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The Beatles played Cincinnati 50 years ago

BOND HILL, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- On August 27, 1964, The Beatles played a sold-out show at the Cincinnati Gardens.

Thousands of screaming teenage girls and young women filled the 14,000 seats. They payed $5.50 for a ticket. It was a concert unlike any people in Cincinnati had ever seen.

"The summer of '64, The Beatles just took over," said Dusty Rhodes, who was working as a DJ at WSAI-AM in 1964. He and several other DJ's set out to bring John, Paul, George and Ringo to the Queen City.

"Some of the DJ's were out and they came back to the station. I was on the air at the time, and they said we're going to send a telegram to England to try and get The Beatles. And I said sure, let's try it," Rhodes said.  "And within about two months, the telegram came back that said we had them. At which point we all said, what do we do now?"

The band landed at Lunken Airport. A group of fans and reporters were waiting as they got off the plane. The Fab Four held a press conference. Dusty Rhodes has a photograph of The Beatles at the press conference hanging in his office. He is standing behind them with a pipe in his mouth.

A WKRC-TV anchor asked The Beatles what they were going to do when their North American concert tour ended. John Lennon replied, "Count the money."

When The Beatles took the stage at the Gardens, the crowd roared. Girls screamed so loudly they drowned out the sound of the music. Carol Ladwig was a 25-year-old mother of four. Her husband got a ticket for her. Her seat was in section 22.

"You had to stand up through the whole concert. You really couldn't hear much. If I put my fingers in my ears I could hear some of the songs," Ladwig recalled with a laugh.

Telethia Miller also attended the show with friends. She was 15.

"It was the first concert that I went to where people were just screaming and before then things were pretty sedate as I remember," Miller said. She went to a Ricky Nelson concert where the crowd was more tame.

The Beatles played for just 29 minutes but they left an impression. But some in Cincinnati were not amused. Hamilton Co. juvenile court judge Benjamin Schwartz issued a warning. He told parents that The Beatles were bad for their daughters. He was clearly disgusted by what he'd seen.

"And then these girls went into a coma. They ranted, they fainted. Their eyes were glassy. Some pulled their hair out, some tore their dresses," Judge Schwartz said.

The concert didn't cause any long term problems for the fans. In fact, the judge's warning probably made them love The Beatles even more.

Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes said there's no doubt August 27, 1964 was a special day for a lot of people.

"Even today people still remember this as an important point in their lives. And that's kind of neat. They still keep a lot of the mementos," Rhodes said.




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