James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

42 Years Ago Today

On the Nov 22, 1963 CBS morning news show, the last segment was a report about a band in Britain that was enjoying unprecedented popularity - a sensation, a phenomenon - there. It was the last news report CBS ran before JFK was shot.

Then, many days later of non-stop JFK coverage, Walter Cronkite (to you young ones, Cronkite was the CBS evening news anchor and was by far the most watched) decided that there wasn't much left to cover and he wanted to lighten up the news coverage. He remembered that morning news segment and chose to rerun it on the evening cast.

Yes, the Beatles were the last story before JFK was shot, and the first story after.

Beatles records were around throughout much of 1963. Deejay Dick Biondi in Chicago was one who played them, but they didn't get much of a response. (Biondi was fired from one station around that time for playing Elvis too much. His excuse? There wasn't much else out there that was any good.)

After Cronkite reran the story, by February '64 the Beatles were as popular here as in England. Nothing beats free publicity, especially to an audience of tens of millions.

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