,” a White House aide explained.

The huge arena rocked with ecstatic screams and shouts of glee. “Ooh, here they are!” went the cry as the four British mopsters appeared in the Coliseum. They got a shrill ovation from the throng which had bought hundreds of “I Love Beatles” buttons. Many fans sported the Beatles’ mop-top haircut. Others wore Beatle wigs.

When the Beatles arrived at Union Station from New York, about 300 fans greeted the barnstorming Britishers. “Hold my hand, hold my hand!” shrieked one teenaged girl to Paul McCartney. When he obliged, she squealed ecstatically, “He touched me! He touched me!”

Asked at a press conference how long he thought Beatlemania might last, McCartney answered: “As long as you keep on coming.”

Did the Beatles invade America out of a “sense of revenge?” “No,” said Ringo Starr. “We just came for the money.”

The weather gave many Washington area parents an excuse to say “no” to enthusiastic youngsters who had already bought tickets to the sold-out Coliseum, even if they couldn’t get their money back. The absentees were hardly missed, however, as thousands of other kids yelled, cheered, and stamped their feet. “The audience itself is always the best part of the show,” observed one British newsman.

A check of Government agencies by the New York Daily News showed that Uncle Sam had absolutely no plans to defend the capital against the hysteria generated by the Beatles. “We ought to have, but we don’t,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

“Beatlemania? That would be a matter for the Public Health Service,” said an aide to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Anthony Celebrezze.

“We do not anticipate any serious damage to relations between the U.S. and Britain,” said a State Department spokesman.

A Treasury aide was frankly worried about the “gold drain” caused by the Beatles, who may take out as much as $2 million in profits on record sales and personal appearances during this 10-day tour. “But I don’t see anything we can do about it,” the Treasury man said. “This is just massive retaliation for what our citizens — Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the rest — have been doing to foreigners for years.”




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