Beatles memorabilia turns up 50 years later

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It was tense time in America. Just a few months after the JFK assassination and at the height of the Cold War.

Then the British Invasion came on February 11, 1964.

The Beatles performed their first live at the Washington Coliseum just two days after their famous appearance on Ed Sullivan. They battled a snow storm, came in by train and arrived to hundreds of screaming fans at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Now, 50 years later, dozens of rarely seen Beatles memorabilia is turning up, including a copy of the "Set Sheet" penned by John Lennon on Omni Shoreham stationary that is now on display at the Calvert Street Hotel.

The Omni will also be commemorating the event with a special 50th anniversary package that includes viewing a tribute documentary. On Tuesday there will be a Beatlemania Now tribute from the D.C. Preservation League.

The suite where John, Paul, George and Ringo stayed in 1964 has been renovated several times since then, but it's still on the hotel's sixth floor.

Hotel Manager Pete Sams says the Fab Four behaved like perfect gentlemen during their stay. The suite rented then for about $50 a night. If you book it now it will cost you $1,200 a night.

The concert took place at the Washington Coliseum, then owned by Harry Lynn. He kept a scrap book and his son recently discovered a picture of the Beatles, sent as a "thank you" note that appeared to be signed on the back by all four group members.

It is now in the hands of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. The curator, Zachary Levine, says it was just discovered last week. It appears the signatures are on the back of the photo, which was glued to a cardboard backing years ago.

His group has asked the Smithsonian Institution to use infrared and other technology. What look like scribbles through the back of the photo to the front are actually signatures.


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