This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first trip to the U.S., a cultural phenomenon that became known as Beatlemania.

  • Friday was the 50th anniversary of the day the Beatles arrived at New York’s newly-renamed JFK airport.
  • Sunday was the anniversary of the day they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Reportedly, 73 million people watched.

As my colleague Cindy O’Dell commented:

And at least half were screaming while the other half wondered why.

More 50th anniversary dates for the Beatles…

  • Tuesday will be the anniversary of their first full-fledged U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum.
  • Wednesday will be the anniversary of their first show at Carnegie Hall.
  • Feb. 1 was the anniversary of the date I Want to Hold Your Hand hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It would stay there until knocked out by another Beatles single, She Loves You, seven weeks later.
  • March 16 will be the anniversary of the release of the single, Can’t Buy Me Love. It hit No. 1 on April 4 and spent five weeks there.
  • April 4, in fact, will be the anniversary of the week the Beatles occupied all top five positions in the Billboard charts.

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  • July 13 will mark the anniversary of the release of the single, A Hard Day’s Night. It spent two weeks at No. 1.

Nate Bloomquist, design editor of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, turned most of his Sunday wire report into a retrospective of the Beatles’ visit.

Click for a much larger view.

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He listed the five songs the Beatles played on Sullivan that night…

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…and also walked readers through the rest of the Beatles’ “breakout year” of 1964.

One of my favorite small papers — the Advocate of Victoria, Texas — devoted its entire front page to a recreation of the Beatles’ iconic 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, but using people around town in place of the characters on the original cover.

Designer Julie Zavala wrote on her Facebook wall:

It’s not often that I’m given the chance to do an illustration this fun and time consuming.

[Advocate editor] Chris Cobler came up with this idea for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. By Friday, after rushing to add the final touches, I was wishing he had picked an easier cover to recreate like maybe the White Album.

Again, click for a much larger view

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Julie tells us:

The idea was to have readers submit essays on being Beatles fans. They were encouraged to send a photo of themselves so I could incorporate them into the cover.

If you look to the left of “John Lennon” you’ll see Chris Cobler in a black suit. I also put Tom Martinez, Advocate managing editor, and Dan Easton, publisher, all in black suits on the left, bottom.

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It was a lot of fun to do and there are a few inside jokes throughout the illustration.

The man in the pink suit is a local character nicknamed, Pepper. Ha ha!

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In addition, I see former Advocate features staffer and Julie’s good friend, Aprill Brandon, in the mix [above, right].

Julie continues:

The doll in black and white striped shirt has the head of the puppet we used for the “Chupacabra” movies we made with Aprill and Ryan Huddle.

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His shirt says, “Will work for goats.” (Chupacabras are known for sucking the blood of goats. Go figure.)

It was Robert’s idea to put Queen Victoria in the picture since a lot of people assume the town of Victoria is named after her. Empresario Martín De León, the true founder of Victoria, is staring at her from the left.

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We went to the college dorm in town and took photos of kids to fill out the crowd. Local celebrities like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Candy Barr (famous stripper from this area…

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…and , celebrity hairdresser StacyK helped to round out the group. Also, the mayor of Victoria, Paul Polasek, front, taking the place of George Harrison.

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This was part of a larger Beatles presentation inside. The only other pieces I’ve managed to track down were these two portraits by the Advocate‘s Blain Hefner.

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Those, of course, are the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Paul is depicted the way he looked in 1963 or 1964. That’s the look Ringo had around 1967 or 1968.

The Advocate is constantly coming up with wacky, innovative ideas. Read about their zombie-themed TV commercial here. Find more of their work here.

And in case anyone is wondering: Yes, I did a Beatles presentation for my Focus page in the Orange County Register. However, I ran mine back on Dec. 26, the anniversary of the day I Want to Hold Your Hand was released as a single here in the U.S.

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The rail down the right tells the story of the height of Beatlemania in the first half of 1964.

The rail down the left shows every single the Beatles released in the U.S., with emphasis on the ones that hit No. 1 in the Billboard charts.

The lead art was in our archives already. A number of folks thought the little pointers were a bit goofy. I thought they were fun, but whatever.

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