IU Libraries Film Archive captures history: ‘The Beatles are here’

Guest post courtesy of Asia Harman with the IU Libraries Film Archive:

Feb. 9th marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” There is much speculation about how the Beatles came to make their American debut on the show, and one film at the Indiana University Libraries Film Archive just might have some insight.

The archive holds more than 70,000 films, many of which were distributed and preserved by IU from the 1930s to the 1990s. In this expansive collection containing both educational and theatrical releases are three films with the Beatles including Richard Lester’s “A Hard Day’s Night.” The other two are “Braverman’s Condensed Cream of Beatles” and footage of a British interview with the Fab Four.

“Braverman’s Condensed Cream of Beatles” is a 10-minute montage spanning their 10-year career. Roughly two minutes into the film is a clip of Sullivan being interviewed about how he came to have the Beatles on his show.

He recalls how he and his wife, Sylvia, had arrived at the London Airport in October 1963 and saw a huge crowd of teenagers. Curious what all the commotion was about, they asked someone and received the answer: “The Beatles are here.” He had never heard of them, but after seeing the throng of youngsters, he contacted their manager, Brian Epstein, and the two agreed upon dates for three appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for a mere $10,000.

Almost one year later, in an interview titled “Beatles Interview and Song,” the band members shares their thoughts shortly before they received their Members of the Most Honorable Order of the British Empire awards in 1965. The four talk about preparing for receiving the awards and their upcoming tour. Paul tells the audience how they will be traveling to America and appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Paul and Ringo goof off and wave to Ed on camera; “Hi, Ed!” Paul says as Ringo responds with “Good old Ed.” Clearly he had a good rapport with them.

It is constantly astounding as to the variety of films held in the IU Libraries Film Archive collection; there truly is a film out there for everyone. No matter how eclectic or mainstream your interests are, there is probably something in their catalog for you. Having film and footage of one of the most influential bands of all times is definitely something to be proud of.

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