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This Week in Universal News: The Beatles Come to America

by on February 7, 2014


To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the British Invasion, we’re posting our weekly Universal News story a few days early!

On this day, fifty years ago, the Beatles landed at Beatles landed at New York City’s recently renamed John F. Kennedy airport. Here’s the report from Universal, complete with John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s trademark charm, screaming teenagers, and a condescending narrator that clearly does not take these Liverpudlians (or their fans) seriously.

From the release sheet:

QUICK, FRED, THE FLIT: There are rumors around that this is Britain’s revenge for the Boston Tea Party. You guessed it . . . the Beatles have arrived in the United States for their first appearance before an idolizing teen-age crowd, with the St. Vitus bounce. They take an airing in Central Park. No. There is no truth to the buzz that the Zoo’s laughing hyena was driven underground.

Beatles3

Ringo answers a question with a delightful dance. 

Watch the complete newsreel, including stories about a violent conflict between Turkey and Greece, Mardi Gras, and coverage of the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria here.

From the production file, an annotated script:

UN 37-12 BEATLES0001

In case you’re wondering, “pandiatonic” music is also referred to as “white noise”.

About the Universal Newsreel Collection at NARA:

The Universal Newsreel Collection is one of the most used motion picture collections at the National Archives and Records Administration. Universal Newsreels were shown in movie theaters twice a week, from 1929 until 1967, and covered a wide range of American life and history during that time period. Each release usually contained five to seven stories averaging two minutes in length.

In 1974, Universal deeded its edited newsreel and outtake collection to the United States through the National Archives (NARA), and did not place any copyright restrictions on its use (some stories may contain other underlying intellectual property or proprietary use rights).

While Universal disposed of many of the soundtracks, leaving the newsreels incomplete, supplementary material like scripts, shot lists, and event programs can be found in the production files, available for research at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.

Learn more about the Universal Newsreel Collection in this post and in this Prologue article. Watch other Universal Newsreels in our research room, in OPA, and on this playlist.

Beatles1Fans display their devotion, or faddish “hero-worship”, according to the story of the day.


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