NBC News Producer Dusts Off Huntley-Brinkley Beatles Report

NBC Nightly News producer Andy Franklin writes that there is no known videotape copy of the Beatles’ first appearance on American TV. An appearance logged several months before the band’s arrival in New York on February 7, 1964, which is being celebrated today and into this weekend in all manner of different media ways.

However, there is audio. On this historic NYC Beatlemania anniversary, Franklin publicly shares that audio for what he says is the first time in a half-century.

Franklin does a good job of summarizing the U.S. media coverage that followed the November 18, 1963 Edwin Newman report, leading up to February 1964. To his credit, he also notes how NBC Nightly News subsequently dropped the Beatles ball:

A footnote: The Huntley-Brinkley Report distinguished itself in November 1963 by being the first to put the Beatles on American television. Sadly, that was not the case three months later, when the broadcast inexplicably underplayed the story of their arrival in New York.

It’s a shame, because the Beatles actually watched Huntley-Brinkley that night. Documentary footage shot in their Plaza Hotel suite on February 7, 1964 shows the Beatles tuning in to NBC after catching Cronkite on CBS. If they’d watched to the end, they would have heard Chet Huntley trying to explain why America’s premier evening newscast thought the Beatles’ arrival that day was worth covering, but not worth airing!

Franklin has a transcript of Chet Huntley‘s closing words. Read them here (at bottom).

Previously on FishbowlNY:
That’s the Way It Went with Walter Cronkite, The Beatles

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.