PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles introduction to America on The Ed Sullivan Show.
KDKA was there when they landed at Greater Pitt Airport on Sept. 14, 1964.
KDKA reporter Al McDowell announced The Beatles arrival in Pittsburgh as fans cheered and protesters who disapproved of long hair threw tomatoes.
“What was the stuff they were throwing,” McDowell asked.
“Looked like tomatoes,” Ringo Starr responded. “Always got two lunatics in maybe 2,000.”
WDVE disc jockey Sean McDowell was 8-years-old when his dad met The Beatles, and the tomato throwers.
“My father got hit by a tomato on his shirt,” Sean says. “So, he brought the shirt home, and I paraded it around the neighborhood for all the kids, we were all 8-years-old, to see my father got hit by a tomato that was aimed at one of The Beatles. And I regret now that my mom washed the shirt that night.”
“An expression of true devotion, or whatever you want to call, it is being exhibited here today at the Civic Arena,” KDKA’s Marie Torre announced.
She was surrounded by young fans. Some had waited all night to see 29 minutes of magic.
Pat DiCesare was an up and coming concert promoter when he booked the Beatles. He had to borrow $5,000 from his father to guarantee the appearance.
“We lamented over the ticket price,” he recalls. “We originally were going to do $6.60, and we thought that’s kind of high. Who’s going to pay that much to see The Beatles? So we reduced the price to $5.90, and we sold out. And I instantly paid my dad the $5,000 back.”
Now, he’s working on a tribute performance in September, a book and a musical recalling the day The Beatles came to Pittsburgh.