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Yesterday in La Crosse

Ringo and the other 3 guys conquer America, 56 years ago

Brad Williams

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Seventy-three million viewers tuned in to “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9th of 1964, to see a new British band.  The Beatles made their American television debut.  Other performers on the Sullivan show that night were impressionist Frank Gorshin, who later played the Riddler on the “Batman” TV series, and stars of the Broadway musical “Oliver!,” including Davy Jones, who would later become famous as one of the Monkees.   On the other networks, opposite Ed Sullivan, you could see “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters,” starring 12-year-old Kurt Russell, Walt Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color,” and the comedy “Grindl,” starring Imogene Coca as a maid.  Lots of young people wanted to be like the Beatles.  La Crosse had local bands like Dave Kennedy and the Ambassadors, and Tommy and the Twilites.   On the La Crosse State campus, the Beta Variety Show that winter was won by the Delta Zeta sorority.  The girls of Delta Zeta put on suits and picked up guitars to imitate the Beatles and Elvis.  The Beatles occupied the #1 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks in a row with three different songs, until being replaced in May by Louis Armstrong singing “Hello, Dolly!” In 1964, yesterday in La Crosse.              

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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