As I am known to family and friends as a Beatles enthusiast to say the least, several of my gifts this holiday season were Beatles items. By the way, if you like this blog please go through our Amazon box on this site when you order from Amazon.com. Many thanks.
One gift I received was 2014 book Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World by Cathy Leonard. It was a fascinating read and I recommend it. The book covers how the Fab Four was a constant presence in the 1960’s. She interviewed hundreds of fans of different ages and genders over six years. Leonard has a master’s degree in Human Development as well as a doctorate in Sociology. In Beatleness, the six year period of 1964-1970 addressed in the book covers so much ground it was incredible.
One memorable aspect of the book is that it gives unique insight into how the band’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the major impact of this single appearance on culture.
Apart from Dr. Leonard’s book, another memorable anecdote about the first appearance on Sullivan comes to mind. Last year at this time I was very interested to learn once again about the story of Vince Calandra, the employee of Ed Sullivan who had to stand in for George Harrison for the rehearsal the night before their groundbreaking appearance on February 9, 1964.
Vince Calandra started out as a mail boy for The Ed Sullivan Show, working his way up to holding cue cards and later enjoyed a distinguished career in television as both a producer and a writer. That Saturday night George Harrison was back in the Plaza Hotel battling strep throat. Going to the rehearsal was out of the question in light of his delicate condition. Calandra just by chance was wearing the same color suit and tie as John, Paul and George as he had plans later in the evening. He was instructed to stand in for George for the rehearsal. He was given George’s guitar and told to don a mop top. He stood off next to Paul for the three song rehearsal. He commented in a 2014 interview, “I stood there like a statue. I didn’t move. I did not hit the strings. I didn’t open my mouth.”
In a January 31, 2104 New York Post article entitled “Sullivan Staffer Recalls Stint as Honorary Beatle”, Calandra stated that The Beatles were the only act in his 14 years of working for The Ed Sullivan Show that asked to go into the control room and hear the playback for themselves. He also said, “There was something about them when you started meeting them. You really wanted them to succeed. They were unpretentious. They knew they were talented.”
Before the rehearsal, Calandra stated that Paul turned to him and said, “My whole life, we always dreamed about doing this show.”
Please check out below the Amazon page for Beatlesness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World.
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