By: Colleen Bersano
It was February 7, 1964. I had just won tickets to the taping of the Ed Sullivan Show. But not just any show, it was the height of Beatlemania and it would be their first performance in America. And I had two tickets. I was sure to be the envy of all of my peers. My friend Billy, who helped me answer the trivia questions on the radio, and I ran into the kitchen to tell my mother. I must have shouted the news to her though because she jumped higher than I’ve ever seen the moment we rushed in from the living room.
“Janet, what in Heaven’s name has gotten you so excited?”
“The Beatles, Mom! We’re going to see the Beatles!” I ran to her with the biggest hug I could muster.
“How fun!” At that moment dad walked into the house from work. “Tell your father.” Mom always loved to spread excitement.
“Dad! I’m going to see the Beatles!” I shouted across the room.
“Is that who I’m always hearing about?” My dad never cared for trends. But as we all knew, they were more than a trend. It didn’t bother me. My excitement was enough for the both of us. The Beatles were coming to America and I was going to see them; nothing was going to rain on my parade.
“Who are you giving your second ticket to?” Billy asked me.
I laughed. “Well, you of course!” I then gave Billy an even bigger hug than my mother. “We answered the trivia together. We’re going together!” I still remember the look in his eyes: wild excitement. Seeing as it was close to dinner time, Billy headed home for the evening and I had two days to pick out the perfect outfit for Paul to notice me. I always had a soft spot for Paul.
The next day my friend Denise came over to help me choose a dress. We must have gone through ten. Once we finally made a decision, I checked myself out in the mirror. It was almost perfect, but I knew something was missing. I asked Denise if she had any ideas. While trying to figure it out, Denise ran over to my dresser. “I have the final touch,” Denise told me as she reached from behind her. It was my newest glasses I had just gotten for special occasions. “If this isn’t the right moment to debut these, there will never be one.” I put on the sparkly silver frames and turned to the mirror. “Perfection!” Denise always made moments special; the kind you knew you’d remember in the long days of old age. This was one of those moments.
“Now remember, if you happen to talk to Ringo, tell him we’ll all be at the bonfire tomorrow night. And maybe mention me.” Denise giggled her way out of the room. We really thought we were going to one day marry Paul and Ringo and live side by side in matching houses. To think of that now just makes me chuckle.
The day of the taping Billy picked me up in his dad’s Buick Riviera, the same car we would later share our first kiss in.
“Neat glasses!” Billy was always good at noticing the little things.
“Thanks. Denise said they really make the outfit.”
When we arrived at the studio, we waited in line to go inside. There were so many people there and I remember thinking how well dressed everyone was. I hoped Paul would still notice me amongst everyone. But once we were inside and the show began I wouldn’t have noticed if the rest of the audience left. I was thinking about one thing: Paul. And then Mr. Sullivan said those magic words, “Ladies and Gentlemen…the Beatles!” All I remember is screaming. Screaming and Paul’s beautiful voice. I was so excited I couldn’t control it. Beatlemania took me over. To this day I smile every time I think about it. I knew it would be iconic in my life, but to be there for a part of history is something I’ll never forget.