Continued from page 2

“I remember the first time I heard the word ‘Beatles,’” he recalls. “It was that Friday. I was in seventh grade and my best friend, who was really into music, said, ‘You gotta watch them, they’re on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday night.’

“I said, ‘Really? There’s a group called the Beatles?’ It sounded gross.

“But I watched, and I saw this unbelievable crowd reaction to these guys. And at school the next day, theBeatles were all anybody was talking about. And I felt very cool, because I had seen it. But three days earlier, I hadn’t heard of them.”

These days, the Ed Sullivan theater is familiar territory for Moonves.

“I’ve done a number of presentations for advertisers from that stage,” he says, adding that his mind immediately goes to the Fab Four. “(I think), ‘The Beatles were here! The Beatles were here!’ On these very planks beneath my feet.”

___

CBS anchor Walter Cronkite scored tickets to the “Sullivan Show” for his teenage daughters Nancy and Kathy.

“The Beatles were already huge, and huge to me — monumental!” Kathy Cronkite says. “The idea of seeing them in person was like going to another planet. And when we got there we were screaming our heads off, so we couldn’t hear the music.

“Then, afterward, we got to meet them,” she adds. “They were very nice. They put their arms around us for a picture, which was really fabulous. Ringo and I happened to be standing next to each other, and he was MY Beatle. So that was especially exciting.”

For Cronkite, a former actress who appeared in the classic film “Network” but is now a mental-health advocate, many of the details have vanished with the passage of time.

“In the scope of the rest of my life, it has faded in significance somewhat,” she says, but takes pains to emphasize, “I don’t mean it wasn’t important. At the time it was absolutely huge. And back then, when I was 13, I’m sure I thought it was the main thing that would EVER matter.”

___

Pat DiNizio, lead singer of the New Jersey-based rock band the Smithereens, not only remembers seeing the Beatles on “Sullivan,” but also vividly recalls the first moment he heard their music.

He was 8 years old, brushing his teeth with his red transistor radio on when the disc jockey announced he was playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Stunned by the sound, he dropped the toothbrush. He watched the show from the living room of his home in Scotch Plains, N.J., with his parents.

“I wanted to be them. I wanted to do what they did. I wanted to have my haircut like that and I wanted to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band,” he says. “That was a major, major important event for the youth of America. My parents couldn’t have been over 30 years old and they didn’t dig the Beatles too much. They didn’t dig the long hair.”

Story Continues →