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Wild Reception for Beatles at Miami Aiport

Feb. 13, 1964 - Outshrieking a jet, Miami teenagers smashed a plate glass door and tore up 12 chairs at Miami International Airport today to greet England’s cultural gift to America, the Beatles. The Beatles escaped unsquashed. After a “scream-along” at Carnegie Hall, the quartet flew to Miami for 84 hours at the Deauville Hotel and an Ed Sullivan live T.V. show Sunday which, undoubtedly, will be in living noise.

About 7,000 Miami teenagers, mostly girls, carpeted the observation decks at the airport and packed Concourse 3. In the process, they upset five sandy tub-sized ash trays in the terminal, body-heated the lobby 10 degrees, and broke a plate glass door while overrunning a police guard. But everything was more or less under control until the shrieking jet engines of a National Air Line DC-8 died at Gate 27. Then the idols deplaned. Squirming, screeching, blubbering teenagers welcomed them with joy. Joyfully, they smashed fiberglass chairs in a concourse waiting room and pitched jelly beans. All are symptoms of Beatlemania, a fashion of the times.

Suddenly, the child mob began to force open a concourse door to the concrete apron outside. It took the strength of two, then four, then seven men to keep it closed. This struggle ceased only after three brawny Metro policemen hurled themselves through a broken window into a mass of teenage girls in the interest of law and order.

One boy jumped from the observation deck to a roof, then to the pavement. An officer, one of 127 of Metro’s finest assigned to the airport for the arrival, promptly collared him. “If I ever caught my kid out here, I’d beat the hell out of her. This is disgusting,” muttered a sweating cop. Finally, two limousines (rented at $11 an hour) pulled up to the ramp, and the mop-topped heroes departed for Miami Beach with a motorcycle escort.

Sgt. E.E. Hamilton later reported seven casualties of the day, all minor cuts and scratches, plus the arrest of two adult drunks. He said many unkind things about disc jockeys who encourage hooky playing. So did Chief of Police Rocky Pomerance at Miami Beach. “I’m going to write the FCC about the way WQAM and WFUN stirred up those kids. Total lack of public service,” he fumed.

Later, at a press conference at the hotel, the Beatles entertained with their sharp wit. “Who writes the music?” one reporter asked. “What music?” replied John Lennon.

“What are you going to do about the mobs when you go in the water?” asked another newsman. “Use swimming policemen,” said Ringo Starr.


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